News and opinion on finance

Will the Beirut port explosion bring about true change in Lebanon?

In Beirut’s Karantina, an area devastated by an explosion at the city’s port on August 4, volunteers have stepped in to help clean up its streets. They are helping the area’s vulnerable ...
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SMEs must manage cash flow better to survive after the reopening

As businesses around the world emerge from lockdowns and hope to rebuild their revenues back towards normal, there’s a new alternative data source to track every step of the journey. Sidetrade, a ...
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Europe’s neobanks search for elusive profit in SMEs and the US

Europe’s neobanks are switching their attention to small business banking and expansion in the US, as they strive for global scale and profitability. Business banking will soon be a bigger revenue earner ...
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RBS: Bó’s closure highlights traditional banks’ digital deficit

Bó, RBS’s digital bank for retail customers, announced in early May it was to close after just six months in business, with only 11,000 customers. RBS’s digital bank for businesses, Mettle, will ...
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Norwegian deal shows depth of turmoil in aviation finance

Norwegian Air’s nail-biting $1 billion debt-for-equity swap with bondholders and lessors on May 4 has given the struggling airline vital breathing room, allowing it to access up to an equivalent of $290 ...
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Foreign investors search for licences and profit as China NPLs rise

China has opened the door wider to foreign funds keen to invest in its fast-growing market for distressed bank debt, allowing them to apply for licences for the first time to operate ...
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Private equity can be the big winner in the Covid-19 bear market

Investors may already be eagerly hunting bargains amid the carnage in the coronavirus bear market One large and powerful group of investors, with plenty of money to put to work, should be ...
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China’s RMB is less popular as it ages

When financial messaging provider Swift published its latest RMB Tracker in late January, almost no one noticed. For good reason. Anyone not focused on US politics or Australian fires was fretting about ...
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Non-bank trade finance providers look to boost market share

Emerging market (EM) manufacturers were facing difficulties even before the coronavirus pandemic decimated international demand for many of their products. The Asian Development Bank estimated that $1.5 trillion of requested trade finance ...
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Longer-term rise in risk is the key problem for US investors

'The broader question is whether the severity will ultimately lie closer to 2008 or the 1929 Great Depression'The US risk score declined in Euromoney’s country risk survey in Q1 2020, although it ...
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CEE fintechs step up as consumers dump cash

Fintechs in emerging Europe have seen a surge in demand for their services since the start of the Covid-19 crisis as consumers move away from cash and businesses look for new sources ...
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The pitfalls of India’s JAM

Picture this: you are the leader of a developing country. Out of 1.4 billion people, nearly 70% live in rural areas, over 20% are illiterate and 22% live below the poverty line ...
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Coronavirus: Italy’s banks and SMEs face crisis if shutdown persists

Duomo square, Milan, on Wednesday: devoid of the usual throng of people on the second day of a lockdown across Italy Italy could provide a showcase for what is to come elsewhere ...
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Asian banks, buffeted by coronavirus, ramp up continuity plans

Workers pass a thermal scanner as part of the coronavirus outbreak precautions during a media preview at the Singapore Airshow on Saturday Singapore is the latest country to feel the heat from ...
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ECR survey results Q2 2020: Covid-19 crisis increases the economic and political risks for US, Japan, Europe and EMs

The shock resulting from the lockdown measures taken to stop the spread of coronavirus is once again dominating the global risk picture, causing analysts to downgrade key economic factors in second quarter ...
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Investment opportunities, not drawdowns, are the biggest challenge for sovereign funds

One of the curiosities of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the economic carnage it has wrought, is that it has not prompted countries to draw down on the funds they have built to ...
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Hong Kong: BEA and Elliott show solidarity but doubts linger over bank’s future

David Li, chairman of Bank of East Asia Bank of East Asia (BEA) and activist shareholder Elliott Management put a long-running legal dispute on hold, announcing a strategic review of the Hong ...
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Asia is the new battleground for European transaction banking

Asia is the fastest-growing transaction banking market globally, as banks vie for cash and trade business beyond their core remit. European banks are particular attracted to the region, as corporates based in ...
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Banking: New decade, similar problems

How does the banking industry look as we enter a new decade? It’s worth taking a look back at the one that just finished before we do that. January 2010 was still ...
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Bancassurers are thriving again, but for how long?

It’s not meant to be like this. In the new digital world, banks are supposed to be financial supermarkets, developing internationally transportable distribution platforms with high-value third-party products. Even loans and deposits ...
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Israel sells $3 billion bond as regional tensions abate

Just days after a deadly airstrike on Iranian general Qassem Soleimani shook the markets, Israel sold a $3 billion Eurobond to investors who say that, despite early fears of an imminent escalation, ...
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Wirecard: Philippines’ anti-money laundering chief explains the investigation

Can you bring me up to date with what you’ve established so far about how the Wirecard situation links to the Philippines? First, the statement from the governor [Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas ...
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How Handelsbanken reclaimed its status as the post-crisis ideal

If any European lender has had a good 2020 so far, it’s Handelsbanken. Sweden’s second biggest bank was the ideal of a more cautious, consistent and focused business model after the 2008 ...
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Foreign exchange: Banks deal with volatility from home

Since the global financial crisis, most FX markets have enjoyed a decade of extremely low volatility. While there have been initiatives around regulatory compliance, the market has otherwise been quiet, with volatility ...
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Coronavirus crisis: China steps back from stimulus

At the height of the global financial crisis (GFC), China staved off recession by turning the dial on stimulus up to 11. This time around, with Western governments pledging trillions of dollars ...
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Coronavirus: Urgent need to adapt will push tech solutions in transaction banking

Lisa Robins, global head of transaction banking at Standard Chartered, vividly remembers the September 11 terror attacks on New York’s twin towers and what followed. At the time, Robins lived in New ...
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Covid-19 shows the value to investors of alternative data

At the start of April, Exabel, an artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning platform for active asset managers, partnered with 1010data, an alternative data provider to the retail, consumer packaged goods and ...
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Coronavirus: Dubai issues rare Dh1 billion sukuk

The government of Dubai has issued a sukuk for the first time in four years, proving that even amid historically low oil prices and a global pandemic, funding options remain for the ...
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Coronavirus: The World Bank should care that the public does not understand its pandemic bonds

Pandemic bonds, and their cousins in the broader catastrophe bond sector, are peculiar animals. They are frequently complex, somewhat opaque, and they must wade through the mire of morbid possibility. But at ...
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ECR survey results Q4 2019: Risk diminishes for Greece, Russia and Nigeria, but Argentina, Hong Kong and Turkey dive

There’s light at the end of the tunnel, but not all are on the right track The mean average global risk score improved from the third to fourth quarter as business confidence ...
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