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News : International Last Updated: Apr 1, 2010 - 4:13:38 AM


Markets News Wednesday: Bank of Ireland and AIB shares rise in Dublin
By Finfacts Team
Mar 31, 2010 - 8:51:26 AM

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President Barack Obama and President Nicolas Sarkozy of France have a discussion in the Blue Room of the White House before their joint "press availability," March 30, 2010.

Irish Financials; The Irish banking plan - NAMA haircuts and capital plans: Goodbody analyst, Eamonn Hughes, comments - - "Yesterday was a big day for the financial sector. We were provided with the initial NAMA transfer haircuts (47%), new capital targets from the Regulator (7% equity tier 1 and 8% core tier 1 by end 2010) and the Minister for Finance’s broad assessment of the capital plans of the banks.

NAMA Haircuts: The initial NAMA transfer haircuts were broadly as flagged by recent media commentary. The overall 47% haircut incorporated a 43% figure for AIB and 35% for BOI. Elsewhere, Anglo Irish was circa 50%, EBS was 37% and Irish Nationwide was 58%.

Capital Targets: The 7% equity Tier 1 target outlined by the Financial Regulator (incorporated within an 8% core tier 1 target and 4% core tier 1 stress test) drives a €7.4bn equity requirement for AIB and €2.7bn for BOI. These estimates incorporate the use of the initial NAMA haircut for the rest of each bank’s NAMA eligible loans and a capital buffer of €1.1bn in the case of AIB. The capital requirements can be reduced by asset sales, with the banks having until year end to effect transactions. IL&P was not included in the first wave of assessment, though the company indicates its initial discussions with the Regulator suggest it has sufficient capital.

Government involvement: Recent market speculation has centred on the State moving to immediately convert an element of its preference shares in the banks. The government provided comfort that it will fill any gaps on the year end target capital requirements with its preference shares, if needed, but is giving the banks time to address their capital deficits. This less immediate approach means the worst fears in recent days will have been averted, possibly providing an initial share price fillip.

Valuations: Our base case scenario in AIB is that it sells its UK subsidiary (1x P/NAV) and US & Poland stakes (market cap valuations) for a combined €4.5bn capital gain, bringing its €7.4bn requirement down to €2.9bn. We raise 1x its market cap and solve for the preference shares at the current market price (State shareholding at c60%), generating 7% upside. Factoring in a circa 10% better realisation on asset sales offers 16% upside, whilst incorporating some additional upside in the capital buffer and possible adjustments to the NAMA haircut drives a bullish scenario of 76% upside. Our base case on BOI sees a market capitalisation sized rights issue, raising €500m from a further capital exchange and conversion of €0.6bn of the government’s preference shares, equating to 1.0x of the TERP adjusted market cap. This would see the State with a circa 42% stake by our estimates. However, its comments this morning that it is considering buying back the government’s warrants has the potential to generate upside for the share price."

Economic View; A line in the sand drawn on the banking crisis; Goodbody chief economist, Dermot O’Leary, comments - - "The once-and-for-all announcements on the Irish banking system yesterday provided a mixed bag for the Irish economy and the Irish taxpayer: (i) The higher than initially anticipated haircut of 47% on the initial tranche of loans being purchased from the banks reduces the risk to the taxpayer as well as reducing the overall amount of bonds to be issued in return for the assets transferring to NAMA. While the final valuations are not yet available, based on the haircut on the initial tranche, a total of €43bn in NAMA debt will be issued, with c.€2bn in the form of subordinated debt as a risk-sharing mechanism. This is less than the €54bn total initially suspected (€3bn subordinated); (ii) the cost of the banking crisis in Ireland looks to be substantially higher than we previously estimated, mainly due to the black hole that is Anglo Irish Bank.

The announcement by the Minister for Finance yesterday suggested that the total required funds for this bank may amount to €22bn. Combining this with required capital for the building societies, Irish Nationwide and EBS, along with the preference shares in AIB and Bank of Ireland, the total gross cost may come to €33bn. This is equivalent to 20% of Irish GDP (for 2010), well above the “average cost” of banking crises in developed economies since the 1970s, which we estimate at 11%; (iii) While the government will have an increased presence in the banking sector, which is likely to become bigger by the end of the year, a better capitalised banking system has to be considered a positive for Ireland Inc. as it increases the chances of the banks being able to fund themselves in the future as well as being able to extend credit to the wider economy to fund a recovery.

Tough decisions have been made in Ireland over the last twelve months, with last night’s announcements representing the culmination of a total overhaul of how the financial system operates and the amount of capital that the banks are required to hold. This comes after resolute action has been taken to restore stability to the public finances, while, in the background, costs are being reduced in a bid to engineer a real devaluation. All of these were necessary for Ireland to experience an economic recovery and while the costs incurred on Ireland over the course of the past two years have been enormous, the groundwork has now been laid for a recovery."

Professor John Kay, FT columnist, a former director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies and leading UK economist has just written a book entitled "Obliquity" which discusses the way in which success can often come from unintended quarters. He spoke to CNBC about the subject:

Contingent liability for government from hole in balance sheet of nationalised lenders: Davy chief economist, Rossa White comments;

  • Following the transfer of the first tranche of loans to the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA), Anglo Irish Bank, Irish Nationwide and EBS — the last two now nationalised as well — require almost €12bn to meet regulatory capital minima (€8.3bn, €2.6bn and €1bn respectively).
  • But this will be provided in the form of a promissory note (from one arm of the state to another), payable over 10-15 years. So there is a long-term contingent liability for the Irish state, but it will not affect 2010 borrowing. Moreover, there is private capital interested in EBS, which could negate the need for some or all of the Irish state's capital support (€1bn).

Two main Irish-owned banks will be given time to source private capital; if not forthcoming, the NPRF (State pensions' fund) will be used

  • Allied Irish Bank and Bank of Ireland will have until the end of 2010 to source private capital to reach a core equity ratio of 7%. The regulator has asserted that between them €10.1bn in capital must be raised (€7.4bn for AIB and €2.7bn for BoI, although this requirement may fall marginally if haircuts on future NAMA transfers are lower than the first tranche).
  • AIB will sell its overseas interests, which may generate €5bn in capital. In a worst-case scenario where the banks cannot source private capital by year-end, the state would probably convert some of its preference shares (€3.5bn in each currently) into equity. Those shares are held by the National Pensions Reserve Fund, which will be the source of equity capital if required. That negates further borrowing by the state.

No further borrowing in 2010 for bank re-caps as it stands

  • The €20bn borrowing target for 2010 is unlikely to increase as a result of bank re-caps. But the cost of cleaning up Anglo may add €20bn (c.12% of 2010 GDP) to government debt over 10-15 years.

The whole Eurozone region is caught in a Catch-22 situation, notes Sandeep Malhotra, CIO at Clariden Leu. He explains his grim outlook on Europe, with CNBC's Karen Tso & Sri Jegarajah:

US markets

The Dow rose 12 points or 0.12% Tuesday to 10,907.

The S&P 500 closed unchanged and the Nasdaq added 0.26%.

Asia

The MSCI Asia Pacific lost 0.6% Wednesday.

The Nikkei 225 slipped 0.06%; the Shanghai Composite dipped 0.73%; Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index slid 0.84% and India's Sensex Index declined 0.25%.

Asia benchmarks

Finfacts Reports

Bank of Ireland reports loss of €1.8bn for the nine months to December 31, 2009 after bad debt charges of €4.1bn
Irish Public Sector Service Agreement 2010-2014: It could work or may not; "It's déjà vu all over again"
Japanese manufacturing output continued to rise in March; Rate was slowest in four months
Greek crisis and why getting tough on CDSs - - credit default swaps - - does more harm than good
State funding of Irish banks may amount to €32bn - - 1 year's tax receipts; Banks accused of "reckless" lending and "shoddy practices"
Irish 'bad bank' NAMA takes 47% discount or 'haircut' on initial toxic property loan transfers; Financial Regulator announces new banking capital requirements
Markets News Afternoon: IMF cuts growth forecasts for Germany; US home prices rise
US Consumer Confidence Index rebounded in March
High Court appointed administrators seize control of Quinn Insurance Limited - - owned by Irish billionaire Seán Quinn
Eurozone retail sales declined in March but at slower rate

In Europe, the Dow Jones Stoxx 600 has risen 0.13% Wednesday.

The ISEQ has risen 0.70% in Dublin.

Bank of Ireland has gained 16.46% and AIB has added 3.69% after double digit losses earlier in the week.

The European Commission is due to make an interim announcement this morning on the restructuring plans for Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide which were first notified to the EC's competition authorities last November.

The Commission has confirmed that it will review each of the bad loan transfers to NAMA to ensure that none of the transfers are excessive.

European Benchmarks

Irish Share Prices

Irish Stock Market Capitalisation by Company

Key Index Performance Statistics

Euribor Rates

AIB Daily Report

Bank of Ireland Daily Report

Currencies

The euro is trading at $1.3417 and at £0.8904.

For live currency updates, check the right-hand column of the Finfacts home page.

The US dollar fell to $1.6038 per euro on Tuesday, July 15, 2008 - an-all time record.

Commodities

The Baltic Dry Index, a measure of shipping costs for dry commodities, hit an all-time High of 11,771 on the 21st of May, 2008. From that time it reversed and on the 5th of December, 2008 it hit a low of 663 - -  close to a 1986 low.

The BDI closed at 3,005 on Thursday, Dec 31st - - a rise of 289% in 2009. The index averaged 59% lower in 2009 than a year earlier.

On Monday, the BDI fell 77 points or 2.48% to 3,021  - - a 10th straight dip and brings the current decline to 15%; the BDI fell 39 points or 1.29% to 2,982 on Tuesday.

In the Financial Times on Wednesday, Feb 17th, Javier Blas wrote that the weakness in the Baltic Dry Index, long seen as an indicator of global economic activity, does not reflect a downturn in global trade. Instead, the measure of freight costs is showing a strong supply of new vessels that helps explain the 40% drop in three months. “New supply is astonishingly high and it is overwhelming the otherwise robust demand for bulk commodities from China,” he wrote. “On the other hand, bullish investors should be cautious of any near-term turnround. Rather than a sign of stronger economic activity and commodities demand, it is likely to reflect cancelled orders, scrappage and port congestion.”

Crude oil for May 2010 delivery is currently trading on the Chicago York Mercantile Exchange (CME/Nymex) at $82.43 per barrel up 6 cents from Tuesday's close. In London, Brent for May delivery is trading on the International Commodities Exchange at $81.34.

Gold spot price

Gold is trading at $1108.20 up $4.90 from Tuesday's spot price close in New York.

Finfacts Gold Page

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