Thursday, 10 December 2015

CHAIRMAN'S MESSAGE - Sean Edwards, ITFA Chairman / Head of Legal at SMBC

Dear Members and Friends,

I write this, our final newsletter of 2015, in the after-glow of our annual Christmas party, held this year in the lofty heights of the Kensington Roof Gardens. This successful event was an opportunity for us at ITFA to say “thank you” to you, our members, for your continuous support of this association. And there are more of you than ever supporting us, with eight new members added in the last few months.  As I mentioned at the party we are not resting on our laurels and for the coming year plan:
  • speaker participation at a number of conferences organised by our partners GTR and TFR in Europe, Africa and Asia
  • new workshops
  • an expansion of our mentoring programme
  • social events in London and Amsterdam
  • increased activity from our newly - formed insurance committee (see later in this newsletter)

Last, and very much not least, I was able to announce that 2016’s annual conference will be held in Warsaw from 7th - 9th September (with an educational seminar on 6th September).

Looking back at the market conditions within which we operated in 2015, most notably Emerging Markets (EM) and commodities have had a tumultuous 2015, to say the least. With oil trading at multi year lows, and EM growth failing to gather steam, particularly in China, investors became more risk averse as the year progressed.

The strong USD, most notably against EM currencies, weakening China growth and deteriorating global trade, are expected to continue to act as a drag on EM countries in 2016 as they continue to experience a deteriorating balance of payments and a persistent adverse impact on growth. Local EM political issues, coupled with the further deterioration in global trade and weak commodity prices are also expected to maintain downward pressure on EM currencies in 2016.

A few of the most important economic data to look out for in the weeks and months ahead are China’s demand for imports, especially commodities as well as their exports. Fears of a hard landing in China remain alive as the decline in the commodities space also had its fair share of contributing to risk adverse mode which characterized most of 2015. The weaker energy and metal prices were of particular concern as the outlook for Chinese and global GDP weighed on market sentiment. Any possible stabilization of supply and demand for oil in 2016 from current levels would be welcomed as this would also contribute to abating deflationary fears.

Let’s all hope that 2016 will be more benevolent to all of us. May I take this opportunity to wish you all the very best for the festive season and a year full of health and prosperity.

We look forward to hearing from you with any feedback you may want to share with us by sending an email to myself, any of the Board Members or to our general email,  

Best wishes,
Sean Edwards

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