Sunday, 7 January 2018

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

Dear Members and Friends,

On behalf of the ITFA Board, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy New Year and all the very best for 2018. May the year ahead bring good health and peace.

As I write this message, the ITFA team is compiling a list of scheduled events for 2018. The 2018 Events Calendar can be viewed on our ITFA website and will be updated on an ongoing basis. Click here to find out more information about the various events being organised during the course of the year.

How can I fail to mention our flagship annual event - the 45th ITFA International Trade and Forfaiting Conference which will be held in Cape Town, South Africa between 4-6 September 2018. The conference itself will then take place over two full days on Wednesday and Thursday. Our unmissable Gala Dinner will take place on Wednesday night. The programme is being worked on and will include sessions on focused, relevant market issues including developments in fintech, documentation, supply chain finance and insurance, from both a regional and global perspective. So take advantage of our Super Early Bird price available until 15th April and register here.

Emerging markets registered a positive year in 2017, driven by a small rebound in commodity prices, the stabilisation of fundamentals, ongoing global and EM economic recovery, as well as a geopolitical environment whereby the US, led by the infamous Trump, North Korea, China have been market-friendly. It has been a struggle to find an asset class, an economy which surprised to the downside, but there have been 2 economies which struggled in particular for very different idiosyncratic factors, and these are Turkey and Venezuela.

Research suggests that economic data surprises in EM are moderating, meaning that the growth that has been registered in 2017 may be mostly priced-in by now. Additionally, the disinflation we have seen in several EM countries in 2017 (Brazil, Russia, Colombia, etc.) is unlikely to extend into 2018 as the base effects fade away and the bulk of policy rate easing in EM is behind us. All in all, it is difficult to have repeat of 2017, but in the absence of any tail risks, such as US economic policy and the Fed, China, geopolitical risks and EM elections, EM could well register decent economic flows in a year of consolidation.

In the very first edition of the 2018 ITFA Newsletter one can read an interesting article written  by Shannon Manders, GTR, titled ''ITFA sets up a Young Professionals Panel, Aims to address Skills Gap’’. Johanna Wissing from LiquidX contributed an exciting article titled ''Paving the way for the future of Trade and Working Capital Finance’’. One also finds the regular feature: Chart of the Month contributed by Dr. Rebecca Harding of Equant Analytics – ''Trade in 2018: where politics and economics collide''.

May I take the opportunity to thank all associates, partners and sponsors for their support in 2017. Should any of our members wish to contribute to our website, and become website sponsors, please send an email to Your contribution is highly valued.

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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