Monday, 5 March 2018

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

Dear Members and Friends,

Believe it or not, we have already come to the end of the first quarter of 2018.

Emerging markets experienced benign growth and market activity over the past 12 months, with demand for emerging market assets and services flourishing over this period. Investors are expected to continue moving money into emerging market credit, but February gave us a taste of what market volatility could be like, when it begins to reign in, as there were times where we thought that cracks could get deeper. However, normality was soon restored.

There are differing views on market direction; one school of thought suggests that over the near-term markets could continue to see selling pressure as some investors seek to crystallise gains generated over this bull market. Others believe that with strong expected earnings growth and more attractive valuations investors will dip back in and buy equities and emerging market credit once again.

Whatever the outcome, what is expected to be extremely challenging in the months ahead is the escalation of the whole trade war situation announced by the US a few weeks ago; if it will remain confined and controlled or whether it will impact the greater scheme of things. US president Trump has often opined that there exist a number of countries which might be taking advantage of the US and is renegotiating NAFTA, having exempted Canada and Mexico from the tariffs as long as they reach a new agreement. At this juncture, it is yet unclear of how widely dispersed and deep the trade war situation could get. But either way, this situation is expected to be a major global theme for 2018.

In the March edition of the ITFA Newsletter you will find an interesting article entitled ‘’Trade Finance Collaboration set to step up in the year ahead’’ by Adeline de Metz, Unicredit. We also have an article by Andre Casterman, ITFA Fintech Chairman, ‘’What are the ‘Data Monetisation’ Challenges facing Transaction Banks?’’ The ITFA team also provides a brief on the trade finance seminar organised jointly by ITFA and CUNEF, which took place in London on 14 February. ITFA is delighted to welcome three new members; Intix, Sierra Leone Commercial Bank Limited (SLCB) and TradeTeq Limited.

As you all know,  preparations for the 45th Annual International Trade and Forfaiting Conference which will be held in Cape Town between the 4th and 6th of September, are well underway. As we speak, the conference programme is being finalised and will be available in the coming days. Registrations are flowing in, but we remind our readers about this year’s Super Early Bird price, which is available till 15 April. We urge you to register before then.

This year we will be greeting you at The Table Bay Hotel, a hotel which is perfectly located against the stunning backdrop of Table Mountain and the Atlantic Ocean. We will be hosting 2 networking sessions with dedicated rooms which will make great networking opportunities – one of the reasons why our annual conference is so well attended.

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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