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FSD Africa, CISI and CMA partner to strengthen Rwanda’s capital market

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FSD Africa, CISI and CMA partner to strengthen Rwanda’s capital market

The Capital Market Authority, Rwanda (CMA Rwanda) announced that it has formed a partnership with the UKAID funded Financial Sector Deepening Africa (FSD Africa) to strengthen Rwanda’s Capital Markets. The Africa Regulator Support Programme is a continent-wide initiative designed to strengthen the continent’s capital market regulators to reach international standards. CMA partnered also with the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI) to launch qualifications-led licensing programme in the Rwandan capital market industry to enhance and promote professional standards in the securities and investment industry in Rwanda.

Through the programme, FSD Africa will fund an institutional capacity assessment to review and strengthen CMA Rwanda’s operations, a critical step in enhancing CMA Rwanda’s operations to ensure it has the capacity to implement the Capital Market Masterplan successfully. The masterplan, which was completed with FSD Africa support last year, outlines the actions needed over a ten-year time horizon to broaden the financing base of the Rwandan economy. In addition, CMA Rwanda will be supported to collaborate and share knowledge with capital market regulators across the continent.

The Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) Africa Regulator Support Programme in Rwanda was launched which is an umbrella programme aimed at strengthening capacity building of securities market regulatory bodies in 8 African markets, CMA Rwanda included. FSD Africa is a £30 million financial sector development programme funded by UK aid from the UK Government aimed at reducing poverty across sub-Saharan Africa by building financial markets that are efficient, robust and inclusive. FSD Africa has been supporting CMA in various initiatives including the development of the 10-year Rwandan Capital Market Master Plan and CISI implementation in Rwanda.

Speaking during the event, the acting Executive Director of the Rwanda’s Capital Market Authority, Bundugu noted that: “We are partnering with FSD Africa and CISI to develop a special relationship to support capital market practitioners to advance their knowledge and promote the highest standards of ethics and integrity in the securities and investment industry in Rwanda and the region to efficiently direct the flow of savings and investment in the economy in ways that facilitate the accumulation of capital to boost the country’s development.”

As part of the Asset Backed Securities Development (ABS) Programme that began in 2018, CMA, AFR and FSD Africa are working together to encourage the development and uptake of asset backed securities in Rwanda. The ABS programme is conducting an assessment of the existing enabling environment to support the development of ABS transactions in Rwanda and to work with potential issuers and transaction advisers in the analysis of demonstration ABS transactions, in the housing, financial and power sectors. Securitization of assets through the issuance of ABS will support the Government’s ambitions to create an ecosystem to fast-track economic growth by opening up the capital markets to enable Rwandan households and entrepreneurs to access long-term finance.

In addition, in 2017 FSD Africa partnered with the not-for-profit, global professional body the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI) to deliver skills development for capital markets professionals across Rwanda. Through the programme capital market professionals across the country are making use of a training programme which will help them build their skills and knowledge. To date, over 250 students have been trained and certified through partnership with the University of Rwanda and an additional 250 expected to complete certification by April 2019.

Sarah Metcalf, Rwanda Country Director for the UK Department for International Development commented: “We congratulate CMA and our Rwandan and African financial sector development programmes on their partnership in support of Rwanda’s Capital Market Masterplan implementation. Gradual development and uptake of capital market products is vital since it will help to unlock domestic and international long-term investment and direct it to where it is needed most. This will help to fuel growth and additional finance for the implementation of Rwanda’s National Strategy for Transformation.”

Kevin Moore, Chartered FCSI and CISI Global Business Development Director said: “We are extremely pleased to be partnering with the CMA on this important project which will ensure Rwandan financial services professionals are qualified to global best practice standards.”

Mark Napier, Director, FSD Africa commented: “FSD Africa is delighted to partner with the Capital Markets Authority and Access to Finance Rwanda in helping to realise the Capital Market Masterplan.  Having supported the development of the Masterplan itself, we are pleased to be able to follow through with its implementation. We continue to believe there is an exciting opportunity for capital markets to play a valuable role in Rwanda, enabling access to long-term finance for Rwandan households and entrepreneurs alike.”

WaringaKibe, Country Director of Access to Finance Rwanda remarked, “The partnership with FSD Africa is timely. Access to Finance Rwanda appreciates this initiative and looks forward to supporting the growth of Rwanda’s capital market to increase national savings and grow domestic investments”.

The two-and-a-half-year Africa Regulator Support Programme will provide funding to build the capacity of capital market regulators across the continent, provide world-class technical assistance, encourage closer collaboration among regulators and conduct research to support the development of new policies and regulations. CMA Rwanda is the fourth capital market regulator to join the Africa Regulator Support Programme which began in September 2018. FSD Africa will implement the programme in a further eight markets including; Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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Wall Street bounce, upbeat earnings lift European stocks

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Wall Street bounce, upbeat earnings lift European stocks 1

By Amal S and Sruthi Shankar

(Reuters) – European stocks rose on Wednesday after Dutch chip equipment maker ASML and Swiss luxury group Richemont gave encouraging earnings updates, while investors hoped for a large U.S. stimulus plan as Joe Biden was sworn in as president.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index closed 0.7% higher, getting an extra boost as Wall Street marked record highs.

All eyes were on Biden’s inauguration as the 46th U.S. President, with traders betting on a bigger pandemic relief plan and higher infrastructure spending under the new administration to boost the pandemic-stricken economy.

Tech stocks rallied to a two-decade peak in Europe after ASML Holding NV rose 3.0% to all-time highs on better-than-expected quarterly sales and a strong order intake for 2021.

Meanwhile, Richemont rose 2.8%, after posting a 5% increase in quarterly sales as Chinese splashed out on Cartier, its flagship jewellery brand.

Britain’s Burberry jumped 3.9% after it stuck to its full-year goals, saying higher full-price sales would boost annual margins, while Asian demand remained strong.

The pair boosted European luxury goods makers that are heavily reliant on China, with LVMH and Kering gaining between 1% and 3%.

“Any sign that retail spending is picking up in China is going to be a boost to the Western markets and those heavily exposed to it,” said Connor Campbell, financial analyst at SpreadEx.

The European Central Bank is set to meet on Thursday. While no policy changes are expected, the bank could face more questions about an increasingly challenging outlook only a month after it unleashed fresh stimulus to bolster the euro zone economy.

“With the new round of easing measures fully in place and no new forecasts to be presented tomorrow, it should be a fairly uneventful day for the euro,” ING analysts said in a note.

Italy’s FTSE MIB gained 0.9% and lenders rose 1.6% after Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte won a confidence vote in the upper house Senate and averted a government collapse.

Conte narrowly secured the vote on Tuesday, allowing him to remain in office after a junior partner quit his coalition last week in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Daimler AG jumped 4.2% after its Mercedes-Benz brand unveiled a new electric compact SUV, the EQA, as part of plans to take on rival Tesla Inc.

Germany’s Hugo Boss added 4.4% after Mike Ashley-led Frasers said it boosted its stake in the company.

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Amal S in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Arun Koyyur and Kirsten Donovan)

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Miners lead FTSE 100 higher on earnings cheer

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Miners lead FTSE 100 higher on earnings cheer 2

By Shivani Kumaresan

(Reuters) – UK’s FTSE 100 rose on Wednesday as miners gained after a strong production forecast from BHP Group, while encouraging updates from luxury brand Burberry and education group Pearson drove optimism about the earnings season.

BHP Group Ltd climbed 2.8% after it forecast record iron ore production for fiscal 2021, helped by high prices for the commodity. Other miners Rio Tinto, Anglo American and Glencore rose more than 2%.

Global markets rallied in anticipation of more fiscal spending as Joe Biden prepared to take charge as the 46th U.S. president.

“There is a view in the markets that more spending is in the pipeline, after all, Mr Biden will want to start his presidency on a positive note,” said David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK.

The FTSE 100 index rose 0.4% and the domestically focussed FTSE 250 index added 1.4%.

The FTSE 100 has recorded consistent monthly gains since November after the sealing of a Brexit trade deal and hopes of a vaccine-led economic recovery, but has recently lost steam as tighter business restrictions sparked fears of a slow rebound.

Burberry rose 3.9% as it stuck to its full-year goals and said higher full-price sales would boost annual margins and Asian demand remained strong.

Global education group Pearson jumped 8.6% after its global online sales grew 18% in 2020, helped by strong enrolments in virtual schools.

WH Smith Plc surged 10.4% to the top of the FTSE 250 index as its trading during Christmas was ahead of its expectations.

(Reporting by Shivani Kumaresan in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V, William Maclean)

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What we can expect from currencies and markets in 2021

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What we can expect from currencies and markets in 2021 3

By Jeremy Thomson-Cook, Chief Economist at money management specialist Equals Money, part of the Equals Group.

2020 was a year that changed almost every aspect of our lives, and currency markets across the world reacted with volatility. Complacency, panic, and isolation have influenced activity over the last 12 months and most recently, a semblance of hope has been seen as vaccines offer the first glimpse of a ‘way out’.

While 2021 will hopefully see us on the road to recovery, we’re certain to be dealing with the longer-term economic effects of the pandemic for years to come, while also navigating a post-Brexit outlook. So, what can we expect from currencies and markets in 2021?

A focus on recovery

Once the impact of mass-vaccination starts to be seen across the world, we expect to see a huge focus on recovery this year.

Investors are expected to move away from considering the US dollar and wider developed markets as the best place for their money, with an increased interest in emerging markets. Commodity prices are likely to remain high as demand recovers and the global supply chain gains pace due to growing confidence from consumers to spend their cash.

Successful logistics will play a pivotal role on the road to recovery, with the ability of governments to both reliably and speedily vaccinate the population while driving the global economy from a trade point of view, essential for success.

All this is underpinned by the assumption that interest rates will remaining at ultra-low levels throughout this year, and in certain cases, longer still.

Sector-specific expectations

When it comes to sector-specific recovery, the travel, airline, and leisure industries are expected to make a strong comeback when restrictions ease as consumers look to make up for lost time.

By contrast, commercial property and real estate are likely to face challenges as businesses revaluate how they use office space after nearly a year of successful remote working. This struggle will also be reflected by the increasing amount of empty retail space on British highstreets after the sector, and some of Britain’s most established brands, were hit hard in 2020.

What will we see from currencies across the globe?

GBP

The pound is reacting to a UK economy still very much in the grips of a pandemic, with strict lockdown measures likely to be in place until at least March. Add to that a new relationship with the European Union, and we’re likely to see the pound underperform in 2021, particularly against the euro.

Politics is likely to have less sway over sterling in 2021, with the exception of the upcoming elections in Scotland which are likely to raise the chances of another Sottish referendum on independence.

Despite the expectation that the pound will have a modest year, we do expect to see it move higher against the US dollar in the coming months.

Euro

All signs point to a strong start for the euro, and we expect it will continue the strength it showed at the end of 2020 for the months to come. Its counterparts in Scandinavia (NOK, SEK) and in Central and Eastern Europe (PLN, HUF) may even outperform the single currency as the Eurozone recovery outpaces the US and UK’s.

Markets are pleased that the Eurozone has managed to come together during a time of crisis and offer businesses and consumers both fiscal and monetary policy support. The political agenda looks a lot quieter for 2021, and this lack of political pressure coupled with a central bank that has shown its strength through the Pandemic Emergency Purchase Program, means sovereign risk is very low.

US dollar

The US dollar is likely to remain weak as investors who have bought into the dollar during Trump’s tenure in the White House react to the transition to a Biden Administration – a change that is likely to normalise global trade and expand spending.

US businesses have struggled with international relations under the watch of a Trump administration and a calmer stewardship of trade should help to boost corporate profits in the coming months, allowing for further USD depreciation.

If the UK, Asia or the Eurozone are able to move forward with their pandemic recovery faster than the US, we expect the dollar to lag against both GBP and EUR, as well as other emerging currencies – the Chinese yuan, Russian ruble and Indonesian rupiah – in 2021.

Japanese yen

The Japanese yen has acted as a safe haven from negative investment sentiment throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, and arguably long before that, pushing higher against other currencies in 2020.

While the yen would typically be sold off by investors in favour of more attractive investments, the overall outlook becomes more positive as it continues to show strength as we enter 2021. This could be down to the strange markets that we are currently navigating; vaccine joy tempered by very real near-term pandemic problems. Investors may also be positioning themselves for a wider retreat in the US dollar (USD).

Whilst the Japanese yen may enjoy some strength against the USD in the coming year and remains one to watch, we expect it to slip on a broader basis.

Australian dollar

The Australian dollar has acted as a poster child for the recovery in risk assets since the early days of the pandemic, and its likely to remain ahead of its counterparts for the early part of the year.

Australia’s handling of the pandemic to date gives it an advantage over the likes of the UK and US, and as it enters the summer months with a vaccine rollout all but underway, the outlook is positive.

If market minds are focused on a recovery then we will be looking for a higher AUD, and it is not out of the realms of possibility that it could outperform the majority of the G10.

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that nothing’s set in stone and as we start the new year in another lockdown, it looks like that’s set to continue for 2021. Either way, we’ll see the uncertainty of the world we live in continue to be reflected in the market and currency activity across the globe.

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