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Investors perk up

Investors are showing renewed confidence in global equities amid radically improved market conditions and growing hopes of economic growth, according to the BofA Merrill Lynch Survey of Fund Managers for February.

Allocations towards equities have made the largest one-month leap since the beginning of 2011. A majority of the panel now sees the world economy improving.

“Improved liquidity has aided this rally, but it’s important to emphasize that it also reflects improving economic sentiment. Hard economic data has to continue improving to sustain a recovery,” said Michael Hartnett, chief global equity strategist at BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research.

Some of the key findings were:

  • Emerging markets benefit from bounce in risk appetite: An overwhelming majority of investors believes that the Chinese economy is heading for a soft rather than hard landing. Few in Asia and emerging markets now believe it will weaken in the next 12 months.
  • Banks back in favour as concerns over Europe ease: European investors have recently returned in numbers to bank stocks in the past month as sentiment towards the continent has moved away from the extremely negative positions recorded in January’s survey.
  • 
Investors yet to grasp Japan opportunity: Economic sentiment among Japanese fund managers has soared, but global investors have yet to make a concerted move back to Japanese equities. Eighty-one per cent of Japanese respondents expect the country’s economy to strengthen in the coming year – up from 47 per cent in January.

 

A total of 277 panelists with $783bn of assets under management participated in the survey from 3 to 9 February; 202 managers, responsible for $609bn, participated in the global survey; and 150 managers, overseeing $368bn, took part in the regional surveys.

 

Launch of Al Islami Business Online

As part of its strategy to provide innovative banking services, Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) has announced the launch of Al Islami Business Online, a portal enabling companies to access more than 75 services at the click of a button.

Developed to help businesses in the UAE manage their finances more easily, Al Islami Business Online enables companies to administer their funds 24/7, pay utility bills and access Dubai eGovernment services, create multiple users with different levels of access, transfer salaries through the Wages Protection System (WPS), account services and cards related services.

“The launch of Al Islami Business Online is the latest component of DIB’s strategy to transform the existing model of business banking,” said Dr Adnan Chilwan, deputy CEO–chief of consumer and wholesale banking, DIB. “Through continued innovation, DIB is helping enterprises in the UAE to both manage their finances and grow their businesses. Al Islami Business Online further enhances DIB’s position as the bank of choice for the UAE’s business community.”

 

Cash clearing choice

Standard Chartered has announced its partnership with Euroclear Bank, the international central securities depository, to provide cash clearing services in the UAE. Following the appointment, Standard Chartered will be the Arab Emirates Dirham (AED) cash clearing bank for Euroclear Bank.

The service will provide highly competitive clearing deadlines for Euroclear Bank’s clients from more than 90 countries when settling transactions in AED. Efficient clearing will be facilitated through Standard Chartered’s state-of-the-art platform.

Commenting on the partnership, Stewart Adams, regional head of investors and intermediaries, transaction banking, MENA Standard Chartered Bank, said, “We are delighted to join hands with Euroclear Bank and provide them with an outstanding solution for AED-settled transactions. Our partnership with Euroclear is a clear indicator of our strong on-the-ground presence in the UAE and further demonstrates our commitment to this country and the region.”

Bernard Ferran, head of the Euroclear Bank representative office in Dubai, added, “The UAE is a very important GCC market for Euroclear Bank. Our growing presence in the region, as well as the increasing volumes of cross-border fixed-income transactions settling at Euroclear Bank by clients in the GCC, requires efficient Arab Emirates Dirham currency clearing. The appointment of Standard Chartered Bank as our new clearing bank for AED transactions will strengthen our abilities to provide straight-through processing for our clients.”

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