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SSA news through Oct. 6

Street Talk Episode 40 - Digital Banks Take a Page Out of 'Mad Men'

Broadband Only Homes Skyrocket In 2018 Validating Top MSOs Connectivity Pivot

Power Forecast Briefing: As retirements accelerate, can renewable energy fill the gap?

2019 Credit Risk Perspectives: Is The Credit Cycle Turning? A Fundamentals View


SSA news through Oct. 6

* TheIMF revised its growth forecastfor sub-Saharan Africa to 1.4% in 2016 and 2.9% in 2017, down 0.2 percentage pointsand 0.4 percentage points, respectively, from its last forecast in July. Thefund expects Nigeria's economy to decline 1.7% this year and rise 0.6% in 2017,while South Africa's economy is expected to grow 0.1% and 0.8% in 2016 and2017, respectively. The IMF also noted that brain drain in the form ofemigration to member countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation andDevelopment has increased sharply in the last 15 years.

*World Bank President Jim Yong Kim suggested that sub-Saharan Africa is not atrisk of a debt crisis despite a slump in commodity prices, accordingto Financial Afrik. He said theaggregate debt of countries in the region stands at just under 50% of GDP.

*U.K.-headquartered StandardChartered Plc named Mohamed Abdel Bary regional CFO of its operationsin the Middle East and Africa. He joined StanChart four years ago and hasserved as interim regional CFO since January.

EASTAFRICA

*KCB Group Ltd. CEOJoshua Oigara said the lender is in talks with firms such as and about cooperating ondigital payments through KCB Fintech, the group's financial technology unit setto launch in June 2017. The Kenyan lender aims to have 20 million customersusing its mobile-phone platform by 2017-end, Bloomberg News noted.

* GeraldNyaoma, director of bank supervision at the Central Bank of Kenya, issued anotice ordering lenders in the country to revoke any additional fees on loansand stop reclassifying products to circumvent the law capping interest rates, according to Standard Digital.

*Family BankLtd. intends to lay off several staff in the next two weeks tocut costs and boost its overall performance, The Star reported. The Kenyan lender has offered avoluntary early retirement program to certain employees as of Oct. 1.

*The Kenyan High Court blocked Imperial Bank Ltd. directors from selling their assetsin companies before a conclusion is reached in a lawsuit filed by the centralbank to recover 45 billion shillings from the lender's shareholders anddirectors, Standard Digital reported.

*CDC Group Plc, a development finance institution owned by the Britishgovernment, completed the acquisition of a 10.68% stake in , the parent ofI&M Bank Ltd. CDCacquired the shares from France's Proparco and Germany's , becoming the fourth-largest shareholder in the company.

* Kenyais close to signing a deal to establish a regional headquarters for theAfrican Export-ImportBank in Nairobi, Business Daily wrote. Afreximbank had signaled thatit would establish the regional headquarters in Ethiopia if Kenya does notgrant it diplomatic status by September-end.

WESTAFRICA

* FidelityBank Ghana Ltd. Managing Director Jim Baiden said the lender aimsto list on the Ghana Stock Exchange within the next two to five years, CitiBusiness News reported.The board approved the IPO plan but work on the listing has yet to begin.Fidelity Bank Ghana is also on the lookoutfor opportunities to acquire smaller banks in the country, as it expects thatnot all lenders will meet higher minimum capital requirements planned by thecentral bank.

* Access BankPlc plans to sell a stake of approximately 19% in in an IPO ofthe Ghanaian lender, expected to be launched before the end of the year, accordingto Bloomberg News. The unit is looking to raise at least 104 million cediby issuing shares at 4 cedi per share, and could sell up to 32% of its shares.

* EcobankTransnational Inc. named Greg Davis CFO and finance group executive,effective Oct. 18. He joins Ecobank from Standard Bank Group Ltd., where he was CFO for Africanoperations outside South Africa.

* Audu Ogbeh, Nigerian minister of state for agriculture andrural development, said the country intends to establish an agriculture-focusedbank, Vanguard reported.The bank will be owned by the government as well as farmers and otherstakeholders in the agricultural sector.  

* The ratio of Nigerian lenders' nonperforming loans tototal credit stood at 11.7% at the end of June, more than twice the 5%threshold set by the Central Bank of Nigeria, accordingto Bloomberg News. The ratio stood at 5.3% at the end of 2015.

* Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf presented twobills to the country's legislature aiming to create a regulatory framework forthe launch of a stock market, Agence Ecofin reported,citing AFKinsider.

SOUTHERN AFRICA

* TheMozambican central bank placed Moza Banco SA under emergency administration, saying thebank's financial and prudential situation has become unsustainable. Authoritiesplan to stabilize the bank and then sell it in a process expected to last atleast six months, according to Bloomberg News.

*Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos announced a complete restructuring ofBanco de Poupança e CréditoSA's administrative board, Angola Press wrote.Dos Santos appointed Cristina Florência Dias Van-Dúnem nonexecutive presidentof the board and Zinho Baptista Manuel executive president.

*Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe said his country will amend theindigenization and economic empowerment law that requires majority stakes inforeign-owned firms, including banks, to be held by black Zimbabweans, Reuters reported.Mugabe had said the law was confusing businesses and deterred investors.

*The Johannesburg Stock Exchange failed in an interim attempt to block ZAR XStock Exchange, a new rival exchange, from obtaining an operating license,Reuters wrote. The South African Financial Services Board said itfound "no evidence that the JSE would suffer harm or prejudice" inallowing ZAR X Stock Exchange to operate. TheJSE's main appeal is still pending.

*Zambia National Commercial BankPlc named Hendrik Gezienus Mulder managing director, effective Nov.1, the Lusaka Times reported. Mulder will succeed Bruce Dick.

Padráig Belton and Mariana Aldanocontributed to this report.


Listen: Street Talk Episode 40 - Digital Banks Take a Page Out of 'Mad Men'

Mar. 20 2019 — Some fintech companies are making hay with digital platforms that tout their differences with banks, even though they are often offering virtually the same products. In the episode, we discuss with colleagues Rachel Stone and Kiah Haslett the deposit strategies employed by the likes of Chime, Aspiration and other incumbent players such as Ally Financial, Discover and Capital One. Those efforts conjure up memories of a Don Draper pitch in Mad Men and likely will enjoy continued success.

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Technology, Media & Telecom
Broadband Only Homes Skyrocket In 2018 Validating Top MSOs Connectivity Pivot

Highlights

The segment stood at an estimated 23.6 million as of Dec. 31, 2018, accounting for 24% of all wireline high-speed data homes.

The following post comes from Kagan, a research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence.

To learn more about our TMT (Technology, Media & Telecommunications) products and/or research, please request a demo.

Mar. 20 2019 — The U.S. broadband-only home segment logged its largest net adds on record in 2018, validating Comcast Corp.'s and Charter Communications Inc.'s moves to make broadband, or connectivity, the keystone of their cable communication businesses.

The size and momentum of the segment also put in perspective the recent high-profile online-video video announcements by the top two cable operators as well as AT&T Inc.'s WarnerMedia shake-up and plans to go toe-to-toe with Netflix in the subscription video-on-demand arena in the next 12 months.

We estimate that wireline broadband households not subscribing to traditional multichannel, or broadband-only homes, rose by nearly 4.3 million in 2018, topping the gains from the previous year by roughly 22%. Overall, the segment stood at an estimated 23.6 million as of Dec. 31, 2018, accounting for 24% of all wireline high-speed data homes.

For perspective, broadband-only homes stood at an estimated 11.3 million a mere four years ago, accounting for 13% of residential cable and telco broadband subscribers.

The once all-powerful, must-have live linear TV model, which individuals and families essentially treated as a utility upon moving into a new residence, increasingly is viewed as too expensive and unwieldy in the era of affordable, nimble internet-based video alternatives. This has resulted in a sizable drop in penetration of occupied households.

As a result, continued legacy cord cutting is baked in and broadband-only homes are expected to continue to rise at a fast clip, with the segment's momentum in the next few years compounded by Comcast's, Charter's and AT&T's ambitious moves into online-video territory.

Note: we revised historical broadband-only home estimates as part of our fourth-quarter 2018, following restatements of historical telco broadband subscriber figures and residential traditional multichannel subscriber adjustments.

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Q4'18 multichannel video losses propel full-year drop to edge of 4 million

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Q4'18 multiproduct analysis sheds more light on video's fall from grace

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Watch: Power Forecast Briefing: As retirements accelerate, can renewable energy fill the gap?

Mar. 19 2019 — Steve Piper shares the outlook for U.S. power markets, discussing capacity retirements and whether continued development of wind and solar power plants may mitigate the generation shortfall.

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Credit Analysis
2019 Credit Risk Perspectives: Is The Credit Cycle Turning? A Fundamentals View

Mar. 15 2019 — On November 20, 2018, a joint event hosted by S&P Global Market Intelligence and S&P Global Ratings took place in London, focusing on credit risk and 2019 perspectives.

Pascal Hartwig, Credit Product Specialist, and I provided a review of the latest trends observed across non-financial corporate firms through the lens of S&P Global Market Intelligence’s statistical models.1 In particular, Pascal focused on the outputs produced by a statistical model that uses market information to estimate credit risk of public companies; if you want to know more, you can visit here.

I focused on an analysis of how different Brexit scenarios may impact the credit risk of European Union (EU) private companies that are included on S&P Capital IQ platform.

Before, this, I looked at the evolution of their credit risk profile from 2013 to 2017, as shown in Figure 1. Scores were generated via Credit Analytics’ PD Model Fundamentals Private, a statistical model that uses company financials and other socio-economic factors to estimate the PD of private companies globally. Credit scores are mapped to PD values, which are based on/derived from S&P Global Ratings Observed Default Rates.

Figure 1: EU private company scores generated by PD Model Fundamentals Private, between 2013 and 2017.

Source: S&P Global Market Intelligence.2 As of October 2018.

For any given year, the distribution of credit scores of EU private companies is concentrated below the ‘a’ level, due to the large number of small revenue and unrated firms on the S&P Capital IQ platform. An overall improvement of the risk profile is visible, with the score distribution moving leftwards between 2013 and 2017. A similar picture is visible when comparing companies by country or industry sector,3 confirming that there were no clear signs of a turning point in the credit cycle of private companies in any EU country or industry sector. However, this view is backward looking and does not take into account the potential effects of an imminent and major political and economic event in the (short) history of the EU: Brexit.

To this purpose, S&P Global Market Intelligence has developed a statistical model: the Credit Analytics Macro-scenario model enables users to study how potential future macroeconomic scenarios may affect the evolution of the credit risk profile of EU private companies. This model was developed by looking at the historical evolution of S&P Global Ratings’ rated companies under different macroeconomic conditions, and can be applied to smaller companies after the PD is mapped to a S&P Global Market Intelligence credit score.

“Soft Brexit” (Figure 2): This scenario is based on the baseline forecast made by economists at S&P Global Ratings and is characterized by a gentle slow-down of economic growth, a progressive monetary policy tightening, and low yet volatile stock-market growth.4

Figure 2: “Soft Brexit” macro scenario.5

Source: S&P Global Ratings Economists. As of October 2018.

Applying the Macro-scenario model, we analyze the evolution of the credit risk profile of EU companies over a three-year period from 2018 to 2020, by industry sector and by country:

  • Sector Analysis (Figure 3):
    • The median credit risk score within specific industry sectors (Aerospace & Defense, Pharmaceuticals, Telecoms, Utilities, and Real Estate) shows a good degree of resilience, rising by less than half a notch by 2020 and remaining comfortably below the ‘b+’ threshold.
    • The median credit score of the Retail and Consumer Products sectors, however, is severely impacted, breaching the high risk threshold (here defined at the ‘b-’ level).
    • The remaining industry sectors show various dynamics, but essentially remain within the intermediate risk band (here defined between the ‘b+’ and the ‘b-’ level).

Figure 3: “Soft Brexit” impact on the median credit risk level of EU private companies, by industry.

Source: S&P Global Market Intelligence. As of October 2018.

  • Country Analysis (Figure 4):
    • Although the median credit risk score may not change significantly in certain countries, the associated default rates need to be adjusted for the impact of the credit cycle.6 The “spider-web plot” shows the median PD values for private companies within EU countries, adjusted for the credit cycle. Here we include only countries with a minimum number of private companies within the Credit Analytics pre-scored database, to ensure a robust statistical analysis.
    • Countries are ordered by increasing level of median PD, moving clock-wise from Netherlands to Greece.
    • Under a soft Brexit scenario, the PD of UK private companies increases between 2018 and 2020, but still remains below the yellow threshold (corresponding to a ‘b+’ level).
    • Interestingly, Italian private companies suffer more than their Spanish peers, albeit starting from a slightly lower PD level in 2017.

Figure 4: “Soft Brexit” impact on the median credit risk level of EU private companies, by country.

Source: S&P Global Market Intelligence. As of October 2018.

“Hard Brexit” (Figure 5): This scenario is extracted from the 2018 Stress-Testing exercise of the European Banking Authority (EBA) and the Bank of England.7 Under this scenario, both the EU and UK may go into a recession similar to the 2008 global crisis. Arguably, this may seem a harsh scenario for the whole of the EU, but a recent report by the Bank of England warned that a disorderly Brexit may trigger a UK crisis worse than 2008.8

Figure 5: “Hard Brexit” macro scenario.9

Sources:”2018 EU-wide stress test – methodological note” (European Banking Authority, November 2017) and “Stress Testing the UK Banking system: 2018 guidance for participating banks and building societies“ (Bank of England, March 2018).

Also in this case, we apply the Macro-scenario model to analyze the evolution of the credit risk profile of EU companies over the same three-year period, by industry sector and by country:

  • Sector Analysis (Figure 6):
    • Despite all industry sectors being severely impacted, the Pharmaceuticals and Utilities sectors remain below the ‘b+’ level (yellow threshold).
    • Conversely, the Airlines and Energy sectors join Retail and Consumer Products in the “danger zone” above the ‘b-’ level (red threshold).
    • The remaining industry sectors will either move into or remain within the intermediate risk band (here defined between the ‘b+’ and the ‘b-’ level).

Figure 6: “Hard Brexit” impact on the median credit risk level of EU private companies, by industry.

Source: S&P Global Market Intelligence. As of October 2018.

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  • Country Analysis (Figure 7):
    • Under a hard Brexit scenario, the PD of UK private companies increases between 2017 and 2020, entering the intermediate risk band and suffering even more than its Irish peers.
    • Notably, by 2020 the French private sector may suffer more than the Italian private sector, reaching the attention threshold (here shown as a red circle, and corresponding to a ‘b-’ level).
    • While it is hard to do an exact like-for-like comparison, it is worth noting that our conclusions are broadly aligned with the findings from the 48 banks participating in the 2018 stress-testing exercise, as recently published by the EBA:10 the major share of 2018-2020 new credit risk losses in the stressed scenario will concentrate among counterparties in the UK, Italy, France, Spain, and Germany (leaving aside the usual suspects, such as Greece, Portugal, etc.).

Figure 7: “Hard Brexit” impact on the median credit risk level of EU private companies, by country.

Source: S&P Global Market Intelligence. As of October 2018.

In conclusion: In Europe, the private companies’ credit risk landscape does not yet signal a distinct turning point, however Brexit may act as a pivot point and a catalyst for a credit cycle inversion, with an intensity that will be dependent on the Brexit type of landing (i.e., soft versus hard).

1 S&P Global Ratings does not contribute to or participate in the creation of credit scores generated by S&P Global Market Intelligence.
2 Lowercase nomenclature is used to differentiate S&P Global Market Intelligence credit scores from the credit ratings issued by S&P Global Ratings.
3 Not shown here.
4 Measured via Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Growth, Long-term / Short-term (L/S) European Central Bank Interest Rate Spread, and FTSE100 or STOXX50 stock market growth, respectively.
5 Macroeconomic forecast for 2018-2020 (end of year) by economists at S&P Global Ratings; the baseline case assumes the UK and the EU will reach a Brexit deal (e.g. a “soft Brexit”).
6 When the credit cycle deteriorates (improves), default rates are expected to increase (decrease).
7 Source: “2018 EU-wide stress test – methodological note” (EBA, November 2017) and “Stress Testing the UK Banking system: 2018 guidance for participating banks and building societies”. (Bank of England, March 2018).
8 Source: “EU withdrawal scenarios and monetary and financial stability – A response to the House of Commons Treasury Committee”. (Bank of England, November 2018).
9 As a hard Brexit scenario, we adopt the stressed scenario included in the 2018 stress testing exercise and defined by the EBA and the Bank of England.
10 See, for example, Figure 18 in “2018 EU-Wide Stress Test Result” (EBA November 2018), found at:https://eba.europa.eu/documents/10180/2419200/2018-EU-wide-stress-test-Results.pdf

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2019 Credit Risk Perspectives: Is The Credit Cycle Turning? A Market-Driven View

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