CHAIRMAN’S MESSAGE – Sean Edwards, ITFA Chairman / Head of Legal and Special Adviser to the Global Trade Finance Department at SMBC



Dear Members and Friends,

As we head into the second quarter of 2019, I am pleased to announce that preparations for the 46th International Trade and Forfaiting Annual Conference, to be held in Budapest between the 4-6th September, are well underway. No stone is being left unturned to ensure that this year’s event is another fabulous one.

Back to business until then. In line with the trajectory of risky assets, Emerging Market (EM) economies have gained momentum since the turn of the year, and have continued to throughout the first quarter. Meetings between President Trump and President Xi have led to positive sentiment in the market as talks of a trade war appear to have receded. In addition to that, the Fed’s dovish stance continues to  benefit EM currencies. Should current market conditions remain, EMs should continue at this pace.

Furthermore, the soft figures from China have made a U-turn to the positive; from factory activity reaching a three-year low in February, March proved to be a better month as strong manufacturing data was registered. China’s positive news was a boost to EMs and overall, EMs are living up to a positive performance. That being said, in March, Turkey experienced turmoil to its currency after Erdogan wanted to ban JP Morgan from writing up reports suggesting that investors should short-sell the Turkish lira. To make matters worse, the political uncertainty increased as Erdogan was seen to lose in polls in Ankara and Istanbul. The Turkish lira was down 2.5% against the U.S Dollar after recovering losses, and this negative sentiment had a ripple effect on Turkish names in particular.

In this April edition of the ITFA Newsletter the ITFA Insurance Committee members provide a summary regarding the PRA’s updated position on ‘’Capital Treatment of Non-Payment Insurance – A Success Story.’’ Chair of ITFA Fintech Committee, Andre Casterman, shares an insightful article on the Trade Finance Distribution (TFD) Initiative. Shannon Manders, ITFA Consultant, provides an interesting read titled ”ITFA’s Africa Regional Committee tackles the Trade Finance Gap.”

ITFA is proud to announce the launch of a new award to give Young Trade Professionals a voice – GTR reports on this. ITFA YP panel members provide a summary of the YP Fintech event which took place in London on 20 March 2019. On another positive note, we are delighted to introduce four new ITFA members; National Australia Bank (NAB), Opus Advisory Services International Inc., Shinhan Bank (South Korea) and Enigio Time AB.

I am pleased to announce that the ITFA Annual Conference website is now LIVE – please click here to register and benefit from the Early Bird ticket price. The conference opens on the morning of Wednesday 4th September with a fintech gym session and ends on Friday 6th at lunch time. For those who wish to join us on a walking tour of Budapest, this will take place following the close of the conference, on Friday at 2pm. We hope to see you in Budapest.

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, info@itfa.org.

Best wishes,

Sean Edwards