CHAIRMAN’S MESSAGE – Sean Edwards, ITFA Chairman / Head of Legal at SMBC

Dear Members and Friends,

To say that Emerging Markets have had a topsy-turvy start to the year would be nothing less than an understatement. The weakness witnessed in EM economic activity cannot be pinpointed to one or two factors but it has been the by-product of an endless web of market events and data points which formed a sour concoction for EM as a whole.

Global markets, both developed and EM, are intertwined and interconnected in an endless number of ways, so EM were bound to be adversely impacted by a slowdown in the global trade and a strengthening of the USD from its 12 month lows reaching almost double digits. Add the proposed US trade tariffs and resultant counterpunches by China and Europe in what had been already weak markets, further exacerbated this trend. In fact, in the first 6 months of the year, trade flows into EM have ebbed at a rate not registered since February 2016.

All is not doom and gloom however, as EM economies and corporations are in far better shape now than they were 2 years ago following the massive deleverage exercised. This fact, coupled with the recent slowdown could present some interesting opportunities in the EM world.

The July edition of the ITFA Newsletter is a special Fintech Edition. We have an interesting read titled ‘’Innovate or Lose out: How Collaborating with Fintechs Benefits Trade Banks, their Clients and their Investors’’ by Andre Casterman, ITFA Chair – Fintech Committtee. An ‘opinion’ by Holger Frank and Siao Chin Yeo, both from Unicredit, identifies ‘’Untapped Potential – Asia’s Market in Trade Assets.’’ Andre Casterman contributes another article: ‘’From Retail to Wholesale: How Bankers extend their Google experience to Financial Transactions.’’

The German Regional Committee together with the ITFA Fintech Committee keep you abreast of their latest event held in Frankfurt on 6th June – ITFA Fintechs on Stage at AIG Europe. ITFA also updates you on the Multigenerational Event, hosted by Barclays, which took place on 6 July 2018. On another positive note, we are delighted to introduce three new ITFA members; Wells Fargo, Levantor and Postal Savings Bank of China.

With just over one month to go for the 45th Annual International Trade and Forfaiting Conference in Cape Town, the ITFA Board is keen to welcome you at its trademark annual event. Taking place between the 4th and 6th September, preparations are in full swing and thankfully are going according to plan. We are expecting a great crowd of delegates to attend this year’s Conference. This is your last chance to register at the standard rates, available till 15 August. After that late registration fees kick in. Table Mountain awaits us!

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