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

Dear Members and Friends,

May was a turbulent month for credit markets. Italian woes, US/North-Korea geopolitical tensions, trade wars, a rallying US dollar, volatility in Turkey notably as the Turkish Lira declined markedly. Developed markets were in disarray for the better part of the month, and Emerging Market credit fell victim to events in the developed world. The jitters felt in global markets had more than a ripple effect on emerging markets, as weakness crept in a strong way.

Structurally and fundamentally, the emerging market story remains intact. Companies and central governments alike remain in a better position than they were 18-24 months ago, but May saw their financing costs sky-rocket with the strengthening dollar against their respective domestic currencies. In theory, a stronger USD decreases emerging markets capital flows, reduces commodity prices, weakens their currencies and results in potential sovereign rating downgrades.

However, long-term prospects still look positive. EM fundamentals look in better shape as larger foreign reserves and relatively contained inflation in most EM economies are expected to keep EM economies supported. In addition, when volatility subsides, investors are expected to single out the good EM countries from the weaker ones. While global factors impact EM in its entirety, diversity within EM is still abundant and managers are viewing the recent sell off as an opportunity to identify those companies which have been sold-off more than what their valuations portray.

In the June edition of the ITFA Newsletter we have an exclusive interview by Shannon Manders (GTR) – ‘’Afreximbank President unveils new Initiatives and Thoughts on Africa’s Trade Finance Gap’’. ITFA also keeps you abreast with articles about the events organised/attended in the past weeks: ”ITFA participates in the ICISA AGM held on 30 May 2018” and ‘’ITFA CEERC Event – Budapest, 12 April 2018. ITFA was also present at the ICC International Trade Forum ‘Forfaiting Rules and Practices – 7 May 2018, Jakarta’’. On another positive note, we are delighted to introduce four new ITFA members; TFA S.A., Mitigram, Standard Bank and Interlinkages.

Preparations for the 45th Annual International Trade and Forfaiting Conference which will be held in Cape Town between the 4th and 6th of September, are going according to plan. The number of registrations received so far has been a record and we are expecting a great crowd of delegates to attend this year’s ITFA Annual Conference. As we have announced, the conference programme has been finalised. We urge you all to register and hope to see you in Cape Town.

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