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Airlines see shares finally take flight, but is it time to buy?

The aviation industry has been hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, with airlines grounded for months, wiping out companies profits and sending share prices tumbling. But with lockdown restrictions easing over the summer months and holidaymakers desperate to travel, airline stocks like International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG), easyJet and Ryanair have finally seen their shares…

The aviation industry has been hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, with airlines grounded for months, wiping out companies profits and sending share prices tumbling.

But with lockdown restrictions easing over the summer months and holidaymakers desperate to travel, airline stocks like International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG), easyJet and Ryanair have finally seen their shares take flight again.

But with intermittent spikes in new Covid-19 cases throughout Europe leading to travel restrictions and quarantines for passengers returning from holiday, is the recent rally by airline stocks looks like it will be short-lived?

IAG shares struggle ahead of €2.75bn rights issue

Despite IAG shares surging in the first half of August, analysts at Davy cut their rating for the stock to ‘neutral’ and issued a target price of 200p ahead of the company’s €2.75 billion rights issue.

As it stands, IAG shares are trading below that target at 192p at the time of publication, with the stock down 70% year-to-date.

In a note to clients, Davy analysts Stephen Furlong and Ross Harvey said that IAG’s upcoming rights issue, which is expected to take place in September, will likely dilute shareholders by at least 50% in exchange of the €2.75 billion the company seeks.

‘We… downgrade IAG to ‘neutral’ with its highly dilutive rights issue to come in September,’ Furlong and Harvey wrote.

‘The pertinent question for the network airlines, which transfer passengers through large hubs connecting long-haul destinations, is whether they can recover and, if so, how long will this take.’

The path ahead remains challenging for the British Airways owner, with company admitting it will take at least four years to return to pre-crisis passenger levels.

IAG is forecast to record a €2.9 billion operating loss in 2020. The airline group’s outlook in the years ahead is promising, however, with it expecting to generate €620 million profit in 2021, with that figure rising to €2 billion in 2022 and €2.7 billion in 2023.

easyJet shuts down three UK bases amid tougher travel restrictions

The budget airline said that it will close three of its bases in the UK this week after governments tightened travel restrictions in August due to spikes in new coronavirus cases.

The news is a major blow for the UK economy, with easyJet forced to close bases at London Stanstead, Southend and Newcastle airports after passenger demand has waned, with 1900 job losses expected as a result.

‘We have had to take the very difficult decision to close three UK bases as a result of the unprecedented impact of the pandemic and related travel restrictions, compounded by quarantine measures in the UK which is impacting demand for travel,’ easyJet CEO Johan Lundgren said.

Back in May, the low-cost airline said it would have to cut 4500 jobs across its European operations as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.

easyJet is trading at 558p per share at the time of publication, with the stock down 60% year-to-date.

Ryanair cancels flights after fresh quarantine restrictions

The low-cost airline told investors this week that is will reduce its flight capacity by 20% throughout September and October after passenger bookings suffered a significant hit as a result of Covid-19 related travel restrictions.

Ryanair admitted that the largest cuts to its flight schedule will be on routes to France, Spain, Sweden and Ireland.

Ryanair accused Ireland of having the most restrictive quarantine rules and urged the country to amend its ‘green list’ of safe countries. But with new coronavirus cases emerging throughout Europe things are likely to get a lot worse for Ryanair and its peers.

‘These capacity cuts and frequency reductions for the months of Sept & Oct are necessary given the recent weakness in forward bookings due to Covid restrictions in a number of EU countries,’ a spokesperson for Ryanair said.

‘Proper testing at airports, and effective tracing (as is being conducted in Germany and Italy) is the only realistic and proportionate method of supervising safe intra-EU air travel while effectively limiting the spread of the Covid-19 virus,’ the spokesperson added.

European governments travel restrictions have dried up flight demand to countries subjected to 14-day self-isolation protocols, applying intense pressure on airlines and the wider travel industry.

Unsurprisingly, the outlook for Ryanair shares remains uncertain, with a median 12-month price target of €15 and a low estimate of €11.50.

Ryanair is trading at €11.32 per share at the time of publication, with the stock down 24% year-to-date.

How to trade stocks with IG

Looking to trade IAG, easyJet, Ryanair and other stocks? Open a live or demo account with IG and buy (long) or sell (short) shares using derivatives like CFDs and spread bets in a few easy steps:

  1. Create an IG trading account or log in to your existing account
  2. Enter ‘International Consolidated Airlines Group’ in the search bar and select it
  3. Choose your position size
  4. Click on ‘buy’ or ‘sell’ in the deal ticket
  5. Confirm the trade
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Daily Financial News

Don’t Count On JPY Correction; Staying Long GBP/JPY

The path of the potential pace of the JPY decline may still be underestimated by markets, which continue trading the JPY long.

While the 10% USDJPY advance from September lows looks impressive from a momentum point of view, it may no thave been driven by Japan’s institutional investors reducing their hedging ratios or Japan’s household sector reestablishing carry trades.

Instead, investors seemed to have been caught on the wrong foot, concerned about a sudden decline of risk appetite or the incoming US administration being focused on trade issues and not on spending. Spending requires funding and indeed the President-elect Trump’s team appears to be focused on funding. Here are a few examples: Reducing corporate taxation may pave the way for US corporates repatriating some of their USD2.6trn accumulated foreign profits. Cutting bank regulation could increase the risk-absorbing capacity within bank balance sheets. Hence, funding conditions – including for the sovereign – might generally ease. De-regulating the oil sector would help the trade balance, slowing the anticipated increase in the US current account deficit. The US current account deficit presently runs at 2.6% of GDP, which is below worrisome levels. Should the incoming government push for early trade restrictions, reaction (including Asian sovereigns reducing their holdings) could increase US funding costs, which runs against the interest of the Trump team.

Instead of counting on risk aversion to stop the JPY depreciation, we expect nominal yield differentials and the Fed moderately hiking rates to unleash capital outflows from Japan.The yield differential argumenthas become more compelling with the BoJ turning into yield curve managers. Via this policy move, rising inflation rates push JPY real rates and yields lower, which will weaken the JPY. Exhibit 12 shows how much Japan’s labor market conditions have tightened. A minor surge in corporate profitability may now be sufficient, pushing Japan wages up and implicity real yields lower.

JPY dynamics are diametrical to last year . Last year, the JGB’s “exhausted”yield curve left the BoJ without a tool to push real yields low enough to adequately address the weakened nominal GDP outlook. JPY remained artificially high at a time when the US opted for sharply lower real yields. USDJPY had to decline, triggering JPY bullish secondround effects via JPY-based financial institutions increasing their FX hedge ratios and Japan’s retail sector cutting its carry trade exposures. Now the opposite seems to be happening. The managed JGB curve suggests rising inflation expectations are driving Japan’s real yield lower. The Fed reluctantly hiking rates may keep risk appetite supported but increase USD hedging costs.Financial institutions reducinghedge ratios and Japan’s household sector piling back into the carry trade could provide secondround JPY weakening effects

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Daily Financial News

Mexico raises interest rates, cites Trump as risk

The head of Mexico’s central bank says U.S. Republican candidate Donald Trump represents a “hurricane” sized threat to Mexico.

Banco de Mexico Gov. Agustin Carstens told the Radio Formula network Friday that a Trump presidency “would be a hurricane and a particularly intense one if he fulfills what he has been saying in his campaign.”

Trump has proposed building a wall along the border and re-negotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Mexico’s central bank raised its prime lending rate by half a percent to 4.75 percent Thursday, citing “nervousness surrounding the possible consequences of the U.S. elections, whose implications for Mexico could be particularly significant.”

Mexico’s peso had lost about 6 percent in value against the dollar since mid-August. It recovered slightly after the rate hike

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Financial News

Africa’s first Fairtrade certified gold co-operative offers hope to gold miners living in poverty

Syanyonja Artisan Miners’ Alliance (SAMA) has become the first artisanal small scale mining co-operative in Africa to become Fairtrade certified, bringing much needed hope to impoverished communities who risk their lives to mine the rich gold seam that runs around Lake Victoria.

SAMA is one of nine previously informal groups from Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania which has benefitted from a pilot project launched by Fairtrade in 2013. This innovative program aims to extend the benefits of Fairtrade gold to artisanal miners across East Africa.

In that short time, SAMA has undergone training in business and entrepreneurship, as well as safe use of mercury, internal control systems, labour rights and better working conditions, health and safety and more. Previously, daily contact with toxic chemicals used to process gold meant members risked disease, premature births and even death.  Fairtrade gold was first launched in 2011, and SAMA now joins Fairtrade certified gold mines MACDESA, AURELSA and SOTRAMI in Peru.

The co-operative produces just 5 kg gold per year, but nevertheless has the potential to significantly benefit many people in the local community through better conditions through certification. It is expected that Fairtrade and organizations like Cred Jewellery will support the miners, ensuring their gold can be refined and made available to jewellers in the UK and other markets.

Gonzaga Mungai, Gold Manager at Fairtrade Africa said: “This is a truly momentous and historical achievement and the realisation of a dream that is many years in the making. Gold production is an important source of income for people in rural economies. Congratulations to SAMA, it sets a precedent which shows that if groups like this can achieve certification, then it can work for others right across the African continent.”

The Fairtrade Gold Standard encourages better practice and changes to come in line with international regulation around the production and trade of so-called ‘conflict minerals’. Under the Standard, miners are required to:

  • Uphold a human rights policy preventing war crimes, bribery, money laundering and child labour
  • Clearly represent where the minerals were mined
  • Minimise the risks of conflict minerals through robust risk assessments and collaboration across supply chains
  • Report to buyers and trading partners regarding the risks of conflict minerals

Now in its second phase, the programme will focus on supporting other mining groups in the region to access affordable loans and explore a phased approach to accessing the Fairtrade market, allowing more mining co-operatives across Africa to participate in the programme.

Gonzaga added: “Sourcing African metals from smallscale miners in the Great Lakes Region is the responsible thing to do. For a long time companies have avoided buying gold from this region, with devastating consequences for impoverished communities who were already struggling. It has driven trade deeper underground, as unscrupulous buyers pay lower prices and launder illegal gold into legitimate supply chains. That’s why we have chosen to work with these groups to help them earn more from their gold within a robust compliance system that offers social, environmental, and economic protections.”

The Fairtrade gold programme offers a small but scalable solution to sustainable sourcing of gold from the region in line with Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act in the US, OECD Due Diligence Guidance and recent EU Supply-Chain Due Diligence proposals which could come into effect in 2016. This means that up to 880,000 EU firms that use tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold in manufacturing consumer products could be obliged to provide information on steps they have taken to identify and address risks in their supply chains for so-called ‘conflict minerals’.

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