The MasterCharts: February 2008
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Saturday, February 09, 2008

World bourses lost 5.2 trillion dlrs in January

And there is still more to come...

World bourses lost 5.2 trillion dlrs in January: credit rater

World stockmarkets lost 5.2 trillion dollars (3.6 trillion euros) in January thanks to the fallout from the US subprime crisis and fears of a global economic slowdown, Standard & Poor's said Saturday.

"If investors thought the market could only go up, January's wake-up call pulled them back into reality," the independent credit ratings' provider said.

Standard & Poor's said the world's equity markets lost a combined 5.2 trillion dollars as emerging markets fell 12.44 percent and developed markets lost 7.83 percent to register one of the worst starts to a new year.

"There were few safe havens in January as 50 of the 52 global equity markets ended the month in negative territory, with 25 of them posting double-digit losses," said Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&Ps.

All 26 developed equity markets posted negative returns in January, with 16 losing at least 10 percent of their value.

The January declines negated all previous market gains, leaving all of the developed markets in the red for the trailing three month period.

In Paris, the stock exchange lost 12.27 percent over the course of January, 15.27 percent over the past three months, more than wiping out its gains over the last 12 months -- down 0.74 percent).

The situation was even worse in London -- down 8.85 percent in January, down 16.54 percent for the past three months and down 2.22 percent over 12 months -- and in the US, which was down 6.07 percent in January, down 10.78 percent over three months and down 2.42 percent over 12 months.

The story was similar in Japan, where the market lost 4.47 percent in January, 10.31 percent over three months and down 10.44 percent over the past 12 months.

In Germany, in contrast, although the stock exchange lost 13.72 percent in January and 13.84 percent over three months, it was up 13.43 percent over the year.

Equity markets in emerging countries also suffered heavy losses in January, apart from Morocco which gained 10.17 percent and Jordan, which was up by 3.11 percent. Turkey was the most affected with January losses reaching 22.70 percent, followed by China on 21.40 percent, Russia on 16.12 percent and India at 16 percent.

But only Argentina and Taiwan slipped into negative territory for the 12-month period.

Copyright © 2008 Agence France Presse. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AFP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Agence France Presse.
Print Story: World bourses lost 5.2 trillion dlrs in January: credit rater on Yahoo! News

Venezuela Denies Oil Assets Frozen: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance

Venezuela Denies Oil Assets Frozen: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance
AP
Venezuela Denies Oil Assets Frozen
Friday February 8, 6:09 pm ET By Fabiola Sanchez, Associated Press Writer

Venezuela Oil Minister Dismisses Exxon Mobil Court Orders As 'Judicial Terrorism'

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) -- Venezuela's top oil official accused Exxon Mobil Corp. of "judicial terrorism" on Friday, but said court orders won by the oil major do not amount to confiscation of $12 billion (8.3 billion euros) in assets.

Exxon Mobil has gone after the assets of state oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela SA, in U.S., British and Dutch courts as it challenges the nationalization of a multibillion dollar (euro) oil project by President Hugo Chavez's government.

A British court last month issued an injunction "freezing" as much as $12 billion (8.3 billion euros) in assets.

But Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said: "They don't have any asset frozen. They only have frozen $300 million" in cash through a U.S. court in New York. As for the case in Britain, PDVSA doesn't have "any assets in that jurisdiction that even come close to those sums" of $12 billion (8.3 billion euros), Ramirez said.

Ramirez called it a "transitory measure" while the state company, known as PDVSA, presents its case in New York and London. Exxon Mobil is also taking its dispute to international arbitration, which Venezuela has agreed to.

But Ramirez, who is PDVSA's president, said Exxon Mobil "hasn't respected the terms of the arbitration" and said Exxon Mobil's claims in the Venezuela nationalization dispute "don't even come close to half the sum of $12 billion claimed by them."

Exxon Mobil spokeswoman Margaret Ross said the company had no comment on Ramirez's statements.
Ramirez said the court cases "don't have any affect on our cash flow, don't affect our operational situation at all."

Ramirez said Exxon Mobil sued in New York, London and the Netherlands to dispute the terms under Chavez's nationalization last year of four heavy oil projects in the Orinoco River basin, one of the world's richest oil deposits.

"We don't have any decision by any court that's definitive," Ramirez said. "We have a preventative measure in a court in New York that we have a right to respond to, and we are going to."
He accused the Irving, Texas-based oil major of employing "judicial terrorism" and trying to generate "financial nervousness" around PDVSA.

According to documents filed last month in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Exxon Mobil has secured an "order of attachment" on about $300 million (207 million euros) in cash held by PDVSA. A hearing to confirm the order is scheduled in New York for Feb. 13.

In a Jan. 24 "freezing injunction" by a British High Court, the court said that "until the return date or further order from the court," PDVSA "must not remove from England or Wales any of its assets which are in England or Wales up to the value of $12 billion (8.3 billion euros)."

The court also said that if PDVSA disobeys the order, it could be held in contempt of court and be fined or have assets seized.

The credit rating agency Fitch Ratings said the British court order would "have a minimum impact on the company's day-to-day operations, as well as its near-term credit quality and financial flexibility." The agency noted that most of PDVSA's assets are located in Venezuela and the United States, where the company has refineries.

But Fitch Ratings also noted that the outcome of the arbitration process with Exxon Mobil remains uncertain and that "a negative outcome of the arbitration could pressure the credit profile of PDVSA."
Other major oil companies including U.S.-based Chevron Corp., France's Total, Britain's BP PLC, and Norway's StatoilHydro ASA have negotiated deals with Venezuela to continue on as minority partners in the Orinoco oil project.

ConocoPhillips and Exxon Mobil, however, balked at the tougher terms and have been in compensation talks with PDVSA.

Ramirez said Venezuelan officials have had "very important meetings" with ConocoPhillips Chairman Jim Mulva and have made progress toward an agreement. "I think we're on a path to achieving it," Ramirez said.

As for the dispute with Exxon Mobil, Ramirez said "we're going to value fairly what would be its compensation, or not if that be the case."

China's not-so stealthy revaluation...

China's not-so stealthy revaluation...


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