Medical Experiments Moving to Middle East

PRNewswire
August 17, 2011

DUBAI — Global pharmaceutical companies are currently seeking emerging markets to conduct clinical trials due to the increase in drug development costs and the demand to advance drugs faster.

The Middle East is forecasted to be one of the fastest growing markets for clinical research outsourcing based on availability of the required infrastructure, access to necessary patients, faster timelines and lower costs compared to other markets.

Clinical Trials Partnership Middle East Summit will assemble all stakeholders from leading research sites, clinical research organisations, regulators, government organisations and pharmaceutical companies to provide strategies and knowledge on critical issues such as regulatory compliance, optimising clinical trials, overcoming clinical trials challenges and identifying business opportunities in the Middle East region.

Taking place between 28th & 30th November 2011 in Dubai, this three day summit is a must for all executives, senior level directors or directors from the pharmaceutical, biotech, clinical research organisations and clinical investigators who are looking to discuss the advances of the regions clinical trials market.

Clinical Trails Partnership Middle East Summit kicks off with an essential interactive workshop on day one, looking at a comprehensive overview of ‘Good Clinical Practice’ in relation to the regional and international guidelines for conducting clinical trials.

The next two days are packed full of exciting and innovative discussions, crucial networking opportunities and exciting round table discussions where delegates will be able to share their views and knowledge on subjects such as ‘Improving the quality of clinical trials by using standardised performance metrics’.

Event Director for Clinical Trails Partnership Middle East Summit, DoaaSaid, described the conference as’A vital event for the increasing success and on-going improvement and competitiveness of the regions clinical trials market.’ Delegates in the field will come away from the summit with all the tools needed to better their practices, making them more competitive and efficient. They will also have the chance to make vital relationships and connections in the scheduled networking periods.

Emerging World buys $10 billion in gold as West wobbles

By Amanda Cooper
Reuters
August 3, 2011

Central banks of emerging market countries such as Korea and Thailand have added more than $10 billion (6 billion pounds) of gold to their reserves this year in a sign of waning faith in the West’s benchmark bonds and currencies like the dollar and the euro.

International Monetary Fund data for June Wednesday showed Thailand bought gold for the second time this year, raising its reserves by nearly 19 tonnes to over 127 tonnes, while Russia bought another 5.85 tonnes, bringing its reserves to 836.7 tonnes, the world’s eighth largest official stash of the metal.

So far in 2011, emerging market central banks have bought nearly 180 tonnes of gold, more than double the roughly 73 tonnes purchased by central banks globally in the whole of 2010.

The spot price of gold has risen by more than 17 percent this year to a record $1,672.65 an ounce, driven chiefly by investor concerns over the impact on the developed world’s economy of its debt burdens and sluggish growth.

Mexico has been the largest buyer of gold in the year to date, with $5.3 billion worth of purchases, or 98 tonnes of gold, followed by Russia, which has bought 48 tonnes, worth $2.6 billion at current prices.

Earlier this week, Korea confirmed it had bought 25 tonnes of gold in June and July.

“Central banks evidently do not regard the price level as too high and are diversifying their currency reserves. This was the first purchase of gold for the Korean central bank in over ten years,” said Commerzbank metals analyst Daniel Briesemann.

“Gold’s high-altitude flight still appears to be supported by many factors and an end to the boom soon is not in sight.”

In the euro zone, smaller economies such as Greece, Portugal and Ireland have already sought emergency funding, while concern is mounting over the finances of some of the region’s larger members such as Spain and Italy, driving the euro to record lows against the safe-haven Swiss franc.

The United States averted an unprecedented debt default on Tuesday after lawmakers reached an eleventh-hour deal to raise the country’s borrowing limit, although severe doubts remain about the economic outlook, stripping 6 percent off the value of the dollar this year.

DEBT MISERY

The U.S. economy is also likely to lose its top-notch credit rating as ratings agencies are increasingly discomfited by the weight of the twin trade and budget deficits and the country’s patchy growth.

A downgrade will almost certainly push up yields on U.S. Treasury notes as their value falls, which could prove unwelcome to the major investors in U.S. debt such as the Chinese government, which holds nearly $900 billion in Treasuries.

The trend among central banks, particularly those with large foreign exchange holdings, to diversify some of their portfolios into gold from currencies has been well established over the last couple of years.

“The market generally expects central banks with growing reserves and small gold holdings to buy gold,” said Jesper Dannesboe, senior commodity strategist at Societe Generale.”

“So I don’t think that is particular surprising, but it does support the bullish story (for gold),” he said.

Central banks are expected to remain net buyers of gold this year and the most likely buyers will be those with the biggest reserves and relatively small bullion holdings, such as China.

The Chinese central bank is the sixth largest official owner of gold, yet its holdings account for just 1.6 percent of its $2.5 trillion total reserves.

The IMF data showed Russia, Kazakhstan, Greece, Ukraine and Tajikistan also added to their reserves two months ago and feature among some of the bigger bullion buyers this year.

Kazakhstan’s reserves rose for the third time this year, by 3.11 tonnes in June to 70.434 tonnes, Taijikistan’s reserves rose 0.04 tonnes to 3.036 tonnes and Greece and Ukraine added 0.03 tonnes each, bringing their official holdings of gold to 111.506 tonnes and 27.744 tonnes, respectively.

Russia has added to its gold reserves every month for the past five years, according to the IMF’s data.

U.S. Will Be the World’s Third Largest Economy

NBC

Image: CNBC.com

The world is going to become richer and richer as developing economies play catch up over the coming years, according to Willem Buiter, chief economist at Citigroup.

“We expect strong growth in the world economy until 2050, with average real GDP growth rates of 4.6 percent per annum until 2030 and 3.8 percent per annum between 2030 and 2050,” Buiter wrote in a market research.

“As a result, world GDP should rise in real PPP-adjusted terms from $72 trillion in 2010 to $380 trillion dollars in 2050,” he wrote.

As the world watches oil prices rise sharply amid unrest in the Middle East, Buiter’s analysis of the world’s long-term prospects offer some hope that better times are ahead but if he is right power will shift from the West to the East very quickly.

“China should overtake the US to become the largest economy in the world by 2020, then be overtaken by India by 2050,” he predicted.

One Way Bet on Emerging Markets?

Growth will not be smooth, according to Buiter. “Expect booms and busts. Occasionally, there will be growth disasters, driven by poor policy, conflicts, or natural disasters. When it comes to that, don’t believe that ‘this time it’s different’.”

“Developing Asia and Africa will be the fastest growing regions, in our view, driven by population and income per capita growth, followed in terms of growth by the Middle East, Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, the CIS, and finally the advanced nations of today,” he wrote.

“For poor countries with large young populations, growing fast should be easy: open up, create some form of market economy, invest in human and physical capital, don’t be unlucky and don’t blow it. Catch-up and convergence should do the rest,” Buiter added.

Buiter has constructed a “3G index” to measure economic progress; 3G stands for “Global Growth Generators”  and is a weighted average of six growth drivers that the Citigroup economists consider important:

  1. A measure of domestic saving/ investment
  2. A measure of demographic prospects
  3. A measure of health
  4. A measure of education
  5. A measure of the quality of institutions and policies
  6. A measure of trade openness

Using that index the nations to watch over the coming years are Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Mongolia, Nigeria, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

“They are our 3G countries,” Buiter said.

World Growing Independent of U.S. Economy

Bloomberg

Wall Street economists are reviving a bet that the global economy will withstand the U.S. slowdown.

Just three years since America began dragging the world into its deepest recession in seven decades, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Credit Suisse Holdings USA Inc. and BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research are forecasting that this time will be different. Goldman Sachs predicts worldwide growth will slow 0.2 percentage point to 4.6 percent in 2011, even as expansion in the U.S. falls to 1.8 percent from 2.6 percent.

Underpinning their analysis is the view that international reliance on U.S. trade has diminished and is too small to spread the lingering effects of America’s housing bust. Providing the U.S. pain doesn’t roil financial markets as it did in the credit crisis, Goldman Sachs expects a weakening dollar, higher bond yields outside the U.S. and stronger emerging-market equities.

“So long as it doesn’t turn to flu, the world can withstand a cold from the U.S.,” Ethan Harris, head of developed-markets economic research in New York at BofA Merrill Lynch, said in a telephone interview. He predicts the U.S. will expand 1.8 percent next year, compared with 3.9 percent globally.

That may provide comfort for some of the central bankers and finance ministers from 187 nations flocking to Washington for annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank on Oct. 8-10. IMF chief economist Olivier Blanchard last month predicted “positive but low growth in advanced countries,” while developing nations expand at a “very high” rate. He will release revised forecasts on Oct. 6.

‘Partially Decoupled’

“The world has already become partially decoupled,” Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, a professor at New York’s Columbia University, said in a Sept. 20 interview in Zurich. He will speak at an IMF event this week.

Sixteen months after the world’s largest economy emerged from recession, the U.S. recovery is losing momentum, with declining factory orders, a slowdown in pending home sales and rising unemployment, according to the median forecasts of economists in Bloomberg News surveys taken ahead of reports this week. Their predictions don’t include another contraction, with growth estimated at 2.7 percent this year.

Emerging markets are showing more strength. Manufacturing in China accelerated for a second consecutive month in September, and industrial production in India jumped 13.8 percent in July from a year earlier, more than twice the June pace.

Emerging-Markets ‘Outperformance’

“It seems that recent economic data help to confirm the story of emerging-markets outperformance,” said David Lubin, chief economist for emerging markets at Citigroup Inc. in London.

The gap in growth rates between the developing and advanced worlds is widening, he said. Emerging economies will account for about 60 percent of global expansion this year and next, up from about 25 percent a decade ago, according to his estimates.

The main reason for the divergence: “Direct transmission from a U.S. slowdown to other economies through exports is just not large enough to spread a U.S. demand problem globally,” Goldman Sachs economists Dominic Wilson and Stacy Carlson wrote in a Sept. 22 report entitled “If the U.S. sneezes…”

Take the so-called BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China. While exports account for almost 20 percent of their gross domestic product, sales to the U.S. compose less than 5 percent of GDP, according to their estimates. That means even if U.S. growth slowed 2 percent, the drag on these four countries would be about 0.1 percentage point, the economists reckon. Developed economies including the U.K., Germany and Japan also have limited exposure, they said.

Room to Grow

Economies outside the U.S. have room to grow that the U.S. doesn’t, partly because of its outsized slump in house prices, Wilson and Carlson said. The drop of almost 35 percent is more than twice as large as the worst declines in the rest of the Group of 10 industrial nations, they found.

The risk to the decoupling wager is a repeat of 2008, when the U.S. property bubble burst and then morphed into a global credit and banking shock that ricocheted around the world. For now, Goldman Sachs’s index of U.S. financial conditions signals that bond and stock markets aren’t stressed by the U.S. outlook.

The break with the U.S. will be reflected in a weaker dollar, with the Chinese yuan appreciating to 6.49 per dollar in a year from 6.685 on Oct. 1, according to Goldman Sachs forecasts.

Lower Yields

The bank is also betting that yields on U.S. 10-year debt will be lower by June than equivalent yields for Germany, the U.K., Canada, Australia and Norway. U.S. notes will rise to 2.8 percent from 2.52 percent, Germany’s will increase to 3 percent from 2.3 percent and Canada’s will grow to 3.8 percent from 2.76 percent on Oct. 1, Goldman Sachs projects.

Goldman Sachs isn’t alone in making the case for decoupling. Harris at BofA Merrill Lynch said he didn’t buy the argument prior to the financial crisis. Now he believes global growth is strong enough to offer a “handkerchief” to the U.S. as it suffers a “growth recession” of weak expansion and rising unemployment, he said.

Giving him confidence is his calculation that the U.S. share of global GDP has shrunk to about 24 percent from 31 percent in 2000. He also notes that, unlike the U.S., many countries avoided asset bubbles, kept their banking systems sound and improved their trade and budget positions.

Economic Locomotives

A book published last week by the World Bank backs him up. “The Day After Tomorrow” concludes that developing nations aren’t only decoupling, they also are undergoing a “switchover” that will make them such locomotives for the world economy, they can help rescue advanced nations. Among the reasons for the revolution are greater trade between emerging markets, the rise of the middle class and higher commodity prices, the book said.

Investors are signaling they agree. The U.S. has fallen behind Brazil, China and India as the preferred place to invest, according to a quarterly survey conducted last month of 1,408 investors, analysts and traders who subscribe to Bloomberg. Emerging markets also attracted more money from share offerings than industrialized nations last quarter for the first time in at least a decade, Bloomberg data show.

Indonesia, India, China and Poland are the developing economies least vulnerable to a U.S. slowdown, according to a Sept. 14 study based on trade ties by HSBC Holdings Plc economists. China, Russia and Brazil also are among nations with more room than industrial countries to ease policies if a U.S. slowdown does weigh on their growth, according to a policy- flexibility index designed by the economists, who include New York-based Pablo Goldberg.

‘Act Countercyclically’

“Emerging economies kept their powder relatively dry, and are, for the most part, in a position where they could act countercyclically if needed,” the HSBC group said.

Links to developing countries are helping insulate some companies against U.S. weakness. Swiss watch manufacturer Swatch Group AG and tire maker Nokian Renkaat of Finland are among the European businesses that should benefit from trade with nations such as Russia and China where consumer demand is growing, according to BlackRock Inc. portfolio manager Alister Hibbert.

“There’s a lot of life in the global economy,” Hibbert, said at a Sept. 8 presentation to reporters in London.

Asset Bubbles

The increasing focus on emerging markets may present challenges for their policy makers as the flow of money into their economies risks fanning inflation, asset bubbles and currency appreciation. Countries from South Korea to Thailand have already intervened to weaken their currencies, along with taking steps to restrict capital inflows.

Stephen Roach, nonexecutive Asia chairman for Morgan Stanley, remains skeptical of decoupling. He links the optimism to a snapback in global trade from a record 11 percent slide in 2009. As that fades amid sluggish demand from advanced economies, emerging markets that rely on exports for strength will “face renewed and formidable headwinds,” he said.

“Decoupling is still a dream in much of the developing world,” said Roach, who also teaches at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.

The Goldman Sachs economists argue history is on their side. The U.K., Australia and Canada all continued growing amid the U.S. recession of 2001 as the technology-stock bust passed them by, while America’s 2006-2007 housing slowdown inflicted little pain outside its borders, they said. The shift came when the latter morphed into a financial crisis, prompting Goldman Sachs to declare in December 2007 that 2008 would be the “year of recoupling.”

The argument finds favor with Neal Soss, New York-based chief economist at Credit Suisse. While the supply of dollars and letters of credit that fuel international commerce dried up during the turmoil, that isn’t a problem now, so the rest of the world can cope with a weaker U.S., he said.

“Decoupling was a good idea then and is a good idea now,” Soss said.