Source: Pixabay Credit: Rodrigo Achá Egypt (top) and Bolivia are among 27 countries dropped from PMT’s new emerging market debt indexCountries such as Venezuela and Iraq dropped out of the benchmark as they posed too much risk, while government debt issued by Angola and Azerbaijan failed the test because of corruption risk.Nigeria, Pakistan and Bolivia were also excluded because of perceived vulnerability to global warming, combined with their respective governments’ lack of action in tackling climate change.Elsewhere, Egypt, Lebanon and Oman didn’t meet MN and PMT’s criterion of competitiveness, and therefore posed a default risk. Liersch and Van Dort added that exercising ownership rights was another problem in Egypt, as this could hold back potential investments.Investable areasInstead, Thailand, South Africa, Mexico and Indonesia were given as examples of large countries in which the metal industry scheme was willing to invest.According to PMT, the advantage of its bespoke index was that it didn’t run the risk of lending to countries that didn’t meet its investment criteria as a result of unexpected adjustments made to the benchmark.At the start of this year, JP Morgan updated a popular emerging market index with the inclusions of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, countries that didn’t tick the boxes for PMT’s benchmark.PMT has previously developed a tailor-made benchmark for its €16bn allocation to passively managed developed-market equities, aimed at achieving a surplus return of 3%. Dutch metalworkers’ pension scheme PMT has removed 40% of the countries in its emerging market debt index after developing its own tailor-made benchmark in co-operation with its asset manager MN.Writing for CFA Society’s industry newsletter, Hartwig Liersch, PMT’s CIO, and Lars van Dort, senior client manager at MN, said the pension fund wanted its own standard, focused on its criteria for sustainability and its risk-return profile.The new index is based on the MSCI World fixed income universe, and is based on a combination of ESG and financial data.Sustainability criteria were based on a survey of the €77bn pension fund’s membership, they said, which largely consists of workers from the metal and mechanical engineering industries. Liersch and Van Dort said that some countries – including Poland, Chile, Malaysia and Slovakia – were too similar to developed markets to fit the criteria for the new benchmark. In addition, they had failed to deliver the required 2.5% surplus returns relative to liabilities.The countries paid investors a premium ranging from 30 to 150 bps relative to US government bonds, but this fell short of PMT’s long-term target, they said.
HOBART, Australia (AP):Adam Voges and Shaun Marsh scored unbeaten centuries and combined for a 317-run partnership to pace Australia to a commanding 438-3 on the opening day of the first Test against the West Indies yesterday.Voges, who resumed on nine after lunch and reached his century before tea at Bellerive Oval, was unbeaten on 174 at the end of play.Fellow Western Australian player Marsh made 97 in the third session to finish the day on 139 not out as the frustrated West Indies bowlers failed to take a wicket after lunch.Australia brought up 400 in 78 overs, an average of more than five runs per over, and finished the day with an average of 4.92.”I started a little bit slow, but once I got into my rhythm I felt really good out there, and I think Vogesy really helped with that,” Marsh said.”He was going really well and scoring runs freely and sort of got me going as well. I thought he batted beautifully today, and to be out there with one of my really good mates (and) to both get hundreds for our country was very special.”Television commentator and former legspinning great Shane Warne was critical of West Indies captain Jason Holder for not taking the second new ball when it was available after 80 overs and for not moving players in from the boundary to the slip cordon in an attempt to take a late wicket.It was a big first day for scoring in the region, with New Zealand making 409-8 on the opening day of their home Test against Sri Lanka at Dunedin.Voges made his first-class debut 13 years ago but did not earn his first Test cap for Australia until June on this year’s tour of the Caribbean. It was the third career century for each player and Marsh’s first at an Australian ground.”It’s something I’ve been working really hard to try and do,” said Marsh. “I got 99 last year (against India), so to get to three figures on home soil was pretty special.”Earlier, West Indies left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican took the important wickets of opener David Warner and captain Steven Smith as Australia went to lunch at 121-3 after winning the toss and electing to bat.Warner and Joe Burns hit a combined 12 boundaries in an opening partnership of 75 runs from the first eight overs, but Australia went on to lose three wickets for 51.Burns was clean-bowled by paceman Shannon Gabriel for 33 and Smith was caught at first slip off Warrican for 10. Warner scored 64 before being caught behind in the second to last over before lunch.”We had Australia at 120-odd for three, but Marsh and Voges were both very good, and they put us on the back foot,” Warrican told Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio.”Later in the day, it became more difficult for the bowlers to get wickets. It just wasn’t disciplined to be honest. We will have to come out tomorrow and bowl really well.”Gabriel left the pitch during the final session with a left ankle injury and was expected to undergo later scans. He finished the day with 1-59 off 10 overs.
The Government of Guyana has received a grant of Kuwaiti Dinars (KD) 500,000 (Equivalent to GY$344M) from the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development to undertake a Technical and Economic Feasibility Study for the Redesign of the Belfield to Rosignol Road Network.The study will be carried out by the Public Infrastructure Ministry and will aim to solve the issues of deteriorating roads, poor drainage and road safety of Belfield to Rosignol.According to the Department of Public Information (DPI), residents of more than twenty-seven villages along Belfield to Rosignol will benefit from this road project upon completion.The redesign of the network will ensure enhanced capacity of the roads, strengthen trade and economic development and facilitate new and improved interactions among farming communities. It will also reduce delays and increase user satisfaction.The Fund, one of Guyana’s developmental partners, has over the years, assisted Government to undertake feasibility studies and designs for the upgrade of road networks within the country. A similar project was undertaken in 2011 for the upgrade of the Better Hope to Belfield road network.