Citi's trade finance business set records across the board in 2011, as all of the pieces seemed to fall in place for the bank. "We were in the right place, doing the right things at the right time, " says John Ahearn, managing director and global head of trade at Citi, who is based in New York.
"Issues in Europe, including sovereign debt concerns and lack of dollar liquidity, allowed us to take advantage of our capabilities and the fact that we are a US bank with plenty of dollars, " Ahearn says. As European banks deleverage, they are withdrawing from the commodity finance business and, as a result of liquidity constraints, those that remain in the business are raising prices, Ahearn says.
Citi provides trade finance services in 86 countries and boasts a global network that enables it to cash in on globalization and shifting trade flows. Mature markets saddled with huge budget and trade deficits are struggling to breathe new life into their export activities, while developing markets have experienced an increase in both economic growth and exports. "More and more of these exports are now driven by South-South, instead of North-South, trading activities, " Ahearn says. In the past decade, emerging markets accounted for 70% of world growth, and they now generate 2012about 37% of global trade volumes, according to Citi.
In the Americas, Citi has trade experts strategically placed across the US, Canada and Latin America. The bank is one of the largest issuers of commercial letters of credit in the US. In Latin America, Citi's trade services network spans 22 countries. The bank has completed the full rollout of its Web-based supply chain finance solution in 14 countries in the region.
"Demand is continuing to increase for supplier financing, and most of the major companies are coming to us with global mandates, " Ahearn says.
Confronting Terrorism and War
Confronting Terrorism and War
Stephen R. Shalom1
THANKFULLY AND ASTONISHINGLY, it now appears that the original death estimates for the World Trade Center attacks were too high; the actual toll may turn out to be in the neighborhood of three thousand rather than six thousand. But such is the enormity of what happened on September 11 that even if the original count is reduced by half, this was an atrocity of horrific proportions.
In terms of immediate deaths, September 11 was the worst terrorist attack ever to take place in peacetime anywhere in the world. It was the most devastating attack ever -- in war or peace -- on the U.S. national homeland. More lives were lost than in such disasters as the sinking of the Titanic or the Johnstown flood or the San Francisco earthquake or the great Chicago fire -- and this time great tragedy was combined with deeply malicious intent.
AFGHANISTAN: BETWEEN HAMMER AND ANVIL
Coveted in the late 19th century by Russian Tsar and British Viceroy alike, Afghanistanâs impassible fastnesses enabled it to avoid occupation by either colonial power. Two British invasions were repelledâa warning to both London and St Petersburg. Eventually an expanding Tsarist Empire and the British Empire in India accepted Afghanistan, still a pre-feudal confederacy of tribes with its own king, as a buffer state. The British, as the more powerful force, would keep a watchful eye on Kabul. This arrangement suited all three parties at the time