Asia

Korea - The Korean Asset Management Corp., the country's bad loan agency, is in the market with its first international securitization, a $367 million transaction backed by non-performing loans.

Korea - The South Korean government's efforts to use a primary collateralized bond obligation program to help ease the credit crunch that is afflicting the country's second-tier businesses are already bearing fruit.

The first deal, which is being arranged by LG Investment & Securities, has already raised W1.55 trillion ($1.38 billion) for 54 medium-sized firms.

Japan - Credit Suisse First Boston, a bank yet to arrange a single Japanese residential mortgage-backed transaction, has scooped the most prestigious mandate this year in Japan: the chance to arrange and underwrite the state-owned Government Housing Loan Corp.'s inaugural RMBS. And it all came down to a lottery. Literally.

Hong Kong - Morgan Stanley Dean Witter's Hong Kong office recently launched a 144A arbitrage CBO backed by a portfolio of U.S. dollar denominated bonds, primarily fixed-rate convertible and straight corporate debt, with a global reach, but focused on Asia.

The asset management arm of Singapore's United Overseas Bank acts as collateral manager and the deal comes through a Cayman Islands SPV called United Asian CBO Corp.

Europe

United Kingdom - One of the U.K.'s biggest banks and most enthusiastic securitizers, Abbey National, recently launched the biggest ever European mortgage-backed securitization. Called Holmes Financing No.1, the GBP2.2 billion ($3.3 billion) global transaction is backed by first-tier residential mortgages. Schroder Salomon Smith Barney has been brought in to arrange the deal and will act as lead manager and global coordinator, along with 11 other syndicate members.

Italy - Italian car giant Fiat recently brought to market the largest ever European securitization of auto loans. Called First Italian Auto Transaction, the E965 million ($917 million) deal was structured by Euro Capital Structures, the Dublin-based joint venture that was set up by Fiat and Italian bank Unicredito Italiano in May 1999. Merrill Lynch, Schroder Salomon Smith Barney and Unicredito were brought in to underwrite the deal.

Latin America

Brazil - The latest wheeze to lift the gloom of Brazil's MBS market - exempting securitized, real estate-based receivables from the CPMF financial operations tax - seems doomed to failure.

Miscellaneous

Standard & Poor's recently unveiled details of its new rating category for insurance companies, called a Financial Enhancement Rating. The agency has brought in its new rating in the wake of the increasing number of multiline insurers who have entered the asset-backed and corporate bond markets, and whose underwriting and payment stan dards may not be what investors are used to from traditional monolines.

S&P will unveil a list of the companies that have been granted an FER at the end of July. The agency said that around 40 insurers will make the list, with half coming from the multiline business and the other half being monolines.

The recent economic problems of nursing home company NHP have been well documented. Now, Fitch has downgraded a tranche on one of its three securitizations in the Care Homes series.

The latest development follows on from the calls from NHP shareholders for Richard Ellert, founder and chief executive of the company and the key figure in its ventures into the asset-backed market, to resign his post.

Looking to boost the economies of the region and open new investment opportunities for U.S. businesses, the Overseas Private Investment Corp. recently launched its Central America & Caribbean Initiative.

Citibank Peru is working on the country's first "Brady-stripping" deal. The transaction, up to $100 million in size, will consist of zero-coupon bonds, which could have up to a 17-year term and will be backed by the interest rate flow from the Brady bonds.

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