Deal or no deal? That was the question the GTR editorial team grappled with over a week in January while we reviewed the hundreds of submissions that we received for consideration as a GTR Best Deal of 2015. The results have been kept under strict embargo until the publication of this issue, so turn to page 21 to see the full list of winners!
Although the numbers of submissions increased from last year, many of them were, admittedly, of the more run-of-the-mill variety, including the likes of letter of credit guarantees and modest supply chain finance solutions – very much what we would expect to be banks’ bread-and-butter business. But there were certainly exceptions to the rule, and the GTR team struggled to keep the final list of winning deals to just 15.
Our winners include the first ever renminbi transaction guaranteed by an export credit agency, the first Islamic commodity future contract based on grains in licensed warehouses, and an extremely complex facility that involves an innovative approach to cattle and livestock financing, to name but a few.
I make this point every year, but it’s worth noting that, in contrast to normal industry practices, our list of winners includes only the very “best”. Congratulations to all the participants involved in all 15 of them!
Also included in this issue is the second instalment of our new fintech section, launched at the start of the year. GTR was one of the first financial publications to cover blockchain’s applicability to the trade finance industry, pipping even The Economist to the post on its coverage of the implications of blockchain technology for the wider banking industry. (GTR’s story remains massively popular, both on our own website and in online searches.) In this issue, we take the discussion a step further, cut through the hype and focus on the demonstrable progress of blockchain for trade finance. We look forward to continuing to keep you well informed of the happenings of what our writer’s source calls banking’s “golden child”.

GTR strives to bring its readers a truly global outlook. Here are some of the places that we have reported from for this issue.

    • London, UK: GTR teams up with the ITFA Young Professionals network to host another roundtable that profiles the market’s youth.
    • Warsaw, Poland: Sofia Lotto Persio travels to Warsaw to report on Poland’s continuous rise as a key political, economic and commercial player in Europe.
    • Davos, Switzerland: Sofia Lotto Persio reports on what worried the global economic elite attending the World Economic Forum.
    • Hong Kong, China: Finbarr Bermingham brings us five takeaways from the Asian Financial Forum.
    • Mumbai, India: Finbarr Bermingham visits India to find out if it’s the only remaining BRIC in the wall.
    • Dubai, UAE: The UAE is a beacon of stability for the Mena region, reports Melodie Michel from the GTR Mena Trade Finance Week.
    • Lagos, Nigeria: Shannon Manders attends the GTR West Africa Trade & Export Finance conference in Lagos to find an oil business striving for reformation.