Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff
Matt Chamberlain has decided to stay on as CEO of the LME, Reuters reported. He had previously announced he was leaving to join a cryptocurrency firm, but that was before the nickel crisis. That is a strong move by Mr. Chamberlain to help the LME during this difficult time.
Former NFA board of directors member and Commodity Trading Advisor and Commodity Pool Operator representative James L. Koutoulas, Esq., is in the news in connection with a Republican congressman accused of insider trading of a politically charged meme crypto token Koutoulas created. The meme token in the middle of this is part of a class action lawsuit too. The news sources are not great for this; one is the Washington Examiner, another is Daily Kos, so take the hyperbole with a big spoon of skepticism. The site Florida Politics has the story of the lawsuit, which is more straightforward. Former CME board member and venture capital entrepreneur Jeffrey Carter is also named in the lawsuit, along with others, as backers of the token.
North Carolina Congressman Madison Cawthorn appeared on social media with Koutoulas promoting the LGB token, the stories said. Cawthorn reportedly owned some LGB tokens, which are involved in the accusations of insider trading.
Koutoulas created the “Let’s Go Brandon” or LGB meme coins (just 330 trillion of them) that were worth $570 million at one time and had a liquidity pool of $6.5 million. They crashed in price 95% after NASCAR driver Brandon Brown was not allowed by NASCAR to have the LGB token be his full-season sponsor for the 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series season.
Koutoulas has recently relaunched the token as simply “LGB” and promotes it on the @LETSGO Twitter account and other social media outlets. Koutoulas is pictured on his personal Twitter account (@jameskoutoulas) standing next to NASCAR driver Brown and the descriptor “Multi-strategy hedge fund manager, investor advocate attorney, @LETSGO HODLer.
The original LGB coin is worthless, but the new LGB coin has replaced the first one and has new ownership covenants for the backers and key players to prevent them from cashing out in the first year, which should help reduce the risk of insider trading abuses.
As you may recall, I was initially a supporter of Koutoulas and John Roe when they ran for the NFA board, but Koutoulas went rogue and accused NFA senior management of ‘heinous” acts and cast aspersions on the character of several highly respected members of the futures community serving on the NFA board at the time. I then supported the competing candidate and Koutoulas lost re-election, not that those things are related.
Back to more serious news. The NFA is set to hold an NFA member town hall in May where members will have the opportunity to ask questions of NFA’s leadership. The town hall will be Thursday, May 12, 2022, at 9:30 a.m. CT. NFA Board Chair Maureen Downs, NFA Public Directors Ron Filler and Doug Harris, President and CEO Thomas Sexton, and NFA’s officers will provide a short update on NFA’s recent initiatives and respond to questions submitted by NFA members. You can register HERE. You can submit questions prior to the webinar to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deutsche Börse Group posted a video to Youtube yesterday on “Post-Trade Perspectives episode 2: digitizing investor communication.” In this video, Dean Little, the CEO and cofounder of Proxymity, and Clearstream’s Head of Investor Services & Financing Sam Riley assess how digitization and the European Union’s Shareholder Rights Directive II have influenced investor relations and proxy voting. They also discuss current trends and challenges in the investor communications space and what the future might hold.
The April 2022 World Bank Report: Commodity Market Outlook; The Impact of the War in Ukraine on Commodity Markets is out and you can find it HERE.
Bloomberg is reporting that Lisbon, Miami and Dubai were ranked as the best places to work for high earners. Chicago was ranked number one for best place to work for high earners, also with access to the best pizza. OK, I made that part up about the rankings from real estate broker Savills Plc, but that is how I would mark my survey if that were a question.
Registration is closed for the London Mifid II Roadshow of The Trade, hosted at the London Stock Exchange on May 3. The Trade said the event has seen “exceptional demand” and is now oversubscribed. Forget we ever mentioned it.
Baymarkets AS has been accepted as an Affiliate Member of the Federation of Euro-Asian Stock Exchanges. Baymarkets AS, based in Oslo and Stockholm, is an independent vendor of clearing systems for the financial markets and has been operating since 2007.
Louisa Feltes is now the global head of communications at LMAX Group, an operator of institutional exchanges for FX and cryptocurrency trading.
DASH Financial’s Jennifer Fagenson has joined the board of directors of Rides FAR (For Autism Research).
Have a great day and stay safe and treat people the same way you want to be treated: with respect, equality and justice.~JJL
NovaFori’s Garry Jones wants to transform markets with technology
Garry Jones, the CEO of NovaFori, says the company is focused on digital transformation. He has spent most of his career working in the derivatives markets and applied technology, but now is creating auction platforms for clients such as Christie’s and overlaying them with data science.
FIA’s International Derivatives Expo is returning to The Brewery in London this coming 6-8 June. Standing still is not an option in today’s evolving cleared derivatives environment. Without adapting to new products, processes, technologies and regulations, your business won’t meet the needs of tomorrow’s industry. We’re bringing together industry leaders, vendors and policymakers to discuss what’s “now” in derivatives, and what lies ahead. Sign up by 30 April for the best rates!
Tesla Stock Drop Wipes Out $126 Billion in One Day
Thyagaraju Adinarayan and Esha Dey – Bloomberg
The electric-vehicle maker’s market capitalization is now down more than $275 billion since April 4, when Musk disclosed that he increased his Twitter stake. That’s a drop of roughly 23%. The dollar value of Musk’s 17% stake in Tesla has shrunk by more than $40 billion, almost double the equity portion he pledged in the Twitter transaction. Tesla’s stock price is sinking amid a broader selloff in equity markets around the world due to slower economic expansion and persistent inflation. In addition, investors have fled high-growth companies as the Federal Reserve prepares to embark on a series of significant rate hikes.
******So much for margin loan collateral.~JJL
FTX Hires Eventus to Catch Crypto Cheats as Digital Assets Boom; Exchange will use Eventus tools to prevent manipulation; Insider trading is increasing area of focus for crypto market
Katherine Doherty and Yueqi Yang – Bloomberg
FTX, the cryptocurrency exchange co-founded by Sam Bankman-Fried, is expanding its partnership with surveillance firm Eventus Systems Inc., seeking to prevent market manipulation in the growing ecosystem of digital assets.
**** We did not have a link yet to the following story yesterday, so here it is with the link today.~SR
A Former Wall Street Banker Led the Fight to Bring Down the U.S. Mask Mandate; Leslie Manookian’s suit led a judge to toss the requirement; She left finance in 2003 and became an anti-vaccine activist
Erik Larson – Bloomberg
Most Americans have never heard of Leslie Manookian, but the former banker is the reason why they no longer have to wear a mask on a plane. Manookian, 58, who worked for Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in the 1990s and later Alliance Capital Management, was behind the lawsuit that last week led a federal judge in Tampa, Florida, to strike down the mask mandate for public transportation. The judge said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lacked the authority to impose it.
***** She has been unmasked by Bloomberg!~JJL
Carbon Credits Are the New Canadian Gold Rush; Companies selling offsets are flocking to Toronto’s speculative stock exchanges
Jacquie McNish – FT
Startups that sell carbon credits are the next big thing to hit Canada’s stock markets, which have long attracted risky companies from volatile cannabis producers to dodgy mining companies. Nearly a dozen startups are expected to list their shares on Canadian exchanges to finance carbon-credit purchases or invest in climate ventures that generate credits, according to banking and exchange officials. These carbon credits are in high demand. They are supposed to reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere by funding things such as new technologies or forest preservation. Businesses and individuals buy them to effectively offset their own carbon emissions generated by things such as running factories or flying.
****** Carbon credits are so much better than the alternative, carbon debits.~JJL
Quantitative Brokers Launches Prism, The Next Gen Smart Order Routing Tool For Us Treasuries
Quantitative Brokers (QB) a leading provider of advanced execution algorithms and data-driven analytics for global futures, options, and OTC fixed income markets, unveiled their new smart order router (SOR) for US Treasuries – Prism. Prism is more than a liquidity aggregator. It dynamically shifts “child orders” across venues, intra-trade as it sees the potential for price improvement. Prism continuously evaluates trading venues in real-time by leveraging price signals, learned venue statistics and pre-trade market impact estimations. Prism is highly customizable based on user needs, venue costs, and client preferences.
***** I can never see straight through a prism. Maybe that is why I need a smart router. ~JJL
Tuesday’s Top Three
Our most-clicked story by a long way on Tuesday was ICE’s Clearinghouse Had $1 Billion Margin Breach Last Year, from Bloomberg via Yahoo! Finance. Second was The Financial Times’ FTX/ Defi: If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck…, about Sam Bankman-Fried. (The story’s first line is “Honk honk! Here comes the crypto clown car.”) Third was the obituary for Ronald A. “Ron” Pankau from the Rux Funeral Home.
26,826 pages; 238,342 edits
Crop Trading Giant ADM Sees Years of Tight Markets Fueled by War
Tarso Veloso and Michael Hirtzer – Bloomberg
The company announced its most profitable quarter ever, helped by strained crop supplies that boosted trading margins as well as growth in its nutrition segment. ADM shares gained as much as 5.5%. Crop futures have surged after Russia’s invasion in Ukraine disrupted global supplies. Weather woes across the world’s major producers including a drought in Brazil are adding to fears of shortages.
Commodity Traders Thrust Into the Spotlight as War Exposes Risks
Archie Hunter – Bloomberg
Suddenly, it seems that everyone is talking — and worrying — about them. The International Monetary Fund last week noted investors’ concern about traders’ access to credit and said it’s time for regulators to look more closely at commodity markets. The Dallas Federal Reserve recommended the companies take action to increase liquidity. And the Financial Stability Board flagged commodity-market strains — including the huge margin calls that pressured traders in recent weeks — as an issue that needs particular attention.
Russia to Cut Gas to Poland and Bulgaria, Making Energy a Weapon; Focus now turns to how other European capitals will respond; Moscow demands gas be paid for in rubles after new decree
Maciej Onoszko, Maciej Martewicz, and Slav Okov – Bloomberg
Russia will cut off the gas to Poland and Bulgaria on Wednesday in a major escalation in the standoff between Moscow and Europe over energy supplies and the war in Ukraine. Moscow is making good on a threat to halt gas flows to countries that refuse President Vladimir Putin’s new demand to pay for the fuel in rubles. The European Union has rejected the move in principle but now payment deadlines are starting to fall due, governments across Europe need to decide whether to accept Putin’s terms or lose crucial supplies — and face the prospect of energy rationing.
The Other Oil Crisis Will Lead to a Hungrier World; Indonesia’s palm plantations produce a critical supply of edible fats to large populations in India and beyond. A policy-induced shortage will have dire consequences.
David Fickling – Bloomberg
As if there weren’t enough problems right now, the world is facing the threat of an oil embargo. No, not black gold — red gold, better known as palm oil. Prices gyrated this week after Indonesia, which produces about two-thirds of the global crop, promised to halt exports of the deep-orange edible fat to calm domestic food prices in the run-up to the Eid al-Fitr public holiday. Panic subsided a little Tuesday after clarification that the ban wouldn’t apply to the crude palm oil that’s a benchmark for the global price of vegetable fats. Still, the world should take the episode as a taste of things to come, as the growth of biofuels increasingly conflicts with the need to feed the world’s poorest.
Shanghai’s Lockdown Missteps Undermine Financial Hub Ambitions; Expats are ditching the city, jeopardizing efforts by local authorities to lure “high-end” foreign talent.
An eerie silence hangs over Shanghai’s financial district weeks into a draconian lockdown of the city. The streets of Lujiazui have been emptied of the 300,000 professionals who flood in on a typical day. Pockets of traders and bankers living in its high-rises keep business ticking while separated from their families. Across Shanghai, millions are confined to their homes and workplaces as China holds fast to a “Covid-zero” strategy while much of the rest of the world learns to live with the virus. Social media posts about the scramble to find food, toddlers forced to quarantine separately from their parents, and clashes between anxious residents and the police have captivated audiences in China and abroad.
Investors at top US banks refuse to back climate proposals; Resolutions at Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Citi called for changes to fossil fuel financing policies
Aime Williams and Camilla Hodgson – FT
Investors refused to back resolutions demanding stricter fossil fuel financing policies at three major US banks on Tuesday, dealing a blow to environmentalists hoping to apply more pressure to lenders over climate issues. Proposals filed at Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Citi called on the banks to align their fossil fuel financing policies with achieving net zero emissions by 2050, and to ensure financing did not contribute to “new fossil fuel supplies”. But the resolutions were backed by only about 11 per cent of shareholders at Wells Fargo and Bank of America and fewer than 13 per cent at Citi.
Cryptocurrency Firms Push Back Against Proposal to Police Treasury Markets; SEC rule doesn’t target crypto trading platforms, but industry fears increased legal risks
Paul Kiernan – WSJ
A Securities and Exchange Commission proposal intended to make Treasury markets more resilient has sparked a backlash from cryptocurrency companies, which say it could increase legal risks for so-called decentralized finance, or DeFi, platforms. The rule, proposed by the SEC in January, would expand the agency’s definition of an exchange to include a broader array of communication systems that enable prospective buyers and sellers of securities to find each other. Such entities would have to register with the SEC either as exchanges akin to the New York Stock Exchange, or as a category of broker-dealers called alternative trading systems, or ATSs, which perform exchange-like functions but face lighter regulations.
Robinhood Cutting 9% of Full-Time Staff as ‘Hyper Growth’ Ebbs
Annie Massa – Bloomberg
Less than a year into its run as a public company, Robinhood is dismissing 9% of its 3,800-person workforce. The Silicon Valley startup that once threatened to challenge Wall Street said that after a period of “hyper growth” and robust hiring in 2020 and early 2021, it was left with too much overlap. “This rapid headcount growth has led to some duplicate roles and job functions, and more layers and complexity than are optimal,” Chief Executive Officer Vlad Tenev said Tuesday in a statement.
Regulators Voice Concerns Over Cryptocurrencies and ‘Ponzi Scheme’ Dynamic
Jack Denton – Barron’s
A number of high-profile global financial authorities have redoubled their calls for regulation of the digital-asset space this week and warned over the integrity of cryptocurrency markets. Bringing the emerging digital-asset industry under the reign of lawmakers and regulators is continuing in the U.S. and Europe—but progress remains slow as billions of dollars continue to flow into the asset class from institutions and individual investors.
CFTC Commissioner Goldsmith Romero Announces Staff Appointments
CFTC Commissioner Christy Goldsmith Romero announced today the appointment of Nora Flood and Philip W. Raimondi as members of her executive staff. “I am excited to work closely with Nora and Phil who are outstanding, well-regarded CFTC lawyers, with deep expertise in financial markets regulation,” said Commissioner Goldsmith Romero. “With the CFTC at the center of critical issues in the U.S. economy, I am incredibly grateful for their willingness to serve and their passion for market resilience and customer protection.”
BoE official proposes overhaul of global capital rules for banks; Sam Woods says existing system is overly complex and curbs lending in a crisis
Stephen Morris and Daniel Thomas – FT
One of the Bank of England’s senior officials on Tuesday proposed that the global regulatory system for banks’ capital requirements be overhauled to make it simpler and allow companies more flexibility to lend during a crisis. Sam Woods, head of the UK Prudential Regulation Authority, used a speech to outline a streamlined system that would eliminate a series of complex capital requirements for banks in favour of a simple common equity threshold that could be relaxed during a crisis to enable companies to keep lending.
Top financial regulator warns U.S. is developing a ‘Chinese-style’ payments industry ‘fueled by uncontrolled flows of consumer data’; CFPB is investigating Amazon, Apple and other tech companies’ payments businesses
Chris Matthews – MarketWatch
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Rohit Chopra warned lawmakers Tuesday that the U.S. payments industry is developing a “Chinese-style” market structure in which large technology companies leverage consumer data to power their financial-services subsidiaries. “The United States is lurching toward a market structure where finance and commerce commingle, fueled by uncontrolled flows of consumer data,” Chopra said in a hearing before the Senate Banking Committee, adding that tech conglomerates like Ant Group and Tencent Holdings Ltd. TCEHY, -1.98%, which control the payments platforms Alipay and WeChat, dominate the payments industry in China.
Credit Suisse overhauls top executive team; Exits of finance chief, Asia head, and legal counsel come as Swiss lender slumps to first-quarter loss
Owen Walker – FT
Credit Suisse has announced a sweeping overhaul of key executive roles, as the Swiss lender steps up its effort to move on from a succession of crises that helped drive it to a first-quarter loss. The Swiss bank’s chief financial officer, head of Asia Pacific and general counsel will all be replaced, completing a revamp of its executive board over the past year that has only spared chief executive Thomas Gottstein and the head of its domestic bank.
Financial Weapons Helped the West Respond to Russia. China Wants to Weaken Them.
Christopher S. Tang – Barron’s
Western countries are in awe at how quickly U.S.-led financial sanctions severely damaged Russia’s economy. But for those 35 countries that abstained from a U.N. vote condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, those repercussions will make them wary. This concern creates an opportunity for China to enhance the global appeal of the yuan and its financial architecture as alternatives. To preserve the power of its financial weapons, the U.S. should take steps to impede the adoption of Chinese payment systems.
Why Bezos is worried that a Musk-owned Twitter will cave to China
Daniel Howley – Yahoo Finance
It’s official. Elon Musk is buying Twitter (TWTR) for $44 billion and will take the firm private at the close of the deal pending regulatory approval. And the move is raising a number of questions about Twitter’s future, including whether Musk will change its content moderation practices and reinstate banned users like former President Donald Trump (though Trump says he won’t return to Twitter).
Archegos Founder Bill Hwang Hit With Criminal Charges; Hwang, CFO charged with fraud after collapse of family office; Prosecutors allege market manipulation and false statements
Christian Berthelsen and Bob Van Voris – Bloomberg
U.S. prosecutors charged Archegos Capital Management founder Bill Hwang and Chief Financial Officer Patrick Halligan with fraud, in the latest fallout from the spectacular collapse of the family office. Federal authorities said Hwang used Archegos as an “instrument of market manipulation and fraud,” causing billions of dollars in losses for banks, financial market investors and its own employees. Hwang was arrested by federal agents early Wednesday.
This $500 Billion Private Club for Family Offices Is Booming; SFO Alliance membership expands to 250 firms amid wealth surge; Group born in the pandemic plans first major in-person event
Benjamin Stupples – Bloomberg
Lex Van Dam launched a private club for the investment firms of the super-rich during one of the worst periods of the pandemic. Now, as the world reopens, the former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. proprietary trader’s business is bustling.
The riddle of Russian money in Switzerland; Low level of sanctioned funds belies assumptions that it is a treasure house of Putin kleptocracy
Sam Jones – FT
There’s a well-worn Swiss bankers joke about the venality of a particular country. The actual country changes with the times but since this is April 2022, it starts like this: “Where is the capital of Russia?” You can guess the punchline. Two months into Vladimir Putin’s brutal war of aggression in Ukraine, however, what is remarkable is just how little Russian capital actually seems to be in the Alps. Neutral, inscrutable Switzerland was, perhaps more than any other country, presumed to be the treasure house of the Putin kleptocracy.
Melvin Capital’s U-turn reignites debate over hedge fund fees; Scrutiny on performance is growing as markets see-saw
Brooke Masters and Laurence Fletcher – FT
Melvin Capital’s sharp U-turn this week on proposed changes to its performance-fee structure has reignited a debate among hedge funds about how portfolio managers are paid. For the last three decades, the standard way to tie pay to financial performance was for hedge funds and private equity firms to receive management fees based on the amount of money invested plus a chunky share, usually 20 per cent, of the gains they produce.
US investors take aim at insider share sale plans; Fears that pre-arranged trading schedules are being abused by some executives prompt the SEC to propose new rules
Patrick Temple-West – FT
Abbott Laboratories became a household name at the start of the pandemic after it quickly developed a rapid Covid-19 test. But now the company is drawing investor attention for another reason: insider stock sales. At Abbott’s annual general meeting on Friday, investors will vote on a first-of-its-kind shareholder proposal, which asks the company to disclose more information about transactions conducted using so-called 10b5-1 plans.
Elon Musk Bets Twitter Users Will Like a More Freewheeling Platform; Billionaire plans to scale back content constraints, but how Twitter operates won’t be entirely up to him
Deepa Seetharaman, Meghan Bobrowsky – WSJ
Elon Musk has pledged to adopt a more hands-off approach to speech on Twitter Inc., but a warning Tuesday from a top European regulator shows it may not be as simple as shelling out $44 billion for the social-media platform and taking it private. The internal market commissioner at the European Union cautioned Mr. Musk a day after he struck a deal to buy Twitter that he would need to follow the bloc’s new rules on content moderation.
Making Twitter More of a Cesspool Makes No Business Sense
Elizabeth Spiers – NY Times
The Tesla co-founder and chief executive Elon Musk is set to shortly become the new owner of a slightly used social media platform with more than 217 million daily users. He has said very little about how he plans to make the business work, but one thing is clear: He is really, really preoccupied with how we talk on the platform and appears intent on rolling back some of its moderation policies in order to allow all legal speech on Twitter.
DASH Financial’s Jennifer Fagenson Joins Rides FAR Board of Directors; Fagenson becomes the latest industry executive to join the Board as Rides FAR prepares for global event series on October 1, Wall Street Rides FAR
Rides FAR (For Autism Research), the annual charity cycling and walking event series benefitting the Autism Science Foundation (ASF), today announced the appointment of DASH Financial Managing Director Jennifer Fagenson to its Board of Directors.
Canada Wants to Use Seized Russian Assets to Pay Ukraine Victim
Brian Platt – Bloomberg
Canada plans to give itself the power to seize the assets of sanctioned Russian individuals and companies and use them to compensate victims of the war in Ukraine. The new measures will be included in the government’s budget legislation, meaning they are almost certain to pass in parliament by summer. Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said the law will be the first of its kind in the Group of Seven. Canada has now sanctioned more than 1,100 Russian individuals and companies since President Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Russia Tried to Sell a Huge Slug of Oil. Nobody Wanted It.; Russia’s crude exports hit a snag when Rosneft struggled to find buyers
Joe Wallace and Anna Hirtenstein – WSJ
Russia failed to sell a huge batch of oil, a sign that soon-to-be imposed sanctions against its state oil giant are playing havoc with the energy industry that undergirds its bruised economy. Moscow maintained a brisk pace of energy exports in the two months after the invasion, bringing in revenue that Kyiv says funds the Kremlin war machine. Many U.S. allies left oil and gas shipments out of their harshest sanctions on Russia. Importers in India and elsewhere swooped in to buy cheap Russian barrels at a time of rocketing energy prices.
Russian military equipment losses ‘will take years to replace’
Larisa Brown – The Times
Russia has burnt through so much of its equipment during two months of fighting in Ukraine that it could be “years” before it is ready for another war, analysts believe. Mark Cancian, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank in Washington, said that in recent years Russia had produced about 250 tanks and 150 aircraft annually. Based on estimates for Russian equipment lost so far, Ukrainian forces have destroyed the equivalent of at least two years of Russian tank production and one year’s supply of aircraft during two months of conflict, he said.
Russia warns Britain for provoking Ukraine
Russia warned Britain on Tuesday that if it continued to provoke Ukraine to strike targets in Russia then there would be an immediate “proportional response”. Russia’s defence ministry cited statements from Britain’s armed forces minister James Heappey who told BBC radio that it was entirely legitimate for Ukraine to hunt targets in the depths of Russia to disrupt logistics and supply lines.
Poland sanctions Gazprom among 50 Russian firms and oligarchs
Poland is imposing sanctions on 50 Russian oligarchs and companies, the interior minister said on Tuesday, as it seeks to increase pressure on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.Poland this month passed a law allowing it to freeze the assets of Russian entities and ban imports of coal from Russia, above and beyond sanctions imposed jointly by European Union countries.
Ukrainian farmers don bulletproof vests to plough frontline fields
Joseph Campbell – Reuters
Ukrainian farmers in the southern region of Zaporizhzhia which borders the frontline of the military conflict with Russia are now wearing body armour to plough their fields.
Russia reports blasts in south that Ukraine calls payback for invasion
Russia reported a series of blasts in the south of the country and a fire at an ammunition depot on Wednesday, the latest in a spate incidents that a top Ukrainian official described as payback and “karma” for Moscow’s invasion. Without directly admitting that Ukraine was responsible, presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said it was natural that Russian regions where fuel and weapons are stored were learning about “demilitarisation”.
The man who evacuated 200 people from Mariupol in a battered red van
Tom Balmforth and Parniyan Zemaryalai – Reuters
As Russian forces tightened their siege of Mariupol and missiles rained down, Mykhailo Puryshev drove into the city six times last month to evacuate its citizens, somehow surviving despite his red van being all but destroyed. The 36-year-old Ukrainian, who once ran a nightclub in the city, said he evacuated more than 200 people on his six perilous trips and others began to join him in convoy into his hometown.
Four European Gas Buyers Made Ruble Payments to Russia; Person close to Gazprom says 10 buyers opened ruble accounts; No more cutoffs seen until next ruble payments due in May
Four European gas buyers have already paid for supplies in rubles as President Vladimir Putin demanded, according to a person close to Russian gas giant Gazprom PJSC. Even if the other buyers reject the Kremlin’s terms, more cutoffs after the halt in gas flows to Poland and Bulgaria Wednesday aren’t likely until the second half of May when the next payments are due, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss confidential matters.
The Big Read. How Russia’s war in Ukraine upended the breadbasket of Europe
In the village of Semypolky, north-east of Kyiv, green shoots of winter wheat are sprouting in Mykola Gordiychuk’s field. But no one has been working the soil.
BASF to wind down in Russia and Belarus; World’s biggest chemicals company sets July deadline for closure of remaining businesses in two countries
Joe Miller – FT
BASF has pledged to wind down its remaining businesses in Russia and Belarus, becoming one of the last big German groups to make such a move following the invasion of Ukraine. The world’s largest chemicals company by revenue, which last month froze all new projects in Russia, said on Wednesday it would close its existing businesses in the two countries by the start of July.
Exchanges, OTC and Clearing
LME chief Chamberlain changes mind and will not depart
Eric Onstad – Reuters
The London Metal Exchange (LME) Chief Executive Matthew Chamberlain will stay in his post and not depart at the end of April as expected, the exchange said on Wednesday.
Chamberlain’s decision to stay with the LME and not join a cryptocurrency firm as announced in January came after the exchange was shaken by a crisis in nickel trading last month.
LSEG announces strong first quarter; Despite uncertain market environment, London Stock Exchange Group is set to meet all its financial targets.
Richard Schwartz – The Trade
LSEG continued to make strong financial and operational progress in Q1 with total income (excluding recoveries) up 6.3% on a constant currency basis and up 6.8% adjusting for actions taken in response to the Ukraine/Russia conflict (U/R). The revenue impact of U/R is expected to be in the region of £60 million in 2022, mainly reflecting the suspension of Data & Analytics services to customers in Russia, with the largest impact in Trading & Banking.
CME Group’s Voluntary Carbon Emissions Offset Contracts Surpass 100 Million Offsets Traded
CME Group, the world’s leading derivatives marketplace, today announced that combined volume across CME Group’s voluntary carbon emissions offset contracts has surpassed 100,000 contracts traded, equivalent to 100 million carbon offset credits, or 100 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent.
CME Group Inc. Reports First-Quarter 2022 Financial Results
CME Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CME) today reported financial results for the first quarter of 2022.
March Equity Index Product Review
Launching May 23: Derived block trades
Equity Index Derived Blocks
Privately negotiated derived blocks provide access to Equity Index futures liquidity to execute large trades with a built-in delta hedge. Available May 23* on 12 futures contracts.
*Pending regulatory review
Variable Storage Rate (VSR) Results for Wheat and KC HRW Wheat Premium (Storage) Rates CME Group
The Variable Storage Rate (VSR) mechanism in The Board of Trade of the City of Chicago, Inc. (“CBOT”): (1) Wheat futures contract (CME Globex Code: ZW; Clearing and CME ClearPort Code: W; Rulebook Chapter: 14); and (2) KC HRW Wheat futures contract (CME Globex Code: KE; Clearing and CME ClearPort Code: KW; Rulebook Chapter: 14H) examines nearby calendar spreads to determine adjustments in maximum contract premium (storage) rates. Below are the results of the May 2022 – July 2022 calendar spread relative to financial full carry during the period of March 21, 2022 through April 22, 2022.
Adoption of NYMEX/COMEX Rule 705.C.
(“Procedures for Insurance Claims”) of Chapter 7 (“Delivery Facilities and Procedures”) Effective May 10, 2022 and pending all relevant CFTC regulatory review periods, New York Mercantile Exchange, Inc. (“NYMEX”) and Commodity Exchange, Inc. (“COMEX”) (collectively, the “Exchanges”) will adopt NYMEX/COMEX Rule 705.C. (“Procedures for Insurance Claims”) to provide clarity for insurance claims against the loss of metal (collectively, the “Rule Amendments”).
Expansion of Listing Schedule of the E-mini Nasdaq-100 Index® Futures and Options on E-mini Nasdaq-100 Index® Futures Contracts
Expansion of Listing Schedule of the E-mini Nasdaq-100 Index® Futures and Options on E-mini Nasdaq-100 Index® Futures Contracts Effective Sunday, May 22, 2022, for trade date Monday, May 23, 2022, and pending all relevant CFTC regulatory review periods, Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. (“CME” or “Exchange”) will expand the listing schedule for the E-mini Nasdaq-100 Index® Futures and Options on E-mini Nasdaq-100 Index® Futures contracts (the “Contracts”) for trading on the CME Globex electronic trading platform (“CME Globex”) and for submission of clearing via CME ClearPort, as more specifically described in the table below.
Q1/2022: Deutsche Börse Group records a strong start to the year
Deutsche Börse Group
Deutsche Börse Group has just published its Q1/2022 quarterly statement.
NDF Clearing: The tide is about to turn
First published on thetradenews.com in April 2022
Henry Weindling, non-deliverable forward (NDF) sales at Eurex, and David Holcombe, head of product: FX futures and FX clearing at 360T, explain how a new type of liquidity is changing the economics of NDF clearing for buy-side firms.
Equity index derivatives: Postponement of the introduction of Futures on STOXX® Global Thematic Indices
The launch of the Futures on STOXX® Global Thematic Indices for 16 May 2022, that was announced in Eurex circular 038/22, will be postponed until further notice due to readiness topics of relevant partners and market participants.
Quarterly Results for the Three Months Ended 31 March 2022
LME Management Appointments
Matthew Chamberlain to remain as LME CEO in permanent role; Adrian Farnham to retire as LME Clear CEO in July 2022; successor will be announced in due course; Catherine Lester, LME Group CFO, to be succeeded by current Acting LME Group CFO, Tabitha Silverwood
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX) announces today (Wednesday) that Matthew Chamberlain, CEO of the London Metal Exchange (LME) and Group Head of Commodities, is to remain in his post.
Poll Results Of 2022 Annual General Meeting And Re-Appointments to HKEX Board
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX) today (Wednesday) hosted its 2022 Annual General Meeting (AGM). All proposed resolutions as set out in the notice of AGM dated 16 March 2022 were passed. Please refer to the regulatory announcement issued today for the results by resolution.
Re-appointment of Chairman
The Board of Directors (“Board”) of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (“HKEX”) has resolved to re-appoint Mrs Laura May-Lung Cha (“Mrs Cha”) as the Chairman of the Board (“Chairman”) for a term to be coterminous with her directorship.
New Total Return Sector Index Futures
Bourse de Montréal Inc. (the Bourse) and Canadian Derivatives Clearing Corporation (CDCC) wish to inform that, at the opening of trading on Tuesday, May 3, 2022 at 9:30 am ET, the following new Futures Index classes as well as Basis Trade on Close (BTC) Index classes will be listed.
Nasdaq Elects Kathlyn Card Beckles, Anne Marie Darling, and Elizabeth Wideman to the Board of Directors of its U.S. Exchanges
Nasdaq, Inc. (Nasdaq: NDAQ) today announced the election of the following directors to the boards of the U.S. exchanges operated by the company, which include The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC, Nasdaq PHLX LLC, Nasdaq BX, Inc., Nasdaq ISE, LLC, Nasdaq MRX, LLC, and Nasdaq GEMX, LLC:
Nasdaq Announces Mid-Month Open Short Interest Positions in Nasdaq Stocks as of Settlement Date April 14, 2022
At the end of the settlement date of April 14, 2022, short interest in 3,381 Nasdaq Global MarketSM securities totaled 10,094,454,540 shares compared with 10,049,631,674 shares in 3,350 Global Market issues reported for the prior settlement date of March 31, 2022. The mid-April short interest represents 3.03 days compared with 2.63 days for the prior reporting period.
Twitter-Musk deal includes $1 billion termination fee – filing
Nivedita Balu – Reuters
Elon Musk will have to pay Twitter Inc a fee of $1 billion if the billionaire terminates his $44 billion cash deal for the social media company, it said in a filing on Tuesday. One of the conditions for Musk’s payment is if the deal falls through because the equity, debt and or margin loan financing needed is not funded, the filing said. Twitter said on Monday that Musk had secured $25.5 billion of debt and margin loan financing and is providing a $21 billion equity commitment.
Musk Is Barred From Disparaging Twitter When Tweeting About Deal
Kurt Wagner – Bloomberg
Elon Musk isn’t allowed to post tweets about his deal to buy Twitter Inc. if they “disparage the company or any of its representatives,” according to a new securities filing following Monday’s $44 billion takeover agreement. The stipulation was part of a filing Tuesday with details of the transaction, including a section on “public announcements” that had a limitation on what Musk can tweet. The billionaire is a prolific user of Twitter and has continued to post dozens of tweets during the buildup and aftermath to his buyout deal.
Robinhood Is Laying Off 9% of Its Full-Time Employees; Investment platform says it is cutting back on duplicate roles following sharp growth
Joseph De Avila – WSJ
Robinhood HOOD -3.75% ? Markets Inc. said it was laying off 9% of its full-time workers and is cutting back on duplicate roles it added when the investment platform was growing rapidly beginning in 2020. Shares fell 5% in after-hours trading closing Tuesday after the company announced the layoffs in a blog post. The investment platform, which is popular with individual investors, grew sharply at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic as more people started investing in cryptocurrencies and so-called memestocks like GameStop Corp GME -6.14% ?. During the period, the company’s head count grew from 700 to 3,800, Mr. Tenev said.
Robinhood laying off 9% of full-time employees — here’s why
Retail trading platform Robinhood Markets Inc said on Tuesday it is laying off about 9% of its full-time employees, sending its shares down 5% in extended trade. The company, which is reporting its quarterly results later this week, said the rapid headcount growth has led to some duplicate roles and job functions. As of Dec. 31, the company’s total headcount was 3,800. Robinhood’s easy-to-use interface has made it a hit among young investors trading from home on cryptocurrencies and “meme” stocks such as GameStop during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bloomberg Releases New Common Data Format 3.1 Dataset for Legal Entity Identifiers; New LEI data format increases transparency of legal entity types, relationships and events
Bloomberg today announced it has released the New Common Data Format 3.1 for Legal Entity Identifiers (LEIs) and received a second accreditation as an LEI issuer for funds. As an accredited Local Operating Unit of the Global LEI System, Bloomberg can issue and maintain LEIs through its web portal lei.bloomberg.com or on The Bloomberg Terminal at LEI . To streamline capturing the new data requirements of CDF 3.1, Bloomberg revamped its LEI web portal with an enhanced user experience, additional functionality and greater storage capacity.
Payment gateways avoid powering crypto exchanges given RBI reservations; Recently, NPCI had clarified that it is not aware of any crypto exchanges using UPI after Coinbase, America’s largest crypto exchange said it has tied up with UPI
Subrata Panda – Business Standard
After crypto exchanges’ fiasco with Unified Payments Interface (UPI), wherein they had to disable rupee deposits through the payment platform, payment aggregators have also taken a conscious call to not power crypto exchanges and transactions. This comes in the wake of the central bank’s serious reservations around such assets.
Tech Giants Duped Into Giving Up Data Used to Sexually Extort Minors; Alphabet, Apple among firms that complied with fake requests; Attackers using pilfered data to harass and sexually extort
William Turton – Bloomberg
Major technology companies have been duped into providing sensitive personal information about their customers in response to fraudulent legal requests, and the data has been used to harass and even sexually extort minors, according to four federal law enforcement officials and two industry investigators. The companies that have complied with the bogus requests include Meta Platforms Inc., Apple Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Snap Inc., Twitter Inc. and Discord Inc., according to three of the people. All of the people requested anonymity to speak frankly about the devious new brand of online crime that involves underage victims.
Chinese Hackers Targeting Russian Military Personnel with Updated PlugX Malware
Ravie Lakshmanan – The Hacker News
A China-linked government-sponsored threat actor has been observed targeting Russian speakers with an updated version of a remote access trojan called PlugX.
Secureworks attributed the attempted intrusions to a threat actor it tracks as Bronze President, and by the wider cybersecurity community under the monikers Mustang Panda, TA416, HoneyMyte, RedDelta, and PKPLUG.
Making Sense Of Cybersecurity Culture By Defining And Engaging It
Perry Carpenter – Forbes
Security programs have long focused on the deployment of technology-based defenses to ward off cybercriminals—firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention, endpoint protection, secure email gateways and so on.
We have a lot of great technology available these days to provide protection for our systems and data. But here’s the rub: We still have a breach problem. And that breach problem is outpacing organizations’ spend in technology-based defenses. So what gives? I believe this is because organizations have been missing an essential element of defense—the human layer.
United States Cybersecurity Threats to Internet Infrastructure
Peter Vogel – National Law Review
Darkreading.com reported that “While cybersecurity experts have been reticent to attribute the attacks to Russia, the links between their targeted and the current Russian invasion of Ukraine have suggested that the nation is the most likely sponsor. While the country might be hesitant to attack critical infrastructure, Russia has not had any qualms about supporting ransomware attacks,…”
Cyber Resilience Act – New initiative to create cybersecurity rules for digital products
Hogan Lovells – JDSupra
In a call for Evidence for an Impact Assessment, the European Commission has introduced its initiative for a new Cyber Resilience Act that is set to establish new cybersecurity rules for digital products and ancillary services. The initiative aims to tackle practical challenges and potential gaps of the current legislation by introducing new man objectives the initiative plans to implement. Until the general public has the chance make itself heard as part of the consultation process.
Bitcoin Rollout in El Salvador Looks Like a Bust, Survey Finds
Michael McDonald – Bloomberg
A survey by the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research in partnership with Cid Gallup found that only 20% of respondents in El Salvador continued using the Chivo wallet after downloading it and spending the initial $30 signup bonus. Most downloads occurred last September, when Bitcoin was first authorized for use in El Salvador allongside the dollar, and virtually no one has installed Chivo on their phone in 2022, according to the study.
Bitcoin Fans Find Solace in Idea It Won’t Always Trade Like Tech; Relationship with Nasdaq 100 is near the tightest on record; Uber bull Michael Saylor preaches patience as rout deepens
Vildana Hajric – Bloomberg
Bitcoin may be behaving even more like a tech stock in recent months, but crypto diehards are promising things aren’t always going to be like this. The world’s largest cryptocurrency fell as much as 6.1% Tuesday to trade below $38,000, the lowest since mid-March, a move that closely mirrored the decline in the U.S. stock market, where tech stocks lost almost 4%. But Bitcoin won’t always behave this way — soon, it will start to chart its own path, or so promises MicroStrategy Inc.’s Michael Saylor.
Coinbase CEO Calls Musk’s Twitter Deal ‘Great Win’ for Free Speech
Luke McGrath – Bloomberg
Coinbase Global Inc. Chief Executive Brian Armstrong is the latest high-profile tech executive to praise Elon Musk’s move to buy Twitter, calling the deal “a great win for free speech” and predicting that it could prove more transformative than people think. The social media platform agreed on Monday to accept the Tesla chief’s $44 billion privatization offer, sparking reaction — both positive and negative — from politicians to CEOs.
Crypto ETF Roll Out in Australia Hits Snag in Inaugural Push; Cosmos Asset Management, 21Shares funds both hit with delays; Cboe Australia says ‘standard checks’ are still being done
Tanzeel Akhtar – Bloomberg
Australians may have to wait a little longer for the debut of the nation’s first financial products offering direct expose to cryptocurrencies. Cboe Australia said in a statement Tuesday that “standard checks” prior to the launch of Cosmos Asset Management’s Cosmos Purpose Bitcoin Access ETF are still being completed and the fund will not commence trading Wednesday as anticipated. 21Shares AG, in partnership with ETF Securities, said its fund listing was also delayed.
Fort Worth Stakes Claim as First City to Ride Texas Crypto Boom; Three donated mining rigs will be run from city hall; Each rig seen consuming as much energy as a vacuum cleaner
Jialiang David Pan – Bloomberg
Fort Worth is jumping on the crypto bandwagon, with the North Texas city approving a plan to mine Bitcoin with computers located in city hall. Once known for being a trading post at the end of the Chisholm Trail, the now fifth-largest Texas municipality said it is the first city government in the U.S. to mine Bitcoin. Under a pilot program, the city will run three mining rigs donated by the Texas Blockchain Council, an industry trade group. The city estimates each machine will consume the same amount of energy as a household vacuum cleaner.
Crypto Pushes Identity and Gender Boundaries With Simp DAOs; Social stars are turning a profit from bucking gender norms; Influencers say flexible identities are good for business
Emily Nicolle – Bloomberg
In crypto, traditional markers of identity matter very little: many of the sector’s most successful participants operate entirely behind pseudonyms. Some are pushing the idea of flexible identities even further, using a combination of blockchain-based conventions and gender boundaries to build their brands and raise money. DAOs, or decentralized autonomous organizations, are the crypto world’s version of company-like entities. These blockchain-based communities allow members to contribute their time, skills and money in return for rewards like crypto tokens, and can be a means to organize around a single goal — like purchasing a copy of the U.S. Constitution.
It’s ‘Hollywood Liberal’ vs. ‘Wall Street Insider’ in Pennsylvania Negative-Ad Fight; Dr. Oz and former hedge-fund CEO David McCormick spend millions to tarnish each other in a key Senate GOP primary
Aaron Zitner and John McCormick – WSJ
Voters in Pennsylvania knew almost nothing about David McCormick and Mehmet Oz as political figures when the men started running for the Republican nomination to the Senate a few months ago. Since then, more than $37 million in largely negative advertising from the two candidates and their allies has gone a long way to filling the gaps. As a result, the contest features two front-runners with highly successful professional résumés but political profiles speckled with ad-driven doubts that have prevented either one from taking command of the race, polling and interviews with voters show.
Twitter in Elon’s Hands Is No Idle Distraction; The stakes are high for Elon Musk’s personal finances, his backers and Twitter’s status as the 21st century’s public square
Laura Forman and Aaron Back – WSJ
Elon Musk may like to kid around on Twitter, TWTR -3.91% but his impending ownership of the platform is no joke, to him or anyone else. Mr. Musk maintains his interest in Twitter isn’t about money, but empirically it very much is. Not only will the company now account for around a sixth of his net worth, the world’s largest, it will also put him in hock to creditors. His discourse on the platform—both strategic and slipshod—has for years earned him free publicity for his other wildly ambitious business ventures. Just how much the avian-themed microblogging service had to do with his wider success is debatable, but based on his intense interest in how it is managed, it seems safe to say he believes it was significant.
Elon Musk Stakes a $44 Billion Claim on the Future of Free Speech; Musk’s purchase of Twitter has sealed his bond with the American right—whether the platform’s left-leaning employees and users like it or not.
Max Chafkin – Bloomberg
When it began earlier this month, Elon Musk’s pursuit of Twitter Inc. had the tone of a prank. Soon it seemed to get slightly out of hand, then spiraled completely out of control, and finally culminated on April 25 with the world’s richest man agreeing to spend $44 billion for one of the most politically important technology companies in history. There have been bigger acquisitions in financial terms, but Twitter’s significance has always been out of line with its balance sheet. There’s never been a Silicon Valley deal quite like this one.
Madison Cawthorn implicated in potential insider trading scheme, experts say
Andrew Kerr – Washington Examiner
Rep. Madison Cawthorn may have violated federal insider trading laws as he hyped up an alleged pump-and-dump cryptocurrency scheme, multiple watchdog groups told the Washington Examiner. On Dec. 29, the beleaguered North Carolina congressman posed at a party with James Koutoulas, a hedge fund manager and the ringleader of the Let’s Go Brandon cryptocurrency, a meme coin set up in the wake of the chant mocking President Joe Biden.
‘Tomorrow, we go to the moon!’ Watchdogs say Madison Cawthorn might be guilty of insider trading
Walter Einenkel – Daily Kos
Rep. Madison Cawthorn is in the news again! No, not because he was busted for a second time trying to get on a plane with a loaded firearm. I mean, yes, yes that happened and was reported on today, but that’s not what this new news is! The Washington Examiner has put together a pretty damning bit of circumstantial evidence, brought to them by “multiple watchdog groups,” concerning Cawthorn being guilty of insider trading on a cryptocurrency stock.
Disney Muni Bonds Are a Bargain After DeSantis Blow, Analysts Says
Danielle Moran – Bloomberg
Bonds of Reedy Creek Improvement District, which was created in the 1960s for the development of Walt Disney World in Florida, fell last week after Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill that would dissolve the district in 2023 without further legislative action. “If bond prices tumble again this week or after, investors able to ride out the volatility and manage related customer communications have an opportunity to earn incremental income,” Municipal Market Analytics’s Matt Fabian and Lisa Washburn wrote in a note to clients dated Monday.
U.S., U.K. Seek ‘Ambitious Roadmap’ to Closer Trade Ties; Nations seek to boost trade, even with FTA talks frozen; U.K.’s Trevelyan meets Tai of U.S. in Aberdeen, Scotland
Alex Morales – Bloomberg
The U.K. and U.S. said they’re seeking to work quickly to tighten trade ties even as discussions on a free trade accord remain frozen. After a meeting in Aberdeen, Scotland, U.K. International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said they’d directed officials to “work at pace over the next several weeks to develop an ambitious roadmap with economically meaningful outcomes” for both nations.
Texas Republicans Bear Down on Wall Street Over Its Embrace of Climate Policies; Blackstone, Goldman among firms targeted by state comptroller; Texas officials want to root out firms they deem anti-energy
Shelly Hagan and Silla Brush – Bloomberg
Texas Republicans are intensifying their campaign against Wall Street’s embrace of sustainable investing. State Comptroller Glenn Hegar is demanding that more than 140 financial firms disclose their climate policies — and whether they restrict or prohibit doing business with energy companies. The firms include private equity giants such Blackstone Inc. and Apollo Global Management Inc. and lesser-known players like Angel Oak Capital Advisors.
Lael Brainard Wins Senate Confirmation to Be Fed Vice Chair; Political dispute, Covid-related absences affect timing; Fifth Fed nominee awaiting action by Banking Committee
Steven T. Dennis – Bloomberg
Lael Brainard was confirmed as vice chair of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors Tuesday in a 52-43 Senate vote, but a combination of Covid-related absences and a political spat threatens to delay three other Fed nominees. Brainard, 60, had been considered by President Joe Biden for the Fed’s top job before he chose to keep Jay Powell in that post. She won over four Republicans on the Banking Committee after a relatively friendly confirmation hearing, though most GOP senators still opposed her because of her views on regulation. Brainard had dissented from a number of moves to reduce the regulatory burden on banks in recent years.
Elon Musk says suspending NY Post from Twitter was ‘incredibly inappropriate’
Jesse O’Neill – NY Post
Elon Musk said Twitter’s move to ban The New York Post’s exclusive story about Hunter Biden’s overseas business dealings ahead of the 2020 presidential election was “obviously incredibly inappropriate.” Musk, who is set to buy the social media platform, wrote his opinion Tuesday evening in response to reporter Saagar Enjeti, who tweeted a Politico article about how the social media company’s top lawyer was brought to tears when discussing its new ownership.
New York State Assembly Passes Bill Blocking New Crypto Mines That Use Non-Renewable Power; The bill will impose a two-year moratorium on new crypto mining firms that use a carbon-based energy source. Existing facilities aren’t affected, nor are any that tap renewable resources.
Nikhilesh De – CoinDesk
The New York Assembly passed a bill to block new crypto mining facilities using non-renewable energy sources from setting up shop in the Empire state. Assembly bill A7389C, sponsored by Democrat Anna Kelles, will impose a two-year moratorium on new crypto mining firms that use a carbon-based energy source. A corresponding bill is working its way through the state Senate. An assembly committee had voted on Monday to advance the bill to a full vote of the legislative body.
GOP Leaders Remain Shackled to Donald Trump; In private, they say they know the 2020 election wasn’t stolen. But they refuse to say it in public.
Gerard Baker – WSJ
If the revelation that an ambitious politician says one thing to one audience and another to somebody else comes as a shock to you, you might want to get out more. While the sheer scale and quantity of their falsehoods lead to speculation that politicians are born with a particular laryngeal feature that facilitates speech from both sides of the mouth, it’s only because of the very public nature of their work that their mendacity gets so much attention.
City minister seeks to calm fears over job moves to EU after Brexit; John Glen trumpets ‘modest’ losses of 7,000 financial service roles from UK financial centre
Daniel Thomas – FT
Britain’s City minister has agreed with estimates that about 7,000 jobs moved from the Square Mile to the EU after Brexit, but added that the financial services sector “has not experienced the haemorrhaging” of roles that many had anticipated. John Glen, economic secretary to the Treasury and City minister, said on Tuesday that he broadly accepted calculations by consultancy group EY that thousands of financial services jobs had been transferred from the British capital to rival European cities due to the UK leaving the bloc.
Boris Johnson plays down fears of nuclear war with Russia
Claudia Rowan – The Telegraph
Boris Johnson has said he does not share concerns that Vladimir Putin will use tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine as he suffers more losses. “The incredible thing about the continuing conflict is that the Russian public overwhelmingly back Putin,” he told Talk TV’s Tom Newton Dunn. “Therefore, he has far more political margin for manoeuvre within Russia than that argument would necessarily allow for.”
Reports: Sweden and Finland agree to apply for NATO membership at the same time
Magdalena Andersson – The Week
Finland and Sweden are preparing to simultaneously submit membership applications to NATO, and could do so as early as mid-May, Nordic media organizations reported Monday. The Finnish newspaper Iltalehti reports that Sweden “suggested the two countries indicate their willingness to join” the alliance on the same day, and Finland agreed “as long as the Swedish government has made its decision.”
NATO Needs to Seal the Deal with Sweden and Finland Fast; Membership would make the two countries safer and the alliance stronger. But there’s a time window of vulnerability.
Andreas Kluth – Bloomberg
Rather like children in playgrounds, countries throughout history have had to decide how to deal with a bully. Appease him in the hope that he becomes meek? Avoid provoking him, at the cost of acquiescing to his brutality? Or counter with strength and willpower to stop and contain him?
SEC Charges Archegos and its Founder with Massive Market Manipulation Scheme
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged Sung Kook (Bill) Hwang, the owner of family office Archegos Capital Management, LP (Archegos), with orchestrating a fraudulent scheme that resulted in billions of dollars in losses. The SEC also charged Archegos’s Chief Financial Officer, Patrick Halligan; head trader, William Tomita; and Chief Risk Officer, Scott Becker for their roles in the fraudulent scheme.
“The Name’s Bond:” Remarks at City Week
Gary Gensler – SEC
Thank you. It’s good to be with City Week again. As is customary, I’d like to note that my views are my own, and I am not speaking on behalf of the Commission or SEC staff.
Since we are in London (at least virtually), I wanted to note that this year marks the 60th anniversary of the first James Bond film. I know there are various commemorations of this storied franchise going on in the U.K., but I want to focus my remarks on the lead character’s name.
Bond. James Bond.
FMA warns about an imposter website: thelionhub.xyz
Financial Markets Authority
We are concerned that thelionhub.xyz (the website) is involved in a scam.
We have received complaint about this website unreasonably withholding client funds and asking for withdrawal fees*.
Investing and Trading
Alphabet Losing $215 Billion in Market Value This Month
Subrat Patnaik and Ryan Vlastelica – Bloomberg
Google owner Alphabet Inc. is down about 13% in April, erasing $237 billion in market value as jittery investors dump growth stocks amid fears of bigger and faster rate hikes thanks to rising inflation. One constant in the turmoil: analysts’ enthusiasm, with zero sell and hold recommendations among the 54 covering the stock. None of the other megacaps can boast that profile — even Amazon.com Inc., once the highest-rated tech behemoth, has one hold and one sell rating to offset its 57 buys.
Churning Stocks Dealing Swift Punishment to Anyone Who Dares Buy
Lu Wang and Denitsa Tsekova – Bloomberg
Beset with slow and steady declines spread out over days and sometimes weeks, investors are being shaken out of their dip-buying stupor. In 2022, the average drop in the S&P 500 has lasted roughly 2 1/2 days, more than any year since 1974, while its returns following down sessions have been negative 0.2%. That’s also the worst in almost five decades.
World Bank forecasts war in Ukraine will cause ‘largest commodity shock’ since 1970s
Sarakshi Rai – The Hill
The World Bank said Tuesday that the war in Ukraine will result in the “largest commodity shock” since the 1970s and will keep prices at “historically high” levels until at least 2024. In its Commodity Markets Outlook report, the World Bank said that conflict in Eastern Europe will mean that prices remain high in the medium term. Already prices are expected to be significantly higher in 2022 than the previous year.
FANGs and the Euro Crash Into Crises of Expectations; The ECB can’t keep up with Fed-level rate hikes, while Alphabet’s tumble confirms loss of faith in the big internet platforms.
John Authers – Bloomberg
Scylla, meet Charybdis. The euro dropped to a five-year low against the dollar during Tuesday trading, falling further than during the worst of Covid panic in March 2020. It adds pressure exactly when it’s not needed on the European Central Bank, and on investors in European assets:
Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance
Harvard Pledges $100 Million to Address Its Historical Ties to Slavery; Donors benefited from slavery and professors gave credence to racial superiority theories over the school’s 400-year history.
Ella Ceron – Bloomberg
Harvard University is earmarking $100 million to study and make amends for its history of and ties to slavery, as well as the perpetuation of racist eugenics by some of its past faculty. The school’s president, Lawrence S. Bacow, announced the fund in a letter on Tuesday. A report by an internal committee details the legacy of slavery at Harvard through the school’s nearly 400-year history, noting that past Harvard leaders and faculty enslaved over 70 Black and Indigenous people between the school’s founding in 1636 and 1783, when slavery was outlawed in Massachusetts. The report also chronicles the way in which some past presidents and faculty engaged in abusive and racist practices under the guise of scholarship.
Harvard Pledges $100 Million to Redress Ties to Slavery; New report says Ivy League university profited from slavery during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries through its financial connection to donors
Camille Furst – WSJ
Harvard University has pledged $100 million to redress its historical ties to slavery. The announcement Tuesday coincides with the university’s release of a 134-page report detailing its connections to slavery, segregation and discrimination. The Ivy League school’s faculty and staff enslaved more than 70 Black people between its founding in 1636 and 1783, when slavery became outlawed in Massachusetts, according to the report. The university also profited from slavery during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries through its financial connection to donors, some of whom are memorialized on campus. Those donors helped the university build its national reputation, the report said.
Schroders overhauls ‘anachronistic’ ownership structure to improve ESG; Move to give all shares voting rights comes as asset managers find their own governance under scrutiny
Harriet Agnew – FT
Schroders plans to scrap an “anachronistic” ownership structure that has deprived some shareholders of voting rights, as one of the UK’s largest asset managers tries to burnish its governance credentials. Under a plan laid out on Tuesday, Schroders said that each of the company’s non-voting shares, which account for a quarter of the total in issue, will be converted into an ordinary share carrying voting rights.
Nature’s Vault Acquires Mining Rights To Pistol Lake Gold Deposit
Acquisition Marks the First Property to be Tokenized on Novel ESG Finance Platform
Nature’s Vault, a blockchain based ESG finance platform designed to accelerate the funding of impact investments combating climate change and ecosystem damage, today announced that it has acquired the mining rights to an estimated 150,699 ounces of gold in the JF West Deposit of Pistol Lake, located in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The historical mineral resource estimate for the JF West Deposit is based on a cut-off grade of 1.0 g/t and backed by a NI 43-101 Technical Report issued in 2010, which Nature’s Vault is currently updating.
Qontigo strengthens fixed income models suite with enhanced credit spread model
Qontigo, a leading provider of innovative risk, analytics, and index solutions, has enhanced its Axioma Credit Spread Factor Risk Model (Credit Factor Model) with the addition of credit default swaps (CDS) and increased factor coverage. The model results in better risk forecasting for asset managers, asset owners and hedge funds with portfolio exposure in the high yield and investment grade space.
MUFG to cut remittance fees between Thailand, Indonesia by over 80%; Japan financial group to connect Ayudhya and Danamon banks
TOKYO — Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group will offer a cross-border money transfer service at around one-sixth the cost of the existing service, as the Japanese bank joins the fray in the low-cost money transfer business. The service will initially be offered to corporate customers in Southeast Asia, starting Wednesday, enabling them to send as much as $100,000 instantaneously via online banking. The service will be provided through two MUFG units, Bank of Ayudhya in Thailand and Bank Danamon in Indonesia. MUFG uses application programming interface or API, to connect the two banks, allowing customers in Indonesia to send money to Thailand.
Citi Investors Reject Oil, Gas Loan Limits as Climate Activists Gather at HQ
Jenny Surane – Bloomberg
Just 12.8% of shareholders voted in favor of the measure, according to a preliminary tally at the company’s virtual annual meeting Tuesday. Investors also rejected proposals that would have required the company to examine how it treats Indigenous people and review its efforts to become an anti-racist institution. “It’s not feasible for the global economy or for human health or livelihoods to shut down the fossil-fuel economy overnight,” Chief Executive Officer Jane Fraser said at the meeting. “The transition needs to be accelerated, but it also needs to be managed to minimize the shock to our economy and our communities.”
Banks Face Losses as They Finalize Latest Sale of Morrison Debt; Notes being offered at discount of 89% of face value; Goldman Sachs, BNP Paribas, others are finalizing private sale
Claire Ruckin and Silas Brown – Bloomberg
Banks are finalizing a private sale of another part of the 6.6 billion pound ($8.3 billion) debt backing the buyout of Wm Morrison Supermarkets PLC. If it goes through, they’ll lose their fees for the deal and then some. Goldman Sachs, BNP Paribas and others are selling a 1.2 billion pound tranche of top-ranked bonds to direct lenders and credit funds, according to people familiar with the matter who asked to remain anonymous because the discussions are private. The notes, which pay interest of 5.5%, are being offered at a discount of around 89% of face value, they added.
Canada’s Oil Sands Need C$65 Billion to Hit 2030 Climate Goals; Industry is trying to reduce emissions even as demand soars; Countries hoping Canadian crude can offset Russian exports
Robert Tuttle – Bloomberg
Canada’s oil sands companies will need a massive amount of capital spending over several years to simultaneously meet domestic emissions targets while continuing to supply oil to a world looking for alternatives to Russian crude, according to Royal Bank of Canada economists. Oil sands producers will have to invest between C$45 billion ($35.1 billion) and C$65 billion between 2024 and 2030 to deploy a sufficient amount of carbon capture technology to meet climate goals, RBC economists Colin Guldimann and Yadullah Hussain wrote in a report on Tuesday. That technology is necessary to reduce emissions by the 22-million-ton target established by the Oil Sands Pathways Initiative, an alliance of the largest oil sands producers that seeks to zero out emissions from operations by 2050, the bank said.
UK banks need pushing to recover Covid business loans, say MPs; Report accuses BEIS of being ‘complacent in preventing fraud’ over bounce back scheme
Daniel Thomas – FT
MPs have urged ministers to use legal, regulatory and contractual means to ensure banks do their utmost to minimise taxpayer losses under one of the government’s flagship Covid-19 loan schemes for small companies. In a report published on Wednesday, the House of Commons public accounts committee also accused the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) of being “complacent in preventing fraud” on the state-backed bounce back loan scheme. MPs said the BEIS was “placing too much reliance on lenders to minimise taxpayer losses” but found the scheme’s design does not incentivise banks to do this.
Bank of Ireland chief Francesca McDonagh to quit as pay cap bites; Banker joins exodus over EUR500,000 limit on executive pay imposed after country’s banking crisis
Jude Webber – FT
Francesca McDonagh has announced her surprise decision to step down as chief executive of Bank of Ireland, the country’s biggest lender, in what industry sources say is the latest high-profile casualty of a cap on top executives’ pay. The bank, which was rescued along with Ireland’s other lenders in the eurozone’s biggest banking bailout after the financial crisis more than a decade ago, said McDonagh would be leaving her post in September.
The World’s First ETP Betting on Both Bitcoin and Gold Is Here; Product blends the ‘best of the old and new worlds of finance’; SEC remains hostile to idea of a physically backed Bitcoin ETF
Denitsa Tsekova – Bloomberg
The first ever exchange-traded product combining Bitcoin and gold has launched in Europe — offering the twin prospect of long-term returns and inflation protection, at least in theory. The novel ETP aims to bring together “the best of the old and new worlds of finance” by betting on the portfolio hedging power of gold along with the “strong” returns of the most well-known crypto token, the issuing parties said in a statement.
Deutsche Bank Slumps as Cost Headwinds Pile Up for Sewing; Lender flags headwinds from wage inflation, regulatory levies; Cost concerns overshadow 15% jump in fixed-income trading
Steven Arons – Bloomberg
Deutsche Bank AG slumped as rising wages and regulatory levies revived concerns that Chief Executive Officer Christian Sewing will struggle to contain expenses. Germany’s largest lender fell as much as 6.7% in Frankfurt trading, after signaling that cost reductions targeted for this year are being eaten up partly by wage inflation and regulatory levies. The deteriorating cost picture overshadowed revenue gains across all operating divisions, including a strong performance in the trading unit, which beat Wall Street peers with gains of 15% in fixed-income trading.
JP Morgan to offer clients clearing of CSD index options through ICE; ICE Clear Credit announces the expansion of its index option clearing services to include JP Morgan.
Jonathan Watkins – The Trade
Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) has added JP Morgan as a partner who will offering clearing services for client-executed Credit Default Swap (CDS) Index Options. JP Morgan will deliver its clients the service via ICE Clear Credit.
Deutsche Bank smashes Q2 earnings with highest profit since 2013; The bank is the latest institution to post a strong performance on the back of high trading desk volumes but CEO warns that the future could still hold challenges.
Laurie McAughtry – The Trade
Deutsche Bank has delivered its highest quarter of profit since 2013, recording a 4% jump in profit before tax in the first quarter to reach EUR1.7 billion with net profit up 18% to EUR1.2 billion, placing the bank in a strong position for the rest of the year.
We’re Fighting Covid With Faulty Data; Measurements of illnesses and vaccinations haven’t kept up with the changing nature of the pandemic.
Drew Armstrong – Bloomberg
In early January the state of Massachusetts added a new set of figures to its Covid-19 dashboard. Two years into the pandemic, it began to draw a distinction between people who were hospitalized because of the virus and people who were there for other reasons but also happened to be infected. Nothing changed inside the hospitals’ walls—a Covid-positive patient there because of a car crash still had to be isolated. But the effect on the state’s numbers was dramatic. It cut them in half.
Vice President Harris Taking Pfizer’s Paxlovid to Treat Covid; Administration begins program to supply drug to pharmacies; Harris not considered to have been in close contact with Biden
Justin Sink – Bloomberg
Vice President Kamala Harris will take Pfizer Inc.’s Paxlovid Covid-19 therapy pill after testing positive for the virus earlier Tuesday, a treatment decision coinciding with the Biden administration’s push to expand access to the medication. Harris, 57, decided to start the treatment “after consultation with her physicians,” spokeswoman Kirsten Allen said in a tweet. Harris tested positive for the coronavirus earlier Tuesday but was not exhibiting symptoms of the disease, her office said. She spent the previous week in her home state of California and had not seen President Joe Biden since the April 18 White House Easter egg roll.
How China got its Covid policy wrong as millions shunned homegrown vaccine
Sarah Newey – The Telegraph
As 25m people in Shanghai enter their fourth week in stringent isolation, authorities are playing an increasingly desperate game of cat and mouse. But it’s not just omicron that they are attempting to stamp out. Chinese censors are battling to block an outpouring of online anger, including the “Voice of April” – a six-minute montage that documents the harsh realities of a lockdown that has turned the country’s financial capital into a ghost town.
China’s Biggest Covid Failure Is Not Deploying an mRNA Vaccine; Beijing refuses to allow Western shots even though development of homegrown ones lags.
Weeks into a Covid-19 outbreak in Shanghai that brought China’s financial hub to a standstill, the government of President Xi Jinping has demonstrated its willing to go to extremes in its quest to contain the virus. One thing Xi has so far been unwilling to do is deploy a powerful tool against the highly contagious omicron variant: mRNA vaccines. Those shots could reduce the chances of elderly and other vulnerable Chinese getting seriously ill or dying—and possibly help the country transition away from its “Covid Zero” stance.
More Than Half of People in U.S. Likely Had Covid-19, CDC Says; An estimated 58% of people had infection-induced antibodies by February, a study shows
Brianna Abbott – WSJ
Nearly 60% of people in the U.S., including three in four children, exhibited signs of previous Covid-19 infection as of February, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report said. The estimated proportion of people in the U.S. with detectable, infection-induced antibodies jumped from 34% in December 2021 to 58% by February 2022, according to a study the CDC released Tuesday, highlighting the reach of the winter Omicron surge that washed over the country.
DJI Becomes Most Prominent Chinese Firm to Halt Russia Business; DJI is the highest-profile Chinese firm to pull out of region; China’s stance on Russia has drawn fire around the world
Drone-maker SZ DJI Technology Co. has halted all business activities in Russia and Ukraine, becoming the highest-profile Chinese company to withdraw from the war-torn region. The world’s largest producer of unmanned aerial vehicles is temporarily suspending business to comply with regulations in various jurisdictions, it said in a brief statement without elaborating. Its pullout follows U.S. sanctions on Russia for invading Ukraine, which Washington has threatened to enforce broadly.
Can Japan Keep the Lights On? The Ukraine War Upends a Big Energy Bet; The world’s third-largest economy has counted on imported liquefied natural gas as it shuts coal-fired plants and keeps nuclear sites closed. But Russia’s invasion has pushed prices sharply higher.
Ben Dooley and Hisako Ueno – NY Times
In 2018, when the power company Hope Energy entered Japan’s new retail electricity market, it thought it had a surefire strategy. Wholesale energy was becoming ever cheaper as liquefied natural gas flooded global markets. Hope Energy would sell competitively priced electricity contracts to local governments and public facilities, undercutting Japan’s old-line power companies, which had long prioritized stable supplies over cost.
Africa’s Richest Man Is Betting $21 Billion on Oil and Fertilizer
Anthony Osae-Brown – Bloomberg
When Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest person, decided to construct a refinery in southern Nigeria on a plot of swampland almost half the size of Manhattan, he turned to a man who’s helped him transform a small trading company into an industrial empire spanning the continent.
The Hottest Places to Live Now Are Often the Most Affordable; In The Wall Street Journal/Realtor.com Emerging Housing Markets Index, Rapid City, S.D., metro area ranks No. 1 for quarter
Nicole Friedman – WSJ
Less expensive cities with strong local economies climbed The Wall Street Journal/Realtor.com Emerging Housing Markets Index in the first quarter, another sign that many home buyers are giving priority to affordability. Fast-rising housing prices have pushed buyers from expensive coastal cities into cheaper housing markets in recent years. Expanded remote-work opportunities and a search for different lifestyles during the Covid-19 pandemic have accelerated the trend.
BA flight cancellations extended to June; Airlines have been forced to trim schedules owing to staff shortages
Philip Georgiadis – FT
British Airways is to cut flights until the end of June — a month longer than expected — to help it through the wave of disruption hitting the travel industry. Airlines have been forced to cancel flights over the past month as they have struggled to rehire sufficient staff to cope with increased demand as border restrictions have eased and people have started travelling again in significant numbers. BA’s chief executive Sean Doyle told staff on Tuesday that the airline would trim its flight schedules until the end of June to help inject greater resilience into its operations and make its schedules more reliable.
London’s Long-Distance Office Commuters Are Staying at Home
Christopher Jasper – Bloomberg
Passenger volumes on commuter trains into London have stalled at 30% below pre-pandemic levels as large numbers of office staff continue to work from home, according to operator Go-Ahead Group Plc. Bus ridership in London has reached 80% of the 2019 figure, boosted by blue collar workers — who have less flexibility — and people making local shopping and leisure trips, Chief Executive Officer Christian Schreyer said in an interview. Go-Ahead operates municipal bus services across the U.K., including about a quarter of the London fleet.
Lisbon, Miami and Dubai Ranked Best Places to Work for High Earners; Portuguese city is top for remote senior staff, Savills says; Low cost of living is luring in foreign buyers, research shows
Damian Shepherd – Bloomberg
For the wave of executives turning into digital nomads since the pandemic, there’s nowhere more accommodating than Lisbon. That’s according to research by real estate broker Savills Plc, which ranked 15 prime residential markets by their appeal to long-term remote workers. The Portuguese capital’s sunny climate and low cost of living has led to an influx of residents who are now able to log into work from anywhere.