Crypto bank Silvergate plunges after warning on ability to survive

Mar 2, 2023

First Read

Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

The JohnLothianNews.com website was hit with a credit carding attack, which is when someone steals a bunch of credit cards and then tests them on some website to see if they work. There have been roughly 40,000 cards that ran through our BrainTree subscription service, and each was charged $14.91. Only about 200 of the cards actually worked and we have refunded the funds to the card owners.

We have also instituted additional fraud protection, including a Captcha function, in order to prevent this type of carding attack in the future. The attacker is just trying to see if the cards work so they can use them for larger purchases. None of those impacted appear to be readers of JLN. I was contacted by two people yesterday about the attack, which is what drew our attention to it. We took corrective actions, and apologized. Cybercriminals are getting more and more sophisticated and we are going to step up our defenses even more as a result.

It was 2012 when I was in Budapest for the AFM conference and now the conference, AFM25, the 25th gathering of AFM members, is back in this beautiful and storied city. The conference takes place June 6 to 7 at the Budapest Marriott Hotel.

It was at this event in 2012 that Pat Kenny caught me napping in the back of a session and snapped an incriminating picture. It was also at this event in 2012 that Pat showed up at the gala event in a tuxedo, and he was the only one so attired. After a conversation at the bar about his various career escapades, I branded him “The Most Interesting Man in the World.” And it has stuck, and he has played it up since then.

Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX) today announced it will open an office in London in the first half of 2023, expanding the Group’s international reach.

The story with the headline of the day is from the Financial Times. The headline is: “The name’s Bond. Callable bond; Leave the bullets at home.”

Your chance to trade with or against CNBC host Jim Cramer’s market picks is now available. A pair of ETFs debut tracking stock calls of the CNBC anchor, based on his show and Twitter account, Bloomberg reported.

For sale: partly used 2023 Dilbert calendar.

Have a great day and stay safe and treat people the same way you want to be treated: with respect, equality and justice.~JJL

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More than 110 stock exchanges in events around the world will demonstrate their support for women’s rights and gender equality around International Women’s Day, March 8. The UN Women’s theme for International Women’s Day 2023 is “DigitAll: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality.” The theme recognizes the contribution of women and girls around the world, who are leading the charge on climate change adaptation to build a more sustainable future for all. View the list of participating exchanges or register your exchange event here. ~SAED

February News Highlights, the monthly newsletter from the UN Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative (SSE), includes news from the 121 stock and 13 derivatives exchanges committed to ESG and sustainable investment. It also includes news about upcoming events, regulatory actions and ESG indices and products. SSE is a UN Partnership Programme that envisions a world where capital market signals align with public policy goals on sustainable development. You can sign up for the newsletter here. ~SAED

A report released today by the International Energy Agency (IEA), “CO2 Emissions in 2022,” found that Global CO2 emissions rose less than initially feared in 2022 as clean energy growth offset much of the impact of greater coal and oil use. Renewables, EVs, heat pumps, efficiency and other factors reined in CO2 rise in 2022, the report found. Although the rise in global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions rose by under 1% in 2022, far less than the jump of more than 6% in 2021, emissions continue on an unsustainable growth trajectory. Explore the report’s findings and download a copy here.~SAED

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Tooth Fairy inflation: How much lost teeth are worth increases to record high
Kelly Tyko – Axios
Even the Tooth Fairy isn’t immune to inflation: The value of a single lost tooth is at a record high, with the average gift reaching $6.23, up from $5.36 in 2022. Driving the news: That’s a whopping 379% increase from 1998 when a lost tooth fetched $1.30 on average.
/jlne.ws/3ZyLbXc

****** I think this story is baloney. Who has cash to put under kids pillows? Do they take credit cards?~JJL

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Working in Chicago is stressful – but it’s nothing compared to some smaller U.S. cities
Jack Grieve – Crain’s Chicago Business
Working in Chicago is stressful, but it’s not nearly as bad as some other U.S. cities. That’s according to a recent study from LLC.org that evaluated various stress-related factors of workers in more than 170 cities. Chicago ranked No. 20 on the list. The rankings are based on eight equally weighted measures.
/jlne.ws/3ZcMeg1

****** Working from home in Elmhurst is decidedly less stressful.~JJL

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Chicago area scores No. 1 ranking for business relocations, expansion; Central U.S. location and a deep labor pool help Chicago snare top honor from Site Selection magazine for 10th year in a row.
David Roeder – Chicago Sun-Times
Yankees? Celtics? Jordan-era Bulls? Step aside, all. For the 10th straight year, the Chicago area is No. 1, not in a mere sport, but in the standings of Site Selection magazine. Among large metro areas in the U.S., the Chicago region in 2022 again recorded the most business relocations and expansions, the publication said. The honors from Site Selection have for years given civic boosters a rejoinder against critics who argue that crime and taxes are combining to push companies out of the region and state. Many point to the departures of big employers such as Caterpillar and Citadel as examples. Boeing also is frequently cited, although its headquarters move from Chicago involved few jobs being shifted.
/jlne.ws/3SJbms1

****** This story seems to be from some kind of time warp from an earlier time.~JJL

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Elon Musk’s Twitter is dying a slow and tedious death; The social media platform is becoming much less interesting
Jemima Kelly – Financial Times
If Elon Musk is right about Twitter being crucial to the future of civilisation, then things are looking bleak for us all. Outages are on the rise, advertising revenues have plunged, and a company that had a 7,500-strong workforce just four months ago now employs just 2,000, after yet another round of job cuts.
/jlne.ws/3KPTXMt

*****Twitter is an important tool for JLN. I hope Elon does not strangle it to death too soon.~JJL

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AI Hype Comes to Crypto; AI-linked crypto tokens are surging in popularity.
Sharon Beriro – Bloomberg
Most crypto enthusiasts pride themselves on being tech visionaries. After all, they were among the first to back innovative blockchain technologies and even embrace Web3 and NFTs. Now, there’s a new innovation capturing the public imagination, and generating buzz in the crypto world: It’s ChatGPT. Late last year, OpenAI’s new chatbot sparked a conversation about the future of artificial intelligence. And lately, it’s been grabbing attention with its ability to craft human-like responses and even ace an exam from Wharton.
/jlne.ws/3m7KPIL

****** Here is a clear case of if you can’t dazzle them with your brilliance, baffle them with your B.S.~JJL

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Wednesday’s Top Three
Our top three stories Wednesday were all about the Chicago mayoral election. Number one was Why Lori Lightfoot Is the First Chicago Mayor to Lose Re-Election in 40 Years, from The Wall Street Journal. Second was Chicago mayor loses re-election bid after race dominated by crime, from the Financial Times. And third was Lightfoot Is First Chicago Mayor to Lose Reelection in 40 Years, from Bloomberg. We still don’t have a mayor; there will be a runoff on April 4 between Brandon Johnson, a member of the Cook County Board of Commissioners, and Paul Vallas, the former head of Chicago Public Schools.

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MarketsWiki Stats
27,225 pages; 243,231 edits
MarketsWiki Statistics

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Lead Stories

Crypto bank Silvergate plunges after warning on ability to survive; Shares of California-based lender almost halve after revealing capital position has deteriorated
Joshua Franklin – Financial Times
Shares of crypto-focused bank Silvergate shed almost half their value in pre-market trading on Thursday after the lender said it was evaluating its ability to survive as a going concern. California-based Silvergate, one of just a few US banks to focus heavily on crypto, has been hit hard by the recent collapse of digital token prices and the implosion of Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX empire, which was a banking client.
/jlne.ws/3Zh5CbM

Silvergate’s Big Crypto Losses Feed Watchdogs’ Worst Fears
Max Reyes – Bloomberg
For months, US authorities have been racing to sever ties between banks and risky crypto ventures, worried the financial system could someday suffer serious losses. They may have been too late. In the starkest warning yet by a US bank catering to the sector, Silvergate Capital Corp. said Wednesday it needs more time to assess the extent of damage to its finances stemming from last year’s crypto rout – including whether it can remain viable. The shares plunged about 30% in premarket trading on Thursday.
/jlne.ws/3mhGxyO

Worldpay and FIS: the ‘original sin’ that tore up a $43bn merger; Integration was difficult but the deal itself had always been misguided
James Fontanella-Khan and Nicholas Megaw and Ivan Levingston – Financial Times
Since it was founded by former UK policeman Nick Ogden, Worldpay has been passed at great cost between a series of owners. Now, more than a quarter of a century later, the payments processor’s fortunes are back in its own hands. US financial technology group FIS last month announced plans to spin off Worldpay just four years after paying $43bn for the group in a deal now seen as the high watermark for the consolidation then gripping the payments industry.
/jlne.ws/41FXDX0

London Dealmakers Say Move to Wall Street From The City Is Just Starting; Executives lured by higher valuations and better pay; Flutter aiming to relocate as CRH snubs the City for New York
Dinesh Nair, Sabah Meddings and Sagarika Jaisinghani – Bloomberg
London’s public companies are looking to New York as a preferable market for listing their shares, with City dealmakers handling frequent inquiries from clients asking how they could shift across the Atlantic. Just this week, it was revealed that two major companies had picked the US for their main listings ahead of London – CRH Plc, one of Europe’s biggest building materials companies, and Softbank-owned Arm Ltd., a jewel of Britain’s technology industry. It was the latest blow to the UK’s Conservative government which says it’s determined for London to prosper post-Brexit.
/jlne.ws/3KQ1jzK

Goolsbee’s Appointment at Chicago Fed Points to Rising Political Tension at Central Bank
Craig Torres and Bill Allison – Bloomberg
The recent appointment of a prominent Democratic economist to lead the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago is fueling friction over political partisanship in the US central bank. Austan Goolsbee became president of the Chicago Fed in January, but only after a contentious hiring process. Bloomberg News reported Feb. 17 that two of the Fed’s Washington-based board, both of whom had been nominated for their roles by then-President Donald Trump, took the rare step of abstaining from supporting the appointment.
/jlne.ws/3ZClyFj

Joe Biden expected to issue first presidential veto in anti-ESG vote; Move comes as two Democratic senators side with Republicans in opposing new rule for fund managers
Lauren Fedor and James Politi – Financial Times
Joe Biden is on course to issue the first veto of his presidency after two Democratic senators sided with Republican lawmakers in opposing a White House rule that allows fund managers to consider environmental, social and governance factors in their investment decisions. Jon Tester, a Democratic senator from Montana, on Wednesday afternoon said he would join fellow Democrat Joe Manchin in voting to roll back a US labour department rule that allows retirement plan fiduciaries to include ESG considerations in their investments.
/jlne.ws/3kxSMqw

London Stock Exchange chief shrugs off UK companies switching listings to US; It ‘is what it is’ says David Schwimmer as spate of groups consider London exits
Nikou Asgari – Financial Times
The chief executive of the London Stock Exchange Group has shrugged off an escalating series of moves by UK companies to shift their listings from London to the US, as the world’s largest building materials group dealt the latest blow by planning to ditch its listing. Asked about the decision by CRH on Thursday, David Schwimmer said: “If companies are going to make decisions when most of their business is in the US, that sort of is what it is.”
/jlne.ws/3ZCLmB7

European banks explore shift to single-day trade settlement; Move comes as US prepares to shorten clearing period in 2024
Nikou Asgari – Financial Times
European banks and brokers are exploring halving the two-day window to finalise share trades to avoid falling behind the US in a race to upgrade the plumbing of global capital markets. The Association for Financial Markets in Europe, which represents banks and brokers, will set up a new industry group to assess the practicality of settling millions of securities deals in a single day across the region.
/jlne.ws/3YaRRd7

HSBC Russia ETF closure leaves only one in Europe; FinEx Capital Management says it does not plan to close its suspended Russian RTS Equity ETF
Dom Lawson – Financial Times
The decision by HSBC Asset Management to close its Russia equity exchange traded fund means there is only one such product open in Europe. FinEx Capital Management told Ignites Europe it did not plan to close its Russian RTS Equity ETF, which has been suspended since March last year following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
/jlne.ws/3KOdYDa

FCA confirms tender process for UK consolidated tape; The UK watchdog today confirmed its decision to go with a single CT model chosen by tender process; while the European Parliament has finally come down in favour of the Mifir/Mifid II amendments suggested by MEP Danuta Hubner last year. Could a consolidated tape finally be on the cards?
Laurie McAughtry – The Trade
The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) today communicated to market participants and trade associations its plans to move forward with a single consolidated tape (CT) model, The TRADE can reveal.
/jlne.ws/3y8o8ah

Competition in wholesale data market is not working, first phase of FCA investigation finds; UK watchdog report finds that some markets are concentrated among just a few firms, leaving little choice for institutions, while the data selling process is too complex.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Following the launch of its investigation into the wholesale data markets last year, the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has found that competition within them is not working. In its phase one report, the UK watchdog concluded that some trading markets are concentrated on too few firms, limiting choice for institutions and making switching suppliers difficult.
/jlne.ws/3IL7K4b

LSEG chief confirms plans for Blackstone buyback following strong 2022 results; The exchange group reported a 5.7% growth in total income, with CEO David Schwimmer calling it a “strong year” and highlighting the benefits of diversification.
Laurie McAughtry – The Trade
The diversification strategy undertaken by the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) is paying off, according to CEO David Schwimmer as he reported the group’s 2022 results today: highlighting broad-based growth and strong execution.
/jlne.ws/3EPE9Wj

Bankman-Fried Proposes Tech Consultants to Advise on Bail Terms
Chris Dolmetsch and Hadriana Lowenkron – Bloomberg
Sam Bankman-Fried offered the names of two technology consultants to help the judge on his criminal fraud case determine appropriate bail restrictions for the FTX co-founder. Edward Stroz was an FBI agent for more than 15 years and spent another two decades managing an international firm specializing in digital forensics and computer investigations, according to a resume that Bankman-Fried submitted to the Manhattan judge late Wednesday.
/jlne.ws/3KOYKh6

FTX Funds Were Used to Buy $3.5 MILLION Castle in the Czech Republic, Forbes Reports
Connor Sephton – CoinMarketCap
The news outlet says that the now-shuttered FTX Foundation donated $4.5 million to an obscure organization with ties to “effective altruism.” Sam Bankman-Fried had long claimed that he was a big believer in this movement, which champions philanthropy and encourages the rich to give away most of their wealth. The 30-year-old himself had long vowed to give away most of his fortune, but that vanished in the blink of an eye as FTX crashed into bankruptcy.
/jlne.ws/3YhTt4O

OCC Clears Record-Setting 10.38 Billion Total Contracts in 2022
OCC
OCC, the world’s largest equity derivatives clearing organization, announced today that 2022 set a new annual cleared contract volume record with 10.38 billion contracts cleared and an average daily volume of 41.3 million contracts. Compared to 2021, OCC had a 4.5 percent increase in total contracts cleared
/jlne.ws/3GFjs0o

Binance Can’t Keep Its Story Straight on Misplaced $1.8B USDC
David Z. Morris – CoinDesk
A new and detailed investigation by Forbes has raised significant questions about the management and custody of customer assets and stablecoin collateral by Binance. There are many possible explanations for the nature and intent of certain on-chain transactions highlighted by Forbes, and they could be entirely innocuous. But Binance’s so far confused and sometimes contradictory responses to the findings do not inspire confidence, particularly in a post-FTX era of rightfully widespread suspicion of centralized custodians with off-chain balance sheets.
/jlne.ws/3IL7gvf

Blackstone blocked investor withdrawals from $71 billion REIT in February
Chibuike Oguh – Reuters
Blackstone Inc said on Wednesday it had blocked investors from cashing out their investments at its $71 billion real estate income trust (BREIT) as the private equity firm continues to grapple with a flurry of redemption requests. BREIT said it fulfilled redemption requests of $1.4 billion in February, which represents only 35% of the approximately $3.9 billion in total withdrawal requests for the month, the firm said in a letter to investors.
/jlne.ws/3YcxPz0

Petrobras Payout Rewards Investors Who Ignored Lula Risk; To pay $6.9 billion in dividends on fourth quarter results; Shares have underperformed on fears of policy shift under Lula
Mariana Durao – Bloomberg
Petroleo Brasileiro SA posted a record full-year dividend in 2022, rewarding investors who stuck with Brazil’s state-controlled oil producer despite concerns about political intervention under President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. The company’s board has approved 35.8 billion reais ($6.9 billion) in dividends from the fourth quarter, the Rio de Janeiro-based producer said in a filing.
/jlne.ws/3ZyKj5a

Adani says it has $3bn credit line backed by sovereign wealth fund
Hudson Lockett, Kaye Wiggins, Mercedes Ruehl and Chloe Cornish – Financial Times
India’s Adani Group has told bondholders it has access to a $3bn credit line from backers including at least one sovereign wealth fund, as it tries to assuage concerns about its financial health in the wake of a damaging short seller report accusing it of fraud. Adani representatives confirmed the existence of the credit line with a sovereign wealth fund during meetings with bondholders this week in Singapore and Hong Kong, according to three people who attended the meetings. Adani officials declined to identify the sovereign fund, the people said.
/jlne.ws/3Yftefx

Healthcare CEO Faces Charges of Making Illicit Stock Sales in Prearranged Trades
Dave Michaels – CoinDesk
The founder of telehealth provider Ontrak was charged in a first-of-its-kind criminal insider-trading case, with prosecutors alleging he sold millions of dollars worth of stock while misusing a trading plan that executives normally deploy to shield themselves from such suspicions. Ontrak Chief Executive Terren Peizer set up the prearranged trading plans in May and August 2021, just before his company disclosed the loss of health insurer Cigna as a major customer, according to a federal grand-jury indictment unsealed Wednesday.
/jlne.ws/3YgnYIt

Carlyle deal to bolster buyout fund falls flat with investors; Offer would roll half of sale proceeds from older vehicle into new one
Antoine Gara, Kaye Wiggins and Tabby Kinder – Financial Times
A gambit to raise cash for Carlyle Group’s latest buyout fund has come up short, in a sign of continuing fundraising difficulties at the global private equity group. Carlyle has for months been pushing a complex deal that would raise money for its newest flagship vehicle while also giving investors in an older fund a chance to cash out. Investors got the chance to sell stakes in the earlier fund at a value of 81 cents on the dollar, on the condition that buyers ploughed half that amount into the new fund, known as Carlyle Partners VIII.
/jlne.ws/3J8K9fv

World’s Biggest Currency Crash Prompts Lebanon to Intervene Anew
Omar Tamo – Bloomberg
Lebanon’s central bank is taking a page from a playbook it’s used before to try and douse the currency crisis raging in the country for three years with a plan to price dollar sales at a weaker level than its own official exchange rate. In an announcement late on Wednesday, the central bank said it will intervene by selling dollar cash to individuals and companies at 70,000 pounds per US currency. That compares with the official exchange rate of 15,000, which will stay unchanged after the pound’s 90% devaluation a month ago. Policymakers will also cap demand for currency buyers and pay public sector employees at a more favorable rate. The pound gained after the latest decision, reaching about 80,000 per dollar in the black market.
/jlne.ws/3mkCiCz

Ukraine Invasion

Russian soldiers dying in large groups, pleading to Putin for help
CNN
CNN’s Erin Burnett reports on the desperation of Russian soldiers pleading for help due to the severity on the ground.
/jlne.ws/3SJHL20

Russia journal: Moscow mulls possible use of nuclear arms to fend off US attack -RIA
Reuters
A Russian defence ministry journal says Moscow is developing a new type of military strategy using nuclear weapons to protect against possible U.S. aggression, RIA news agency reported on Thursday. The article is the latest in a series of combative remarks by Russian politicians and commentators after the invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24 last year, suggesting Moscow would, if necessary, be prepared to deploy its vast nuclear arsenal.
/jlne.ws/3ZxegCt

Situation ‘critical’: Ukraine clings to Bakhmut as Russians advance
Reuters
Ukrainian forces hung onto their positions in the ruined eastern city of Bakhmut early on Thursday under constant attack from Russian troops seeking to claim their first major victory for more than half a year. Russia says seizing Bakhmut would open the way to fully controlling the rest of the strategic Donbas industrial region bordering Russia, one of the main objectives of its invasion a year ago on Feb. 24.
/jlne.ws/3kCaDfK

Chinese Weapons Could Sustain Russia’s War Effort in Ukraine
Alastair Gale and Brian Spegele – The Wall Street Journal
Military supplies from China would provide Russia with a lifeline in its Ukraine war effort, thanks to the compatibility of Chinese and Russian weapon systems and Beijing’s large military manufacturing base. U.S. officials say China is considering supplying artillery and drones to the Russian military as Moscow’s forces burn through ammunition and suffer from shortages of critical equipment.
/jlne.ws/3SED2yu

Kherson torture centres were planned by Russian state, say lawyers
Isobel Koshiw – The Guardian
Evidence collected from Kherson in southern Ukraine shows Russian torture centres were not “random” but instead planned and directly financed by the Russian state, according to a team of Ukrainian and international lawyers headed by a UK barrister. The city was under Russian control for eight months, from 2 March last year until Ukrainian forces entered the city on 11 November.
/jlne.ws/3mgRbFR

Russia says it is fighting ‘terrorist attack’ in region bordering Ukraine
Reuters
Russia said on Thursday it was fighting off a “terrorist attack” in the southern Bryansk region bordering Ukraine, where the local governor said a Ukrainian sabotage group had killed one person and news agencies said hostages had been taken. Ukraine accused Russia of staging a false “provocation”.
/jlne.ws/3mhokBh

Russia will be out of ‘military tools’ by spring, Ukraine’s top military spy says
Kim Hjelmgaard – USA TODAY
Russia will run out of “military tools” to achieve its war aims in Ukraine by the end of the spring, Ukraine’s top military intelligence official predicted in a USA TODAY interview. Maj. Gen. Kyrylo Budanov’s forecast comes amid considerable uncertainty about what the next phase of the war will look like as it moves into its second year. For weeks, Ukrainian officials had signaled that Russia was planning a major new offensive to coincide with the one-year anniversary of its invasion of Ukraine on Feb 24. A notable new offensive has yet to materialize.
/jlne.ws/3J6w4Px

Ukraine war live updates: Situation ‘critical’ in Bakhmut as retreat contemplated; Blinken and Lavrov meet briefly at G-20
Holly Ellyatt – CNBC
Russian forces appear to be tightening the noose around the city of Bakhmut in Donetsk, prompting military analysts in Ukraine to question whether a tactical withdrawal by Ukrainian forces must be seriously considered now. Standard Russian units and mercenary fighters belonging to the Wagner Group have been slowly advancing on the industrial city in eastern Ukraine since the start of the year, although fighting has been taking place around Bakhmut for seven months. Reports increasingly suggest routes into the city are being cut off as Russian forces encircle it.
/jlne.ws/3J66kCJ

In the Donbas, Russia’s vast numbers of troops weigh heavily on Ukraine’s defenders
Frank Langfitt – NPR
Max, a Ukrainian sniper, is oiling his rifle in the early morning sunlight, listening to AC/DC’s “Shook Me All Night Long” on his cellphone. The night before, Max and a reconnaissance team were operating in enemy territory where they cleared a trench of six Russian troops that a fellow soldier had killed with a machine gun. Andriy, the team leader, lays out the contents of the dead men’s green backpacks on the ground, outside the Ukrainian team’s safe house in the country’s eastern Donbas region.
/jlne.ws/3IGTLwo

Strike the heart of Russia and watch its resolve crumble
Con Coughlin – The Telegraph
From the moment Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, launched his unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, there has been a distinct feeling of unease among some Western leaders at the prospect of Ukrainian forces attacking targets on Russian soil. While the Russians have shown no qualms about targeting Ukrainian civilians and infrastructure, the Ukrainians have been actively discouraged from responding in kind for fear of provoking a wider escalation in the conflict.
/jlne.ws/3kyOJu5

Leave Russia? A Year Later Many Companies Can’t, or Won’t; Not all Western companies packed up and left Russia after its invasion of Ukraine. Some say Moscow has tied their hands, while others choose to stay put.
Liz Alderman – The New York Times
When Russia invaded Ukraine, a phalanx of Western companies pledged to get out fast from what had once been an important market. McDonald’s dismantled its golden arches after 32 years. The oil giant BP moved to divest its mammoth Russian investments. The French automaker Renault sold its factories for the symbolic sum of one ruble.
/jlne.ws/3J6IV4f

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

India’s NSE gets regulatory nod for WTI crude, natgas futures contracts
Reuters Staff
India’s National Stock Exchange (NSE) said on Wednesday that the country’s market regulator has approved the launch of rupee-denominated NYMEX crude oil and natural gas futures contracts in its commodity derivatives segment. NSE said earlier this month that it signed a data licensing deal with CME Group Inc to list, trade and settle rupee-denominated U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude and Henry Hub natural gas futures.
/jlne.ws/3J69RRH

HKEX Announces Plans To Open London Office
HKEX
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX) is pleased to confirm today (Thursday) that it will open an office in London in the first half of 2023. The new UK office will further expand the Group’s international reach, promoting greater global connectivity and facilitating opportunities for HKEX’s customers and issuers around the world. The new office will promote the attractiveness of HKEX’s international equities franchise, its exclusive connectivity with Mainland China’s capital markets and its rapidly expanding derivatives product suite. It will also provide the Group’s European clients with on-the-ground expertise and insight on Hong Kong’s capital market opportunities and innovations.
/jlne.ws/3ZwpUxE

SIX Exchanges Figures: February 2023
BME-X
SIX publishes the monthly key figures for SIX Swiss Exchange and BME Exchange about the trading and listing activity in Switzerland and Spain.
/jlne.ws/3KQdInd

CME Group Announces Record Aluminum Futures Volume, Open Interest
CME Group
CME Group, the world’s leading derivatives marketplace, today announced that participation in Aluminum futures is off to a strong start in 2023, reporting record average daily volume (ADV) in February of 3,161 contracts, up 300% year-over-year, as well as record average daily open interest of 2,549 contracts, up 711% year-over-year and extending through December 2024.
/jlne.ws/3KLLslL

CME Group Reports February 2023 Monthly Market Statistics
CME Group
Interest Rate ADV grows 8% to second-highest monthly ADV ever; Record SOFR futures and options volume, OI; Record Micro Copper futures volume. CME Group, the world’s leading derivatives marketplace, today reported its February 2023 market statistics, reaching an average daily volume (ADV) of 28.2 million contracts during the month. Market statistics are available in greater detail at https://cmegroupinc.gcs-web.com/monthly-volume.
/jlne.ws/3J5H67x

Cash market sales statistics for February 2023
Deutsche Boerse
A trading volume of euro 113.31 billion was achieved on Deutsche Boerse’s cash markets in February (previous year: euro 172.95 billion / previous month: euro 106.95 billion).Of this, euro 110.38 billion was attributable to Xetra (previous year: euro 168.22 billion / previous month: euro 103.93 billion), meaning that the average daily Xetra turnover was euro 5.67 billion (previous year: 8.65 euro bn / previous month: euro 4.86bn). Turnover on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange was euro 2.93 billion (previous year: euro 4.73 billion / previous month: euro 3.01 billion).
/jlne.ws/41BkdQL

Sustainability and the Role of Derivatives – a view from the Nordics
Eurex
At our Stockholm ESG Expert Roundtable, ahead of the Derivatives Forum Frankfurt, Eurex caught up with Anette Andersson, Senior Sustainability Investment Specialist at SEB Wealth Management on the use of derivatives in the context of sustainable finance and her views on the ESG methodologies. How has your approach to ESG evolved? I’ve been working in this space for 15 years – I’ve moved from being a tree hugger to a value creator! It’s a big change. And I think it’s maturing. Initially, the only major thing that we did was we just exclude companies or sectors that were deemed unsustainable. However, that was more from an ethical or moral standpoint of view, not so much in terms of what was sustainable.
/jlne.ws/3Yd3kZB

Trading Overview in February 2023
JPX
Japan Exchange Group released Trading Overview in February 2023. Cash Equity Market – In February 2023, the daily average trading value for the Prime Market (domestic common stocks) was JPY 3.1564 trillion. The daily average trading value for the ETF market was JPY 164.4 billion.
/jlne.ws/3IBmfYg

Nasdaq to Hold First Quarter 2023 Investor Conference Call
Nasdaq
Nasdaq (Nasdaq: NDAQ) has scheduled its First Quarter 2023 financial results announcement. WHO:Nasdaq’s CEO, CFO, and additional members of its senior management team. WHAT: Review Nasdaq’s First Quarter 2023 financial results. WHEN: Wednesday, April 19, 2023; Results Call: 8:00 AM Eastern. Senior management will be available for questions from the investment community following prepared remarks.
/jlne.ws/3ELSu64

News about Adani Enterprises Limited
NSE
The media had reports that Adani says has secured $3 billion credit from sovereign wealth fund. The Exchange, in order to verify the accuracy or otherwise of the information reported in the media and to inform the market place so that the interest of the investors is safeguarded, had written to the company on March 01, 2023.
/jlne.ws/3J6UhFl

Straits Times Index (STI) quarterly review – March 2023
SGX Group
FTSE Russell announces that there will be no changes to the constituents of the Straits Times Index (STI), following the March 2023 quarterly review. The STI reserve list will comprise (in alphabetical order) CapitaLand Ascott Trust, Frasers Centrepoint Trust, Olam Group, Sembcorp Marine and Suntec REIT. Stocks on the reserve list will replace any constituents that become ineligible as a result of corporate actions before the next review. A full list of STI constituents can be found on the website.
/jlne.ws/3YcCWzi

Moscow Exchange summed up trading results in February 2023
MOEX
The total trading volume on the markets of the Moscow Exchange in February 2023 increased by 1.6% and amounted to 83.6 trillion rubles (82.3 trillion rubles in January 2023). Here and below, the dynamics is shown in comparison with the previous month.The positive dynamics of the volume of transactions was demonstrated by almost all markets of the exchange: the bond market (growth by 76.0%), the stock market (growth by 34.4%), the futures market (growth by 24.2%), the foreign exchange market (growth by 14.0%, 6%) and the precious metals market (growth by 6.4%).
/jlne.ws/3Yfhyco

Fintech

N26 head of risk quits in escalating leadership crisis; Fintech start-up loses Thomas Grosse while scrambling to improve anti-money laundering controls
Olaf Storbeck – Financial Times
N26’s chief risk officer Thomas Grosse resigned on Wednesday, becoming the third senior executive to depart one of Europe’s highest-valued start-ups in less than 12 months, people familiar with the matter told the Financial Times. Grosse was one of just two people at N26 with the necessary regulatory clearance to run a bank in Germany and was in charge of governance, compliance and risk.
/jlne.ws/3micTcy

Symphony Technology Group announces the launch of Quor Group.
Presswire – Greatreporter
Symphony Technology Group (“STG”), a leading Menlo Park-based private equity firm focused on the software, data, and analytics sectors, today announced the launch of Quor Group. The new portfolio company was created to serve the commodity financial and physical trading ecosystem. Quor’s products are built to satisfy commodity traders’ and trading companies’ requirements with advanced trading and commodity management solutions.
/jlne.ws/3ZuWoIs

In Payments, Like Geopolitics, India Seeks a Third Way; The country sees its Unified Payments Interface as an alternative for the emerging world, one where the state has a say but innovation and profits are encouraged.
Mihir Sharma – Bloomberg
Last week, the Singaporean and Indian central banks unveiled a new system for cross-border cash transfers that, in New Delhi at least, was celebrated as something much more: the first step toward establishing an entirely new global payments system geared to the needs of the developing world. India’s Unified Payments Interface, or UPI, tied up with PayNow – run by a consortium of Singaporean banks – to provide what Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong described as “cross-border, real-time system linkage” with “cloud-based infrastructure.”
/jlne.ws/3IPrYtY

Cybersecurity

U.S. unveils new cybersecurity strategy with tighter regulations
Suzanne Smalley – Reuters
The White House on Thursday announced a new cybersecurity strategy in the latest effort by the U.S. government to bolster its cyber defenses amid a steady increase in hacking and digital crimes targeting the country. The strategy, which is intended to guide future policy, urges tighter regulation of existing cybersecurity practices across industries and improved collaboration between the government and private sector.
/jlne.ws/3Yf9sk7

CISOs Share Their 3 Top Challenges for Cybersecurity Management
Jeffrey Schwartz – DarkReading
Managing risk on a global scale has always been challenging, but in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, CISOs have had to become even more agile. The shift to hybrid work, the rapid deployment of cloud applications, and the move to continuous integration and continuous development (CI/CD) have emboldened threat actors with new and broader targets.
/jlne.ws/41HHu3I

Security’s 2023 Top Cybersecurity Leaders
Security Magazine
Security magazine is proud to present the honorees of our 3rd annual Top Cybersecurity Leaders program, which highlights enterprise information security executives and professionals and their industry accomplishments. This year’s nominees serve important roles across their organizations and the cybersecurity field as a whole, leading by example and bettering security through innovative approaches to risk and technology.
/jlne.ws/3ZcIife

Cryptocurrencies

Prosecutors’ Case Against FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried Becomes Clearer
Nikhilesh De – CoinDesk
Federal prosecutors have shared more information about their case against FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried. Between two new indictments and civil suits against another former FTX executive, we now have a much clearer picture about what the Department of Justice thinks it has. You’re reading State of Crypto, a CoinDesk newsletter looking at the intersection of cryptocurrency and government. Click here to sign up for future editions.
/jlne.ws/3Zzw144

Third FTX Executive Pleads Guilty to Criminal Charges, Piling Pressure on SBF
Connor Sephton – CoinMarketCap
Nishad Singh was the doomed exchange’s head of engineering, and there had been multiple reports in recent weeks that he was looking to cut a plea deal. FTX co-founder Gary Wang – and Caroline Ellison, the CEO of the platform’s sister trading firm Alameda Research – have also entered guilty pleas. Singh will now cooperate with prosecutors as they continue to compile a case against SBF, and a trial is due to begin in Manhattan in October.
/jlne.ws/3ILS7cS

‘Ambivalent and Half-Hearted’: Bank of England Criticized over Approach to CBDC
Connor Sephton – CoinMarketCap
Deputy Governor Sir Jon Cunliffe was appearing at a hearing of the Treasury Committee that focused on the potential for stablecoins and CBDCs to play a bigger role in the U.K. economy. The committee’s chairwoman, Harriet Baldwin, pointed to repeated delays in the consultation process – first in September and October, then again in January. Sir Jon suggested that these delays were in part down to the chaos caused by Liz Truss’s time as prime minister, when a mini-budget sparked a meltdown in the markets.
/jlne.ws/3J2CHkT

Proposed Bitcoin Vault Feature Could Thwart Malicious Hackers
Frederick Munawa – CoinDesk
Bitcoin developer James O’ Beirne has been quietly working on a feature that alerts users when someone tries to steal their bitcoin, then thwarts the theft by diverting funds to a more-secure wallet. The feature is called a vault – a type of Bitcoin smart contract or “covenant” that puts constraints on how a bitcoin can be spent.
/jlne.ws/3mo2A6E

Silvergate slumps after delaying annual report, warning about viability
Reuters
Cryptocurrency-focused lender Silvergate Capital warned it was delaying its annual report and said it was evaluating its ability to operate as a going concern on Wednesday, sending its shares down by more than a quarter in after-hours trading. Silvergate reported a $1 billion loss for the fourth quarter as investors raced to withdraw deposits in the wake of crypto exchange FTX’s bankruptcy, and the firm’s troubles highlight the fragility of confidence in digital assets.
/jlne.ws/3mns4kA

Britain’s Nationwide curbs cryptocurrency purchases by customers
Lawrence White and Elizabeth Howcroft – Reuters
Britain’s Nationwide Building Society has restricted customers’ ability to buy cryptocurrencies, the lender said in an email to its members on Thursday. Nationwide said it will not allow payments to crypto exchanges using credit cards and will limit adult current accounts to 5,000 pounds ($5,995) of purchases per day.
/jlne.ws/3SFaZ1U

Binance’s Custody Arm Ceffu Will Apply for Singapore License: Report
Sam Reynolds – CoinDesk
Binance is making another attempt at getting a license in Singapore, but this time as a custodian, according to a report from Nikkei Asia. The exchange’s custody unit, which it rebranded as Ceffu in early February, is applying for a Capital Markets Service license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore to provide custodial services in-country, according to a report.
/jlne.ws/3J2PjJL

Dubai’s Crypto Industry Welcomes New Licensing Regime Amid Global Regulatory Uncertainty
Sandali Handagama – CoinDesk
Dubai’s crypto industry is thrilled the jurisdiction has finally unveiled its crypto regulatory framework, giving locals a concrete licensing regime for digital asset issuers and service providers. The framework comes after crypto markets went into a tailspin in 2022, prompting regulators everywhere to double down on setting up or enforcing safeguards, leaving companies and investors uncertain of crypto’s future.
/jlne.ws/3FcFc2X

Crypto bank Silvergate evaluating ability to survive as going concern
Joshua Franklin – Financial Times
Shares of crypto-focused bank Silvergate plunged in after-hours trading on Wednesday after the lender said it was evaluating its ability to survive as a going concern. California-based Silvergate, one of just a few US banks to focus heavily on crypto, has been hit hard by the recent collapse of digital token prices and the implosion of Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX empire, which was a banking client.
/jlne.ws/3Zh5CbM

A theory on the mystery trader who took out Terra’s stablecoin and a study in crypto-market consequences
Alexandra Scaggs – Financial Times
Remember the mystery of Wallet A, which got much of the blame for sending Do Kwon’s Terraform Labs into its death spiral? There’s a new theory about who it was. And it’s a spicy one. Sure, the collapse of Terra’s so-called stablecoin might seem small-time next to FTX’s house of combustible cards. But it matters because that depegging may have been the spark that set the crypto-market tinderbox ablaze.
/jlne.ws/3ILR0dc

Coinbase exchange to delist Binance USD, says stablecoin ‘no longer met our listing standards’
Danny Park – Forkast
Coinbase, the world’s second largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, said Monday it is suspending trade in the Binance USD (BUSD) as of March 13. The move comes after the U.S. regulator said earlier this month that it was investigating the stablecoin as a possible unregistered security.
/jlne.ws/3yaSHvL

Crypto Bank Charter Firm Protego Trust Lays Off Most of Its Workforce: Source
Ian Allison and Nikhilesh De – CoinDesk
Protego Trust, the cryptocurrency custody firm awaiting final approval from U.S. authorities to convert into a nationally chartered trust bank, has been forced to terminate most of its workforce, according to a person familiar with the matter. The firm was looking to secure fresh funding but has been unable to, making it the latest victim of the continuing crypto bear market, according to a person CoinDesk communicated with via direct messages. News of the layoffs was first reported on Twitter.
/jlne.ws/3J8bpuE

EU Gears Up for Antitrust Abuses in the Metaverse; Antitrust chief says she’s already weighing up new technology; She also repeats calls for agencies to work closely together
Stephanie Bodoni – Bloomberg
Margrethe Vestager, the European Union antitrust chief, warned that her team already has the Metaverse and AI in its crosshairs in a bid to head off potential competition abuses. Officials have already started to look into how language AI models such as ChatGPT are changing the equation, and “what healthy competition would look like in the Metaverse,” European Commission Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager said at a Keystone conference in Brussels on Thursday.
/jlne.ws/3IL05Tt

Politics

Senate Votes 50-46 to Reverse ESG Rule for Retirement Funds; Biden is expected to veto measure disapproving of environmental, social and corporate-governance regulation
Andrew Ackerman and Lindsay Wise – The Wall Street Journal
The Senate voted Wednesday to overturn a new Biden administration regulation that would allow retirement-plan managers to consider climate change and other factors when they make investment decisions, setting up what could be President Biden’s first veto.
/jlne.ws/3YeSWkh

Democratic Senators Call on Meta to Stop Plan to Release Metaverse App to Teens; Lawmakers criticize Horizon Worlds, cite company’s past failure to protect children
Salvador Rodriguez – The Wall Street Journal
Meta Platforms Inc. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg should halt the company’s plan to release its fledgling Horizon Worlds metaverse app to teens ages 13 to 17, according to a letter to him sent Thursday from two U.S. senators. “In light of your company’s record of failure to protect children and teens and a growing body of evidence pointing to threats to young users in the metaverse, we urge you to halt this plan immediately,” the letter from Sens. Ed Markey (D., Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.) wrote.
/jlne.ws/3J7bZZx

Where Vallas and Johnson won – and what the numbers say about April
Greg Hinz – Crain’s Chicago Business
Paul Vallas’ support was deep in some parts of the city and spread through neighborhoods in most sections of Chicago. Brandon Johnson’s backing was equally deep in some areas, but highly concentrated in an arc from Logan Square to Rogers Park. With neither man close to a citywide majority, though, the decision on who Chicago’s next mayor will be likely depends on where those who voted for other candidates – especially outgoing Mayor Lori Lightfoot and U.S. Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia – decide to swing their support in the April runoff election.
/jlne.ws/3Fc2fLh

Biden sets in motion gasoline policy shift to bolster ethanol
Bloomberg – Crain’s Chicago Business
The Biden administration is advancing a fuel policy shift demanded by Midwest governors, including Illinois’ J.B. Pritzker, who expect it will encourage filling stations to sell higher-ethanol E15 gasoline and offer it year-round. Under the Environmental Protection Agency proposal outlined Wednesday, the change would start by the 2024 summer driving season, with effects rippling across the fuel supply chain, from refineries to filling stations.
/jlne.ws/3EQSHoB

US Treasury to Lead New Working Group Looking at Digital Dollar; Treasury official says still unclear if digital dollar needed; Agency leaders to begin regular meetings in ‘coming months’
Christopher Condon – Bloomberg
The Treasury Department will lead a new senior-level working group that will soon start regular talks on the possible launch of a digital dollar. The group will include “leaders” from the Treasury, Federal Reserve, National Security Council and other agencies, Nellie Liang, Treasury undersecretary for domestic finance, said Wednesday.
/jlne.ws/3KXc1Em

SNP leadership contender Ash Regan announces ‘bonkers’ currency plan for independent Scotland
Paul Hutcheon – Daily Record
An SNP leadership contender has been mocked after claiming an independent Scotland could ditch the pound after a “couple of months”. Ash Regan also insisted a devolved parliament could pave the way for a new currency by setting up an independent central bank. Critics panned the proposal as “astonishing” and “bonkers”.
/jlne.ws/3YhY07k

Brussels clamps down on ‘greenwashing’ in bond market; New rules could sharply reduce the volume of bonds that qualify for a green label, say analysts
Kenza Bryan and Alice Hancock – Financial Times
The EU has drawn up a set of standards to fight “greenwashing” in the bond market, the first step towards regulatory oversight for a fast-growing asset class that has so far largely governed itself. The deal reached late on Tuesday night between the European Commission, parliament and member states could eventually lead to a sharp reduction in the volume of debt allowed to carry a sustainable label, say analysts.
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Regulation

Accountability holds the key to improved UK financial regulation
Jonathan Hill – Financial Times
Most people think of financial regulation as a technical issue, suitable only for geeks. But with the financial services and markets bill currently making its way through parliament, they need to tune in, not tune out. Why? Because in essence it is financial regulation that sets society’s risk appetite. It may come disguised in impenetrable technical language, but what regulators decide directly affects our ability to compete and grow.
/jlne.ws/3ZzbKMg

Commissioner Mersinger to Participate on a Panel at FIA Boca 2023
CFTC
Commissioner Summer K. Mersinger will participate on a panel, Managing Price Hikes and Volatility, at FIA’s Annual International Futures Industry Conference (FIA Boca 2023).
/jlne.ws/3YcywIC

Commissioner Goldsmith Romero Announces Technology Advisory Committee Meeting Agenda That Includes Cybersecurity, Decentralized Finance, and Artificial Intelligence
CFTC
Commissioner Christy Goldsmith Romero, sponsor of the CFTC’s Technology Advisory Committee (TAC), today released the agenda for the inaugural meeting of the committee. The committee will meet March 22, 2023 from 12:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. (EDT) at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) Washington, D.C. headquarters. The public will be able to watch the live meeting via webcast on cftc.gov.
/jlne.ws/3KNwnQw

Commissioner Pham to Speak at Fordham University School of Law
CFTC
Commissioner Caroline D. Pham will speak to the Fordham Law Blockchain Society on leadership and ethics, innovation, and regulation of digital assets.
/jlne.ws/3ZzasAU

Chairman Behnam to Deliver the Keynote Address and Participate in a Fireside Chat at FIA Boca 2023
CFTC
Chairman Rostin Behnam will deliver the keynote address and participate in a fireside chat at FIA’s Annual International Futures Industry Conference (FIA Boca 2023).
/jlne.ws/3EQvZNs

DeFi to Go Under Microscope at US CFTC Advisory Group’s Opening Session
Jesse Hamilton – CoinDesk
Decentralized finance (DeFi) will be the first topic discussed at the opening meeting of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Technology Advisory Committee on March 22, further cementing the cryptocurrency sector as a priority for the U.S. derivatives regulator. “A discussion about DeFi, including cyber vulnerabilities, indicators of ‘decentralization,’ digital identity and unhosted wallets, will contribute to ongoing policy discussions in Washington, D.C., and beyond the Beltway,” said Commissioner Christy Goldsmith Romero, the CFTC sponsor for the new incarnation of this advisory group, in a statement.
/jlne.ws/3YtcHEZ

NFA orders Chicago, Ill. futures commission merchant E*Trade Futures LLC to pay a $75,000 fine
National Futures Association
NFA has ordered Chicago, Ill. futures commission merchant Member E*Trade Futures LLC (E*Trade) to pay a $75,000 fine. The Decision, issued by NFA’s Business Conduct Committee (BCC), is based on a Complaint issued by the BCC and a settlement offer submitted by E*Trade. In the settlement offer, the firm neither admitted nor denied the allegations in the Complaint.
/jlne.ws/3J5ySwl

NFA orders London, U.K. firm GMG Brokers LTD and two employees to pay fines totaling $350,000
National Futures Association
NFA has issued two Decisions against GMG Brokers LTD (GMG), an NFA Member introducing broker located in London, U.K., and its employees, Marco Saviozzi and Jason Terence Lyons, resolving charges brought against them by NFA’s Business Conduct Committee (Committee or BCC). One Decision requires GMG to pay a $225,000 fine, with Saviozzi, a principal and associated person (AP) of GMG, sharing liability with the firm jointly and severally for $50,000.
/jlne.ws/3KOrKpi

Restructuring Equity Markets And Its Impact
Amanda Itwaru, Bloomberg – SEC
Chair Gary Gensler will participate in a discussion at Bloomberg Intelligence’s market structure event. He will be discussing restructuring equity markets and its impact. More information on the agenda and registration here. A livestream of the event will be available.
/jlne.ws/3EL7jWI

US SEC Plans to Keep Growing Crypto Unit as Enforcement Ramps Up
Jesse Hamilton – CoinDesk
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) may ramp up its recent surge of cases targeting crypto firms by once again boosting the size of its digital assets enforcement squad. The regulator, which has been hammering away at the crypto sector under the direction of Chair Gary Gensler, sent a loud message to the industry in May 2022 by announcing it was adding 20 people to its newly named Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit.
/jlne.ws/3mgQ8Wr

Our Interests Are Aligned’ With the SEC: Coinbase CEO
Andre Beganski – Decrypt
Brian Armstrong, CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, said Wednesday that the company’s interests run parallel with those of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the federal agency tasked with protecting investors in the U.S. Armstrong said that Coinbase, the only publicly-traded cryptocurrency exchange in the U.S., has maintained a “good relationship” with various staff members and commissioners at the SEC, including meeting with SEC Chairman Gary Gensler.
/jlne.ws/3y7CVlz

SEC Charges Global Transportation Company Greenbrier and Former CEO for Failing to Disclose Perks and Payments
SEC
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced settled charges against Oregon-based freight transportation supply company, The Greenbrier Companies Inc., and its founder and former CEO and Chairman, William A. Furman, for failing to disclose perks provided to Furman and other Greenbrier executives and compensation Furman received from Greenbrier’s charters of Furman’s private plane for travel by company executives, including Furman. Greenbrier and Furman agreed to pay $1 million and $100,000 in civil penalties, respectively, to settle the charges.
/jlne.ws/3ZhmOxG

Fee Rate Advisory #3 for Fiscal Year 2023
SEC
Pursuant to Section 31(j)(2) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the Commission has determined that a mid-year adjustment to the Section 31 fee rate for fiscal year 2023 is not required. These adjustments do not directly affect the amount of funding available to the SEC.
/jlne.ws/3kGb09e

SEC Charges Ontrak Chairman Terren Peizer with Insider Trading
SEC
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged Terren S. Peizer, Executive Chairman of the Santa Monica, California-based healthcare treatment company Ontrak Inc., with insider trading for selling more than $20 million of Ontrak stock between May and August 2021 while in possession of material nonpublic negative information related to the company’s largest customer.
/jlne.ws/3SG0ICm

SEC Charges Hawaii Investment Adviser with Running Ponzi Scheme
SEC
On March 1, 2023, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Stephen Keith Woodard, Sr., an unregistered investment adviser, with running a Ponzi scheme in which he offered and sold securities to more than two dozen victims, many of whom he solicited through his church.
/jlne.ws/3KRt62G

SEC Charges Virginia Investment Adviser with Orchestrating a Fraudulent Investment Scheme
SEC
The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged an investment adviser with defrauding investors and other advisory clients out of nearly half a million dollars.
/jlne.ws/3ESizR8

ASIC permanently bans property fundraiser following fraud convictions
ASIC
ASIC has permanently banned Sean Colville Niven, of Perth, Western Australia, from providing financial services and engaging in credit activities. On 6 April 2020, Mr Niven was convicted in the Perth Magistrates Court for two offences contrary to the Bankruptcy Act. Namely, making a declaration that he knew to be false, and for disposing of property intending to defraud creditors.
/jlne.ws/3kN8wFX

Financial Conduct Authority to tackle competition problems with the trade data market
FCA
Access to good quality, fairly priced trade data is important for the whole financial system. It allows for properly informed, timely investment decisions. Trading data includes information on prices and volumes traded and supplied by venues, like stock exchanges, where shares and other financial products are bought and sold.
/jlne.ws/41G0vDg

India’s Highest Court Orders Probe Into Adani Market Turmoil; An expert committee has been given two months to produce a report on the causes of the selloff of the group’s stocks
Weilun Soon – The Wall Street Journal
The Supreme Court of India formed a committee to investigate the cause of the market turmoil that has engulfed billionaire Gautam Adani’s namesake conglomerate, saying it would look for regulatory failures or securities-law violations that could have contributed to a massive selloff in the group’s stocks.
/jlne.ws/41BNZot

Investing and Trading

What will happen to Invest South/West, LaSalle Street revival without Lightfoot?
Danny Ecker – Crain’s Chicago Business
Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s impending exit from City Hall raises big questions about the future of economic development and real estate-focused initiatives she championed over the past four years. Lightfoot’s wide-ranging Invest South/West program, her recent push to incentivize a LaSalle Street revival with affordable housing, the planned Bally’s riverfront casino she has pushed forward and even future city support for an annual NASCAR race around Grant Park that Lightfoot has touted are among the high-profile efforts that hang in the balance for the next mayor, with little clarity about what will continue, what won’t and who will be making those decisions.
/jlne.ws/3EQSC4h

Vanguard closes UK financial advice arm after less than two years
Chris Flood – Financial Times
Vanguard is closing its UK financial planning arm less than two years after its launch in April 2021 after a disappointing number of customers signed up to a new low-cost retirement advice service designed to appeal to millions of savers. The US-based company believed it could start a price war in the UK pensions advice market when it launched a personalised retirement saving advice service to investors with a minimum of £50,000 in their portfolio for an all-in annual cost of 0.79 per cent, which included fund fees, transaction and platform charges.
/jlne.ws/3kIg399

Blackstone fund keeps limits on outflows as redemption requests fall
Antoine Gara and Joshua Oliver – Financial Times
Blackstone maintained limits on investors’ ability to cash out of a huge property fund in February even as their redemption requests slowed, the fund manager said in an update on the vehicle. The $71bn Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust has become a barometer of the health of the commercial property market and a driver of asset and fee growth at Blackstone, the world’s largest private equity firm.
/jlne.ws/3J5ynlL

Bundesbank warns losses from bond purchases will wipe out buffers
Martin Arnold and Guy Chazan – Financial Times
The Bundesbank has suffered a EUR 1bn hit from its substantial bond holdings and warned future losses would wipe out its remaining financial buffers as the German central bank grapples with the impact of higher interest rates. Joachim Nagel, Bundesbank president, told a press conference, held to present its annual report in Frankfurt on Wednesday, that the damage was “ultimately the result of the extraordinarily expansive monetary policy of the past few years”.
/jlne.ws/3ZyL2Dj

Millions of Americans nearing retirement age with no savings
Janet Shaman – CBS News
Maryann O’Connor is juggling two jobs, sometimes working up to 11 hours per day, not what she expected to be doing at age 66. “I would hope to be retired, playing the piano again, just enjoying my life,” O’Connor said. With no savings or 401(k) – not even enough to cover an emergency – she sold her home and bought a smaller one with two other women.
/jlne.ws/3EOI3yC

The name’s Bond. Callable bond; Leave the bullets at home
Alexandra Scaggs – Financial Times
When Eli Lilly & Co sold $4bn in bonds to pay down short-term debt last week, one of the tranches was a little…different. Readers may be able to spot the quirk in the documents:
/jlne.ws/3ZcvHbH

UBS Sees $87 Billion of China Retail Money Supporting Stocks; Potential upside is huge given 2015 stock market experience; Retail inflows set to pick up in the next three to six months
John Cheng – Bloomberg
China’s households may plow as much as 600 billion yuan ($86.8 billion) of excess savings into the nation’s stock market, driving the next leg of the rally, according to UBS Group AG. The potential upside is “significant” given what happened in 2014-2015, when 2 trillion yuan of retail inflows helped stage a trough-to-peak surge of about 150% in onshore Chinese shares, strategists including James Wang wrote in a note Wednesday. Chinese households have around 8 trillion to 10 trillion yuan in excess available deposits due to limited spending during the pandemic, and the precedent in other countries suggests about 6% end up in equities investment, they said.
/jlne.ws/3y5JrsR

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

E.S.G. heads to a veto showdown
Andrew Ross Sorkin – New York Times DealBook
Senate Republicans, helped by two Democratic defectors, voted yesterday to block a Labor Department rule allowing retirement plan managers to include environmental, social and corporate governance considerations (E.S.G., for short) in their investment plans. The Senate resolution – a version of which already passed the House, and which is expected to draw President Biden’s first veto – may seem focused on an obscure rule. But it’s another sign of how fights over E.S.G. are spreading through politics, with increasingly bigger stakes.
/jlne.ws/3m9kB8M

What is ESG investing and why do some hate it so much?
Stan Choe – The Associated Press
After sweeping through battles in statehouses across the country, the war against ESG investing is heating up in Congress. The Senate voted Wednesday to overturn a Labor Department rule allowing retirement plans to consider environmental, social and governance factors when making investment decisions, following a similar vote by House Republicans on Tuesday. It sets the stage for a potential first veto by President Joe Biden. Critics say ESG investments allocate money based on political agendas, such as a drive against climate change, rather than on earning the best returns for savers. They say ESG is just the latest example of the world trying to get “woke.”
/jlne.ws/3ZCTPEt

How Environmentally Conscious Investing Became a Target of Conservatives; The business world has been pulled into partisan politics, with Republicans bringing their battle against socially conscious investing to Congress.
David Gelles – The New York Times
It’s been a widely accepted trend in financial circles for nearly two decades. But suddenly, Republicans have launched an assault on a philosophy that says that companies should be concerned with not just profits but also how their businesses affect the environment and society. More than $18 trillion is held in investment funds that follow the investing principle known as E.S.G. – shorthand for prioritizing environmental, social and governance factors – a strategy that has been adopted by major corporations around the globe. Now, Republicans around the country say Wall Street has taken a sharp left turn, attacking what they term “woke capitalism” and dragging businesses, their onetime allies, into the culture wars.
/jlne.ws/3J3Y2eQ

How Trump allies and wealthy donors helped to fuel the GOP fight against ESG investing platforms
Brian Schwartz – CNBC
At least half a dozen conservative groups are targeting Wall Street asset management firms such as BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street over their environmental, social and governance investing platforms. Some of the organizations are sponsoring, or attending events held by a state financial officials organization that has members who have moved assets previously managed by BlackRock. Cleta Mitchell, an attorney who worked with former President Donald Trump while he tried to overturn the 2020 presidential election, is tied to such a group, as is a nonprofit led by Leonard Leo, a former Trump judicial advisor. A group of Republican state financial officers gathered last February at a Hyatt hotel in downtown New Orleans to take aim at one of the party’s corporate enemies: BlackRock CEO Larry Fink.
/jlne.ws/41BCr4H

Explaining the anti-anti-ESG argument
Mike Bird – The Economist
The shift to environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards in investing has been less of a trickle and more of a tidal wave. Abandoning shareholder primacy-the idea that companies should simply strive for the highest possible returns for their shareholders-has caused ructions across the industry. Around $7.7trn in assets are now managed by funds with some version of an ESG mandate, roughly twice as much as in 2016. As with every revolution worth its salt, there is an inevitable reaction. The anti-ESG movement has gone from strength to strength. Vivek Ramaswamy, author of “Woke Inc.: Inside Corporate America’s Social Justice Scam” and co-founder of Strive Asset Management, reckons that the backlash is strong enough to drive a presidential campaign. A couple of weeks ago he threw his hat in the ring for the Republican nomination.
/jlne.ws/3y5nQRt

Investing in Oil and Gas Transition Assets En Route to Net Zero
Luisa Palacios – Center on Global Energy Policy (commentary)
Achieving the goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 requires a substantial reduction in the share of high-emitting fossil fuels in primary energy consumption. A scenario from the International Energy Agency (IEA) for reaching the net-zero target envisions oil demand in 2050 dropping by 75 percent, natural gas by 55 percent, and coal by 90 percent.[i] Scaling down fossil fuels to this degree while scaling up clean energy technologies will require careful planning to avoid a disorderly transition. The magnitude of this challenge underscores the difficult reality of having to operate, maintain, and even invest in oil and gas assets (“transition assets”) before eventually phasing some of them out.
/jlne.ws/3y2ehTg

Asset Managers Falling Short on ESG: Report; European asset managers doing better than US-based groups, according to a new study
Banking Exchange
Some of the world’s largest asset management companies are falling short on responsible investment standards, according to a new report. A study of 77 asset managers running more than $77 trillion conducted by ShareAction, a UK-based nonprofit organization, found that just four were ranked A or AA, the top score, having been assessed across five areas of environmental, social, and governance criteria. The report, titled ‘A Point of No Returns’, said two thirds of the companies demonstrated “serious gaps in their responsible investment policies and practices” in at least one area of the five – governance, stewardship, climate, biodiversity, and social.
/jlne.ws/3ILIJpw

Goldman Wants to Be More Boring; Also ESG blackmail, Greensill blame and MakerDAO stablecoins.
Matt Levine – Bloomberg
The traditional deal, for the shareholders of an investment bank, was that the earnings were risky, but they were high. In boom years, the bank made a lot of money on mergers-and-acquisition and underwriting fees, doing trades for clients in active markets, and perhaps doing a few trades for itself. In bad years, the bank … ideally made a lot of money on restructuring and rescue-financing fees, doing trades for clients in volatile markets, and perhaps doing a few clever short trades for itself.
/jlne.ws/3J5AC8R

Shenzhen Stock Exchange Consistently Enhances Services By Rapidly Responding To Enterprises’ Demand And Facilitates In-depth Industry Exchanges Through The “Hub Of Innovation Exchanges”
Mondovisione
On February 17, SZSE held the ESG Information Disclosure Themed Event, the first event of “Hub of Innovation Exchanges”. The event was designed to help listed companies solve issues occurred during the disclosure of ESG information. SZSE has held several themed symposiums on industry development recently, and some enterprises reflected that they had difficulties with industry communications during the disclosure of ESG information. Accordingly, they suggested that SZSE establish a platform to facilitate further communication between the listed companies and market entities, such as domestic and overseas investors and rating agencies, thereby promoting industry exchanges and study and helping enterprises get familiar with the cutting-edge sectors and strengthen their capabilities.
/jlne.ws/3KPRSA9

Hedge Funds Balk at Major ESG Intervention Planned in Europe; Industry association questions legal foundation of ESMA plan; EU watchdog wants minimum ESG thresholds to fight greenwashing
Frances Schwartzkopff – Bloomberg
One of the world’s biggest hedge-fund associations said Europe may be overstepping its legal authority with a planned intervention in the market for ESG investing. The European Securities and Markets Authority wants funds marketing themselves as ESG or sustainable to start meeting minimum portfolio thresholds to justify such labels.
/jlne.ws/3J5j1Oa

Arctic Geese Migrate to Far-Flung New Places as the Planet Warms
Danielle Bochove – Bloomberg
The pink-footed goose has become a bold explorer in what appears to be a remarkable example of an Arctic species not only adapting, but thriving, in the face of climate change. In the 1990s, small numbers of the silvery-brown bird with flashy pink legs began popping up in Sweden and Finland, far from their traditional migration route and breeding grounds in Norway.
/jlne.ws/3KPjcyE

Global CO2 Emissions Hit a Record Even as Europe’s Decline; Asia’s emerging markets lead increase due to coal-fired power; EU, China emissions retreat on weaker industrial production
Will Mathis – Bloomberg
Global CO2 emissions rose to a record last year as the combustion of fossil fuels continued to put the world on track for a dangerous level of global warming. Data from the International Energy Agency show the biggest increase came from Asia’s emerging markets, in large part due to coal-fired power. Yet a decline in industrial production in China and Europe meant an even worse outcome was avoided.
/jlne.ws/3ZjQE4D

Institutions

Bridgewater Exits Ray Dalio Era With Hedge Fund Overhaul, Bets on AI and Job Cuts; Flagship hedge fund strategy will be capped to boost returns; Firm to cut 100 jobs, freeing up resources for new initiatives
Erik Schatzker – Bloomberg
Bridgewater Associates was bound to be different once billionaire founder Ray Dalio no longer commanded the world’s largest hedge fund. Very different, it turns out. The overhaul began even before Dalio handed off control five months ago, with not-so-subtle tweaks to the infamously odd culture he nurtured. Now, the management team he left in charge, led by Chief Executive Officer Nir Bar Dea, is adopting an ambitious strategy to boost returns, increase profitability and develop new sources of revenue – in what amounts to the biggest shakeup in four decades.
/jlne.ws/3mde113

Deutsche Bank Rates Traders Win Biggest Bonus Bump After Rally; Currency, emerging markets desk also seeing increases; Financing is staying flat while pool for credit traders is cut
Steven Arons – Bloomberg
Deutsche Bank AG’s rates traders received some of the biggest increases in bonuses as Germany’s largest bank unveiled compensation details on Wednesday. The business, which saw revenue jump five-fold last quarter amid rapid increases in central bank interest rates, saw the largest gain in variable compensation within the securities unit, according to people familiar with the matter.
/jlne.ws/41Aeb2J

Hedge Funds Love China. Xi Jinping Doesn’t Love Them Back
Shuli Ren – Bloomberg
Speed dating, but no commitment – this seems the best way to invest in China these days. Equities have been swinging violently since Beijing abruptly reopened its economy three months ago. In late 2022, US-based hedge funds rushed in, buying billions of dollars of shares in e-commerce giants Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and PDD Holdings Inc.
/jlne.ws/3IABu3G

Chinese brokerages pressured to end overseas investing services
Cheng Leng and Qianer Liu in Hong Kong and Thomas Hale in Shanghai – Financial Times
Chinese brokerages offering overseas investing services to mainland clients have come under pressure from a regulatory push that seeks to seal off one of the few remaining loopholes in the country’s strict capital controls. A new regulation coming into force this week from the China Securities Regulatory Commission reiterates the need to prevent “illegal cross-border securities businesses”, building on a multiyear initiative to clamp down on such services.
/jlne.ws/3EL6nkY

FTSE Russell announces 2023 Russell US Indexes Reconstitution schedule
FTSE Russell
FTSE Russell, the global index, data and analytics provider, today announced the schedule for the 35th annual Russell Reconstitution of its Russell US Indexes suite, set to occur at the end of June. This rebalancing process is designed to capture market shifts from the previous year to ensure the Russell US Indexes continue to accurately reflect the US equity market.
/jlne.ws/3kFc3pT

FTSE UK Index Series Quarterly Review – March 2023
FTSE Russell
FTSE Russell, a leading global index provider, confirms today that there will be no changes to the FTSE 100 Index in the March 2023 quarterly review.
/jlne.ws/3KMfeqj

Straits Times Index (STI) quarterly review
FTSE Russell
FTSE Russell announces that there will be no changes to the constituents of the Straits Times Index (STI), following the March 2023 quarterly review.
/jlne.ws/3y8jLvT

Changes in composition of the STOXX Europe 600 Index – March 20, 2023
Qontigo
Qontigo has announced the new composition of the STOXX Europe 600 Index. Effective as of the opening of European markets on March 20, 2023, the following stocks will be added to and deleted from the index and its respective size and sector indices:
/jlne.ws/3YcJDRN

The buyout cash crunch at Carlyle; Plus, JPMorgan resists efforts to depose Dimon and legal clients prolong the cheque
Financial Times
One thing to start: Bridgewater Associates is set to cap investments in its flagship vehicle and cut about 8 per cent of its workforce in the most significant shake-up of the world’s largest hedge fund since founder Ray Dalio ceded control of the firm.
/jlne.ws/3ZbVMIb

Credit Suisse Bids Above Rivals For Rich Clients as Bankers Exit; Lender ramps up bid to win client money after huge outflows; About a dozen senior bankers in Asia leave since September
Bloomberg News
Credit Suisse Group AG is escalating efforts to win back clients with deposit rates that are significantly higher than rivals as a run of senior banker departures adds urgency to its campaign to recoup assets. After unprecedented outflows in the fourth quarter, the Zurich-based lender has raised three-month rates to as much as about 6.5% for new money of $5 million and above in Asia, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified discussing private information.
/jlne.ws/3SPd0Zl

Credit Suisse’s Legal Charges Threaten Recovery; Swiss lender says it has taken measures to improve its risk culture, which is at the root of many of its legal woes
Margot Patrick – The Wall Street Journal
Credit Suisse Group AG’s multibillion-dollar legal bills are posing another threat to its planned recovery. The Swiss bank has taken around $4 billion in litigation provisions since 2020, contributing to net losses in 2021 and 2022. In February, it estimated up to another $1.3 billion looks reasonably possible.
/jlne.ws/3KPATxN

Work & Management

Bridgewater to cut jobs and cap flagship fund in post-Dalio overhaul
Ortenca Aliaj and Eric Platt – Financial Times
Bridgewater Associates is set to cap investments in its flagship vehicle and cut about eight per cent of its workforce in the most significant shake-up of the world’s largest hedge fund since founder Ray Dalio ceded control of the firm. Nir Bar Dea, chief executive, announced the changes in a memo sent to Bridgewater employees and clients on Wednesday, saying the firm had to “cut costs, free up resources and restructure”.
/jlne.ws/3Zetcpu

China Loses Workforce Almost Size of Germany’s in Three Years
Bloomberg
China’s number of working people has fallen by more than 41 million in the past three years, reflecting both the coronavirus pandemic’s toll on the economy and a decline in the working age population.
/jlne.ws/3SFNBkK

You Don’t Have to Be Smart to Get Rich; The key to career success is not necessarily intelligence, but the ability to synthesize your skills into a coherent whole.
Tyler Cowen – Bloomberg
“If you’re so smart, why aren’t you rich?” That has long been a rejoinder from businesspeople to academics, economists in particular. It’s an excellent question – and it is becoming increasingly clear that it applies to businesspeople as well. The link between earned income and IQ, which is admittedly just one measure of intelligence, simply isn’t that strong.
/jlne.ws/3FcJHdR

Another Blow to City Centers: Retail Stores Move Outward; Major brands are eschewing both downtowns and malls in favor of smaller residential locations in the US, compounding the financial strain of office vacancies.
Olivia Rockeman – Bloomberg
After Covid-19 lockdowns in 2020, Abercrombie & Fitch Co. closed a large store in Water Tower Place, a mall near Chicago’s city center. It was one of a spate of pandemic-related retail closures in downtown urban neighborhoods that have since become permanent. But the clothing retailer had other plans in store.
/jlne.ws/3ZxPan7

Wellness Exchange

More colon cancer cases found in younger people, new report shows
Teddy Amenabar – The Washington Post
The burden of colorectal cancer in the United States is shifting to younger adults, and more patients are being diagnosed with later stage disease, according to a concerning new report from the American Cancer Society. One in 5 new cases of colorectal cancer in the United States occur in people younger than 55 – about twice the rate in 1995, when 11 percent of cases were in this age group.
/jlne.ws/3J6huaM

Novavax was a covid vaccine underdog. Now it’s in financial trouble.
Christopher Rowland – The Washington Post
Novavax was seen as one of Operation Warp Speed’s riskier bets to develop a coronavirus vaccine. The small Maryland biotech company had no marketed products when the Trump administration chose it in July 2020 to join the race for a covid shot. What it did have was a promising technology using moth cells to cultivate vaccine that scientists believed offered a chance of fighting the pandemic.
/jlne.ws/3IL2ePh

Lab Leak or Not, Covid’s Mysteries Still Need Solving; Regardless of whether Covid-19 escaped from a research facility, another deadly virus very well might.
The Editors – Bloomberg
News that the US Department of Energy now believes that the virus that causes Covid-19 escaped from a laboratory in Wuhan, China, won’t resolve the ill-tempered debate over how a pandemic that has killed nearly 7 million people began. But it should spur policymakers and scientists to stop politicizing the issue and get serious about preventing another catastrophe.
/jlne.ws/3kIUZiP

Regions

Japan just found 7,000 islands it didn’t know it had
Tara Subramaniam – CNN
Japan has recounted its islands – and discovered it has 7,000 more than it previously thought. Digital mapping by the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan (GSI) recently found there to be 14,125 islands in Japanese territory, more than double the figure of 6,852 that has been in official use since a 1987 report by Japan’s Coast Guard.
/jlne.ws/3KPpBJV

Analysis-Australia’s DIY pension funds lose millions on crypto bets, investors not sweating it
Lewis Jackson – Reuters
Thousands of Australians who used do-it-yourself (DIY) pension funds to bet on cryptocurrencies face hundreds of millions of dollars in losses, jeopardising their savings in a scheme originally set up to ensure adequate retirement income. These risky bets are possible as DIY or self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs) fall outside the remit of the prudential regulator that oversees professionally managed funds, thereby allowing them to invest with fewer restrictions.
/jlne.ws/3J68m5P

China Warns ‘Hedonistic’ Bankers to Toe the Communist Party Line; Xi poised to tighten control at annual parliamentary meeting; Finance sector is under pressure from common prosperity push
Bloomberg News
Bankers in China are being told to rectify their mindsets, clean up their “hedonistic” lifestyles and stop copying Western ways. The directives, part of a 3,500-word commentary last week from the country’s top anti-graft watchdog, are just the latest sign that President Xi Jinping’s campaign to tighten the Communist Party’s grip on the financial system has a long way to go. As the National People’s Congress kicks off this weekend, Xi is poised to further entrench control by reviving a powerful committee to coordinate economic and financial policy and installing close allies to oversee it all.
/jlne.ws/3KRZ52U

China’s Commodities Eye Banner Year as Focus Shifts to Stimulus; Government may opt to favor consumption over fiscal spending; Climate goals are changing nature of infrastructure investment
Bloomberg
Evidence of China’s rapid economic rebound has reignited hopes of a banner year for demand in the world’s top commodities importer. How Beijing chooses to support the recovery at its upcoming annual policy meeting will now be the focus of markets from copper to crude and soybeans.
/jlne.ws/3ILROyZ

Russian flag painted on base of Denmark’s “Little Mermaid” statue
Reuters
A Russian flag was discovered painted onto the base of Denmark’s “The Little Mermaid” statue on Thursday in what police said was a “case of vandalism” at Copenhagen’s most famous landmark and a popular tourist attraction. It was not immediately known who was behind the incident, a police spokesperson said.
/jlne.ws/3ZAHuQP

Saudi Firms Outline $51 Billion of Projects Under ‘Shareek’ Diversification Plan
Fahad Abuljadayel and Abeer Abu Omar – Bloomberg
Saudi Arabia outlined plans for 192 billion riyals ($51 billion) of investments by local companies including Saudi Aramco and mining giant Maaden under a government incentive program as it seeks to accelerate a plan to diversify its economy away from oil.
/jlne.ws/3Y8Yjl3

Markets Brace for Pakistan Default Risk as $7 Billion Debt Looms
Ronojoy Mazumdar and Karl Lester M. Yap – Bloomberg
Bondholders are bracing for a potential default by Pakistan as the beleaguered nation struggles to meet billions of dollars in debt repayments by June. The nation’s dollar bonds due next year slid to the lowest since November on Thursday as investors weighed its ability to honor $7 billion of repayments in the coming months, including a Chinese loan of $2 billion due in March, according to Fitch Ratings. The rupee slumped nearly 6% to 281.75 per dollar.
/jlne.ws/3ZdprAJ

Pregnant Russians are streaming into Argentina. Officials are suspicious.

David Feliba, Samantha Schmidt and Natalia Abbakumova – The Washington Post
The young couple was determined to leave Russia. Alex Slepenkov, 36, knew he could be forced to join the military and fight in a war he had tried to protest. He and his wife, Natasha Slepenkova, 30, feared the country would turn into North Korea, closing its borders to the world.
/jlne.ws/3kIJdVK

Chicago’s cultural comeback is falling short
Brandon Dupre – Crain’s Chicago Business
Chicago’s leading performing arts venues are back, but the crowds aren’t. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Goodman Theatre and Steppenwolf Theatre say ticket sales rebounded last year from 2021, but not enough to restore their financial health, as federal dollars that got them through the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic are drying up.
/jlne.ws/3kGvsXw

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