DOJ Uncovering More Misconduct Through Self-Disclosure Program, Says Top Official

Mar 22, 2024

First Read

Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

I did my math wrong when looking at the margins for bitcoin futures. Brett Harrison wrote on Twitter that the CME was charging more than 100% margin for Bitcoin futures. There may be some brokers that are charging that much, though I don’t know of any. When I looked at the CME Bitcoin Margin page I saw Bitcoin futures maintenance rates listed for about $80,000. What I forgot was that this is a five Bitcoin contract, meaning that the $80,000 needs to be divided by five. Thus, the CME is charging about $16,000 or just under 25% per Bitcoin, according to my new math, which I really hope is not wrong.

Now that CoinDesk has let the cat out of the bag about the SEC demanding information from companies about dealings with the Ethereum Foundation, the SEC seems to be trying to head off FINRA-registered Special Purpose Broker-Dealer Prometheum’s declaring ETH a security. You can’t unring that bell once it is rung or close the barn door after the horse has bolted. The potential declaration, which would cause a ruckus with the CFTC, which defines ETH as a commodity, would leave the SEC trying to repair the damage, trying to put the genie back in the bottle. Once ETH is declared a security, there will be no putting Humpty Dumpty back together again. Meanwhile, Fortune reported “The SEC tries to put the Ethereum toothpaste back in the tube.” I will not be out-cliched!

Hedging is important, no matter how you do it. There is a right way to hedge, the kind the IRS approves of, and then there is the Texas Hedge, which is when you are, say, a cattle rancher and instead of selling futures contracts to lock in profits on your herd of cattle you buy futures so you have more upside potential as prices rise. Then there is the good old-fashioned diversification hedge of not putting all your eggs in one basket. The Newhouse publishing family today is celebrating its use of the diversification hedge, basking in a 5,800% Reddit gain on a 2006 $10 million investment in the new media company, Bloomberg reported. Luckily, its $2.1 billion Reddit stake does a lot to soothe some of the wounds inflicted by the rest of Newhouse’s media investments and operations.

Canada’s S&P/TSX Composite Index hit a new all-time high Thursday, driven by gains in bank stocks, rising commodity prices, and the tech sector’s rally, marking its first record close since 2022, Bloomberg reported.

Forget about BornTec’s Derek Haworth’s three takeaways from FIA Boca, even though it was our number one story read in JLN yesterday. Will Acworth of the FIA is doing him four better with a commentary titled “Commentary: Seven takeaways from FIA Boca 2024.”

The FIA MarketVoice published its “People news – February/March 2024” with the subheadline “Appointments, promotions and other people news in the derivatives industry” that included this nugget, “Additionally, Keith Todd will relinquish his role as executive chairman of KRM22 while remaining an executive director of the company. Garry Jones, non-executive director, will succeed Todd as non-executive chairman.”

Yesterday’s unexpected move by the Swiss National Bank took markets by surprise, cutting interest rates from 1.75% to 1.50%, marking its position as the first G10 country to implement a rate cut. This significant policy decision led to record trading for ICE’s 3 Month SARON Futures, which witnessed a record-setting volume of 114,000 lots traded. This volume surpassed the previous high of 89,500 lots set on September 21, 2023.

After the publication of JLN today, we will be publishing the second video from our FIA Boca coverage, our interview with new FIA Hall of Fame inductee De’Ana Dow of Capitol Counsel LLC.

Also, we will be publishing a podcast interview conducted by a JLN intern, Joanna Clohessy, who worked for us for a week in January and is one of my former Scouts. She interviewed me about my career and being inducted into the FIA Hall of Fame.

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


Worldwide volume of exchange-traded derivatives reached 16.28 billion contracts in February, the second highest level ever recorded, according to the FIA’s February 2024 Volume and Open Interest Report. This was down 2.7% from the record month of January 2024 but up 92.4% from February 2023. Options continue to gain in popularity. Global trading of options reached 14.19 billion contracts in February, up by more than 126% from last year. Global trading of futures reached 2.09 billion contracts in February, down 4.5% from the same month last year. On a year-to-date basis, volume in the first two months of the year was 33.07 billion contracts, up 94.8% from the first two months of 2023. Total options volume for the year so far was 28.68 billion contracts, up 127.3% from the previous year. Total futures volume was 4.39 billion contracts in 2023 so far, up 0.8% from 2022. Total open interest at the end of February was 1.29 billion contracts. February’s data on futures and options trading is accessible in either a spreadsheet – accessible through a link – or a set of interactive visualizations called the FIA ETD Tracker. You can access both on the FIA website HERE. ~SAED

A Cboe press release says Cboe Global Markets will announce its financial results for the first quarter of 2024 before the market opens on Friday, May 3, 2024. A conference call with remarks by the company’s senior management will begin at 7:30 a.m. CT (8:30 a.m. ET).~SR

Our most read stories from our previous edition of JLN Options were:
Coinbase Derivatives Plans To Launch Futures Trading for Dogecoin in Letter to CFTC from Yahoo Finance.
Should Investors Buy Bitcoin ETFs? Financial Advisors Weigh In from Barron’s.
The Value of Investing in Yourself from Cboe. ~JB

Subscribe to the JLN Options Newsletter HERE (it’s free).


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Pump and Dumps Are Legal Now; Traditional property interests, Reddit IPO pricing and carbon engineering.
Matt Levine – Bloomberg
Nothing is securities fraud? The simplest form of fraud is that you lie to someone and they give you money. Perhaps you give them something in exchange for their money, but you lie about its attributes. (They pay you for magic beans, but the beans are not magic.) Or perhaps you lie about giving them something and give them nothing. (They pay you for the Brooklyn Bridge, but you do not give them the Brooklyn Bridge.) Fraud is often illegal, though exactly how it is illegal will depend on how you do the fraud, and to whom, and what you are lying about.

***** If the games are on, I am going to need a bigger hammer for the moles I am going to have to WHACK!~JJL


Rich Coffee Hobbyists Spend $420 Million in Quest for ‘God Shot’; Expensive equipment won’t guarantee the perfect home-brewed espresso-but it will get you close.
Robb Mandelbaum – Bloomberg
On a chilly February afternoon, I stood at my kitchen counter packing precisely measured ground coffee into a $3,000 Lelit Bianca, hoping to master the art-and science-of making impeccable little cups of espresso. I had started with an Italian roast, because extracting coffee’s tastiest elements is said to be easier with dark-roasted beans, but if you don’t do it right, the brew can be pretty harsh. Now, six weeks after my first brand-new home espresso-making machine arrived, and frustrated by the slow learning curve from making just a cup or two a day, I was pouring shot after shot down the drain.

****** My brother Scott is a coffee snob. He is also a beer snob. When I go to his house and he asks me if I want a cup of coffee, it is always “what kind?” I feel like I must have flown into Europe and been forced to order a “coffee americano.” It is the closest thing I can get for him to make a black coffee. I like my coffee hot, black and rich. ~JJL


Chicago’s average weekly return-to-office occupancy climbs above 56%
Sophie Rodgers – Crain’s Chicago Business
Chicago’s office occupancy grew by less than one percentage point last week to 56.4%. The city’s stats are still ahead of the nationwide average, now by 5.8 percentage points. That’s according to data from real estate technology firm Kastle Systems, which analyzes building security card swipes and compares current figures to early 2020. Friday (March 8) had the lowest average occupancy across Kastle’s 10 largest cities. Meanwhile, Tuesday (March 12) had the highest. Chicago office occupancy fell to 30.3% on Friday but managed to hit 70.5% Tuesday.

***** I return to my office every day, it is just that my office is now in my house. I am not sure that is going to change.~JJL


Thursday’s Top Three
Our top story Thursday was Three Takeaways from FIA Boca 2024 – The Challenges of Growth and Need for Resilience are Top Concerns, from BornTec. Second was Bitcoin halving event now just a month away, expected to occur on 4/20, from The Block. Third was SIX Hosts WFEClear 2024 in Madrid with Representatives from More than 44 Exchanges, from SIX.



Lead Stories

DOJ Uncovering More Misconduct Through Self-Disclosure Program, Says Top Official; After tweaks to a leniency program, prosecutors are getting more tips in areas such as securities and healthcare fraud
Dylan Tokar – The Wall Street Journal
More companies are choosing to voluntarily disclose misconduct to prosecutors after a policy revision last year that increased the potential benefits of doing so, a top Justice Department official said. The Justice Department also has started to receive disclosures on a wider range of potential criminal activity than previously reported, including securities and healthcare fraud, acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole Argentieri said Thursday. In some cases, the Justice Department has rewarded companies that voluntarily confess to wrongdoing by agreeing not to prosecute them-what prosecutors call a declination.

US urged Ukraine to halt strikes on Russian oil refineries; Washington told Kyiv that drone attacks risk driving up crude prices and provoking retaliation
Christopher Miller and Ben Hall and Felicia Schwartz and Myles McCormick – Financial Times
The US has urged Ukraine to halt attacks on Russia’s energy infrastructure, warning that the drone strikes risk driving up global oil prices and provoking retaliation, according to three people familiar with the discussions. The repeated warnings from Washington were delivered to senior officials at Ukraine’s state security service, the SBU, and its military intelligence directorate, known as the GUR, the people told the Financial Times.

Head of trading to take the reins at SIX Swiss Exchange as chief departs; Departing chief executive officer originally joined SIX in 2009 as part of a joint venture with Deutsche
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Head of SIX Swiss Exchange Christian Reuss has marked his last day at the trading venue as he moves onto pastures new. Reuss has been with the trading venue for just over 15 years, originally joining in 2009 as chief executive of a joint venture named Scoach, in partnership with Deutsche Boerse.

The SEC tries to put the Ethereum toothpaste back in the tube
Jeff John Roberts – Fortune
The stakes in the bitter war between the Securities and Exchange Commission and the crypto industry just got higher. As Fortune reported on Wednesday, the agency is going after Ethereum, issuing subpoenas to U.S. companies that require them to supply all records of their dealings with the foundation that oversees the blockchain. This is a big deal since so much of the crypto industry is built atop Ethereum-not just applications but entire secondary blockchains like Polygon. If the SEC goes ahead with its plan to declare that all of Ethereum is subject to its securities laws, it will have broad and unpredictable consequences.

XTX Markets Warns against Fraudulent Entities Claiming Affiliation; The company clarified that it neither issues cryptocurrencies nor offers services on any retail FX or crypto platforms. XTX Markets emphasized that its official websites are XTXMARKETS.COM and AIMOPRIZE.COM.
Jared Kirui – Finance Magnates
XTX Markets has warned against fraudulent schemes falsely associated with its brand. According to the company, fraudulent foreign exchange (FX) and cryptocurrency scams are on the rise and are perpetrated by websites, individuals, and entities claiming affiliation with the firm.

Brazilian market to use Cboe Global Markets’ VIX Index methodology
Lucy Carter – MarketsMedia
S&P Dow Jones Indices (S&P DJI) and the Brazil exchange, B3, have launched an implied volatility index to monitor Brazil’s domestic market. The S&P/B3 Ibovespa VIX index measures near-term volatility implied by the Bovespa Index (Ibovespa), the main performance indicator of B3 traded stocks. It provides a 30-day view of the Brazilian market’s volatility expectations, with the goal of giving market participants a better understanding of the Brazilian equity market and a way to measure risk perception.

US regulator proposes extra scrutiny of bank mergers above $100 billion
Douglas Gillison – Reuters
Mergers that could result in banks with more than $100 billion in assets should expect heightened scrutiny from the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, according to a policy statement the top bank regulator proposed on Thursday. The FDIC’s board of directors voted 3-2 to issue the proposal, which would update the agency’s merger guidance for the first time in 16 years. The new guidance puts special emphasis on maintaining the stability of the banking sector, agency officials said in advance of the vote.

Car crash amnesia, ‘fraudulent acts,’ and $100m on the line: Crypto4Winners customers want their money back
Tim Craig – DL News
At the start of March, Crypto4Winners’ customers started to notice something odd. The platform, which invests Bitcoin, Ethereum, and stablecoins on its customers’ behalf and which boasts monthly returns of up to 20%, stopped processing withdrawals. “It has been over 96 hours since my withdrawal request and it is still not complete,” said one customer, posting on the Crypto4Winners subreddit – an online forum. Then on March 9, customers’ worst fears were confirmed.

India’s Equity Volumes Shrink by Almost Half Amid Small-Cap Rout
Ashutosh Joshi – Bloomberg
Equity trading volumes in India have fallen to the lowest level since December as the selloff in shares of smaller companies slows the rush of retail investors into the nation’s $4.3 trillion market. The daily cash trading volume has shrunk to $10 billion from a record $19 billion in early February, with recent sessions account for the bulk of the decline, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Why Capitalism May Soon Be Dead; Economist and author Bernard Connolly joins Merryn Talks Money to pin the blame on central bankers-and explain how it can be saved.
Merryn Somerset Webb – Bloomberg
Is capitalism dead? It’s getting there, says economist and author Bernard Connolly, but it isn’t dying a natural death. Instead, he contends it’s being killed off by the very people charged with keeping it safe and stable: central bankers. The author of The Rotten Heart of Europe joins this week’s Merryn Talks Money to explain.

How Stephanie Cohen went from ‘all in on Goldman Sachs’ to goodbye; The former consumer and wealth division head is latest high-flying woman to leave the Wall Street bank
Brooke Masters – Financial Times
When Stephanie Cohen joined Goldman Sachs right out of college 25 years ago, even her fellow analysts could tell the fast-talking Chicago native was going to go far. Fizzing with energy, she was “scarily smart” and thrived on the long hours investment banking required. Blunt yet very funny, she joined the elite partner ranks while still in her 30s. In 2020 she became the first woman in years to run a core operating division at the storied Wall Street bank, often a crucial stepping stone to the C-suite.

Newhouse Billionaires’ 5,800% Reddit Gain Eases Media Woes; Family behind Conde Nast invested $10 million in 2006; Newhouses’ print media, TV businesses have been struggling
Tom Maloney – Bloomberg
The Newhouse family has watched one billionaire clan after another surpass its wealth as its multi-generational media business sputtered. Its $26 billion fortune from a decade ago has barely grown, save for one key wager: Reddit Inc. The Newhouses’ $10 million initial investment in the nascent social-media company in 2006 is now worth more than $2.1 billion after shares surged 48% in its trading debut Thursday. After additional investments in the company calculated to be in the tens of millions, the family notched a more than 5,800% return, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, making them the biggest beneficiaries of one of the year’s most anticipated initial public offerings.

Exchange trading hours under the spotlight in ESMA’s T+1 consultation; Most concerns from market participants mirror those seen with the US shift to T+1, with additional worries surrounding exchange trading hours and post-trade windows, fragmentation of the region and increasing penalties.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has released findings from an industry-wide settlement cycle consultation, presenting various viewpoints on exchange trading hours in the context of a shift to T+1. The European regulator published the report on the feedback received to its call for evidence on shortening the settlement cycle, where it received 81 responses from associations.

UN adopts first global artificial intelligence resolution
Alexandra Alper – Reuters
The United Nations General Assembly on Thursday unanimously adopted the first global resolution on artificial intelligence that encourages countries to safeguard human rights, protect personal data, and monitor AI for risks. The nonbinding resolution, proposed by the United States and co-sponsored by China and over 120 other nations, also advocates the strengthening of privacy policies.

Coinbase CEO Foresees Index Funds: Envisions ‘Coinbase 500’ Similar to S&P 500
Caden Pok – CoinDesk
Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong has huge ambitions for where crypto could go in the future. These aspirations extend beyond price increases in Bitcoin or updates to different blockchains. Instead, he sees crypto as “a new form of sound money … it’s almost like a return to a new gold standard that’s digital,” Armstrong told Bloomberg TV this week.

Apple Loses $113 Billion in Value After Regulators Close In; US lawsuit accuses iPhone maker of violating antitrust rules; Company also faces European probe over Digital Markets Act
Leah Nylen and Samuel Stolton – Bloomberg
Regulators on both sides of the Atlantic are training their eyes on Apple Inc., unnerving investors with fears over fines and threatening its market dominance. In the US, the Justice Department and 16 attorneys general are suing the iPhone maker for violating antitrust laws. And in Europe, the company is said to be facing probes about whether it’s complying with the region’s Digital Markets Act.

M&A Is Back. Expect Losers to Outnumber Winners; A recent run of turkey transactions is a warning against the urge to merge.
Chris Hughes – Bloomberg
Green shoots in the M&A market are for real and a deal boom is imminent – at least, that’s what the spreadsheets suggest. The question is whether a fresh crop of megadeals will yield another typically bad harvest, tracking the common wisdom that most takeovers end badly. The thesis for more corporate activity is convincing. Chief executives paused dealmaking two years ago as the cheap money era ended and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine saw war return to Europe. Many publicly traded companies are now sitting on sizeable cash reserves and borrowing costs appear to be stable. Large firms’ financial strength has in turn helped the valuation of their shares, putting them in a commanding position as acquirers.

Bond Traders Are Alarmed by Debt Firm’s Own Massive Debt Pile; Like rivals, the Swedish debt collector Intrum took on huge leverage to fund its wager on bad loans. Now it’s struggling to cope with a hard new reality.
Love Liman, Giulia Morpurgo, Irene Garcia Perez, and Sonia Sirletti – Bloomberg
If Andres Rubio is troubled by the ugly financial state of the large debt-collection company that he runs, he doesn’t let on in public. The chief executive officer of Sweden’s Intrum AB was smiling broadly during an interview with Bloomberg last week to discuss the hiring of advisers to look at restructuring the ailing company’s debt. “Very positive,” was his view of the firm’s debt-servicing division, a growing business with “tremendous potential.”

Biden to Award $6 Billion to Decarbonize US Heavy Industry
Ari Natter and Joe Deaux – Bloomberg
The Biden administration is poised to award as much as $6.3 billion in dozens of grants to help hard-to-decarbonize industries cut emissions, according to people familiar with the matter. Details on the projects that have received funding are expected to be announced as soon as Monday, said the people, who asked not to be named as the information hasn’t been made public yet. The grants will be spread across sectors such as cement, glass, chemicals, metals, and pulp and paper, they said.

Security and climate change drive a return to nuclear energy as over 30 nations sign summit pledge
Raf Casert – Associated Press
In the shadow of a massive monument glorifying nuclear power, over 30 nations from around the world pledged to use the controversial energy source to help achieve a climate-neutral globe while providing countries with an added sense of strategic security. The idea of a Nuclear Energy Summit would have been unthinkable a dozen years ago after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan, but the tide has turned in recent years. A warming planet has made it necessary to phase out fossil fuels, while the war in Ukraine has laid bare Europe’s dependence on Russian energy.

Who Is Fueling the Surge in Shares of the Trump SPAC? Shares have risen sharply, potentially sending a financial lifeline to a presidential candidate whose finances are under stress
Charley Grant – The Wall Street Journal
History says Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and the stock market are a poor combination. Some of his most ardent supporters are piling into his latest deal anyway. Small investors have aggressively bought up shares of a shell company whose investors are voting on whether to take public his social-media company, Truth Social. Shares of the acquirer, known as Digital World Acquisition Corp., are up 140% this year-and, judging by the comments in a forum of nearly 8,000 Truth Social users, not because buyers are anticipating long-term business success.

Fireside Friday with… Bloomberg’s Ravi Sawhney; The TRADE sits down with Ravi Sawhney, global head of trading automation and analytics at Bloomberg, to discuss evolving buy-side priorities for transaction cost analysis (TCA), how it can lead to better execution outcomes and what’s next on the horizon for TCA.
Claudia Preece – The Trade
How have buy-side priorities when it comes to TCA evolved in recent times?
Across asset classes things are nuanced, whether it’s fixed income or equities. Traditionally, the biggest evolution in transaction cost analysis (TCA) in general has been across both these asset classes. Speaking broadly, the prioritisation or the key focus more recently has been on the emergence of pre-trade TCA.

Ukraine Invasion

Western banks warn of risks in EU plan to grab Russian assets, sources say
Sinead Cruise and Alexander Marrow – Reuters
Some western banks have begun lobbying against EU proposals to redistribute billions of euros in interest earned on frozen Russian assets, senior industry sources said, fearing it could lead to costly litigation. European Union leaders are on Thursday discussing a plan to use up to 3 billion euros ($3.26 billion) a year to supply arms to Ukraine as they try to bolster Kyiv’s fight against Russia, which would still own the underlying frozen assets.

Ukraine says Russian oil refineries are legitimate targets
A Ukrainian deputy prime minister said on Friday Russian oil refineries were legitimate targets for its forces, after a media report said the United States, a close ally, had asked Kyiv to stop conducting drone strikes on refineries. Ukraine dramatically stepped up its attacks on Russian energy facilities this month, launching numerous long-range drones to strike Russia’s biggest refineries, resulting in the temporary suspension of production at some of them.

IMF Approves $880 Million for Ukraine With US Assistance Stalled
Volodymyr Verbianyi and Eric Martin – Bloomberg
The International Monetary Fund has approved the next disbursement to Ukraine within a $15.6-billion loan program, a move that bolsters the nation’s finances as aid from the US, its key ally, remains stalled. The lender’s executive board met on Thursday to give final assent to providing about $880 million in the latest installment to Kyiv. This is the first of four tranches for a total amount of more than $5.3 billion scheduled to be released this year.

Russia is preparing for an all-out war with NATO to happen sooner than originally believed: ISW
Kwan Wei Kevin Tan – Business Insider
Russia is ramping up its preparations for a “large-scale” war with NATO, a US think tank says. The ISW says Russian efforts at reviving its economy aren’t just about fighting Ukraine. Instead, Russia could be readying itself for a war with NATO that may occur sooner than expected. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s focus on reviving the Russian economy isn’t just about funding the country’s war on Ukraine, the Institute for the Study of War says. “Several Russian financial, economic, and military indicators suggest that Russia is preparing for a large-scale conventional conflict with NATO, not imminently but likely on a shorter timeline than what some Western analysts have initially posited,” the ISW wrote in a report on Wednesday. The think tank cited a meeting Putin held with the Russian Duma on Tuesday, just days after the Russian leader claimed a landslide victory in his fifth presidential election on Sunday.

Russia’s Spare Refining Capacity Seen Mitigating Drone Attacks
Ukraine’s drones have hit facilities accounting for more than a 10th of Russia’s oil-refining capacity, but the actual reduction in crude processing may be just half that size because the country’s downstream industry can utilize existing slack in the system. Russia’s primary crude-processing volumes are expected to decline by 300,000 to 400,000 barrels a day as a result of the latest flurry of Ukrainian drone attacks, to an average of 5 million to 5.2 million barrels a day, according to analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Record Russian Missile Barrage Disrupts Ukraine Power System; Russia says it targeted NATO-supplied military equipment; Attack follows a day after first strike on Kyiv since February
Kateryna Chursina, Volodymyr Verbianyi, and Aliaksandr Kudrytski – Bloomberg

Ukraine and the mind games of nuclear deterrence; The process of stopping escalation involves multiple actors on the battlefield and in several capitals
Rose Gottemoeller – Financial Times

EU Seeks to End Russian Grain Imports With Steep Tariffs; New duties seek to appease European farmers and curb Russian revenues as war in Ukraine drags on
Kim Mackrael – The Wall Street Journal

Israel/Palestine Conflict

World Bank report finds imminent risk of catastrophic famine in Gaza Strip; Findings come as UN secretary general calls on Israel to give unconditional access to Gaza for aid relief
Larry Elliott and Lisa O’Carroll – The Guardian
Half the population of the Gaza Strip is at imminent risk of famine as food shortages approach catastrophic levels for more than a million people, the World Bank has warned. Almost six months after the war between Israel and Hamas began, the Washington-based Bank said urgent action was needed to prevent widespread deaths from starvation within the next two months.

Israel Says It Will Invade Rafah No Matter What the US Says
Ethan Bronner and Iain Marlow – Bloomberg
A top Israeli official said his country’s military is ultimately going to invade the southern Gaza city of Rafah and defeat Hamas “even if the entire world turns on Israel, including the United States.” “We are going to go in and finish this job, and anybody who doesn’t understand that doesn’t understand that the existential nerve of the Jews was touched” by the Oct. 7 attack when Hamas operatives killed 1,200 and abducted 250, Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer said on a US podcast posted online Thursday.

US to call for immediate ceasefire in Gaza in UN resolution; Secretary of state Antony Blinken says major ground operation in Rafah ‘would be a mistake’
James Shotter, Felicia Schwartz and Alice Hancock – Financial Times
The US will bring a UN Security Council resolution to a vote on Friday calling for an immediate six-week ceasefire in Gaza as part of a hostage deal, as international pressure grows for Israel to rein in its offensive. The resolution, on which US officials have been working for several weeks, also warns against Israeli plans for an offensive in Rafah, the southern Gazan town where hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have fled in search of sanctuary from Israel’s attacks in the north.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

Record rise in concentration at top CCPs leads to all-time high Median top-five member open position concentration rises 2.4pp in Q4
Joshua Walker – Risk
The median proportion of open positions held by the five largest clearing members at global central counterparties (CCPs) rose to 51.72% in the fourth quarter – the highest since at least 2015. The measure was up 2.36 percentage points compared with three months prior, making it the biggest quarter-on-quarter growth on record.

ASX hater Weebit Nano must be a wee bit joking; The once-fast rising Israeli semiconductor firm now hates the ASX. It was all so different 12 months ago.
Mark Di Stefano – Financial Review
If you’re an ASX-listed CEO with gripes, there’ll always be a corner of the internet to go air them. Little surprise, then, that Weebit Nano chief executive Coby Hanoch found Capital Brief to chunter-on this week about how his Israel-based semiconductor company had been unjustly hurt by the ASX. “I’ve talked to many tech companies that trade in Australia and everyone is pulling their hair out because the ASX has these insane requirements and this insane way of thinking,” Hanoch said, declaring the market operator “50 years behind the world”.

Episode 39: Exchange of Views
Sustainable and green finance will play a critical part in the transition to net zero. SGX’s Michael Syn talks about how the exchange is approaching this issue.

Cboe Global Markets Announces Date of First-Quarter 2024 Earnings Release and Conference Call
Cboe Global Markets, Inc.
Cboe Global Markets, Inc. (Cboe: CBOE), the world’s leading derivatives and securities exchange network, will announce its financial results for the first quarter of 2024 before the market opens on Friday, May 3, 2024. A conference call with remarks by the company’s senior management will begin at 7:30 a.m. CT (8:30 a.m. ET). A live audio webcast for the conference call and the presentation that will be referenced during the call will be available on the Investor Relations section of Cboe’s website at under Events. The presentation will be archived on the company’s website for replay. A replay of the recording is expected to be available two hours after the conference call ends. To listen to the live conference call via telephone, please dial (800) 715-9871 (toll-free) or (646) 307-1963 (toll) and use the Conference ID 2619514.

Performance Bond Requirements: Agriculture, Energy, Equity, and Interest Rate Margins – Effective March 22, 2024
CME Group
As per the normal review of market volatility to ensure adequate collateral coverage, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc., Clearing House Risk Management staff approved the performance bond requirements for the following products listed in the advisory at the link below. The rates will be effective after the close of business on March 22, 2024.

Notice of Revisions to Earnings Forecast and Dividend Forecast
Japan Exchange Group
Japan Exchange Group, Inc. (JPX) has decided to revise its consolidated earnings forecast and dividend forecast for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2024, which were released on September 25, 2023.

Notice of Revisions to Earnings Forecast and Dividend Forecast
Japan Exchange Group
Japan Exchange Group, Inc. (JPX) has decided to revise its consolidated earnings forecast and dividend forecast for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2024, which were released on September 25, 2023. 1. Revised Consolidated Earnings Forecast for Fiscal Year from April 1, 2023 to March 31, 2024

Participation as a founding member of the “Hyperledger Besu Financial Services Working Group”
The Japan Securities Clearing Corporation (JSCC) first introduced Hyperledger Besu blockchain technology into production in January 2023 (*1) and then officially joined the Hyperledger Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that globally promotes standardization of blockchain/distributed ledger technology (DLT), and its founding organization The Linux Foundation (*2), in October 2023. In March 2024, the Hyperledger Foundation launched the Hyperledger Besu Financial Services Working Group, chaired by the US DTCC, and the JSCC is participating as one of its founding members. The Hyperledger Besu Financial Services Working Group is an industry-wide collaboration focused on financial solutions against the backdrop of the rapid expansion of blockchain technology and will support the development of the open source Hyperledger Besu (*3).

The European IPO Resurgence Gathers Momentum
An IPO (initial public offering) revival appears to be on the cards after one of Europe’s biggest listings in more than two years took place in Switzerland.

SGX Group seeks to refine cap on clearing members’ liability for multiple defaults
Singapore Exchange (SGX Group) is proposing to refine the existing cap on a clearing member’s liability to meet default losses arising from multiple events of default. This cap is imposed on clearing members of SGX Group’s central counterparties (CCPs), namely The Central Depository (Pte) Limited (CDP) and Singapore Exchange Derivatives Clearing Limited (SGX-DC). Subject to market feedback, the proposal will limit a non-defaulting clearing member’s liability to meet multiple default losses arising within a 30-day period to three times the aggregate of its funded and unfunded clearing fund contributions (Prescribed Contribution) as determined at the start of the 30-day period.


U.S. Sues Apple, Accusing It of Maintaining an iPhone Monopoly; The lawsuit caps years of regulatory scrutiny of Apple’s wildly popular suite of devices and services, which have fueled its growth into a nearly $3 trillion public company.
David McCabe and Tripp Mickle – The New York Times
The federal government’s aggressive crackdown on Big Tech expanded on Thursday to include an antitrust lawsuit by the Justice Department against Apple, one of the world’s best-known and most valuable companies. The department joined 16 states and the District of Columbia to file a significant challenge to the reach and influence of Apple, arguing in an 88-page lawsuit that the company had violated antitrust laws with practices that were intended to keep customers reliant on their iPhones and less likely to switch to a competing device.

Apple Held Talks With China’s Baidu Over AI for Its Devices; iPhone maker may need a partner in the country to navigate regulatory hurdles
Raffaele Huang – The Wall Street Journal
Apple has held preliminary talks with Baidu about using the Chinese company’s generative artificial-intelligence technology in its devices in China, the latest example of the iPhone maker’s efforts to widen its AI capabilities. The U.S. tech giant has been exploring using external partners to help accelerate its AI ambitions. It has held discussions with companies including Google and OpenAI about using their technology to power its mobile features.

BlackRock Launches Fund That ‘Tokenizes’ Cash, T-Bills
James Rubin – ETF
BlackRock Inc., which runs the world’s fastest growing spot bitcoin ETF, is diving deeper into digital assets with its first investment vehicle offering cash and U.S. Treasury bills rendered as electronic copies and transferred to a crypto network. The fund, offered to qualified investors according to an emailed press release, is the first by the world’s largest asset manager that will “tokenize” physical assets, with those tokens recorded on the Ethereum blockchain. The BlackRock USD Institutional Digital Liquidity Fund (BUIDL) will enable investors to earn yield in U.S. dollars by subscribing to the new product through Securitize Markets, LLC, a platform that allows for the issuing and trading of digital assets.


US, EU Partner to Align Cybersecurity Incident Reporting Measures
Naomi Cooper – ExecutiveGov
The Department of Homeland Security has partnered with the European Commission’s Directorate General for Communications, Networks, Content, and Technology, a.k.a. DG CONNECT, to compare cyber incident reporting elements to inform the alignment of transatlantic approaches to security and incident reporting.

AI is changing cybersecurity and businesses must wake up to the threat; Threat actors are starting to use artificial intelligence, but too many executives aren’t prepared for the risks.
Eileen Yu – ZDNet
Corporate boardrooms must be better coordinated and urgent when they address cybersecurity issues, as threat actors turn to artificial intelligence (AI) to improve their game. A board’s primary role is to grow and safeguard the company’s interests alongside its management team. With digital so integral in many organizations today, Sanjiv Misra, chairman of Clifford Capital, said cybersecurity must form part of a board’s growth strategy.

Shadow AI is the latest cybersecurity threat you need to prepare for
Steve Tait – HelpNetSecurity
Shadow IT – the use of software, hardware, systems and services that haven’t been approved by an organization’s IT/IT Sec departments – has been a problem for the last couple of decades, and a difficult area for IT leaders to manage effectively.


History of Crypto: Bitcoin – Satoshi Nakamoto’s response to the global financial crisis; In 2008, at the height of the global financial crisis, an anonymous figure named Satoshi Nakamoto proposed Bitcoin, a groundbreaking electronic cash system.
Welcome to the History of Crypto, a Cointelegraph series that brings readers back in time to the most significant events in the crypto space. Powered by Phemex, the timeline allows crypto community members to explore and look back at the important events that shaped the industry into what it is today. This article explores the pivotal years from 2009 to 2012, focusing on the global context and challenges when the enigmatic and pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto made their appearance. The journey starts from the creation of the Bitcoin protocol and continues by outlining other significant milestones in the early days of the digital currency space and the emergence of alternative coins, commonly known as altcoins.

Crypto’s New Pal, Gary Gensler; Today on TAP: Why did the usually public-minded SEC chair breathe new life into Bitcoins?
Robert Kuttner – The American Prospect
Thanks to SEC Chair Gary Gensler, Bitcoin, a speculative creation backed by nothing at all, has been brought back from the near dead. In November 2021, at the height of crypto fever, Bitcoins reached a peak value of $64,400. Then, after various crypto scandals, the value of a Bitcoin plummeted to below $35,000 for most of 2023. Today, Bitcoin is back trading at more than $63,000, near its all-time peak.

FTX expects US to reduce bankruptcy claim to $3 billion to $5 billion
Dietrich Knauth – Reuters
Crypto exchange FTX said it expects to negotiate U.S. government claims in its bankruptcy down to $3 billion to $5 billion, leaving no money for shareholders and contradicting a “reckless and false” claim by founder Sam Bankman-Fried that FTX’s collapse caused no harm. FTX revealed those estimates in court documents on Wednesday in response to founder Sam Bankman-Fried’s claims that he should receive a light prison sentence because FTX will be able to repay its customers “in full”. Bankman-Fried was convicted in November of stealing $8 billion from FTX customers.

Former CFTC Commissioner Blasts SEC’s “Confusing Conduct” on Ethereum Regulation
Dalmas Ngetich –
Once again the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has come under fire for stifling innovation, with the strict regulator blasted for ‘confusing behaviour’ surrounding Ethereum regulation amid market demand for a spot Ethereum ETF (ETH ETF). Not only has the agency been losing court cases in the United States, but after dragging its heels for years over fair crypto regulation, the past year has seen the SEC accused of trying to “regulate by enforcement”.Now, recent comments from a former Commodity Futures Trading Commission commissioner seem to be heating-up the debate, especially surrounding the long-awaited and highly-anticipated prospect of a spot Ethereum ETF this year after the SEC approved BTC ETFs in January.

Inside the crypto hype machine; FTX caretaker boss blasts Sam Bankman-Fried as his sentencing nears
Financial Times
FT correspondent Josh Oliver spent years covering crypto and the legal troubles of Sam Bankman-Fried. Last week, he published Hype Machine, a book about it all. Today he joins us to talk about SBF’s sentencing next week, FTX caretaker boss John Ray’s new letter slamming SBF, and the many ways to fleece retail investors. Also we go long money laundering, and long pressing the recline button when flying coach, no matter who is sitting behind you.

Emboldened Crypto Market Participants Shrug Off SEC’s Probe of Ethereum
Olga Kharif and Isabelle Lee – Bloomberg

What Happens if the SEC Classifies ETH a Security? (Wrong Answers Only)
Daniel Kuhn – CoinDesk


Judge orders Trump company to tell financial watchdog about efforts to get appeal bonds
Dan Mangan – CNBC
A judge ordered Donald Trump’s company Thursday to inform a court-appointed financial watchdog about any efforts to obtain an appeal bond. Judge Arthur Engoron’s order came three days after Trump’s lawyers in an appeals court filing said it has been “impossible” so far for the former president to get such a bond for a civil business fraud case he lost. Trump sought the bond to prevent New York Attorney General Letitia James as early as Monday collecting on a $454 million civil fraud judgment against him as he appeals the verdict in Manhattan Supreme Court.

Senator Warren urges SEC to investigate Tesla over board independence
U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren in a letter on Thursday urged the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate whether Tesla violated regulations over board independence at public companies. “New evidence has emerged in recent months that deepen my concerns that Tesla’s board lacks independence from Mr. Musk, who uses his control over the board for his personal benefits,” Senator Warren said in the letter to SEC Chair Gary Gensler.

Wall Street and Silicon Valley Elites Are Warming Up to Trump; They like disruption, and they hate President Biden’s economic policies.
Brad Stone – Bloomberg
The 2024 presidential election, pitting Joe Biden against Donald Trump, may feel like a tiresome rematch of should-be retirees facing off once again with the future of the free world at stake. But something feels different and hard to explain this time. Trump’s most visible supporters are no longer angry blue-collar workers from red states wearing MAGA hats and waving “drain the swamp” signs at rallies. They’re some of the most successful businessmen in the country, expressing their grievances online, fretting about immigration and the war in Ukraine and slinging around doubts about Biden’s performance and age.

IEA takes heat as GOP alleges shift from energy security
Ben Geman – Axios
Senior Capitol Hill Republicans are pressing the International Energy Agency for information on its analytical decisions, accusing the multilateral body of straying from its energy security mission. Why it matters: The GOP move elevates criticism from some experts that IEA is making unrealistically rosy assumptions about the global transition away from fossil fuels. This has real-world stakes. The agency’s work is constantly cited by policymakers, academics, journalists and civil society groups.

Sixteen States Sue Biden Administration Over Gas Permit Pause; President Biden halted approvals for new exports of liquefied natural gas to study its effect on the climate, national security and the economy. Major oil- and gas-producing states are angry.
Lisa Friedman – The New York Times
Louisiana and 15 other Republican-led states sued the Biden administration on Thursday over its decision to temporarily stop approving new permits for facilities that export liquefied natural gas. The lawsuit contends that the Biden administration acted illegally when it decided in January to pause the approvals so it could study how gas exports affect climate change, the economy and national security.

Biden’s LNG-Permit Halt Challenged by 16 States in Lawsuit; White House pause on new permits threw sector into disarray; Ban will ‘annihilate critical jobs’: Texas attorney general
Elizabeth Elkin, Madlin Mekelburg, and Ari Natter – Bloomberg

Democracy Teetering in African Countries Once Ruled by France; A wave of military coups and presidents clinging to power are two sides of the same anti-democratic coin plaguing Francophone Africa, experts say.
Ruth Maclean – The New York Times
In Senegal, the president tried to cancel an election. In Niger, a military coup d’état toppled an elected president, who eight months later is still imprisoned in the presidential palace. In Chad, the leading opposition politician was killed in a shootout with security forces. And in Tunisia, once the only democratic success story of the Arab Spring rebellions, the president is steering the state toward increasing autocracy.


Challenges to SEC’s climate rules sent to conservative-leaning US appeals court
Clark Mindock – Reuters
A U.S. judicial panel on Thursday consolidated at least nine lawsuits challenging the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s new rules requiring public companies to report climate-related risks in a venue favored by Republican-led states and a business group. The St. Louis-based 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was chosen randomly via a lottery and will consider the legal challenges to the landmark rule, which aims to standardize public company disclosures about greenhouse gas emissions, weather-related risks and how they are preparing for the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Statement of Commissioner Kristin N. Johnson Regarding Enforcement Action to Stop Fraud Targeting the Spanish-Speaking Community
Today, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC or Commission) announced the approval by the Southern District of Florida of a Consent Order to resolve claims against a Ponzi-scheme operator that fraudulently solicited more than $19 million from at least 220 individuals in the U.S. and abroad.

Federal Court Orders Florida Forex Trader to Pay $3.4 Million for Futures, Forex, Options Scheme
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today announced the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida entered a consent order on March 20 imposing a permanent injunction, civil monetary penalty, restitution, and equitable relief against Joseph Carvajales (Carvajales), a resident of Florida. The order requires Carvajales to pay $2.4 million in restitution to defrauded customers and a $1 million civil monetary penalty. The order also imposes permanent trading and registration bans and a permanent injunction prohibiting the defendant from further violations of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and CFTC regulations, as charged.

ESMA fines Scope EUR 2,197,500 for breaches of conflict of interest obligations – Press Release

Panel appointments: Statement of Policy by the FCA
Statements First published: 22/03/2024 Last updated: 22/03/2024
Our Statement of Policy on panel appointments states our policy for appointing members to our statutory panels, in accordance with the Financial Services and Markets Act (FSMA) 2000.

Investing and Trading

FX algo firms see rise in matched principal trading FX Markets Asia: Users more willing to trade passively in low-vol environment montage
Joe Parsons – FX Markets
Banks are seeing an increase in clients wanting to use foreign exchange execution algorithms that match off with their principal trading desk as opposed to going out to the wider market.

Traders have invested $55 million using an app that helps them copy congressional stock portfolios
Madison Hall – Business Insider
An app allowing its users to trade like members of Congress and leading investors just broke $100 million in total investments. Despite its success, the app’s cofounders adamantly say they hope it leads Congress to ban themselves from trading. Released in January 2023, Autopilot pulls trading data filed by members of Congress and allows users to copy their trades. Since the passage of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act in 2012, members of Congress are required to report each of their and their immediate family’s investments within 45 days or face financial penalties.

Crop Giant Louis Dreyfus Profit Tops $1 Billion Again as Margins Stay High
Archie Hunter and Áine Quinn – Bloomberg
Louis Dreyfus Co.’s profit exceeded $1 billion for a second year as the crop giant continued to benefit from volatile agricultural markets. The company – known as the “D” in the “ABCD” grouping of the biggest agricultural trading houses – said that “ongoing geopolitical tensions” and “climate-related challenges” disrupted markets.

Reddit stock soars in highly anticipated market debut
Ines Ferré – Yahoo Finance
Reddit (RDDT) stock soared on its first day of trading, ending the day up nearly 50% from its initial public offering price of $34 a share. The stock closed at $50.44 on Thursday, up 48% from the IPO price and giving the company a market cap just north of $8 billion.

Canada’s S&P/TSX Composite Sets New Closing High
Geoffrey Morgan and Stephanie Hughes – Bloomberg
Canada’s equities benchmark index closed at a new all-time high Thursday on the backs of bank stocks, surging commodity prices and a rally in the country’s growing tech sector. The S&P/TSX Composite Index climbed to 22,087.26, setting its first record since 2022, as financial and real estate stocks led a broad-based rally. The country’s financial sector, which accounts for 31% of the index’s weighting, has climbed 4.2% in 2024.

U.S. companies’ stock purchases via buybacks, M&A to hit 6-year high in 2024, Goldman says

Investors pour money into US corporate bond funds at record rate; Demand to lock in yields helps push spreads on high-yield bonds close to their tightest level since 2007
Harriet Clarfelt – Financial Times

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

US warns hackers are carrying out attacks on water systems
Raphael Satter – Reuters
The U.S. government is warning state governors that foreign hackers are carrying out disruptive cyberattacks against water and sewage systems throughout the country. In a letter released Tuesday, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan warned that “disabling cyberattacks are striking water and wastewater systems throughout the United States.”

Equality-Champion Iceland Set to Pioneer Gender Diversity Bonds; Social deal to follow green bond sale, protests over equality; Iceland aims to lead by example, finance minister says
Olga Voitova and Greg Ritchie – Bloomberg
Iceland, a country that ranks highest in the world for equality, will become the first nation to borrow money to spend on improving the gender gap. The move follows a protest at the end of last year by thousands of women, who took to the streets to highlight the inequality that still exists. The bond offering will break new ground in a hot market for ESG debt, where so far only companies or development agencies have linked borrowing to gender spending.

New York City to create 260,000 ‘green-collar’ jobs over next 15 years
Louise Boyle – The Independent
New York City is set to add more than 260,000 “green-collar” jobs over the next 15 years, city officials announced on Wednesday. The first-of-its-kind plan will train New Yorkers, particularly people who come from “environmentally-disadvantaged” communities, in roles to tackle climate impacts. The goal is to reach nearly 400,000 jobs by 2040, up from 133,000 today. “Climate change is real. We see it every time we see the coastal storms. And let’s be clear: we are in February, and you could go outside without a jacket on,” Mayor Eric Adams said, on Wednesday. “Something is just not right.”

‘New climate reality’ stretches global freshwater supply; Population growth and industrialisation are compounding the problem, but there is no shortage of solutions
Attracta Mooney – Financial Times
As Pere Aragones, Catalonia’s regional president, declared a drought emergency across the Spanish region in February, he issued a stark warning: “We are entering a new climate reality.” With water reserves falling to below 16 per cent of usual capacity in Barcelona and the local area, a string of restrictions – including limits on swimming pool use, a ban on watering public parks, and a reduction in agricultural irrigation – were rolled out. They are due to stay in place for more than a year.

Biden’s softer climate regulation shows big US bet on subsidies to decarbonize
Valerie Volcovici – Reuters
The Biden administration says its recent decision to scale back new climate regulations meant to force emissions cuts from cars and power plants will have a negligible impact on its overarching goal to halve greenhouse gas pollution this decade. But whether that is true hinges on whether the U.S. succeeds in its parallel strategy – to use lucrative taxpayer subsidies to fuel a massive deployment of solar, wind and other renewable energy installations that Biden hopes will ultimately power America’s fleet of electric vehicles, along with its homes and businesses, according to researchers.

Seabed Mining Regulator Meets as Critical Minerals Drive Heats Up
Todd Woody – Bloomberg

Reddit’s IPO is a regrettable mis-step in corporate governance
Caroline Escott – Financial Times

CalPERS says Exxon should drop lawsuit against climate-conscious investors
Isla Binnie – Reuters

Exclusive: Mexico’s Pemex put off repairs despite vast methane leak
Stefanie Eschenbacher and Allison Martell – Reuters

Fossil fuel firms could be tried in US for homicide over climate-related deaths, experts say
Dharna Noor – The Guardian

UN climate chief pleads for funding as government budgets feel strain
Attracta Mooney – Financial Times

Amid all the climate gloom, let’s not ignore the good news
Fatih Birol – Financial Times

The global downside of European consumers’ green principles
Alan Beattie – Financial Times (opinion)


The Former Trader Leading Apollo’s $500 Billion Threat to Banks; Deputy CIO of credit John Zito seen as future CEO contender; Firm aims to double private debt it originates in five years
Allison McNeely – Bloomberg
When used-car seller Carvana Co. was in deep financial trouble last summer, Apollo Global Management Inc. tapped a former hedge fund trader to straighten out one of its credit group’s most prominent missteps. John Zito wasn’t there to use his experience betting against beleaguered companies. Instead, his role was to rally creditors to slash more than $1 billion of Carvana’s more than $5 billion of bonds and save the online retailer from crumbling. While Carvana’s future is far from certain, its stock is up more than 60% this year and it posted its first annual profit in years.

Bitcoin ETFs are not driving gold ETF outflows, says JPMorgan; Research counters recent claims that investors are switching to vehicles holding ‘digital gold’
Steve Johnson – Financial Times
Bitcoin has been dubbed “digital gold” but the rapid growth of bitcoin exchange traded funds in the US has not driven outflows from gold ETFs, according to investment bank research. As of March 14, bitcoin ETFs had vacuumed up a net $10.6bn year-to-date globally, even accounting for chunky outflows from the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), at $23.7bn still the world’s largest such vehicle, according to data from JPMorgan and Bloomberg.

Work & Management

Why We Procrastinate When We Have Long Deadlines
Meng Zhu – Harvard Business Review
“Can you get that to me by the end of the day?” isn’t a request many employees like to hear. But for many people, having shorter deadlines instead of longer ones – “Do you think you can do that by the end of the week?” – might actually help them complete a task and see their work as being less difficult. In a recent study published in the Journal of Consumer Research, my colleagues Rajesh Bagchi and Stefan Hock and I demonstrate that longer deadlines can lead workers to think an assignment is harder than it actually is, which causes them to commit more resources to the work. This, in turn, increases how much they procrastinate and their likelihood of quitting. This is true even when the deadline length is incidental, such as when a venue or guest isn’t available for an extended period of time.

“Women’s work” could soon be officially measured in government data
Emily Peck – Axios Markets
The Labor Department might soon start tracking an often overlooked part of the economy: “women’s work.” Why it matters: Unpaid household labor like child care, laundry or home repairs is critical to the economy but isn’t officially measured. State of play: Economists at Bard College released a report this week detailing how the government could measure this activity, which they call “household production.” The Labor Department commissioned the report in 2021, part of a major initiative aimed at coming up with a new component for one of its biggest reports, on consumer expenditures. That survey examines how much Americans spend on everything from food to furniture to restaurant meals. It doesn’t capture activities that don’t cost money – but do cost time. Stunning stat: Women performed 78% of the total value of unpaid household production in 2019, the researchers found.

Wellness Exchange

It’s Not the Economy. It’s the Pandemic; Joe Biden is paying the price for America’s unprocessed COVID grief.
George Makari and Richard A. Friedman – The Atlantic
America is in a funk, and no one seems to know why. Unemployment rates are lower than they’ve been in half a century and the stock market is sky-high, but poll after poll shows that voters are disgruntled. President Joe Biden’s approval rating has been hovering in the high 30s. Americans’ satisfaction with their personal lives-a measure that usually dips in times of economic uncertainty-is at a near-record low, according to Gallup polling. And nearly half of Americans surveyed in January said they were worse off than three years prior.

The D.E.A. Needs to Stay Out of Medicine
Shravani Durbhakula – The New York Times (Opinion)
Even when her pancreatic cancer began to invade her spine in the summer of 2021, my mother-in-law maintained an image of grace, never letting her own pain stop her from prioritizing the needs of others. Her appointment for a nerve block was a month away, but her pain medications enabled her to continue serving her community through her church. Until they didn’t. Her medical condition quickly deteriorated, and her pain rapidly progressed. No one questioned that she needed opioid medications to live with dignity. But hydrocodone, and then oxycodone, became short at her usual pharmacy, and then at two other pharmacies. My mother-in-law’s 30-day prescriptions were filled with only enough medication to last a few days, and her care team required in-person visits for new scripts. Despite being riddled with painful tumors, she endured a tortuous cycle of uncertainty and travel, stressing her already immunocompromised body to secure her medications.

UK Risks Critical Medicine Shortage as EU Lures Drugmakers; Britain should encourage generics investment: Sandoz’s UK head; Swiss company says government is sidelining generics industry
Ashleigh Furlong and Angela Feliciano – Bloomberg
Britain risks running out of critical medicines because it’s failing to stay competitive on generics, according to the UK head of one of the industry leaders. The European Union last year proposed legislation to fund new investments and repatriate production of drugs deemed essential. If the UK doesn’t take steps to make the country attractive to companies, it will face further shortages, said Diane DiGangi Trench, who heads Sandoz Group AG in the UK.


India Halts Russia Oil Supplies From Sanctioned Tanker Giant·Bloomberg
Rakesh Sharma and Sharon Cho – Bloomberg
All of India’s refiners are now refusing to take Russian crude carried on PJSC Sovcomflot tankers due to US sanctions, further complicating the trade that has flourished since the invasion of Ukraine two years ago. Private and state-run processors including the biggest – Indian Oil Corp. – have stopped taking cargoes if they’re on Sovcomflot tankers, said people familiar with the matter. Refiners are scrutinizing the ownership of each ship to make sure they’re not affiliated with the company, or other sanctioned groups, they added, asking not to be named because the information is private.

Pakistan to Tap China for $300 Million Debut Panda Bonds
Faseeh Mangi – Bloomberg
Pakistan’s new finance minister said he’s keen to tap Chinese investors by selling as much as $300 million in Panda bonds for the first time ever this year. Selling yuan-denominated debt will allow Pakistan to diversify its funding sources and reach investors in a new market, Muhammad Aurangzeb, said in an interview Friday at his office in Islamabad.

Russian Diesel Supply Is Starting to Pile Up on Tankers at Sea
Alex Longley and Jack Wittels – Bloomberg
Large volumes of Russian diesel are floating at sea, a sign that Moscow is finding it difficult to find homes for the barrels. It’s not clear why the glut has emerged, but the US and its allies have stepped up sanctions on Russian oil in recent months, blacklisting a handful of middlemen and individual vessels – including some run by Russia’s state-owned tanker company Sovcomflot PJSC.

Drought Threatens to Snarl Mississippi River Traffic for a Third Year
Will Wade – Bloomberg
The Mississippi River is at risk of bottlenecks for a third straight year as warm, dry spring weather and low winter snowpack limit the amount of water feeding into it, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The US will get warmer-than-average spring temperatures from April through June, and for the first time since 2021 there is no region at risk of major flooding, according the agency’s Spring Outlook report issued Thursday. Drought conditions are expected to persist or worsen across parts of the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains.

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