Fed Takes on Role of World’s Central Bank by Pumping Out Dollars; Preventing the Next Pandemic May Start With Supply Chains

Apr 1, 2020

First Read

Hits & Takes
By JLN Staff

This morning John Lothian News published our special report on spoofing titled Chicago Trading Community Faces Off In Spoofing Fight. I want to again thank our sponsors, Eventus Systems, Born Technology, Thompson Coburn LLP and Trading Technologies. Eventus and Born and Trading Technologies offer technology solutions to help surveillance of spoofing, Thompson Coburn is a law firm with Renato Mariotti in its practice, the first lawyer to win a spoofing case as a prosecutor and defense attorney.

A big thank you to the anonymous participants of the roundtable we held in January.

The report was written by Suzanne Cosgrove and Thom Thompson. The videos were produced by Mike Forrester and Patrick Lothian. The report was edited by Sarah Rudolph. I conducted a couple of the interviews, but mostly tried to stay out of everyone’s way. Thank you to everyone on the JLN team who contributed to this report. You all did great work.

I encourage you readers to pass along the special report to your friends and colleagues. It has some powerful lessons and recommendations to help keep you clear of regulatory issues.

JLN has learned that exchange ErisX has furloughed about 10 employees across the organization. The layoffs are tied to the impact of the coronavirus on short-term growth prospects for the crypto futures marketplace.

There are elephants in Thailand facing starvation from the lack of tourist business. Also facing a lack of tourism business, Disney has donated surplus food to food banks as their parks remain closed.

Yesterday an alarm went off on my mobile phone from an emergency system asking all retired or alternatively employed medical professionals to register to volunteer to help with the upcoming surge in coronavirus cases. My wife, a retired nurse, signed up last night. She could end up working at the hospital set up at McCormick Place in Chicago. She also visited a nearby firehouse and donated an unopened box of rubber gloves and some cleaning wipes we have in surplus supply. The gloves were left over from when I was giving myself daily injections to fight an infection last year.


Craig Wright, who is known for claiming to be bitcoin’s creator, Satoshi Nakamoto – as well as threatening lawsuits against individual Twitter users who disagree with his claim and creating Bitcoin SV – supposedly won a legal victory, according to a story by Finance Magnates that is in our crypto section today. I wasn’t able to find the story anywhere else, so while you’re reading it, just keep in mind what day it is.~MR


JLN Special Report: Chicago Trading Community Faces Off In Spoofing Fight

In our special report about spoofing, “Chicago Trading Community Faces Off In Spoofing Fight,” the team at John Lothian News digs into one of the most controversial trading infractions since futures trading moved out of the trading pits. We started by inviting some traders, lawyers and software experts to discuss their views of current trends in anti-spoofing regulation. Then we looked at a couple of the major criminal cases, whose hallmarks were either brazenness or sheer volumes. Attorney Renato Mariotti, who as a government attorney successfully led the first criminal spoofing prosecution, contributed an essay that contains well-considered advice for firms and their traders in this era of aggressive enforcement.

Read the article HERE


The Federal Reserve unshackled; US central bank goes beyond ‘America First’ to help stabilise the financial system
Gillian Tett – FT
Two long years ago, during the 10-year anniversary of America’s 2008 financial crisis, a trio of former policy luminaries — Ben Bernanke, Hank Paulson and Tim Geithner — fretted that the Federal Reserve would be ill-placed to maintain global financial stability if another disaster hit.

*****A friend called me yesterday in despair about the impact of all these dollars and debt and lessons from history. More to come on this.~JJL


Tuesday’s Top Three
Our top story Tuesday was JLN’s video interview, Pat Arbor – Open Outcry Traders History Project. Second was JLN’s Not the Ronin Death Watch, a repeat from Monday’s top three. Third was Bloomberg Opinion’s Coronavirus Will Change Us in Ways We’re Just Discovering.


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Lead Stories

Fed Takes on Role of World’s Central Bank by Pumping Out Dollars
Rich Miller – Bloomberg
Unveils new repurchase facility for foreign central banks; Dollar squeeze threatens world economy reeling from virus
The Federal Reserve is acting as central banker to the world by seeking to provide the global financial system with the dollar liquidity it needs to avoid seizing up. In its latest measure to combat the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, the Fed said Tuesday it was establishing a temporary repurchase agreement facility to allow foreign central banks to swap any Treasury securities they hold for cash. That’s yet another step beyond the actions it took in the 2008 financial crisis.

Preventing the Next Pandemic May Start With Supply Chains
Emily Chasan – Bloomberg
Pandemics haven’t always been top of mind for investors focused on environmental, social and governance issues. But a handful have been warning for years that some corporate practices—particularly those in global supply chains—lay the groundwork for them.

A Coronavirus Fix That Passes the Smell Test; What if a Wall Street veteran has a way to track how fast the virus is spreading before lab tests can ramp up?
Michael Lewis – Bloomberg
A series of dispatches from America in the age of Covid-19. My father now knows nine people who have been killed by the coronavirus. He’s 83 and entirely sound of mind and body. He rides his bike many miles every morning around Audubon Park in New Orleans and is as fun to talk to as he was when he was 40. His only response to the news that he and my mother would be confined to the house I grew up in was to call the liquor store and order seven cases of wine.

Cash-Hoarding Firms Fuel Debt Sales Ahead of Earnings Slump
Hannah Benjamin and Denise Wee – Bloomberg
Firms pile in to debt market amid lower income expectations; Debt binge raises risks as pandemic threatens more defaults
A global debt funding bonanza is quickening as the new quarter gets underway, with firms including Tiffany buyer LVMH and Spain’s Iberdrola SA joining the busiest day in Europe’s bond market since January.

Fed sets up scheme to meet booming foreign demand for dollars; Central bank meets global shortage of greenbacks after scramble for safety
James Politi and Brendan Greeley, and Colby Smith – FT
The Federal Reserve has taken a new step to meet the global demand for dollars, setting up a facility that would allow central banks and international monetary authorities to enter into repurchase agreements with the US central bank and trade US Treasuries for dollars.

How are US banks affected by coronavirus? What we know and what we don’t; Sector’s shares have lost a quarter of their value in March
Laura Noonan – FT
Investors have given their verdict on how US banks will be impacted by the escalating coronavirus crisis, sending the benchmark KBW Bank index down 25 per cent in March, more than twice the wider market.

Pandemic Reveals the Science of Risk That Shapes Our Lives; Public consciousness of big problems—like climate change—often starts with risk modeling.
Akshat Rathi – Bloomberg
Hours after the results of a risk model reached the public, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and U.S. President Donald Trump asked nearly 400 million people to upend their lives.

Italy and Spain Point to Covid-19’s Staggering Oil-Demand Hit
Jack Wittels – Bloomberg
Countries’ oil demand has collapsed amid nationwide lock-downs; Both have been among the hardest hit by the coronavirus
Nobody knows just how severe the global hit to oil demand has been from the novel coronavirus, but the evidence from Europe’s hardest-hit nations are not good.

EU Must Get Real or Risk New Debt Crisis, Says ECB’s Stournaras
Jana Randow – Bloomberg
Greek governor says coronavirus pandemic calls for solidarity; Common debt is best option to combat sustainability concerns
Europe risks a new sovereign-debt crisis if governments don’t match the European Central Bank’s action with a common fiscal response to support the economy through the coronavirus pandemic, according to ECB policy maker Yannis Stournaras.

Hackers ‘Without Conscience’ Demand Ransom From Health Providers
Ryan Gallagher – Bloomberg
Criminals taking advantage of pandemic to launch cyber-attacks; Encrypting records could keep doctors from vital patient data
When hackers broke into computers at Hammersmith Medicines Research, a London-based company that carries out clinical trials for new medicines, it was a nightmare scenario for managing director Malcolm Boyce.

World’s Top Gold Market Freezes as Chinese Shoppers Stay Away
Annie Lee and Jinshan Hong – Bloomberg
Consumers still hesitant as China urges shoppers to resume; Concerns remain over constraints around bullion deliveries
The coronavirus pandemic has frozen the Chinese gold market, torpedoing demand at a time when investors elsewhere in the world are clamoring for the safety of bullion. China is the biggest buyer of gold bars, coins and jewelry, but the national shutdown to contain the virus has emptied malls, while the premium charged to buy the metal in China has evaporated. It leaves the industry staring down a long road to recovery, even as Beijing tries to jump-start broader consumption with a campaign to get shoppers out and about.

Commercial paper market still creaking despite Fed measures; Financing conditions for some US companies are at their tightest since the financial crisis
Colby Smith and Eric Platt and Joe Rennison – FT
A crucial $1.1tn financing source for blue-chip US companies remains strained despite efforts by the Federal Reserve to stabilise the market, prompting groups like cigarette maker Altria and hotel operator Marriott to search for other sources of funding.

Coronavirus Battle Creates a Global ‘Free-for-All’ to Find Masks; Traders scour factories and warehouses, find planes and pilots and look for buyers as hospitals and governments beg for protective gear.
Keith Bradsher – NY Times
Million-dollar wire transfers to strangers. Rumors of hidden supplies in forgotten warehouses. Wheeler-dealers trying to talk regulators and customs officials into letting that one precious shipment through.

The Return of the Barter Economy, Swapping Eggs for Toilet Paper
Olga Kharif – Bloomberg
Small businesses turn to online barter exchanges to save cash; ‘What do you have in your fridge?’ Neighbors get organized
Since the beginning of March, unattended folding tables have begun popping up at intersections and the end of people’s driveways, offering everyday goods like rice, a jar of jam or bread. Take what you need and leave what you can, the signs say.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

Joint Statement in relation to General Meetings in light of the Prevention and Control of Disease (Prohibition on Group Gathering) Regulation
Following the HKSAR Government’s introduction of the Prevention and Control of Disease (Prohibition on Group Gathering) Regulation (Cap. 599G of the Laws of Hong Kong) (the “Regulation”), which became effective on 29 March 2020, to promote and maintain social distancing in light of the COVID-19 pandemic1, the Securities and Futures Commission (“SFC”) and The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited (the “Exchange”) have consulted the HKSAR Government, which administers the Regulation, to understand how these guidelines impact corporate annual general meetings, extraordinary general meetings and special general meetings.

Trading Overview in FY2019 & March 2020
Japan Exchange Group released Trading Overview in FY2019 & March 2020
Cash Equity Market – In FY2019, daily average trading value for the TSE 1st Section reached JPY 2.6033 trillion.
Derivatives Market (OSE) – In FY2019, total derivatives trading volume was 412,038,245 contracts, an all-time high.

DGCX Gold Futures Trading Volumes Increase and Open Interest Continues to Build During Turbulent Global Markets
The DGCX last month saw its flagship Gold Futures product record year-on-year (Y-O-Y) Average Daily Volume (ADV) growth of 649.5%
DGCX Press Release
As the COVID-19 pandemic causes volatile swings in markets across the globe, investors are making increasing use of the Dubai Gold & Commodities Exchange (DGCX’s) derivatives products and services as risk management tools.

SIX partners with Crux Informatics to deliver core datasets in a cloud-based platform
31 March 2020 – SIX, the Swiss financial data expert, announces today its partnership with Crux Informatics to provide a state-of-the-art managed market data solution which removes unnecessary implementation and management pressure for buy-side companies.


Barchart.com Releases New and Powerful Interactive Charts for Traders and Investors
Barchart, a leading provider of financial market data and technology, announces the launch of new Interactive Charts available through Barchart’s public financial data platform, www.barchart.com. Built entirely from the ground up, Barchart.com’s new interactive charting provides desktop and mobile users with access to fast, interactive charts designed to be easy-to-use yet powerful for the most serious of users. With dozens of studies, tools, settings and chart types, Barchart.com’s interactive charts help investors and traders navigate and analyze the financial markets

Buy-side ramps up adoption of research management technology; Survey from MackeyRMS found that almost all asset managers polled are looking to adopt research management systems over the next two years.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
Asset managers are increasingly looking to research management technology and systems to increase efficiencies and ‘work-from-anywhere’ capabilities, according to a survey from MackeyRMS.

JP Morgan goes live with electronic FX trading platform in Singapore; After confirming plans in August, JP Morgan has officially launched its electronic FX trading platform in Singapore.
Kiays Khalil – The Trade
JP Morgan has said its electronic foreign exchange trading and pricing engine has officially gone live in Singapore, after confirming plans for the launch in August last year.

TradeTech Europe 2020 rescheduled for October; Major European equities trading conference TradeTech 2020 will go ahead in October as WBR confirms new dates.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
The TradeTech Europe 2020 conference will take place this year in October after the conference organisers were forced to postpone the event due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Pico Advances Global Buildout Joining Japan Exchange Group Co-Location Ecosystem; Pico will offer ultra-low latency access to JPX trading platforms and exchange market data
Pico, the leading provider of technology services for the financial markets community, today announced further APAC expansion with the launch of a new managed co-location facility for Japan Exchange Group, Inc. (JPX). Moreover, Pico also becomes a JPX distributor of TSE and OSE market data.


Crypto-Powered Internet Helps Rural Residents Work From Home During Coronavirus
Alyssa Hertig – Coindesk
Once the coronavirus hit, registered nurse Shannon Garcia suddenly needed to work from home, like thousands of others in the U.S. Not only would her isolation make space in a crowded hospital, she’d keep herself safe. Having cardiac arrhythmia and lung damage, she’s more vulnerable to the global virus taking a toll on her health.

Craig Wright Victorious in Kleiman Case After Signing with Satoshi’s Key
Rachel McIntosh – Finance Magnates
Australian computer scientist and entrepreneur Dr. Craig Wright has been granted a victory in the Kleiman v. Wright case after he was able to provably send a transaction from one of the Bitcoin wallets known to belong to Bitcoin creator ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’, thereby verifying his claims that he is, in fact, the undisputed creator of BTC.

HIVE Blockchain to Double Bitcoin Mining Capacity Through $2.8M Share Deal
Paddy Baker – Coindesk
A publicly-listed bitcoin mining operator is set to double the size of its operations in a multi-million-dollar deal, largely funded through a sale of its shares. HIVE Blockchain announced via email this week that it’s all set to acquire an existing 30-megawatt (MW) mining operation in Quebec from rival Canadian mining company Cryptologic for CA$4 million (around US$2.8 million).

MKR auctions conclude with crypto venture firm Paradigm emerging as the biggest winner
Celia Wan – The Block
Crypto venture firm Paradigm was the biggest winner in a series of MKR auctions intended to cover around $4.5 million of undercapitalized debt. The auctions – which lasted between March 19 and March 28 – raised a total of 5.3 million DAI, the MakerDAO system’s stablecoin that has a soft peg to the dollar. During the process, 20,980 MKR, the MakerDAO protocol’s governance token, were sold at an average price of $296.35 apiece. Thirty-six unique bidders participated.

GitHub Is Burying Bitcoin Code Inside an Arctic Mountain to Ride Out the Next 1,000 Years
Alyssa Hertig – Coindesk
An icy mountain in Norway’s Svalbard – an all but inhabitable, Arctic archipelago covered in glaciers and inhabited by polar bears – is an unlikely safe haven for cryptocurrency code, let alone a pillar of modern-day civilization. But it’s here, 250 meters underground in a forsaken coal mine, that GitHub has chosen to store reams of open-source code. That includes Bitcoin Core, by far the most popular code implementation of bitcoin’s underlying infrastructure and one of the most used repositories on GitHub.

The cryptocurrency space is a ‘no-man’s land’ right now, says CMS Holdings partner Bobby Cho
Yilun Cheng – The Block
The cryptocurrency space is a “no-man’s land” right now since no one can predict what the landscape will look like in the next year, according to Bobby Cho, partner at CMS Holdings. In a live episode of The Scoop podcast, Cho said that recent price swings have further increased the field’s unpredictability and have made it difficult for firms like CMS Holdings to pinpoint promising projects to invest in.

Bitcoin’s Lightning Becomes Latest Protocol to Court Publishers With Micropayments
Leigh Cuen – Coindesk
The trouble with bitcoin payments these days may be a lack of spenders, not spending opportunities. On Monday, the Silicon Valley bitcoin startup Lightning Labs announced a new standards proposal that makes it easier for companies to automate small bitcoin (BTC) payments, like ongoing subscriptions. “We are using this product for our Loop service, it’s already in production,” Lightning Labs engineer Oliver Gugger said of the standards proposal called LSAT. “It’s not all the way there. We’ve just proposed the protocol.”

BitMEX parent awards $100k grant to Bitcoin Core maintainer Michael Ford
Yilun Cheng – The Block
HDR Global Trading Limited, the operator of cryptocurrency derivatives exchange BitMEX, has awarded $100,000 to Bitcoin Core maintainer Michael Ford. Michael Ford first started contributing to Bitcoin development in 2012 and became a Bitcoin Core maintainer in June 2019. HDR previously awarded him a 12-month $60,000 grant in May 2019. The new grant will replace the old funding arrangement and will support Ford’s work over the next 12-month period. Both grants were issued on a no-string-attached basis.

Europe’s Vision On Central Bank Digital Currency Offers Cautionary Lessons For Cryptocurrency
Roger Huang – Forbes
As discussion is sparked about the inclusion of the “digital dollar” in Congress to help more effectively deliver on rounds of direct stimulus to the American people as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be helpful to look at similar instances of thinking central bank digital currencies and what they might portend for cryptocurrencies.

Binance Loans Starts with Interest Discount for Early Borrowers
Aziz Abdel-Qader – Finance Magnates
Binance, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges by trading volume, is expanding its lending business in a bid to attract more crypto borrowers. Dubbed ‘Binance Loans,’ the influential venue announced the service that it says leverages existing crypto assets as collateral for loans. All Binance registered users are eligible to borrow on its loans that cover several cryptos, including BUSD and USDT.

Huobi Wallet and Crypto Lender Cred Now Enable Users to Earn Interest
Marie Huillet – Cointelegraph
Major cryptocurrency exchange and wallet provider Huobi has partnered with decentralized crypto lending platform Cred to enable users to earn interest on their holdings. An announcement on April 1 revealed that Cred’s lending and borrowing services will be fully integrated into the Huobi Wallet, which supports over 1,000 crypto assets, including 8 stablecoins, for users across 200 countries and regions. The two firms did not provide a comprehensive list of supported crypto assets, but noted that Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH) and stablecoins such as Universal Dollar (UPUSD) would be part of the new offering.

Bitstamp Explores Support for Seven More Cryptocurrencies
Aziz Abdel-Qader – Finance Magnates
Bitstamp, one of the largest crypto platforms in Europe, has announced its plans of supporting a new set of digital assets which includes Circle’s stablecoin and six others. This set of assets, according to Bitstamp, must be compliant with jurisdictional regulations and local laws, as well as strict technical, safety and compliance reviews. The assets in view include Basic Attention Token (BAT), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Paxos Standard (PAX), USD Coin (USDC), Stellar Lumens (XLM), Zcash (ZEC), and 0x (ZRX).


Wall Street Donors Sit Tight Just When Biden Needs Cash Most
Bill Allison, Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou, and Tom Maloney – Bloomberg
Biden, DNC already well behind Trump, GOP in fundraising; Large donors focused on giving to pandemic-related targets
Big donors to U.S. presidential campaigns are feeling the economic pinch from the coronavirus pandemic and holding on to their money just when the candidates — especially Democratic front-runner Joe Biden — need it most.

Coronavirus pandemic boosts popularity of Trump and Johnson; US president and UK prime minister among 10 leaders whose approval ratings have risen
Kiran Stacey and Jim Pickard – FT
The coronavirus pandemic has boosted the poll ratings of almost every major democratic leader, according to an FT analysis of polling data from around the world.

France proposes EU coronavirus rescue fund; Finance minister calls for time-limited collective response to economic impact of crisis
Victor Mallet in Paris – FT
France is pushing for a common EU fund to help Europe through the coronavirus crisis, but is proposing that it be limited to five or 10 years and focused on economic recovery to head off German and Dutch objections to mutualising debt obligations.

Loeffler reports more stock sales amid insider trading allegations
Tia Mitchell, Chris Joyner, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s most recent financial disclosures show that millions of dollars in stocks were sold on her behalf at the same time Congress was dealing with the impact of the coronavirus.

The Political Genius of Donald Trump; The president is transmuting his calamitous failures into political gold.
Frida Ghitis – The Atlantic
Donald Trump is presiding over one of the worst calamities to befall the nation in living memory, and anyone who has followed his response since the coronavirus morphed from a worrisome outbreak in a Chinese province into a global pandemic knows the truth: Trump’s response has been disastrous. It’s no wonder that just a couple of weeks ago, a writer in this magazine concluded that “the Trump presidency is over.”

Trump Suggests Lack of Testing Is No Longer a Problem. Governors Disagree; The president said on a conference call that he had not “heard about testing in weeks.”
Jonathan Martin, Maggie Haberman and Mike Baker – NY Times
President Trump told governors on a conference call on Monday that he had not “heard about testing in weeks,” suggesting that a chronic lack of kits to screen people for the coronavirus was no longer a problem.


FIA opposes short selling bans
FIA and its affiliated organizations, FIA PTG and FIA EPTA, today issued the following statement in response to calls for short selling bans by global policymakers. FIA President and CEO Walt Lukken stated: “Contrary to intentions, prohibitions on short-selling have been shown to significantly degrade market liquidity and price formation of those affected products while increasing trading costs and volatility. These bans have shown to be ineffective, and have significantly harmed market quality while causing unintended consequences on related markets. FIA joins other trade associations in opposition to calls for short selling bans being considered by government authorities.”

ESMA eases MiFID II best execution reporting requirements; ESMA tells national authorities not to prioritise supervisory action for RTS 27 and RTS 28 reporting under MiFID II amid ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
EU authorities have moved to ease major reporting requirements under MiFID II as firms continue to battle the impact of the coronavirus pandemic across Europe.

ASIC and APRA letter to superannuation trustees on impact of COVID-19
The unusual and challenging circumstances associated with COVID-19 require trustees to make new business arrangements, amend priorities and adjust their short-term investment strategies. What does not change is their duty to comply with the law, including the duty to act in the best interests of their members. At a time of uncertainty, this is essential to maintaining public confidence that superannuation remains a safe, fair and sound long-term investment towards retirement.

ESMA completes review of MiFID II commodity derivatives regime
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU securities markets regulator, has today published a review report on the impact of position limits and position management on commodity derivatives markets, following over two years of the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II).

ESMA appoints Magdalena Lapsa-Parczewska as Chair of the Advisory Committee on Proportionality
The Board of Supervisors of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has appointed Magdalena Lapsa-Parczewska, the Managing Director for Capital Market Supervision of the Komisja Nadzoru Finansowego (KNF) of Poland, as Chair of ESMA’s Advisory Committee on Proportionality (ACP).

PODCAST; Business in the Time of COVID-19: BCPs, Regulatory Relief & More
The new coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has rapidly changed the way U.S. broker-dealers must conduct business as states implement various shelter-in-place and stay-at-home orders, forcing workers remote.

Reminder – OTC Transparency Data API
On January 14, 2020, FINRA issued a Technical Notice regarding the 100 record limit for the FINRA API Platform, which provides access to FINRA’s OTC Transparency Data. As stated in that Notice, on January 15, 2020, FINRA temporarily increased the limit to 100,000 records to accommodate firms’ API implementations.

SEC Small Business Advocate to Host Virtual Coffee Breaks Discussing Small Business Capital Raising
The Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of the Advocate for Small Business Capital Formation is hosting a series of virtual coffee breaks to engage with the public to discuss updates, trends, and perspectives on how COVID-19 is impacting raising capital.

SEC Announces Ad Hoc Meeting of Small Business Capital Formation Advisory Committee in Response to COVID-19 Challenges Faced By Small Businesses
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that its Small Business Capital Formation Advisory Committee will host a meeting via video conference on April 2, 2020, in response to the challenges small businesses are facing in coping with COVID-19.

CFTC Provides Further Relief to Market Participants in Response to COVID-19
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Division of Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight (DSIO) today announced that it has issued additional targeted, temporary no-action relief to foreign affiliates of certain futures commission merchants (FCMs) in response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. The relief expires on September 30, 2020.

Covid-19: savers stay calm and don’t rush financial decisions
Today, regulators are urging savers to keep calm and not rush to make any decisions about their pension in response to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Investing and Trading

U.S. LNG Behemoth Tests Slump in Sign It May Curb Production
Naureen S Malik, Anna Shiryaevskaya, and Stephen Stapczynski – Bloomberg
One of the world’s biggest liquefied natural gas exporters is signaling it may throttle back production. Cheniere Energy Inc. has tendered to buy six shipments for delivery to Europe later this year, a rare step for a company that’s fundamentally a seller of the fuel. The company could be testing the size of the current glut as it weighs output cuts, or even seeking cargoes for its customers that could be cheaper than producing and shipping its own from the U.S. Gulf Coast, according to a Bloomberg survey of traders.

Weather Forecasts Are at Risk From Coronavirus Lockdowns
Andy Hoffman – Bloomberg
Covid-19 could affect weather-station maintenance, WMO Says; Data streams are critical for agriculture and gas markets
The coronavirus pandemic has brought global commerce to a near standstill. Now it’s threatening to obscure the ability to even make forecasts based on weather data.

ESG Stock Resilience Is Paving the Way for a Surge in Popularity
Claire Ballentine – Bloomberg
So far this year 59% of U.S. ESG ETFs are beating S&P 500; Outperformance could spur demand, Bloomberg Intelligence says
Investors who piled into ESG stock strategies have beat broader indexes this year, fueling speculation that the strategy of prioritizing companies doing social good will continue to gain adherents well after the current crisis passes.

Jim Rogers Expects ‘Worst Bear Market in My Lifetime’ in Coming Years
Ishika Mookerjee – Bloomberg
Another rout ‘imminent’ because of economic damage, high debt; Rogers has lots of cash; bought China, Russia stocks
As global stocks attempt to recover from their biggest quarterly loss since the global financial crisis, veteran investor Jim Rogers says there’s worse to come. The current rebound in markets may continue for a while following a bout of extreme pessimism, but another rout is imminent, according to the chairman of Rogers Holdings Inc.

There’s No Good Reason to Hoard Anything, Especially Food; Governments and citizens must make sure the food supply chain remains unbroken.
Peter Coy – Bloomberg
There is no good reason for the Covid-19 pandemic to cause food shortages, at least of wheat, rice, or other staples. The virus isn’t foodborne. Plenty of food continues to be produced, processed, and delivered despite illnesses and lockdowns, and the world’s appetite hasn’t abruptly increased.

Cheap Energy Just Shut Down a Nuclear Reactor
Lars Paulsson – Bloomberg
The 44-year-old unit may never restart again, Sweco says; Margin at U.K. gas plants could slump by almost a third y/y
The latest victim of the global slump in energy prices is an old Swedish nuclear reactor that will stay offline until at least the end of summer.

Private Equity Can’t Escape the Pain of Shale Country’s Collapse
Rachel Adams-Heard – Bloomberg
After years of poor returns, energy fundraising has plunged; Private equity-backed producers will feel pain with $25 oil
One of the biggest changes in the shale industry since the last bust: Private equity is trying to get out of the game, not in. Even before crude prices fell off a cliff, the creation of new funds to invest in oil and gas had dwindled. Now, with demand down and output up around the world, hundreds of private equity-backed producers are faced with the same grim math as the publicly traded independent companies that used to buy them but now rarely do — drilling new wells doesn’t make money at $20 oil.

How coronavirus tore through global markets in the first quarter; Every major asset class has been disrupted
Philip Georgiadis, Tommy Stubbington, Joe Rennison, Eva Szalay and Steve Johnson – FT
Global stocks are set for their worst quarter since the 2008 financial crisis under the pressure of the coronavirus pandemic.

How central banks beat back the ‘bond vigilantes’; Unlimited bond buying has made it near impossible for investors to punish overspending
Tommy Stubbington and Laurence Fletcher – FT
Governments across the world are embarking on the biggest borrowing spree in history, as they look to tackle the coronavirus crisis. That should, in theory, be a happy hunting ground for “bond vigilantes” — hedge funds and other investors that punish free-spending states by betting against their debt, in the expectation that higher issuance will push bond prices down and yields up.


Banks say Fed rescue threatens mortgage hedging strategies; Regulatory action sought to prevent intervention from having unintended consequences
Laura Noonan and Robert Armstrong – FT
Big Wall Street banks have quietly joined with US home lenders in calling for regulatory action to prevent the Federal Reserve’s emergency purchases of mortgage-backed securities from unintentionally upending the hedging strategies of mortgage originators.

Barclays Wins Top Court Ruling Over Doctor’s Sex Abuse
Ellen Milligan – Bloomberg
Court says bank wasn’t liable because doctor was a contractor; Doctor accused of assaulting patients from 1960s to 1980s
Barclays Plc won a Supreme Court ruling over allegations that a doctor sexually assaulted patients while conducting medical examinations for the bank more than 30 years ago.

Why JPMorgan’s Aronov Was Planning for a Credit Bust; The head of market strategy at the $16 billion absolute return fixed income platform expected the corporate bond rally to end badly, well before last month’s collapse.
James Crombie – Bloomberg
Oksana Aronov knows how it feels to lose everything. In 1991 her family moved to the U.S. after the Soviet Union fell. They were allowed to take only $360, so they left behind the wealth and property her parents had accumulated over their combined 50 years of work. That experience informs Aronov’s view of what’s at the heart of credit portfolio management: risk.

Goldman Says Shale Might End Up Being a Winner of the Oil War
Dan Murtaugh and Serene Cheong – Bloomberg
Shale’s flexibility means it will benefit when demand returns; Low-cost producers like Saudi, U.A.E. also well-positioned
The bruised and battered U.S. shale industry is poised to emerge from the oil crash a winner, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Traders Get Reality Check With China’s Cautious Stimulus Measures
Bloomberg News
Beijing measures are tame compared with efforts elsewhere; China’s financial markets are now falling behind global peers
China’s authorities are proving surprisingly reserved when it comes to unleashing support measures for its ailing economy, and investors aren’t liking the reticence.

Mizuho to Book $300 Million Writedown on Plunging Stock Prices
Taiga Uranaka – Bloomberg
Mizuho Financial Group Inc. will book a 32.9 billion yen ($306 million) charge on its securities holdings in the just-completed quarter due to the coronavirus-fueled stock market rout.

Deutsche Bank overhaul derailed by coronavirus fallout; Lender hits ‘sudden stop’ as pandemic forces executives to revisit strategic plan
Stephen Morris and Olaf Storbeck – FT
A month ago, it looked like Christian Sewing had turned the corner. Two years after taking on the most difficult job in European finance, Deutsche Bank’s chief executive had overseen the closure of swaths of its lossmaking investment bank, was ahead of schedule on a EUR280bn balance sheet clean-up, and had stemmed a stream of misconduct fines.

BlackRock applies to set up China mutual fund business; World’s biggest asset manager joins Neuberger Berman in seeking slice of growing market
Ryan McMorrow – FT
BlackRock, the world’s biggest asset manager, has applied to set up a mutual fund business in China, taking advantage of the latest liberalisation of the country’s financial services sector.

Renaissance Technologies hedge fund takes 17 percent hit due to coronavirus
Thornton McEnery – NY Post
Ken Griffin’s fund Citadel rumored in shocking drop in Tiffany shares
The hedge fund empire founded by billionaire Jim Simons has taken a bit of a beating as the coronavirus pandemic rattles stocks, The Post has learned.


Japan ‘on the brink’ as it struggles to hold back coronavirus
Kiyoshi Takenaka, Elaine Lies – Reuters
Japan is struggling to hold the line against the coronavirus and is on the brink of crisis with medical experts particularly worried about preparations in Tokyo, officials said on Wednesday, raising the prospect of emergency lockdowns.

Italy and Spain Point to Covid-19’s Staggering Oil-Demand Hit
Jack Wittels – Bloomberg
Countries’ oil demand has collapsed amid nationwide lock-downs; Both have been among the hardest hit by the coronavirus
Nobody knows just how severe the global hit to oil demand has been from the novel coronavirus, but the evidence from Europe’s hardest-hit nations are not good.

Spain Virus Deaths Rise by 864 in Deadliest Day of Outbreak
Rodrigo Orihuela – Bloomberg
Number of confirmed cases surges past 100,000; 9,053 have died; Officials say outbreak may be entering stabilization phase
Spain reported 864 new coronavirus fatalities on Wednesday, marking its deadliest day since the crisis began as the number of confirmed cases surged past 100,000.

Swedish Bankruptcies Soar as Virus Hits Hotels and Restaurants
Love Liman – Bloomberg
Bankruptcies among Swedish restaurants and hotels jumped by 123% in March as measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic stopped people from making trips and socializing.

U.K. Lenders Confront Biggest Mortgage Test Since 2008 Crash
Neil Callanan – Bloomberg
Pandemic could drive down riskiest borrowers’ property values; Help to Buy program may also leave government exposed
British mortgage providers, frustrated that sales volumes failed to match the highs before the global financial crisis, spent the last two years cutting margins and taking on riskier buyers. With the pandemic now hanging over house prices, they’re about to find out if their customers are as solid as they thought.

Leaving Hong Kong to Escape Coronavirus Didn’t Work; It turns out you can’t run from a global pandemic.
Shelly Banjo – Bloomberg
In January my 16-month-old son uttered one of his first words: “mask.” We were living in Hong Kong, which had gone on de facto lockdown to limit the spread of the new coronavirus that had infected thousands in China. The whole city had covered their faces with blue surgical masks. Schools, offices, and playrooms were shut. We holed up in our tiny apartment, leaving only to get food. Tensions at home were rising. And then there was the guilt I felt.

Panama Canal Sends Thousands of Workers Home
Matthew Bristow and Michael D McDonald – Bloomberg
The gatekeepers of global trade routes are trying to keep goods moving through a wounded world economy while trying to minimize health threats to their own workers.

Letter from the Philippines: Life During Coronavirus
Leah Callon-Butler – Coindesk
Leah Callon-Butler, a CoinDesk columnist, is the director of Emfarsis, a consulting firm focused on the role of technology in advancing economic development in Asia. About a week ago, my boyfriend and I stood in the kitchen and had a discussion about where we would hide a wad of cash if we were to drain our local bank account. The bookshelf was too obvious. Under the mattress was too cliché. I suggested a Ziplock bag in the freezer and he made a joke about freezing our assets. I followed with one about cold storage.


The scale of the coronavirus crisis exposes how pointless the Brexit cause is
Rafael Behr – The Guardian
This might not feel like the moment to go on about Brexit, but Brexit goes on whether we are feeling it or not. When people are worried about surviving April, December’s deadline for EU trade talks seems a long way off. Covid-19 may have eclipsed older problems, but they will not solve themselves in its shadow. The disease has halted negotiations and infected the lead negotiators. All Whitehall capacity is being spent on the immediate crisis. Boris Johnson has no time for Brexit. If he did, he might want to practise some social distancing from the idea.

Brexit: lost in transition
Jim Brunsden – FT
The British government has been doing its best to ignore the derailment of its Brexit strategy. By this point in time, EU and UK negotiators were supposed to have completed two intensive negotiating rounds and to be poised for a third next week. Instead, the coronavirus pandemic has restricted both sides to seeking clarifications from a distance. ”The UK and EU have shared legal texts and informal discussions with the Commission are ongoing,” said a UK government spokesperson this week.


Over Half of Americans Are Postponing Their Weddings—at What Cost? What happens in Vegas represents a microcosm of the $54 billion wedding industry.
Matt Gross – Bloomberg
One of the last weddings performed in public in Las Vegas was on St. Patrick’s Day. The groom wore a dark suit. The bride wore a rockabilly-style black halter dress. The minister was Slash from Guns N’ Roses—or, rather, a licensed officiant performing as the shaggy-maned, top-hatted guitarist. As ceremonies go at the Rock & Roll Wedding Chapel in the Rio Hotel & Casino, it was fairly traditional.

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