First Citizens to Buy SVB After Biggest Bank Failure Since 2008

Mar 27, 2023

First Read

Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

This morning we have the first of the videos from our FIA Boca coverage and we start out with our interview with CFTC Chairman Rostin Behnam. We also have an interview with IMC Marketing Manager Steven Biester, who spoke with us about the ongoing IMC Prosperity Trading Challenge. Lastly, we have a podcast of an interview I recorded in a Panera in the Southgate Mall in Sarasota, FL with Exchange Analytics Owner and President Joe Adamczyk about the history and the future of the firm. Thank you to Patrick Lothian for his dedicated work to get these pieces edited despite a sick dog. He is also dealing with a very pregnant wife and a two-year old at home, so he is truly a magician.

As the CEO of TikTok is grilled by Congress, here is something to consider. TikTok is owned by a Chinese company, so why does it not exist in China? That is the gist of a CNN story, which asks an obvious question that itself gives you the answer. The Guardian chips in with a story titled “TikTok is part of China’s cognitive warfare campaign.” The Guardian says, “Translated Chinese military reports suggest that warfare is shifting from destroying bodies to paralyzing and controlling the opponent’s mind. Making the Biden administration’s call for TikTok’s Chinese owners to sell their stakes in the app or face a US ban just the start of a protracted Whac-A-Mole game in a broader strategy to combat cognitive warfare – with the human mind as the battlefield.”

If you did not know it, there is war being waged between China and the U.S. and the West and Russia and the U.S. and the West. It is cyberwarfare and you are the targets. There are other countries waging war against the Western countries too, and it is not just war but related organized crime. Sometimes it is easy to connect the dots, or the tiks and toks.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the work-from-home era is ending for millions of Americans as 21 million more workers were on-site in 2022 compared to the prior year.

Elon Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion, but now after running it for less than a year says it is worth less than half that amount, The New York Times reported. He took the company private, so the shares do not freely trade on a public exchange. But the new employee stock compensation plan values the company at $20 billion, which is a rather sharp drop from what he paid for it. But Musk is used to large swings in value of his holdings as he swings in and out of being the world’s richest man.

BornTec has become a member of the FIA. Congratulations!

Marie Chinnici-Everitt, managing director and chief marketing officer of the Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation, won the 2023 Dottie Berger MacKinnon Woman of Influence Award from The Tampa Bay Chamber.

Eric Cott has joined Tidal Financial Group as vice president of business development.

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


The United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) is offering an online course: Climate Change: Risks and Opportunities for the Banking Industry April 3-21 in English and April 24-May 12 in Spanish, as well as on a number of other dates later this year. The course supports financial institutions in their work implementing assessments and disclosures underpinned by the 2017 recommendations of the FSB Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). The course is designed for executives and middle management staff of banks and financial regulators. Get information and register here.~SAED


Gain Small-Cap Exposure with Options on the Russell 2000 Index
Learn why small-cap indexes like the Russell 2000 have historically outperformed large-cap counterparts, and how an options strategy can help you manage your risk while expressing an opinion on the index.


CFTC Chairman Behnam Speaks to JLN at FIA Boca

John Lothian News interviewed CFTC Chairman Rostin Behnam at the FIA Boca conference and here are the questions we asked him:
– What did you tell the FIA crowd during your chairman’s speech?
– What is the advantage of working with a full commissioner corps?
– What are you hoping to achieve in cyber security?
– How do you think the FIA cyber security task force could fit into your plan?
– What rulemakings will we be seeing next?

Watch the video »


Exchange Analytics’ Joe Adamczyk Interviewed by John Lothian On the Road in Sarasota

During my recent trip to Florida, I met up with Joe Adamczyk, the owner of Exchange Analytics, to talk about the firm, its history and future.

Adamczyk relocated to Sarasota, Florida to get away from the harsh winters of Chicago. I met up with him in a Panera on the south side of Sarasota. I asked him just six questions and let him talk. He told me about the history of the firm, why it was started and how he got involved.

He spoke about the future of training and what Larry Israel, from whom he bought Exchange Analytics, is doing these days.

Listen to the Podcast


IMC’s Trading Challenge Prosperity Wins Sea Shells and Sends Winner to the Seashore

IMC is holding a trading challenge, but not just any trading challenge. This virtual market trading challenge was 18 months in the making, designed by multiple teams inside and out of IMC. The name of the challenge is Prosperity and it involves earning sea shells, which could earn the winning trader or traders a $25,000 cash prize, which could be used for an island vacation. It also earns a $25,000 donation to a non-profit that helps cleanup the ocean. IMC will make a $25,000 donation in the winner’s name to The Ocean Cleanup.

John Lothian news interviewed IMC’s Global Marketing Manager Steven Biester about the 10-day market simulation challenge in which contestants combine basic Python skills, strategic insights and analytic capabilities. The challenge began on March 20 and involves five trading days made up of 48 hours a piece.

Watch the video »


Rules for winding up big banks do not work, Swiss finance minister warns; Karin Keller-Sutter says following the protocols ‘would have triggered an international financial crisis’
Sam Jones – Financial Times
The global regulatory regime for “too big to fail” banks set up after the 2008 crisis does not work, according to Switzerland’s finance minister. In an interview with Swiss newspaper NZZ on Saturday, Karin Keller-Sutter – who was at the centre of Swiss authorities’ rush to rescue Credit Suisse last weekend – said following the emergency protocols that are at the centre of the regulatory architecture for big banks “would have triggered an international financial crisis”.

****** This is the same problem army generals have, always prepared to fight the last war.~JJL


LSEG celebrates 50 years of female traders with historic market open; The opening bell this morning followed on from the closing bell ceremony hosted by The TRADE last week, and marks the 50th anniversary of women traders being admitted to the trading floor.
Laurie McAughtry – The Trade
On Monday 27 March, the London Stock Exchange (LSE) celebrated the 50th anniversary of women’s admittance to the LSE trading floor. London’s markets were opened for trading by special guests Hilary Pearson (nee Root) and Susan Shaw, two of the first ever female members of the LSE trading floor.

***** To think I was alive when this happened? Amazing!~JJL


Traveling overseas this summer? There’s huge demand for passports, so get yours ASAP
Kaitlyn Radde – NPR
If you’re planning a summer getaway outside of the country, make sure you get your paperwork in order sooner rather than later. Passports are in “unprecedented demand,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday during a House Appropriations subcommittee budget hearing. In 2022, the State Department issued a record 22 million passports – and 2023 is “on track to break” that record, Blinken said.

****** For those of you wanting to go to IDX or other conferences and your passports are out of date, you might want to get them updated quickly.~JJL


A Matt Levine Effect?
Paul Connell, William Fallon and Nick Foretek – SSRN
This paper constructs a novel dataset to explore whether Matt Levine’s vacation drives market volatility as suggested by readers and Levine himself. It finds that contrary to expectations, Levine’s vacations have an (almost) statistically significant effect in the opposite direction: decreasing market volatility. This paper provides a series of potential explanations for this observed market reaction.

****** We need to start a GoFundMe campaign to send Matt Levine on permanent vacation.~JJL


Friday’s Top Three
Our top story Friday was the CME Group’s page for its WTI Futures Trading Challenge March 26-31, 2023, honoring the 40th anniversary of WTI Crude Oil futures. Second was Brian Schaeffer Named President of Velocity Clearing, from Velocity Clearing via Businesswire. Third was Coinbase and Gary Gensler are in a death match and only one of them can prevail, from Fortune.


MarketsWiki Stats
27,265 pages; 243,893 edits
MarketsWiki Statistics


Lead Stories

First Citizens to Buy SVB After Biggest Bank Failure Since 2008
Ed Hammond and Matthew Monks – Bloomberg
First Citizens BancShares Inc. agreed to buy Silicon Valley Bank after a run on deposits wiped out the company in the biggest US bank failure in more than a decade. The deal to settle SVB’s fate could help tamp down some of the turmoil that has engulfed the financial world, and shares of regional banks rallied on the news, with First Citizens up as much as 44%. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. seized SVB earlier this month amid concern that bank runs could spread.

***** Here is The Wall Street Journal’s version of this story.

Credit Suisse’s demise: a new twist on the ‘Swiss finish’; The bank’s fall has profoundly damaged Switzerland’s reputation in investment banking, wealth management and regulation
Patrick Jenkins – Financial Times
A “Swiss finish” was traditionally the description given to the extra layer of financial safeguards demanded by Switzerland’s bank regulators – reflective of the high quality the country has traditionally been famed for, from its watches to its banking sector. The demise of Credit Suisse has lent the term an unfortunate new meaning.

Coinbase Ex-Manager Convicted of Insider Trading Is Crypto’s Latest Legal Hope; Industry uses civil suit to challenge regulator’s view that crypto assets are securities
Dave Michaels – The Wall Street Journal
Crypto has picked an unlikely ally in its battle against oversight by Wall Street’s chief regulator: a former Coinbase Global Inc. employee convicted of insider trading. Ishan Wahi, a former manager at Coinbase, pleaded guilty this year to giving his brother and a college friend trading tips that generated almost $1.5 million in illicit profits. An Indian immigrant, he could serve more than three years in prison and be deported after doing time.

Saudi Chairman of Credit Suisse’s Largest Investor Resigns; Ammar al-Khudairy’s remarks about Saudi National Bank’s investment in the troubled lender set off an investor panic
Summer Said and Dave Sebastian – The Wall Street Journal
The chairman of Credit Suisse decrease; red down pointing triangle Group AG’s largest shareholder has resigned less than two weeks after his comments set off a panic with the European lender’s shareholders that eventually led the Swiss government to engineer a takeover by rival UBS Group AG. Ammar al-Khudairy, the chairman of Saudi National Bank, is leaving for personal reasons and will be succeeded by Chief Executive Saeed Mohammed al-Ghamdi, the bank said on Monday. It didn’t say whether the resignation was tied to Mr. Khudairy’s comments on SNB’s investment in Credit Suisse.

Tether Is Winning Stablecoin Battle Despite Looming Risks; Stablecoin’s value has risen by more than $5 billion in past two weeks
Vicky Ge Huang – The Wall Street Journal
Tether is continuing to extend its lead in the battle for the stablecoin market. However, its growth isn’t without controversy. Already the world’s largest stablecoin by market cap, tether’s value has increased by more than $5 billion in the past two weeks to about $79 billion, according to CoinMarketCap data.

Regulation Can’t Prevent the Next Financial Crisis; Efforts to make banks safer can effectively push risk into other sectors of finance.
Tyler Cowen – Bloomberg
For all of you following the banking crises in the US and Europe, and asking why this is all happening again, I have bad news: Regardless of what laws are passed, or which regulations are issued, banking crises will recur – and not infrequently. It makes sense to try to limit and prevent these crises, and the systemic reforms the US and EU mandated more than a decade ago were appropriate. But there’s only so much that can be done. Part of the reason stems from nature of regulation itself. And part of it is that more restrictions imposed on banks will inevitably lead to more financial intermediation taking place outside the banking system.

The Texas Preacher’s $24 Million Ponzi Scheme; Doc Gallagher preyed on older, religious investors who long defended him as a man of faith.
Chris Pomorski – Bloomberg
Linda Provence has lived in the same neat brick ranch house in Bedford, Texas, just outside Fort Worth, for more than 50 years. On the wood-paneled walls of her living room hang black-and-white photos of her mother and father, who abandoned her as an infant, and of a company of Texas Rangers, circa 1887, in wide-brimmed hats with long guns. It’s said that Fort Worth is where the West begins, and these images-like the lasso hung decoratively over the couch and the bucking bronco sculpture on the mantle-speak to the ethos of self-reliance that’s especially cherished in this part of the state.

Banking Crisis Raises Concerns About Hidden Leverage in the System
Neil Callanan and Silas Brown – Bloomberg
As traders rush to identify where the next bout of volatility will come from, some watchdogs think the answer may be buried in the huge pile of hidden leverage that’s been quietly built over the past decade. More than a dozen regulators, bankers, asset managers and former central bank officials interviewed by Bloomberg News say shadow debt and its links to lenders are becoming a major cause for concern as rising interest rates send tremors through financial markets. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Martin Gruenberg and BlackRock Inc. Chairman Larry Fink have called for more scrutiny in recent public comments.

50 Years Since Women Trailblazers Joined London Stock Exchange; First cohort remember their debut on the ‘hallowed floor’; Women ‘got in by the back door’ after mergers, says one Katherine Griffiths – Bloomberg
When Susan Shaw finished her first day on the floor of the London Stock Exchange in March 1973, a newspaper photographer wanted to take her picture. He was coming from a job at London Zoo. For some at the time, allowing women to join the members’ club formed in 1801 at the heart of the City of London was a strange spectacle – and an unwelcome one. When women left school, career options tended to be secretarial work, nursing or university, recalls Shaw, who was then 37.

$119M in Stolen Crypto So Far in 2023, NFT Rug Pulls on the Rise: Crystal Blockchain
Anna Baydakova – CoinDesk
The year is young but so far in 2023 hackers have stolen $119 million in crypto in 19 breaches, Crystal Blockchain says in a new report, which includes data ranging from the Mt. Gox crypto exchange hack in 2011 to Feb. 18, 2023. The biggest DeFi hack so far this year was February’s of Bonq DAO, a decentralized borrowing protocol. Hackers compromised the protocols’ smart contract and manipulated the price of allianceBlock tokens, draining about $88 million of crypto out of the protocol.

Top Democrats lash out at ‘new wave’ of Republican climate denialism
Amanda Chu – Financial Times
Top Democrats lashed out at a “new wave” of climate denialism in the Republican party at a corporate conference this week, warning “Maga ideology” was becoming a major risk to US industry and business. John Podesta, President Biden’s senior clean energy adviser, cautioned Wall Street investors that Republican attacks on “woke capitalism” were “irresponsible” and against free market principles.

Executive pay at Silicon Valley Bank soared after big bet on riskier assets
Antoine Gara, Patrick Temple-West and Tabby Kinder – Financial Times
Executive pay at Silicon Valley Bank soared after the bank embarked on a strategy to boost profitability by buying riskier assets exposed to rising interest rates, according to a Financial Times analysis of securities filings and people familiar with the matter. The jump in pay for chief executive Greg Becker and chief financial officer Daniel Beck was a result of large multiyear bonus awards pegged to the bank’s return on equity (RoE), a key measure of profitability that rose sharply between 2017 and 2021, the filings show.

Welcome to the Superprime Banking Crisis
Telis Demos – The Wall Street Journal
Banks for rich people are different from other banks. They used to have more money. Banking’s last crisis featured subprime borrowers, specifically people with troubled credit who were given mortgages by bankers who ignored the risk that the borrowers wouldn’t realistically be able to afford them. Banks that got into trouble were ones that churned out such loans or gorged on them in securitized form.

Gordon E. Moore, Intel Co-Founder Behind Moore’s Law, Dies at 94
Holcomb B. Noble and Katie Hafner – The New York Times
Gordon E. Moore, a co-founder and former chairman of Intel Corporation, the California semiconductor chip maker that helped give Silicon Valley its name, achieving the kind of industrial dominance once held by the giant American railroad or steel companies of another age, died on Friday at his home in Hawaii. He was 94. His death was announced by Intel and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. No cause was specified.

Deep-sea mining for rare metals will destroy ecosystems, say scientists
Robin McKie – The Guardian
An investigation by conservationists has found evidence that deep-seabed mining of rare minerals could cause “extensive and irreversible” damage to the planet. The report, to be published on Monday by the international wildlife charity Fauna & Flora, adds to the growing controversy that surrounds proposals to sweep the ocean floor of rare minerals that include cobalt, manganese and nickel. Mining companies want to exploit these deposits – which are crucial to the alternative energy sector – because land supplies are running low, they say.

Aging Shadow Fleet Carrying Russian Oil Poses Disaster Risk; Old tankers typically sold for scrap are instead hauling crude; Usual safety and insurance standards aren’t being met
Ali Asad Zulfiqar – Bloomberg
The oil tanker Turba normally should have been melted down by now. The 26-year-old vessel hasn’t had a full inspection since 2017, according to a database dedicated to promoting safe shipping. It also lacks industry standard insurance and sails under the flag of country with a poor standing for the oversight of maritime safety.

Thousands of Retirees Can’t Withdraw Savings Invested in Firms Controlled by Indicted Financier Greg Lindberg
Mark Maremont and Leslie Scism – The Washington Post
Mark Zintel, a retiree who lives near Tampa, Fla., is furious that $700,000 in annuities he bought from an insurer have been frozen for almost four years. He is one of tens of thousands of people whose money was rendered unreachable as the empire of self-described billionaire Greg Lindberg slowly imploded. Many may never recover a portion of their money, and some have died while waiting.

TikTok is owned by a Chinese company. So why doesn’t it exist there?
Jessie Yeung and Selina Wang – CNN
TikTok is fighting to stay alive in the United States as pressure builds in Washington to ban the app if its Chinese owners don’t sell the company. But the wildly popular platform, developed with homegrown Chinese technology, isn’t accessible in China. In fact, it’s never existed there. Instead, there’s a different version of TikTok – a sister app called Douyin.

There’s No Such Thing as Artificial Intelligence; The term breeds misunderstanding and helps its creators avoid culpability.
Parmy Olson – Bloomberg
No one sells the future more masterfully than the tech industry. According to its proponents, we will all live in the “metaverse,” build our financial infrastructure on “web3” and power our lives with “artificial intelligence.” All three of these terms are mirages that have raked in billions of dollars, despite bite back by reality. Artificial intelligence in particular conjures the notion of thinking machines. But no machine can think, and no software is truly intelligent. The phrase alone may be one of the most successful marketing terms of all time.

Wine growers fear funding will wither after fall of Silicon Valley Bank
Patrick McGee and George Hammond – Financial Times
As venture capitalists and tech founders traded frenzied WhatsApp messages that fuelled a historic run on Silicon Valley Bank on March 9, other important clients of the lender were toiling in the dirt, oblivious to what was coming. Jasmine Hirsch, general manager of Hirsch Vineyards in Sonoma, said she only found out about the $42bn bank run from a family contact in finance the day before the lender was rescued by federal regulators, having had no foreknowledge of its problems. “We were not in the VIP group chat,” she said.

The Mystery of the Missing Oil Barrels Is Solved; Less US crude is unaccounted for, but data collectors are still getting shortchanged.
Javier Blas – Bloomberg
At several points last year, the US government was unable to account for about one-in-10 barrels of oil the country either produced or consumed. Don’t get me wrong: the barrels were there; they existed. But statisticians couldn’t determine whether they represented supply or demand, or a combination of either. The discrepancy caused a major headache to oil traders, as it rendered opaque the true health of the US energy market.

Ukraine Invasion

Russia’s Wagner mercenaries ‘running out of steam’ as Ukraine plans counteroffensive
Eleanor Noyce – Independent
Russia’s Wagner mercenaries are “running out of steam” and Ukraine will soon launch a counteroffensive, a military official has said. Commander Oleksandr Syrskyi claimed that the group, who have been at the front of Moscow’s assault on eastern and southern Ukraine, are losing “considerable strength” amid the fight for Bakhmut. The Ukrainian military also claimed 1,020 Russian troops had been killed in the past 24 hours after unsuccessful attacks on Lyman, Avdiivka, Marinka and Shakhtarsk.

Japan and Germany Are Again Preparing for War
Ian Buruma – The Wall Street Journal
The German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has called this moment a “historic turning point.” In Japan, a famous comedian named Tamori coined the (somewhat obscure) phrase “new prewar,” and it has been widely used to say much the same thing: That Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has forced both countries to take their own military preparedness more seriously. In February last year, Mr. Scholz promised to use a fund of 100 billion Euros to strengthen Germany’s neglected military forces and to push Germany’s military budget over the 2% of GDP required by NATO. Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida paid a surprise visit to Ukraine this week, the first time a Japanese prime minister had set foot in a country at war.

Factbox: Russia’s nuclear arsenal: How big is it and who controls it?
Guy Faulconbridge – Reuters
President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday that Russia has struck a deal with neighbouring Belarus to station tactical nuclear weapons on its territory but will not violate non-proliferation agreements. The following are details of Russia’s nuclear arsenal, how big it is and who commands it.

Ukrainian top brass stirs the pot with talk of Bakhmut counterattack
Dan Sabbagh – The Guardian
Spring has arrived in Ukraine – with late March temperatures an unreasonably high 17C along much of the frontline in the east. It means it is possible to declare, definitively, that the Russian campaign to knock out Ukraine’s power grid has failed, and whatever happens next in the war, its people will not be frozen out of their homes, as was once feared when the cynical bombing campaign began on 10 October.

Ukraine says Bakhmut situation is stabilising, Putin plays down tank shortage
David Ljunggren – Reuters
Ukrainian forces have managed to blunt Russia’s offensive in and around the embattled eastern city of Bakhmut, where the situation is stabilising, commander in chief General Valery Zaluzhniy said on Saturday. Separately, Britain’s defence ministry said the months-long Russian assault on the city had stalled, mainly as a result of heavy troop losses. Military experts say there are clear signs Russia is running short of equipment, particularly heavy tanks.

Putin Ups the Ante With Nukes in Belarus; If anybody thought the Kremlin might be ready to talk peace, the Russian president has just proven the opposite.
Andreas Kluth – Bloomberg
Let’s all hope that Chinese President Xi Jinping sees this outrage as a personal affront and gives his “friend” in Moscow a good talking to at once. Only days ago, Xi was paying Russian President Vladimir Putin a visit – to discuss their collaboration, but also to talk him out of nuclear escalation and into a peace process with Kyiv. This weekend, Putin did the exact opposite.

Ukraine Urges UN Meeting on Putin’s Atomic Weapons Plan; Putin said tactical nuclear arms would be stationed in Belarus; Kyiv calls on G-7 nations, EU to warn Belarus of consequences
Olesia Safronova and Ros Krasny – Bloomberg
Kyiv demanded an extraordinary meeting of the UN Security Council in its first official response to Vladimir Putin’s announcement that Russia will station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus. “It is another provocative step, which undermines the principles of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the architecture of nuclear disarmament and the international security system,” the Ukrainian foreign ministry said Sunday in a lengthy response to the plan announced by Russia’s president.

NATO criticises Putin’s ‘dangerous and irresponsible’ nuclear rhetoric
Dan Peleschuk – Reuters
NATO on Sunday criticised Vladimir Putin for what it called his “dangerous and irresponsible” nuclear rhetoric, a day after the Russian president said he planned to station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus. Putin likened the move on Saturday to the U.S. stationing its weapons in Europe, while insisting that Russia would not violate its nuclear non-proliferation promises.

Kyiv doctor killed in Russian airstrike shows war’s fallout far from front
Missy Ryan, Kostiantyn Khudov and Alice Martins – The Washington Post
Oksana Leontieva was late for work. The 36-year-old doctor was due at Ukraine’s top children’s hospital, where she treated patients with cancer and other serious diseases. But first she had to get her son to kindergarten. An air raid siren was blaring across Kyiv, which meant that Oksana, a widow and single mom, could not drop him off, according to school rules. It was Oct. 10. The alerts had been sounding for months, but there had been no strikes in the Ukrainian capital since the early weeks of Russia’s invasion.

No more ‘dangerous’ money printing to fund war, vows Ukraine central bank chief
Ben Hall – Financial Times
Ukraine will no longer resort to “dangerous” monetary financing to fund its war against Russia, its central bank governor has said, adding that an “open conflict” with the government over the issue had been resolved. Andriy Pyshnyy, the 48-year-old head of the National Bank of Ukraine, said in an interview with the Financial Times that it had “created huge risks for macro-financial stability” when the bank was forced last year to print billions of hryvnia to plug a budget shortfall.

Ukraine Latest: Russia Says Drone Strikes Town South of Moscow
Bloomberg News
Vladimir Putin said Russia is preparing to station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, escalating a confrontation with the US and its allies. Ukraine’s foreign ministry on Sunday called the move “another provocative step of the criminal Putin regime” and asked for an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council. The European Union’s foreign policy chief called hosting Russian nuclear arms in Belarus an “irresponsible escalation” that could result in more sanctions.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

JPMorgan’s Mystery ‘Nickel’ Rocks: The Hunt for Clues Begins With a Kick
Jack Farchy, Archie Hunter, Alfred Cang and Mark Burton – Bloomberg
The revelation that about $2 million of “nickel” on the London Metal Exchange was actually just bags of stones has thrown a spotlight on the sprawling web of warehouses and metal stashes underpinning the billions of dollars of derivatives traded daily on the LME. Over the past week, warehouse staff from Busan in South Korea to Genoa in Italy have rushed to check tens of thousands of two-ton bags of nickel – in some cases, by literally kicking them.

LME Nickel Finally Returns to Regular Trading Hours After Crisis; Trading started at 1 a.m. London time along with other metals; LME hopes expanded hours will boost nickel trading volumes
Mark Burton – Bloomberg
Nickel on the London Metal Exchange resumed Asian-hours trading on Monday, marking a crucial step in efforts to repair the market after last year’s unprecedented turmoil. The metal opened for business at 1 a.m. London time, more than a year after the LME suspended trading and canceled billions of dollars worth of deals in response to a runaway short squeeze centered around top producer Tsingshan Holding Group Co. Prices surged 250% in a little over 24 hours in early March 2022, with the sharpest spike taking place during the Asian day. The market reopened a week later, but only from 8 a.m. in London.

LSEG appoints new head of global data; Incoming head has strong ESG credentials; joins from Nasdaq in New York. Former roles include chief product officer at Preqin, along with 12 years with S&P Global.
Laurie McAughtry – The Trade
The London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) has appointed Dmitri Sedov as the new group head of its global data platform, The TRADE can reveal. Sedov will head up the exchange group’s ambition of transforming how capital market participants discover, source and analyse data – a key focus point for LSEG since its £27 billion acquisition of Refinitiv from Thomson Reuters in 2021. He has considerable experience in ESG and sustainability strategy, underlining the area as a key growth objective for the group.

Clearstream launches Collateral Mapper to customise equity collateral utilisation
Deutsche Boerse
Collateral Mapper provides up-to-date data and pre-emptive analytics about collateral portfolios and equity capacities. The tool allows for higher volumes of transaction execution by more effectively allocating collateral assets. Clearstream has launched a new data-based solution to optimise collateral management: the Collateral Mapper.

Physical general meetings to resume as default for listed companies
SGX Group
Letter to the Editor; Business Times Singapore; Dear BT Editor, Singapore Exchange Regulation (SGX RegCo) notes the feedback from investors calling for listed companies to hold shareholder meetings face-to-face, which was also echoed in the Business Times’ commentaries published recently. Come 1 July 2023, the Government’s (Temporary Measures) Orders for virtual general meetings will stop and face-to-face general meetings will become the default for listed companies. As such, we would like to remind listed companies to make preparations for physical general meetings to meet the needs of investors.

Nasdaq Announces Mid-Month Open Short Interest Positions in Nasdaq Stocks as of Settlement Date March 15, 2023
At the end of the settlement date of March 15, 2023, short interest in 3,418 Nasdaq Global MarketSM securities totaled 10,373,177,802 shares compared with 10,071,117,158 shares in 3,441 Global Market issues reported for the prior settlement date of February 28, 2023. The mid-March short interest represents 2.72 days compared with 2.78 days for the prior reporting period.

Easter Holiday and ANZAC Day Trading Hours
Introduction: FEX Global (FGL) trading hours (applying to all contracts) over the Easter and ANZAC Day periods is as follows.

MIAX Exchange Group – Options and Equities Markets – Postponed launch of new website
The previously announced launch of the website in the March 20, 2023 alert has been postponed. The MIAX Options, MIAX Pearl Options, MIAX Emerald Options and MIAX Pearl Equities Exchanges will announce the new launch date in a future alert.

NYSE US Exchanges to Close in Observance of Good Friday
In observance of Good Friday, the New York Stock Exchange, NYSE American Equities, NYSE Arca Equities, NYSE Chicago, NYSE National, NYSE American Options, NYSE Arca Options, and NYSE Bonds markets will be closed on Friday, April 7, 2023.

NYSE Group Consolidated Short Interest Report
NYSE today reported short interest as of the close of business on the settlement date of March 15, 2023.

The Moscow Exchange reduces the commission on transactions with options by five times
The Moscow Exchange is reducing the size of the exchange commission for transactions with margined options on futures contracts and premium options on shares on the futures market.

Moscow Exchange expands the range of derivatives for global assets
On March 28, 2023, trading in settled futures contracts for the shares of the global exchange-traded fund iShares Core Nikkei 225 ETF (trading code NIKK) will begin on the Moscow Exchange derivatives market. The fund invests in a portfolio of shares of the Japanese stock index Nikkei 225, the calculation base of which includes 225 of the country’s largest companies.


Acquisitions of fixed income connectivity solutions spotlight the 60% growth potential of this market; Senior analyst at Aite Group, Vinod Jain, discusses the attractiveness of fixed income connectivity platforms and the key reasons firms are making acquisitions in this space.
Vinod Jain – The Trade
Bloomberg’s acquisition of Broadway Technologies follows on the heels of AxeTrading being acquired by Trading Technologies and the 2021 acquisition of LIST Group by ION. With so much activity in this space in recent years, you may be wondering, “Why all the interest in fixed income connectivity solutions?”

Musk’s Stock Grants Value Twitter at $20 Billion: Information
Eduard Gismatullin – Bloomberg
Elon Musk offered Twitter employees new equity grants valuing the company at $20 billion, The Information reported, citing an unidentified person familiar with an email sent by the chief executive officer to staff. The $20 billion valuation is less than half the $44 billion Musk paid to buy the social media platform last year, which in theory would offer workers a big upside if the company’s value recovers. Many early startups offer stock options at steep discounts.

TeraExchange Selects EP3 Platform from Connamara Technologies to Power Swap Execution Facility
TeraExchange, LLC., announced [on March 13, 2023] that it has selected EP3, from Connamara Technologies, Inc., to power TeraExchange, a CFTC-registered Swap Execution Facility (SEF) that delivers unconflicted swap market access and utility to its market participants at highly competitive rates. TeraExchange’s centrally cleared swaps mitigate risk and improve the overall efficiency of the trading process and Connamara Technologies is a global provider of exchange solutions for capital markets and alternative assets.

Founders Story with Jeremie Bacon; Join the Polsky Center for a fireside chat with Jeremie Bacon.
Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Join us in person at the Harper Center for a fireside chat with Jeremie Bacon. Jeremie is a CEO and entrepreneur in the FinTech software, recreation, and experiential hospitality industries. He is the Co-Founder of The Forge Adventure Parks, which designs, builds, and operates large-scale outdoor recreation parks to exhilarate, entertain, and educate guests of all ages and abilities.


Dish Network-and Its Customers-Are Still Reeling From Cyberattack
Will Feuer – The Wall Street Journal
About a month after Dish Network Corp. disclosed a cyberattack, the satellite-TV and wireless provider is still working to get all its operations up and running. Customers said they are still struggling to access certain services such as HBO Max and other third-party streaming services, get into their accounts and reach customer-service call centers. Millions of people are waiting for updates from the company on whether their personal information was compromised in the data breach.

Twitter Says Parts of Its Source Code Were Leaked Online
Ryan Mac and Kate Conger – The New York Times
Parts of Twitter’s source code, the underlying computer code on which the social network runs, were leaked online, according to a legal filing, a rare and major exposure of intellectual property as the company struggles to reduce technical issues and reverse its business fortunes under Elon Musk. Twitter moved on Friday to have the leaked code taken down by sending a copyright infringement notice to GitHub, an online collaboration platform for software developers where the code was posted, according to the filing.

Twitter Source Code Leak Turns Into Hunt for Perpetrator; An account named FreeSpeechEnthusiast published Twitter’s code; Twitter seeking user’s identity after GitHub pulled the data
Dana Hull – Bloomberg
Parts of Twitter’s proprietary source code were published online until last week, the company revealed in a California court filing Friday. The code, which forms the basis for the web service’s various functions and internal tools, was posted on GitHub, the widely used code repository that’s now owned by Microsoft Corp. GitHub complied with Twitter’s request to remove the data under a copyright infringement claim and posted Twitter’s request online.

Hackers Breached UK Pension Protection Fund, Stole Employee Data; Notorious gang Cl0p claims responsibility for breach; Intruders exploited a third-party service used by other firms
Ryan Gallagher – Bloomberg
Hackers obtained data on some employees of the UK’s Pension Protection Fund after exploiting a third-party data transfer service, according to a fund spokesperson. The Pension Protection Fund manages £39 billion of assets for its 295,000 members, according to its website. The fund protects people with a defined benefit pension when an employer becomes insolvent. By exploiting the Go Anywhere transfer service, intruders compromised some employee data, Jenny Peters, a spokesperson for the fund, said in a statement.


Coinbase Calls for Efforts to Create Inflation-Proof Stablecoins
Sidhartha Shukla – Bloomberg
US crypto exchange Coinbase Global Inc. encouraged developers working on its new blockchain to focus on how to create stablecoins that track the rate of inflation to preserve purchasing power. Coinbase said in a March 24 blog post that it’s particularly interested in these so-called “flatcoins,” adding that exploring the potential of stablecoins is “more important than ever” given the recent woes of the banking system.

Cryptocurrencies add nothing useful to society, says chip-maker Nvidia
Alex Hern – The Guardian
The US chip-maker Nvidia has said cryptocurrencies do not “bring anything useful for society” despite the company’s powerful processors selling in huge quantities to the sector.
Michael Kagan, its chief technology officer, said other uses of processing power such as the artificial intelligence chatbot ChatGPT were more worthwhile than mining crypto.

Binance says withdrawals have resumed after technical glitches
Cryptocurrency exchange Binance has resumed withdrawals on its platform after technical issues affected spot trading, the company said in a tweet. Binance suspended deposits and withdrawals earlier on Friday due to a “bug on a trailing stop order,” Chief Executive Changpeng Zhao said in a tweet, adding that the pause in deposits and withdrawals was a standard operating procedure.

Binance Employees, Volunteers Tell Users How to Bypass China’s Crypto Ban: CNBC
Some employees and support volunteers at crypto exchange Binance are helping customers in China and worldwide subvert Binance’s controls to hide their country of residence or origin, according to a CNBC report. “The Hash” panel discusses the potential weaknesses in Binance’s know-your-customer and anti-money-laundering efforts and the revelations about the state of crypto in China despite a ban on all crypto transactions.

Coinbase Swept Up in Crypto Crackdown
Emily Nicolle – Bloomberg
If 2022 was the year that crypto broke, 2023 is shaping up as the year of the Big Blowback – especially in the US – with one enforcement action seemingly following another aimed at seeking redress for some of the industry’s worst failings. Last month featured a significant increase in US moves against crypto businesses, as stablecoin issuer Paxos, crypto exchange Kraken and Terra co-founder Do Kwon all faced scrutiny within a matter of weeks. This month, authorities in Washington signaled they’re nowhere near done.

U.S. Accounting Board Seeks Crypto Standards Requiring Firms to Report Price Shifts
Jesse Hamilton – CoinDesk
U.S. accounting standards may be overhauled to specifically factor in crypto accounting, establishing a fair-value approach that would demand certain digital assets be measured at what they would go for in the markets, according to a change proposed this week by the Financial Accounting Standards Board.

Silvergate Capital Intends to Go Out of Business, So Why Are Shares Blasting Higher Today?
Bram Berkowitz – The Motley Fool
Shares of Silvergate Capital have skyrocketed today, despite the fact that the crypto bank announced earlier in March that it plans to wind down its operations and liquidate its assets after experiencing a significant deposit run over the last several months. As of 12:07 p.m. ET, the stock was up 63%

Binance suffers two-hour outage after software glitch; World’s biggest crypto exchange hit by technical issue in its trading systems
Scott Chipolina – Financial Times
Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, suspended trading all digital tokens for more than two hours on Friday after a software glitch hit its main systems. Shortly after the outage occurred on Friday, chief executive Changpeng Zhao said Binance had traced the issue to a bug in its so-called matching engine, where customers’ buy and sell orders are processed. The exchange also prevented customers from depositing and withdrawing funds but said the move was “standard operating procedure”.

Bitcoin Liquidity Hits 10-Month Low Even With the Price Surging; Market-makers losing access to USD payment rails, says Kaiko; Can get more volatility due to concentrated ownership: Devitt
Vildana Hajric and Emily Graffeo – Bloomberg
Bitcoin might be astounding investors with its double-digit rally this year, but liquidity in crypto markets remains desiccated. One measure of how easily the largest cryptocurrency can be bought or sold has fallen to 10-month lows, according to Conor Ryder at Kaiko, who summed up the bids and asks within the 2% range of the price on both sides of market maker order books. The liquidity dropoff is happening due to the firms that buy and sell crypto losing access to dollar-payment systems.

Coinbase, Do Kwon, Lindsay Lohan Are All Ensnared by Widening Crypto Dragnet; Terra’s Kwon arrested in Montenegro; Tron’s Justin Sun accused; ‘I expect we will see more enforcement news like this’
Michael P. Regan and Olga Kharif – Bloomberg
Last year’s crypto-market meltdown triggered a series of bankruptcies that almost completely reshaped the digital-asset industry. This year, government watchdogs appear to be arriving on the scene to finish the job. The past week saw the industry hit with another deluge of enforcement news, from the SEC’s threat to take legal action against Coinbase Inc. and its suit against the Tron blockchain network to the apprehension of crypto fugitive Do Kwon. Even celebrity crypto promoters like actress Lindsay Lohan and rapper Soulja Boy got caught up in the crackdown.

Crypto groups expand in Hong Kong in bid to tap mainland China demand; Asia’s financial hub is working to lure exchanges moving out of Singapore
William Langley and Chan Ho-him – Financial Times
Cryptocurrency companies are rushing to Hong Kong in the hope that the city’s high-profile push to become a hub for digital assets will help them to capture demand from mainland China to buy and sell tokens. Hong Kong is perceived by some companies to be more crypto-friendly than rival Singapore, which cracked down on the sector last year after several high-profile collapses in the industry. The city is planning a new regulatory regime for exchanges and legalising crypto trading for retail investors.

Crypto shilling has a gender equality problem; Lindsay Lowballed
Louis Ashworth – Financial Times
On Wednesday, the SEC charged might-have-been Credit Suisse suitor Justin Sun with fraud and market manipulation. Titillatingly, they also charged eight celebrities who had endorsed Sun’s various crypto wheezes without disclosing they had been paid to do so (aka pulling a Kim Kardashian (not, not like that)).

Huobi’s New Boss Shakes Up Crypto Firm With China Plan; Justin Sun’s strategy for boosting revenue includes a novel way around Beijing’s trading restrictions
Weilun Soon and Elaine Yu – The Wall Street Journal
Cryptocurrency entrepreneur Justin Sun is attempting to revive the fortunes of digital-assets exchange Huobi by shifting its focus back to China-with the aid of a digital citizenship program from a tiny Caribbean island. Mr. Sun is pushing the Beijing-founded company to win customers in Hong Kong and China, despite a ban on crypto trading in the mainland that forced Huobi to stop accepting business from there.


Biden Goes Quiet on Banking Crisis, Calls on Congress to Act; White House has tried to shift attention from banks this week; Aim is to project calm, avoid calls for executive action
Justin Sink and Josh Wingrove – Bloomberg
As the global banking crisis stretches into its third week, President Joe Biden has turned to a familiar playbook – lay low and point the finger at Congress. Publicly, aides and top White House officials say lawmakers have a responsibility to intervene. Unprecedented executive actions are being discussed behind closed doors, but Biden’s spokespeople are refusing to detail those deliberations while warning of the legal and practical obstacles to unilateral moves.

Beware of ads promoting Employee Retention Credit offers, IRS warns
Jeremy Tanner – The Hill
There is a widely-circulating tax scam for 2023 that involves Employee Retention Credits (ERC), the Internal Revenue Service warns, and you may have recently noticed the advertisements on TV or radio. The refundable tax credit was created to help businesses that kept paying employees despite being shuttered by the COVID pandemic, or who suffered serious declines in business income.

Biden Approves Mississippi Disaster Declaration After Storms
Eduard Gismatulli – Bloomberg
President Joe Biden declared that a major disaster exists in Mississippi and ordered federal aid to supplement state, tribal, and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by severe storms on March 24 and March 25, the White House said in statement. At least 25 people were killed and dozens of others were injured in the state, according to the Associated Press.

TikTok is part of China’s cognitive warfare campaign
Nita Farahany – The Guardian
Translated Chinese military reports suggest that warfare is shifting from destroying bodies to paralyzing and controlling the opponent’s mind. Making the Biden administration’s call for TikTok’s Chinese owners to sell their stakes in the app or face a US ban just the start of a protracted Whac-A-Mole game in a broader strategy to combat cognitive warfare – with the human mind as the battlefield.

When Big Business Married Big Government; From banking and chips to broadband and pharma, Biden has ushered in a new era of corporate dependency on D.C.
Allysia Finley – The Wall Street Journal Opinion
When liberals look back on the Biden presidency, they may hail its greatest accomplishment as ushering in a new era of corporate government dependency. Without fail, and no matter the industry, the administration has hooked businesses on Washington handouts while attaching conditions that put taxpayers and consumers on the hook for leftist policy preferences. The latest example is the banking panic. The 2010 Dodd-Frank Act provided an implicit taxpayer guarantee for the country’s largest banks. With

Scotland’s New Leader Faces Same Old Rancor Over Independence
Katharine Gemmell and Andrew Atkinson – Bloomberg
Taking the stage like a rock star to cheering fans, Nicola Sturgeon did what she’d done for almost a decade as leader of Scotland’s independence campaign. She rallied her troops for the next fight. It was Nov. 23 and the Supreme Court in London had just torpedoed her plan to hold a referendum on breaking away from the rest of the UK. The push for full autonomy in the wake of Britain’s departure from the European Union was now a “movement for democracy,” she told flag-waving supporters outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. “Let’s get to it, my friends.”

Yellen Says TikTok-Like Data Security Risks Are Growing More Common; Treasury secretary also oversees interagency review panel; Concern over data risks showing up in cases brought to Cfius
Alex Barinka – Bloomberg
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who oversees an interagency task force that’s reviewing national security concerns around TikTok Inc., said she’s seeing a growing number of situations that have raised concerns similar to those prompted by the app. “When it comes to data, we’re seeing an increasing number of cases that do present risks around this issue, of the type that have been mentioned in connection with TikTok,” she said Thursday during an appearance before a subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee.

Germany reaches deal with EU on future use of combustion engines
Tom Sims and Kate Abnett – Reuters
The European Union and Germany have reached a deal on the future use of combustion engines, officials said on Saturday, an issue that has been closely followed by the auto industry. The agreement will allow some combustion engines beyond 2035 and was quickly condemned by a prominent environmental group.

Chinese Banks Court Crypto Firms in Hong Kong After Mainland Ban; Bocom, Bank of China among lenders looking at crypto firms; Hong Kong sees a rush of firms into city after policy shift
Kiuyan Wong, Sarah Zheng, Annabelle Droulers and Jane Zhang – Bloomberg
Crypto firms rushing into Hong Kong after the city opened its doors to the battered sector are finding a surprising source of potential support: China’s state-owned banks. Chinese banks have been directly reaching out to crypto businesses over the past few months, adding to signs that the city’s push to become a major digital asset center has backing from Beijing, even though trading of crypto has been banned on the mainland for well over a year.


Banking regulators increase scrutiny of ‘shadow’ bank exposures
Huw Jones – Reuters
Global banking regulators will step up scrutiny of how risks from systemically important shadow banks could destabilise lenders, a top banking regulator said on Friday as central bankers home in on the huge funds industry. Non-bank financial intermediaries (NBFI) – known as shadow banks – also include insurers and now make up nearly half the world’s financial assets, raising concerns among central banks about threats to overall financial stability.

Regulation Best Execution – Ignore at Your Peril
Mark Davies – Traders
Wall Street has worked itself into a lather debating the merits of regulators’ proposal to impose retail auctions as part of a broader US stock-trading overhaul. But the SEC’s best-execution proposal, largely dismissed as duplicating an existing FINRA edict, could have wide-ranging implications for trading firms in options, bonds, and crypto securities as well as equities – especially since it’s one of the proposals most likely to be implemented.

Commissioner Johnson to Provide Opening Remarks at the George Washington International Law Review 2023 Symposium
Commissioner Kristin N. Johnson will provide opening remarks at the George Washington International Law Review 2023 Symposium: “Finance’s Final Frontier: The Role of Digital Assets & Cryptocurrency within the Global Economy.”

Commissioner Johnson to Participate on a Panel at the WFE Clearing and Derivatives Conference & Program on African Markets & Exchanges
Commissioner Kristin N. Johnson will participate on a panel discussing the role and governance of central counterparties.

Remarks of Commissioner Summer K. Mersinger at the International Women of Blockchain 2023 Web3 and Metaverse Conference
It is truly an honor to speak to all of you today. I am so grateful for the invitation and to be a part of this agenda at the International Women of Blockchain 2023 Conference. When I saw the theme for the conference, “Building a Diverse Future”, I could not wait to share my thoughts on this topic specifically as it relates to this industry.

SEC Charges Crypto Entrepreneur Justin Sun and His Companies for Fraud and Other Securities Law Violations
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced charges against crypto asset entrepreneur Justin Sun and three of his wholly-owned companies, Tron Foundation Limited, BitTorrent Foundation Ltd., and Rainberry Inc. (formerly BitTorrent), for the unregistered offer and sale of crypto asset securities Tronix (TRX) and BitTorrent (BTT). The SEC also charged Sun and his companies with fraudulently manipulating the secondary market for TRX through extensive wash trading, which involves the simultaneous or near-simultaneous purchase and sale of a security to make it appear actively traded without an actual change in beneficial ownership, and for orchestrating a scheme to pay celebrities to tout TRX and BTT without disclosing their compensation.

SEC Charges Cannabis Company American Patriot Brands, CEO, and Others with Fraud
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged American Patriot Brands Inc. (APB), a cannabis cultivation and distribution company, its CEO, and five other entities and individuals for their participation in a long-running scheme in which they raised more than $30 million from more than one hundred investors across the country and siphoned off millions of those funds to enrich themselves.

The SEC’s recent moves against Coinbase and celebrity endorsers show the agency is getting serious about clamping down on crypto
Matthew Fox – Business Insider
A flurry of action in a single day this week show the Securities and Exchange Commission is getting serious about regulating the cryptocurrency industry. The SEC charged Justin Son of Tron, BitTorrent, and Rainberry for fraud and market manipulation, as well as eight celebrities for illegally touting a crypto token without making proper disclosures on Wednesday. The celebrities include Lindsay Lohan, Jake Paul, and rappers Lil Yachty and Soulja Boy, among others.

SEC raised concerns over hedge fund Rokos after losing bond bets; US regulator contacted UK authorities after large collateral calls
Laura Noonan, Ortenca Aliaj, Laurence Fletcher and Stefania Palma – Financial TImes
The US Securities and Exchange Commission has raised concerns over Rokos Capital Management after the hedge fund was forced to hand over large amounts of cash to its banks as collateral when an outsized bet on US government bonds backfired earlier this month. SEC chair Gary Gensler brought up the hedge fund during calls with UK regulators this week after it faced larger margin calls than peers, according to people familiar with the conversations.

Crypto Faces Legal Reckoning as SEC Prepares Action Against Coinbase
Paul Kiernan – The Wall Street Journal
The Securities and Exchange Commission and Coinbase Global Inc. appear headed for a legal showdown that stands to have outsize consequences for both sides. The SEC notified Coinbase that it plans to sue the firm for allegedly violating a range of investor-protection laws, the firm said this week. An eventual SEC lawsuit against the largest U.S. crypto exchange could help determine the future shape of the business of exchanging dollars for digital tokens such as bitcoin, ether or polkadot.

Banking crisis ripple effects hit the payments industry
John Adams – American Banker
British regulators are threatening to directly shut down payment companies that don’t have adequate risk controls, a move that suggests the banking crisis is increasing the legal jeopardy for any firm connected to financial services. The Financial Conduct Authority has sent letters to nearly 300 payment companies, alleging those firms are not protecting consumers from financial risks, and are endangering the entire financial system. The FCA said it may close payment companies or take other action as a result of what the regulator sees as inadequate risk management.

Preparation for permanent cessation of LIBOR
Financial Services Agency
The publication of London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) based on the methodology referencing rates provided by panel banks (panel-based LIBOR) was ceased at the end of December 2021 except for certain USD LIBOR settings.(note) ICE Benchmark Administration (IBA) has announced that it intends to cease the publication of remaining tenors of USD LIBOR at the end of June 2023. While LIBOR is mainly referenced in derivative contracts such as interest rate swaps, it is also quoted in a significant number of cash products including corporate loans and bonds.

Everyone Would Be Better Off With Crypto Rules, SEC Commissioner and ‘Crypto Mom’ Says
Nick Fortuna – Barron’s
Crypto has become a divisive issue in Washington, and the Securities and Exchange Commission is at the heart of it. The SEC recently notified the big crypto exchange Coinbase Global that it’s likely to sue the company over several business practices.

Investing and Trading

China gobbles up US corn as prices fall
Mark Weinraub – Reuters
Falling prices have sparked a flurry of Chinese purchases of U.S. corn, as the world’s top buyer of the grain scrambles to make up for a slow start to its import program, traders and analysts said. The latest deal, announced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Friday, saw China buying 204,000 tonnes of American corn, its eighth confirmed purchase in the past nine business days.

Micro Connect Launches Financial Assets Exchange in Macao
Micro Connect – Media OutReach
In the morning of March 25, Micro Connect launched its Micro Connect Macao Financial Assets Exchange (MCEX) in Macao. MCEX is the first licensed global exchange for Daily Revenue Obligations (DROs), a new asset class that connects institutional capital around the world with China’s micro and small businesses.

ISDA Briefing Paper on Post-trade Risk Reduction
International Swaps and Derivatives Association
On March 22, 2023, ISDA published a briefing paper on post-trade risk reduction (PTRR), which explains how these services would significantly strengthen the resilience and competitiveness of Europe’s derivatives market if fully deployed. The paper highlights how the benefits of PTRR services are restricted by the clearing obligation under the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR) and outlines the conditions under which non-price forming output transactions that result from PTRR exercises should benefit from a derogation from the EMIR clearing obligation.

Black Swan Funds Have a Moment as Investors Hedge Market Doom; Bank crisis fears drive renewed interest in hedging tail risks; Investors take precaution against volatility surge months away
Denitsa Tsekova – Bloomberg
Black Swan funds spend years waiting for markets to crash. Turns out, just a whiff of a crash is enough to juice performance. These options-based strategies that benefit from volatility breakouts are having a great month while the S&P 500 is little changed in March, and widely owned bank shares have been battered, suggesting that a market-wide blowup would lead to big payouts. An actively managed exchange-traded tail-risk fund is up about 4% so far in March as banking turmoil deepens, on course for its second best month since March 2020 during the onset of the pandemic.

Beware of Greek lessons for AT1 bondholders
All creditors are always and everywhere junior to political expediency
Robin Wigglesworth – Financial Times
There’s a growing sense that Switzerland probably didn’t have a rock-solid legal foundation to wipe out Credit Suisse’s $16bn of AT1s – at least on a narrow interpretation on the bond documentation clauses. Not everyone agrees of course, but even the ECB, BoE EBA came out and pretty explicitly criticised it. That’s presumably why FINMA came out last week to stress that it also relied on an “emergency ordinance” passed by the Swiss government that weekend.

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

Record Heat Waves Push India Closer to Limit of Human Survival; The risk of fatal heat waves increases as the population grows and urbanization quickens, says climate scientist Kieran Hunt.
Bhuma Shrivastava – Bloomberg
India, on course to becoming the world’s most-populous country, risks approaching the limit of human survival as it experiences more intense and frequent heat waves. The national weather office has forecast rising temperatures in the coming weeks after India experienced its hottest February since 1901. That’s stoked concerns that there will be a repeat of last year’s record heat wave, which caused widespread crop damage and triggered hours-long blackouts.

I live near the East Palestine chemical spill. Officials who say we’re safe are lying
Greg Mascher – The Guardian
On the evening of 3 February I was at home in East Palestine, Ohio, watching a movie with my granddaughters, when my daughter Adyson called and asked, “Dad, what’s going on downtown?” I looked out the window and there was an orange glow in the sky. I turned the movie down to talk to my daughter but she’d hung up. Ten minutes later she called back and said, “We’re coming to get you.” We went to try to figure out what had happened and it was like driving into a cloud – smoke was billowing overhead.

Air pollution chokes Thailand as campaigners call for stricter laws
Rebecca Ratcliffe and Navaon Siradapuvadol – The Guardian
Every December, Dr Nitipatana Chierakul, a specialist in respiratory medicine, notices the same pattern at his hospital department in Bangkok: his patients’ conditions will start to worsen. Some present with chest pain or prolonged coughs. “Mostly they have difficulty breathing,” he says. For at least three months, patients who have pre-existing conditions can amount to up to 80% of his department’s caseload, he estimates.

Rate the Raters 2023: ESG Ratings at a Crossroads
The Sustainability Institute ERM
More than a decade since the release of the first Rate the Raters report, ESG ratings remain highly relevant. However, the industry is at a crossroads. How raters respond to the pressures they face will dictate what the field looks like in the decade to come – and, indeed, whether ESG ratings, as we currently think of them, continue to exist at all.Rate the Raters’ latest survey of how investors and companies rate ESG raters and their services reflects the current ESG context in all its messiness.

Hundreds of funds to be stripped of ESG rating; Unpublished BlackRock research also reveals thousands more will be downgraded in wide-ranging MSCI shake-up
Steve Johnson – Financial Times
Hundreds of funds are about to be stripped of their environmental, social and governance ratings and thousands more will be downgraded in a shake-up being pushed through by index provider MSCI. The impact could be particularly acute in Europe where a growing number of institutions will only invest in funds that are deemed to be compliant with ESG-investing principles. In 2022, ESG exchange traded funds accounted for 65 per cent of inflows into European ETFs, according to Morningstar.

IIGCC launches Net Zero Engagement Initiative to scale and accelerate climate-related corporate engagement
Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change
The Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) has today launched the Net Zero Engagement Initiative (NZEI), a new initiative to scale and accelerate climate-related corporate engagement. 93 investors have agreed to participate in the initiative including Church of England Pensions Board, Schroders and PGGM.

IPCC Report Will Likely Shake Up U.N. Climate Talks; Scientists say countries need to cut emissions far deeper to prevent catastrophic warming. That fact will hang over delegates when they meet later this year at the annual U.N. climate talks
Sara Schonhardt – Scientific American
When global leaders meet later this year to negotiate climate action, the urgency to cut planet-warming emissions will be starker than ever before. The world now needs to cut emissions by 60 percent by 2035 – compared with 2019 levels – to avoid increasingly severe heat, flooding, drought and extreme weather that will make parts of the world unlivable.

EU Moves Toward Zero-Emissions Cars After German Deal on E-Fuels; EU energy ministers set to approve CO2 rules for cars Tuesday; Deal seen by Bloomberg shows plan to allow for e-fuels
John Ainger and Ewa Krukowska – Bloomberg
After a month of wrangling, the European Union is set to finally agree on landmark rules that will require new cars to have zero emissions after 2035, marking an effective end to the era of combustion cars. Energy ministers are scheduled to sign off on the rules slashing emissions from the auto sector Tuesday, following an agreement between the EU’s executive arm and Germany on provisions that would allow room for cars running solely on so-called e-fuels after 2035.

Tesla Overcomes Australia’s EV Hostility With Surge in Sales; Teslas are becoming an increasingly common sight on Sydney’ streets as EVs finally make to start inroads in Australia.
Angus Whitley – Bloomberg
There’s been a noticeable increase in the number of Teslas on the roads in Australia in recent months, a sign that one of the developed world’s most reluctant adopters of electric cars is finally shifting. The supply-chain logjams that last year stretched wait times for a new Tesla out to nine months, and inflated the price of second-hand Model 3s to A$130,000 ($87,000), seem to be over.

Oil Leaks Into Water at UK’s Poole Harbor
Amanda Jordan – Bloomberg
A major incident was declared after oil leaked into the water at Poole harbor in southern England. Poole Harbour Commissioners, which manages the harbor in Dorset, said about 200 barrels of reservoir fluid were released from the Wytch Farm oil field. Perenco SA, which operates a pipeline at the field, confirmed a “limited leak” at one of its well sites.


San Francisco Fed’s Mary Daly Skips Conference Remarks After SVB Collapse
Catarina Saraiva – Bloomberg
Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco President Mary Daly, who is among senior central bankers whose role in the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank is under scrutiny, has pulled out of an appearance at a conference hosted by her bank. Daly canceled plans to introduce colleague Governor Christopher Waller at a monetary policy conference being hosted by the San Francisco Fed on March 31, according to a bank spokeswoman, who said Daly had a scheduling conflict.

First Republic hit by succession crisis before Fed began raising rates
Brooke Masters, Joshua Franklin, Stephen Gandel and George Hammond – Financial TImes
First Republic was engulfed in a distracting internal succession crisis in the months before the US Federal Reserve imperilled its business model by embarking on an aggressive cycle of interest rate rises, according to people briefed on the matter. After decades of rapid growth, when it won plaudits for providing personalised service to wealthy customers, First Republic found itself scrambling in early 2022.

Germany’s Olaf Scholz dismisses fears over Deutsche Bank
Sam Fleming, Andy Bounds, Laura Dubois, Guy Chazan and Stephen Morris – Financial Times
Olaf Scholz has rejected comparisons between Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse as a slump in the German lender’s shares sparked a further day of turmoil for the banking sector. Speaking after Deutsche shares fell as much as 14 per cent on Friday, Germany’s chancellor sought to shore up confidence in the country’s biggest bank, with investors still nervous after the forced takeover of Credit Suisse last weekend.

StanChart chief says Fed’s SVB deposit guarantee a ‘moral hazard’
Cheng Leng – Financial Times
The Fed’s decision to guarantee non-insured depositors of Silicon Valley Bank is “the most wonderful example of moral hazard we’ve come across for quite a while”, says Standard Chartered chief Bill Winters. Winters’ remarks, made on Friday at a Hong Kong financial conference, come after US regulators pledged to protect deposits at failed Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank. He added that there appeared to be “non-viable business models remaining, at least in the US”, with other banks that had similarly narrow customer bases.

Banks might behave responsibly if treated like adults; The failings of intrusive financial supervision have never been more obvious
Stuart Kirk – Financial Times
More regulation. Stricter compliance. Higher capital ratios. Our response to the latest banking mess is predictable enough. Like it was last time. But let’s be honest – prescriptive solutions don’t work. What to do? As perverse as this sounds, instead of treating our financiers like wayward teenagers, how about we let them be adults? Fewer rules, less intrusion, freedom to run their own lives.

The Banking Industry’s Go-to Crisis Adviser; Rodge Cohen is one of the most influential people behind the scenes of cleaning up the banking crisis.
Lauren Hirsch, Joe Rennison, Ephrat Livni and Sarah Kessler – THe Wall Street Journal
There are plenty of differences between the fallout from the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and the 2008 financial crisis, but one similarity is the man trying to clean it up: H. Rodgin Cohen, known as Rodge, the senior chair at the law firm Sullivan & Cromwell. The soft-spoken Mr. Cohen was at the center of efforts to save Silicon Valley Bank and First Republic, the latter of which involved a call between the Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and the JPMorgan Chase boss Jamie Dimon.

Veteran of FDIC Takeover Tells What It’s Like to Run a Failed Bank; SVB and Signature Bank evoke memories of a 2008 collapse
Candice Choi – The Wall Street Journal
John Bovenzi is part of the small club of people who have run a failed U.S. bank, a group whose membership expanded by two this month when regulators swooped in to take over Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank. In 2008, Mr. Bovenzi, a longtime Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. staffer, took the helm at the failed mortgage lender IndyMac. What he discovered, and what likely faces executives running the latest failed banks: Deposits flood out, but few come in.

What’s Going On at Deutsche Bank?; German bank’s stock comes under pressure as investors worry about sector’s health
Quentin Webb and Caitlin McCabe – The Wall Street Journal
Deutsche Bank AG stock tumbled Friday, and the cost of insuring the lender’s debt against default leapt to multiyear highs, in the latest sign of investor nervousness about global banks. The bank is Germany’s largest lender, with total assets of about 1.337 trillion euros, or about $1.448 trillion, at the end of last year.

How Bank Oversight Failed: The Economy Changed, Regulators Didn’t
Andrew Ackerman, Angel Au-Yeung and Hannah Miao – The Wall Street Journal
On March 8, Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank were both, according to public disclosures, “well capitalized,” the optimal level of health by federal regulatory standards. Days later, both failed. “The question we were all asking ourselves over that first week was, ‘How did this happen?'” Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said Wednesday.

When a Bank Fails, There’s Always a Villain; The U.S. used to have more than 30,000 banks, most of them serving just a single community. Two centuries of failure and lost deposits suggest smaller isn’t always better.
Jason Zweig – The Wall Street Journal
Say the words “big bank” aloud and close your eyes. What do you see? Perhaps an office tower glittering coldly in the sky, or headlines about trillions of dollars in losses during the 2008-09 financial crisis, or maybe even an old photograph of John Pierport Morgan Sr. scowling and clutching the arm of his chair as if it were a steel dagger aimed right at your heart.

Italy to hand Monte dei Paschi CEO Lovaglio new mandate
Valentina Za and Giuseppe Fonte – Reuters
Italy’s Treasury said it would confirm Luigi Lovaglio as chief executive of Monte dei Paschi di Siena , keeping the veteran banker in charge of the bank as turmoil shakes the industry. Monte dei Paschi (MPS) is due to appoint a new board of directors on April 20 and the Treasury, which owns 64% of MPS following a 2017 bailout, on Saturday said it had filed its slate of nominees for the board.

Valley National, First Citizens Said to Bid on Silicon Valley
Ed Hammond and Matthew Monks – Bloomberg
Valley National Bancorp and First Citizens BancShares Inc. are both vying for Silicon Valley Bank after its collapse earlier this month, according to people familiar with the matter. The two regional banks submitted separate bids for Silicon Valley Bank to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. before a Friday night deadline, said the people, who asked to not be identified because the matter isn’t public. The FDIC, which seized the lender and has been seeking to sell it for about two weeks now, is expected to choose a winner in the sales process as early as this weekend, the people said.

Credit Suisse Faces Possible Disciplinary Proceedings: Finma; We’re not law enforcement but we’re exploring options: Amstad; Finma ‘welcomes’ debate over new tools such as ability to fine
Hugo Miller – Bloomberg
Credit Suisse Group AG faces the threat of a possible probe and disciplinary action over how top managers ran the bank in the lead-up to its collapse and takeover by UBS Group AG, Switzerland’s banking regulator told NZZ am Sonntag. “CS had a cultural problem that translated into a lack of accountability,” Finma President Marlene Amstad told the Sunday newspaper. “Often it was not clear who was responsible for what. This favored a negligent handling of risks.”

Credit Suisse Takeover Hands Swiss Business a Big Headache; Corporates like Clariant, Stadler worry over banking monopoly; UBS has said it wants to hold on to Credit Suisse local unit
Allegra Catelli and Dylan Griffiths – Bloomberg
UBS Group AG’s emergency buyout of Credit Suisse Group AG threatens to drastically shrink the financing options for small and mid-sized companies, after the demise of a 166-year-old champion of Swiss entrepreneurship. While smaller cantonal lenders and cooperative banks offer a counterbalance to UBS in retail banking and the Swiss mortgage market, Credit Suisse has long been the market leader in serving companies’ more complex needs.

Former Goldman banker must forfeit $35.1 mln in 1MDB corruption case
Jonathan Stempel and Luc Cohen – Reuters
A U.S. judge on Friday ordered former Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) banker Roger Ng to forfeit $35.1 million, after sentencing him to 10 years in prison for helping loot billions of dollars from Malaysia’s 1MDB sovereign wealth fund. U.S. District Judge Margo Brodie in Brooklyn rejected Ng’s argument that he owned no more money after forfeiting to Malaysia tens of millions of dollars of alleged proceeds from his crimes.

Steve Cohen’s Amazin’, Maddening, Money-Losing Bid to Own New York
Matt Flegenheimer and Kate Kelly – The Wall Street Journal
Around early 2020, before the New York Mets were his, Steven A. Cohen received an unexpected request: Justin Verlander, then the Houston Astros’ ace, wanted to speak with him. The subject was not baseball. “He was wondering about hedge fund investments,” Cohen, a hedge fund billionaire, said in an interview, wandering between practice fields in a semi-tucked golf polo at the Mets’ spring facility.

First Citizens Nears Deal to Buy Silicon Valley Bank, Sources Say; SVB became the biggest US lender to fail in more than a decade; A deal to buy SVB could be reached as soon as Sunday
Ed Hammond and Matthew Monks – Bloomberg
First Citizens BancShares Inc. is in advanced talks to acquire Silicon Valley Bank after its collapse earlier this month, according to people familiar with the matter. First Citizens could reach a deal as soon as Sunday to acquire Silicon Valley Bank from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., said the people, who asked to not be identified because the matter isn’t public. No final decision has been made and talks could fall through, the people added.

Star-Led Hedge Funds Hit by Steep Losses, Stunting Their Comeback; Multi-strategy hedge funds faring better in market volatility; Star traders from Haidar to Rokos record double digit falls
Nishant Kumar – Bloomberg
Double-digit losses suffered by several star traders last week is a dramatic reminder why investors are rapidly migrating towards bigger hedge funds run by an army of risk takers. They may be less glamorous, but multi-strategy hedge funds such as Eisler Capital, Citadel, Verition Fund Management and Millennium Management have escaped the worst of the volatility sparked by the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank. They’ve recorded small gains to low single-digit losses, softening blows to portfolios hit by declines elsewhere.

Billionaire Marc Lasry Sees More Money Leaving Regional Banks; Avenue CEO see outflows continuing without Fed guarantee; Private credit will get a boost as lending gets tighter
Amanda Albright and Alix Steel – Bloomberg
Marc Lasry, the billionaire co-founder of Avenue Capital Group, said there’s little benefit for small businesses and other depositors to keep their money with regional banks instead of Wall Street giants – unless the Federal Reserve steps in. Lasry, who runs New York-based Avenue Capital, said that even if the risk of a regional bank failing is small, it still makes sense for depositors to move their money to large Wall Street banks in the absence of new deposit guarantees from the Fed.

Work & Management

Bank of America Trims Banking, Lending Group Amid Industry Slump; Less than 200 people were offered roles in other parts of firm; Bank says it’s aligning the team ‘to areas of greatest need’
Katherine Doherty – Bloomberg
Bank of America Corp. is trimming its wealth-management, banking and lending group as higher interest rates continue to crimp business on Wall Street, forcing banks to make broader cuts. Fewer than 200 staffers were offered different roles in other parts of the company while a handful, including some loan officers, were let go, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Salaries are being kept the same for everyone affected, while bonuses will vary based on new roles.

Work-From-Home Era Ends for Millions of Americans
Gwynn Guilford – The Wall Street Journal
Working remotely is becoming increasingly rare a few years after the pandemic caused millions of Americans to decamp from worksites to their basements and bedrooms. Some 72.5% of business establishments said their employees teleworked rarely or not at all last year, according to a Labor Department report released this week. That figure climbed from 60.1% in 2021. The survey showed about 21 million more workers on-site full time in 2022, compared with the prior year. An establishment is defined as each business location-such as an individual restaurant in a chain.

Is This the End of Male Overachievers’ Love Affair With Work?
Beth Kowitt – Bloomberg Opinion
In pretty much all societies, one of the big perks that comes with wealth is that the richer you are the less you work. But in a bizarre twist of American exceptionalism, a defining mark of US corporate life is not just its obsession with overwork but its reverence for it. The higher up the ladder you climb, the more hours you’re expected to willingly put in – and the higher the premium you’ll be rewarded for it.

How Big Companies Choose Who Is Laid Off; Process can involve weeks of debate as employee performance, skill sets are reviewed
Chip Cutter – The Wall Street Journal
Soon after a company decides to cut its head count, the debate begins: Who should go? In the current economic environment, a final decision can take weeks, according to executives and corporate advisers. Workers remain in short supply, raising the stakes of determining who is expendable and who is worth keeping. With layoffs that target corporate staff, department heads often take the lead and human resources troubleshoots their lists, which can lead to intense debate and multiple rewrites.

Wellness Exchange

Meta Sued by Its Home County Over Social Media Addiction; Case joins handful of others by school districts across the US; Company touts more than 30 safety tools for kids and families
Joel Rosenblatt – Bloomberg
Meta Platforms Inc. was sued by the school board in the company’s home county for allegedly addicting students to its social media platforms and contributing to a mental health crisis. The San Mateo County Board of Education added the parent company of Facebook and Instagram to a complaint it filed March 13 against other social media giants, including Google, TikTok and Snap. Meta’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California, is about four miles from the county seat in Redwood City.

Women were already unequal in the world of global health. The pandemic made it worse
Melody Schreiber – NPR
Women health workers lost ground on equality during the pandemic, according to a new report from Women in Global Health. While 70% of the health care workforce around the world is made up of women, they hold only 25% of senior leadership roles, the report found – a phenomenon dubbed the “XX Factor.” Women had made some progress in closing the gender gap in leadership – until the pandemic. In 2020, for instance, the executive board of the World Health Organization reached a record 32% women, but then it fell to 6% in 2022.

Marijuana Has Special Risks for Older People
Sumathi Reddy – The Wall Street Journal
As more seniors use cannabis, doctors are calling attention to risks that can hit older people more than younger ones. Use of marijuana and CBD products has grown more common among middle-aged and older adults as they become legal in more states and more widely available in easy-to-take forms such as edibles. Seniors who consume them mostly say they do so to help manage pain, anxiety or sleep issues.


An Anxious Asia Arms for a War It Hopes to Prevent
Damien Cave – The Wall Street Journal
The tiny island of Tinian was the launch point for American planes carrying atomic bombs to Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Now a new runway is being carved from the jungle, just south of World War II ruins inked with mildew. And on a blustery February morning a few hundred yards away at Tinian’s civilian airport, American airmen refueled Japanese fighter jets during a military exercise using more airstrips, islands and Japanese planes than the two enemies-turned-allies have ever mustered for drills in the North Pacific.

The cloud over China’s entrepreneurs raises capital flight risk; If investors had hoped Beijing crackdown was over, the disappearance of a dealmaker has fuelled worries over the contrary
Henny Sender – Financial Times
Until recently Bao Fan was hardly a well-known name outside China, despite encapsulating the wealth that the country’s tech industry generated over the past 30 years. That was until news broke in mid-February that he had disappeared. His company China Renaissance put out a notice saying it had been unable to contact Bao. Investors close to him have been reported as saying his problems were likely to be linked to the investigation of another executive at the firm.

Nigeria’s Oil Bereft of Buyers as Strikes Hit French Refineries; Around half of nation’s April crude supply remains unsold; French refinery strikes, seasonal works in Europe crimp demand
Bill Lehane – Bloomberg
Nigeria is struggling to find buyers for its oil as strikes in the French refining sector and seasonal maintenance at plants elsewhere in Europe cut into the OPEC producer’s sales. Between 20 and 25 shipments of Nigerian crude for April loading are still searching for buyers, according to four traders specializing in the West African market. That’s a much weaker position than normal for this time of the month – when trade should be moving on to May’s barrels – and the prices the shipments can fetch are dropping, they said. Each cargo is about a million barrels of crude.

Saudi National Bank chair resigns after Credit Suisse remark
Matthew Martin and Nicolas Parasie – Bloomberg
Ammar Al Khudairy, the chairman of Credit Suisse Group AG’s largest shareholder, has resigned just days after his comments helped trigger a slump in the stock and bonds that prompted the Swiss government to step in and arrange its takeover. Al Khudairy, who became chairman of Saudi National Bank in 2021 when it was created via a merger of National Commercial Bank and Samba Financial Group, is leaving “due to personal reasons,” according to a statement on Monday.

S&P Warns of Default Wave Ahead for Latin America as Rates Rise; Defaults may pick up in Brazil due to floating-rate debts; Chile and Colombia firms face the sharpest deterioration
Maria Elena Vizcaino – Bloomberg
Rapidly rising borrowing costs pose more of a threat to companies in Latin America than anywhere else in emerging markets, raising concern that defaults in the region are about to rise, according to S&P Global Ratings. Credit conditions are tightening more quickly now in Latin America than they were at the height of the 2008 financial crisis, analysts led by Gregoire Rycx wrote in a report. That is expected to put companies under pressure through the end of next year.

Pennsylvania Chocolate Factory Explosion Leaves Five Dead
The Wall Street Journal
A powerful explosion at the R.M. Palmer Company chocolate factory in West Reading, Pennsylvania left five dead and two missing on Friday. Authorities said the cause of the blast is still under investigation.

Canadian Earthquakes Determined to Be Caused by Oil Activity
Vipal Monga – The Wall Street Journal
A series of recent earthquakes in Canada’s province of Alberta was caused by oil and gas activity in the region’s oil sands, a Canadian regulator and researchers from Stanford University said. The Alberta Energy Regulator said on Thursday that earthquakes that struck the Peace River region in northwest Alberta between Nov. 29 and March 16, were caused by Obsidian Energy Ltd, a Calgary-based oil and gas producer. A 5.6-magnitude temblor recorded in November was one of the largest-ever to hit the province.

This $23.5 Million Alaska Property Is Sitting on an Actual Gold Mine; Once a popular gold mining site, around 117,000 documented troy ounces have been extracted from the land
Libertina Brandt – The Wall Street Journal
In the east central region of Alaska, a property in the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve is hitting the market for $23.5 million. The property, which is called Woodchopper Gold Claim, is being sold by Alaska resident and geologist Lynn Vogler. It sits along the Woodchopper Creek which flows into the Yukon River and has been the site of gold exploration for over 100 years, according to Mr. Vogler. Around 117,000 documented troy ounces of gold have been extracted along the creek, he said. “The gold on Woodchopper is unique in that it’s .93 percent fine and that means it’s 93% gold,” he said. “It’s very pretty.”


The Girl Scout cookie crumbled this year. Here’s what happened
Danielle Wiener-Bronner – CNN
For decades, Girl Scouts has used cookie sales to raise funds and teach scouts about entrepreneurship. This year, thanks to the Raspberry Rally cookie, members got a painful lesson in what can happen when high demand meets limited supply. The much-hyped Rally, a raspberry-flavored spin on the Thin Mint, was always supposed to be a limited-edition cookie. But interest in it seemed to have taken Girl Scouts leadership by surprise – perhaps because of a new online-only ordering system.

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