Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff
It is hard to know what the lead story is today. There was the second deadliest school shooting on record in the U.S., in which 19 children and two teachers were killed in Texas, 80 miles from where I was a couple of weeks ago. And the CFTC announced “the highest civil monetary penalty ($865,630,784) and highest disgorgement amount ($320,715,066) in any CFTC case” in its settling of charges against Glencore International A.G. of Switzerland, Glencore Ltd. of New York, and Chemoil Corporation of New York.
On the one hand, I am tired of living in a country with so many guns that events like this happen too often. On the other hand, historic corruption brought to justice by the CFTC and other regulatory agencies, with them spelling out how this occurred, does not happen very often, which is the definition of news. Yet, we can’t become numb to the senseless killing or it will just continue.
This latest shooting happened in the hometown of actor Matthew McConaughey, who has at times been projected as a potential political candidate in Texas. He penned a note calling for action after the tragedy. Maybe he will take his own advice.
Sam Bankman-Fried in a podcast interview released Tuesday said he expects to give “north of $100 million” in the next presidential election, NBC News reported. He also said that if former President Donald Trump runs again, he has a soft ceiling of $1 billion. Bankman-Fried contributed to President Biden’s campaign in 2020.
The Financial Times published an audio transcript of the Behind the Money podcast episode: “A crypto vibe shift?” The question addressed is “how a popular token’s collapse led to questions about the whole crypto market’s stability.”
The New York Times published a story saying, “More than 1 in 5 adult Covid survivors in the U.S. may develop long Covid, a C.D.C. study suggests.” That is 20% of adult Covid survivors, of which I am one.
Adam J. Sandler has joined CapMatrix, Ltd as managing director of investment banking.
In two weeks, Cboe Global Markets will open its new trading floor in the CBOT Building, returning to the place of its birth. How does one get invited to the opening bell ringing?
When I have attended high school reunions, I am struck by how some of my former classmates look terribly old, while others look 20 years younger than their chronological age. “How old are you really?” is a question from a Wall Street Journal story about a professor promoting the “biological age” of your body, which is like the credit score of your body. I really don’t want to know. I know how old I feel most of the time.
Have a great day and stay safe and treat people the same way you want to be treated: with respect, equality and justice.~JJL
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Gunman kills 19 children, 2 teachers at Texas elementary school
Marco Bello and Steve Gorman – Reuters
A teenage gunman murdered at least 19 children and two teachers after storming into a Texas elementary school on Tuesday, the latest bout of gun-fueled mass killings in the United States and the nation’s worst school shooting in nearly a decade. The carnage began with the 18-year-old suspect, identified as Salvador Ramos, shooting his own grandmother, who survived, authorities said. He fled that scene and crashed his car near the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, a town about 80 miles (130 km) west of San Antonio. There he launched a bloody rampage that ended when he was killed, apparently shot by police.
***** Sadness, OUTRAGE, more sadness.~JJL
Welcome to the Zombie Cryptocalypse; The same qualities that make cryptocurrencies go bust also explain why they refuse to die.
Gilad Edelman – Wired
The owners of cryptocurrencies have had a rough few weeks. Bitcoin and Ethereum have lost more than half their value since their peak last November, a slide that has outpaced the broader markets’ decline. Earlier this month, a so-called algorithmic stablecoin, Terra, which supposedly had a fixed value of $1, started plummeting in value. That’s because it was backed by another crypto token, Luna, which was also tanking. To try to pump Terra back up, its creators sold a bunch of bitcoins, which in turn caused Bitcoin’s price to crash as well.
****** I have money on someone creating a metaverse titled “Zombie Cryptocalypse.”~JJL
Mega-SPAC Mints a $21 Billion Fortune That Collapses in Minutes
Tom Maloney – Bloomberg
MSP Recovery was valued at $32.6 billion in its merger with special purpose acquisition company Lionheart Acquisition Corp. II, the largest such combination ever in the US as measured by enterprise value. It began trading Tuesday on the Nasdaq, plunging more than 60% to $3.85 at 10:04 a.m. in New York, less than an hour after its debut. John H. Ruiz, 55, owns a 65% stake in the company. That position was worth $21.4 billion at the $10 merger price, but plunged to $8.3 billion after MSP began trading. With the SPAC boom veering toward a bust as risk appetite wanes, the merger could end up being one of the last outrageous deals to reach the market. It stands out for its transactions between stakeholders, huge fees and lack of capital raised. Ruiz, in an interview on Tuesday, said the drop in MSP’s share price was a result of poor market conditions and wasn’t specific to the company he founded in 2014.
******As I read this story, I asked myself how is this not the same as a “pump and dump?”
After George Floyd’s murder, Wall Street promised billions of dollars to help Black Americans. 2 years later, here’s where that money went and how it’s being used.
Marguerite Ward and Rebecca Ungarino – Business Insider
As Dominik Mjartan approached JPMorgan’s towering global headquarters on New York City’s Park Avenue on a Friday afternoon in September, he couldn’t help but feel skeptical. Mjartan, the CEO of Optus Bank, a South Carolina lender with $350 million assets under management, was there to meet Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan. The meeting was no pairing of equals. JPMorgan, a global finance giant, is about 1,000 times as big as Optus Bank in terms of the assets it manages.
****** Some of that money is going to the Greenwood Project and being put to good work.~JJL
We’re asking the wrong questions about stablecoins; Real issue is whether these crypto assets should be allowed to exist at all
Hilary Allen – FT
In the wake of the collapse of one of the world’s biggest so-called stablecoins, people are asking the wrong questions. Stablecoins are touted as the safer part of the crypto market, designed to hold a constant value per coin of $1. But it did not work out that way for the recently stricken terraUSD. Its dramatic failure has raised questions about which kinds of stablecoins are the most stable, and about what guardrails are needed to protect users. These are not the questions we should be asking, though. The real question is: “Should stablecoins even exist?”
***** The question is whether the stablecoin supporters can answer this question without blowing an emotional flat tire.~JJL
Tuesday’s Top Three
Our most clicked story Tuesday was How to Spot an American Tourist Abroad, from Daily-Stuff.com. Remember those when you’re over at IDX, fellow Americans! Second was a tweet from @HideNotSlide with a video of Ken Griffin being interviewed on the topic of the LME nickel market disaster. Third was
“Block Trade” Definition Compliance Begins May 25, Ending Staff CFTC Provided No-Action Relief, from the CFTC.
23,021 pages; 211,875 edits
Glencore Pleads Guilty to Decade of Bribery and Manipulation; Glencore announces coordinated settlements with US, UK, Brazil; Company expects to pay about $1.5 billion to settle probes
Chris Strohm, Chris Dolmetsch, and Jack Farchy – Bloomberg
Glencore Plc admitted to bribery and market manipulation and said it will pay about $1.5 billion to settle US, UK and Brazilian probes that have hung over the commodities giant for years. The settlements will help remove a question mark that has long overshadowed the trader’s business. But the charges and admissions of guilt paint a damning, globe-spanning picture of how far the company, founded by U.S. fugitive Marc Rich, has been willing to go in pursuit of profit. Glencore units agreed to plead guilty to a list of charges that range from bribery and corruption in South America and Africa, to price manipulation in US fuel-oil markets.
Record U.S. reverse repos highlight problem of investing excess cash
Gertrude Chavez-dreyfuss – Reuters
Demand for the Federal Reserve’s reverse repurchase (RRP) facility has surged in the last few weeks, as the U.S. Treasury Department’s reduced supply of short-term bills left investors few options to park excess cash. Reverse repos are conducted by the New York Fed’s Open Market Trading Desk. In a reverse repo, market participants lend cash to the Fed, usually overnight, at an interest rate of 80 basis points, in exchange for Treasuries or other government securities, with a promise to buy them back. “We continue to see a grind higher in RRP balance,” said Gennadiy Goldberg, senior rates strategist at TD Securities in New York. “That’s a function of two things: first, the extreme high demand for front-end assets, and second, the amount of bills outstanding has continued to decline as Treasury has cut back supply because of fairly strong tax collections,” he added.
The Next Crisis to Hit Markets May Be About Liquidity
Jared Dillian – The Washington Post
Liquidity is the lifeblood of the capital markets. It is the ease at which an asset can be turned into cash without disrupting the price of that asset. This was never really a concern in the US, whose markets are prized for being the deepest, most liquid in the world. It’s one reason why the dollar is the world’s dominant reserve currency. But liquidity has been slowly draining from various markets to the point where the Federal Reserve this month warned that it threatens financial stability. Investors who ignore this warning do so at their own peril.
Efforts to Expand Global Carbon Pricing Run Into Economic Headwinds; The share of global emissions covered by carbon prices has inched up, but inflation could crimp governments’ appetite for more stringent measures, World Bank warns
Ed Ballard – WSJ
Companies are paying more for their greenhouse-gas emissions than ever before, but prices aren’t high enough to curb global warming and economic headwinds could deter governments from raising them, the World Bank said. Around the world, revenue from carbon-pricing policies such as carbon taxes and emissions-trading systems surged to around $84 billion in 2021, up 60% from 2020. This was largely driven by the rising cost of pollution allowances on emissions markets in the European Union, California and elsewhere, according to a World Bank report published on Tuesday. Nearly 23% of global greenhouse-gas emissions are now covered by a carbon price of some kind, up from 21.5% last year, the report said, but prices are generally too low to motivate low-carbon investments that could reduce reliance on fossil fuels, it said.
OCC Chief Hsu: Crypto Industry Has Unhealthy ‘Dependency on Hype’
Jesse Hamilton – CoinDesk
Michael Hsu, who runs a key U.S. banking agency, said the recent fiery collapse of TerraUSD (UST) and the wider drama that came with it should serve as a “wake-up call” to the industry, which he argued has grown too fast. Hsu, the acting chief of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), spoke at the DC Blockchain Summit in Washington on Thursday, saying the cryptocurrency industry has an unhealthy “dependency on hype” that he thinks is getting worse.
In a faceoff with Elon Musk, the SEC blinked
Chris Prentice and Michelle Price – Reuters
U.S. securities regulators have pulled their punches in dealings with Elon Musk largely because an April 2019 court hearing on a statement he made about Tesla on Twitter didn’t go their way, according to four sources with knowledge of the matter. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) asked the court to hold the billionaire in contempt, saying a tweet by the Tesla Inc. (TSLA.O) CEO – which forecast production at the carmaker – violated a court agreement Musk signed the previous year to have some of his communications vetted by a lawyer.
‘A pyramid scheme,’ ‘worth nothing,’ ‘not reliable’: Crypto is being savaged at Davos by critics. Here’s a list of who said what
Chloe Taylor – Fortune
A “pyramid scheme,” “worth nothing,” and “not reliable”—cryptocurrencies have been given a scathing review by top officials gathering in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum’s 2022 meeting. Digital assets are a hot topic after the collapse of stablecoin TerraUSD sparked a major cryptocurrency crash this month, with around $1 trillion wiped out of the market. Bitcoin, once worth more than $54,000, was trading at $23,424 on Tuesday, according to Coinbase, and is down by around 37% year to date. Other popular cryptocurrencies, like Ethereum and Solana, have seen even bigger year-to-date losses. Here’s what financial officials have had to say about digital currencies as the world’s elite convene in Davos.
Gensler: Bitcoin may be a commodity; The SEC has been vague about crypto. But Gensler said bitcoin is a commodity, “maybe.” It’s the clearest glimpse of his views on digital assets yet.
Benjamin Pimentel – Protocol
SEC Chair Gary Gensler has long argued that many cryptocurrencies are subject to regulation as securities. But he recently clarified that this view wouldn’t apply to the best-known cryptocurrency, bitcoin. Gensler told the House Appropriations Committee last week that the SEC has “jurisdiction over probably a vast number” of cryptocurrencies currently in circulation. “Bitcoin — maybe that’s a commodity token. That has a big market value, but that goes over there,” Gensler said, referring to another regulator, the CFTC.
Soros Says Civilization May Not Survive Russia’s Invasion
Billionaire George Soros says Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has “shaken Europe to its core” and could lead to the next world war. “Other issues that concern all of humanity, fighting pandemics and climate change, avoiding nuclear war, maintaining global institutions, have had to take a back seat to that struggle,” Soros says in a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “That’s why I say our civilization may not survive.”
Andreessen Horowitz Raises $4.5 Billion Crypto Fund, the Largest of Its Kind; New fund will target both venture and seed investments; Andreessen Horowitz has faced conflict over its role in crypto
Hannah Miller – Bloomberg
Sagging crypto prices and the collapse of the TerraUSD stablecoin are no deterrent for venture capitalists who still see a lot of promise in the industry. In the latest example of that commitment, Andreessen Horowitz said Wednesday that it had raised a $4.5 billion crypto fund, the industry’s largest to date.
Blank-cheque companies restate accounts after US watchdog’s warnings; Revisions to corporate financial reports rose 289% in 2021, with increase led by Spacs
Brooke Masters – FT
Accounting restatements nearly quadrupled in the US last year and hit a 15-year high, as hundreds of blank-cheque companies were forced by US watchdogs to correct errors in their financials. Special purpose acquisition companies accounted for 77 per cent of the 1,470 restatements reported to the US Securities and Exchange Commission last year, according to analysis by Audit Analytics. The total is a 289 per cent increase over 2020. Without Spacs, restatements would have fallen 10 per cent.
UK banks face up to £225bn in climate-related credit losses, stress test finds; BoE exercise comes as HSBC executive questions ‘hyperbole’ on environment
Camilla Hodgson and Ian Smith – FT
UK banks and insurers that fail to manage the risks associated with climate change could suffer a 10-15 per cent hit to their annual profits, the Bank of England warned on Tuesday. The results of the regulator’s inaugural “climate stress test” indicated that banks could incur up to £225bn in credit losses by 2050, while insurers’ asset values could fall 15 per cent under a worst-case scenario.
New Report from Digital Asset Shows the Potential for CBDC to Transform Cross-border Payments; With the right frameworks in place, central bank digital currency could provide faster, cheaper remittances to the world’s poorest communities
In conjunction with the World Economic Forum at Davos, Digital Asset, a software and services provider that helps enterprises build economic value through interconnected networks, and Dr. Giovanni Bandi, Fellow and Regulatory Genome Project Director at Cambridge University, unveiled a joint-report analyzing the challenges and solutions for the growth and adoption of central bank digital currency (CBDC) for cross-border payments.
US to end Russia’s ability to pay international investors
Ken Sweet and Fatima Hussein – AP
The U.S. will close the last avenue for Russia to pay its billions in debt back to international investors on Wednesday, making a Russian default on its debts for the first time since the Bolshevik Revolution all but inevitable. The Treasury Department said in a notification that does not plan to renew the license that allowed Russia to keep paying its debtholders through American banks. Since the first rounds of sanctions, the Treasury Department has given banks a license to process any dollar-denominated bond payments from Russia. That window expires at midnight May 25.
One Ukrainian fighter’s journey from the boardroom to the battlefield
Seva Kozhmyako has become adept at navigating the perilous roads through Ruska Luzova, in northeast Ukraine. He and the other men of the Charter battalion are hunkered down across the devastated village — freed from occupation, but still in Russia’s firing line. Just a few months ago, Kozhmyako was a wealthy businessman. Now he’s using his millions to fund the Charter battalion, a volunteer defense unit. He’s convinced Ukraine has a clear advantage in its war with its giant neighbor to the east. “Ukrainian people are different from Russians in one very important thing,” he told CBS News correspondent Debora Patta: “Ukrainians love freedom.”
Russian lawmakers give initial approval to bill allowing foreign asset takeover
Russian lawmakers on Tuesday gave the first stamp of approval to a bill that would allow Russian entities to take over foreign companies that have left the market in opposition to Moscow’s actions in Ukraine, the government’s online portal showed. Scores of foreign companies have announced temporary shutdowns of stores and factories in Russia or said they were leaving for good since Russia sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24. The bill, passed in the first reading by the lower house of parliament, or Duma, would allow the state development bank VEB or other entities approved by a commission to act as external administration at companies where foreign ownership, specifically from countries that Moscow deems “unfriendly”, exceeds 25%.
Russia wages all-out assault to encircle Ukraine troops in east
Pavel Polityuk and Conor Humphries – Reuters
Russian forces waged an all-out assault on Tuesday to encircle Ukrainian troops in twin eastern cities straddling a river, a battle that could determine the success or failure of Moscow’s main campaign in the industrial heartland of Donbas. Russia is attempting to seize the separatist-claimed Donbas’ two provinces, Donetsk and Luhansk, and trap Ukrainian forces in a pocket on the main eastern front. Russian forces took control of three towns in the Donetsk region including Svitlodarsk, regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko told a local affiliate of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. “The situation on the (eastern) front is extremely difficult because the fate of this country is perhaps being decided (there) right now,” said Ukrainian Defence Ministry spokesman Oleksandr Motuzyanyk.
Russian parliament scraps age limit for army recruits
Russia’s parliament approved a law on Wednesday in double-quick time removing the upper age limit for contractual service in the military, amid heavy casualties in Ukraine. Lawmakers in the State Duma lower house approved the bill in three readings in a single session, with the upper house, the Federation Council, giving its assent shortly after. The bill now needs only the signature of President Vladimir Putin to become law.
Russia to Service Debt in Rubles After US Closes Loophole; Finance Minister slams ‘artifical’ situation in statement; Ruble payment could breach terms of bonds, setting up default
Russia will service its dollar debt in rubles after the expiry of a sanctions loophole closed the option of payments in the US currency, potentially putting Moscow on track to default. The announcement came a day after the US confirmed the end of the waiver, creating another headache for Russia as it tries to get funds to investors. A payment in rubles would breach the terms on a 2026 dollar bond with coupons due this Friday, triggering a 30-day grace period before Russia could potentially slip into default.
Russian Billionaire Investigated by UK for Sanctions Violations; Petr Aven’s English property raided by officials last week; Aven and the NCA declined to comment on the investigation
Stephanie Baker and Jonathan Browning – Bloomberg
The UK is investigating whether Russian billionaire Petr Aven violated sanctions, in what may be the first such probe since the war in Ukraine began, people familiar with the situation said. Authorities raided Aven’s English home last week and are scrutinizing money transfers to the UK by Aven following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, the people said asking not to be identified because the matter is private. He is scheduled to be questioned in September over the transfers and what they were used for.
Why So Few Big Rats Have Fled Putin’s Ship; It’s unclear what top bureaucrats, officers and business leaders would gain from denouncing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — but they know what they would lose.
Leonid Bershidsky – Bloomberg
When someone like Boris Bondarev, a Russian counsellor to the United Nations in Geneva, slams the door on his employer, the Russian Foreign Ministry, and on his home country, it’s only natural to wonder if Vladimir Putin’s system is showing cracks three months into the dictator’s disgraceful Ukraine adventure. The answer, however, is “not really.” Despite the relative failure of the invasion so far, prominent defectors are remarkably few in number. The Russian establishment is not about to implode.
Exchanges, OTC and Clearing
Warsaw Stock Exchange to acquire 65.03% shares of Armenian Stock Exchange
Siranush Ghazanchyan – Public Radio of Armenia
The Board of the Central Bank of Armenia today gave its consent to the acquisition of the Armenian Stock Exchange by the Warsaw Stock Exchange. According to the agreement, the Warsaw Stock Exchange (GPW) will acquire 65.03% of shares of the Armenian Stock Exchange (AMX) (967 shares in total). The Central Bank of Armenia will maintain 25.02% of shares, and the remaining 9.95% are the AMX’s own shares. The value of the transaction will be about AMD 873 million, a part of which (about AMD 499 million) will be paid after signing the Share Purchase Agreement, and the rest, after completion of processes established by the Share Purchase Agreement.
BME Growth companies increase their turnover by 29% and their staff by 34% in 2021
– Companies listed on the SME Growth market increase their sales by 41.4% compared to their pre-pandemic levels in 2019
– A total of 43 companies from this BME Growth market participate in the Medcap Forum, which today celebrates its second session
The companies listed on BME Growth have overcome the pandemic, as their year-end 2021 financial data bear out. These companies are cementing their position as key players in the Spanish economy and their turnover, EBITDA and number of employees are evolving very favourably.
The evolving role of collateral management (transformation) & collateral mobility
Eurex caught up with, Danny Foster, Head of Derivatives Clearing Sales at HSBC on the evolving role of collateral management transformation & collateral mobility
How is the landscape for collateral management changing?
We are seeing significant increases in collateral requirements, with a greater proportion of cleared activity taking place, as well as more counterparties coming under UMR and, therefore, needing to post margin bilaterally.
Cboe Periodic Auctions Go Global
Shanny Basar – MarketsMedia
Cboe Global Markets launched periodic auctions in the US in April this year after pioneering them in Europe, and may introduce the order type in other geographies.
Adam Inzirillo, head of North American Equities at Cboe Global Markets, told Markets Media that periodic auctions launched in the US on April 14 and that he is encouraged with the number of clients that are currently live.
Change of partition ID and multicast addresses for the product FESQ
Eurex Circular 057/22 Change of partition ID and multicast addresses for the product FESQ
Eurex Exchange will make configuration changes for the product FESQ (EURO STOXX 50® Index Quanto Futures) in preparation for the introduction of an additional Inter Product Spread (IPS). The partition ID and the multicast addresses for the dissemination of market data via the Enhanced Market Data Interface (EMDI) and the Enhanced Order Book Interface (EOBI) will be reassigned.
Rollout of submission functions of Electronic Communication Platform 2.0 (ECP 2.0) on 6 June 2022
Following the successful completion of the practice sessions (Ref No: CT/039/22 and CT/048/22), the Exchange is pleased to announce that the submission functions of Electronic Communication Platform 2.0 (ECP 2.0) will be rolled out on 6 June 2022 (Monday).
VaR Platform – Official Launch Announcement
Reference is made to the circular dated 13 May 2022 (Reference: CD/CDCRM/138/2022). Hong
Kong Securities Clearing Company Limited (HKSCC) has obtained the regulatory approval and is pleased to announce that the official launch of VaR Platform is scheduled on 13 June 2022
Intercontinental Exchange CFO Warren Gardiner and NYSE President Lynn Martin to Speak at the 12th Annual Deutsche Bank Global Financial Services Conference on May 31
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE:ICE), a leading global provider of data, technology, and market infrastructure, announced today that Warren Gardiner, Intercontinental Exchange CFO, and Lynn Martin, NYSE President and Fixed Income & Data Services Chair will speak at 12th Annual Deutsche Bank Global Financial Services Conference. The presentation will take place on Tuesday, May 31 at 12:15 p.m. ET. The presentation will be available live and in replay via webcast and can be accessed in the investor relations and media section of ICE’s website at www.ir.theice.com.
Intercontinental Exchange Chair & CEO Jeffrey C. Sprecher to Present at the Bernstein 38th Annual Strategic Decisions Conference on June 1
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE:ICE), a leading global provider of data, technology, and market infrastructure, announced today that Jeffrey C. Sprecher, Chair and CEO, will present at the Bernstein 38th Annual Strategic Decisions Conference. The presentation will take place on Wednesday, June 1 at 3:30 p.m. ET. The presentation will be available live and in replay via webcast and can be accessed in the investor relations and media section of ICE’s website at www.ir.theice.com.
Regular Constituents Changes in KRX Bluechip 25, KRX Electric Vehicle Top 15, KRX Semiconductor Top 15
There will be regular constituents changes in KRX Bluechip 25, KRX Electric Vehicle Top 15, KRX Semiconductor Top 15, effective from June 13, 2022.
Nasdaq Announces Mid-Month Open Short Interest Positions in Nasdaq Stocks as of Settlement Date May 13, 2022
At the end of the settlement date of May 13, 2022, short interest in 3,400 Nasdaq Global MarketSM securities totaled 10,514,410,818 shares compared with 10,357,447,523 shares in 3,405 Global Market issues reported for the prior settlement date of April 29, 2022. The mid-May short interest represents 2.49 days compared with 3.11 days for the prior reporting period.
TheoTrade Partnership With the Small Exchange: a Boon for Traders; Free Lifetime Community Memberships to the Small Exchange for TheoTrade; Subscribers Cut Costs and Make Derivatives Trading More Accessible
TheoTrade, the premier financial education platform, announced an arrangement with the Small Exchange (SMFE) that expands its innovative services for traders. Through this partnership TheoTrade subscribers are now eligible to obtain a free lifetime Community Membership – a $100 value – to the Small Exchange, thereby cutting costs and making futures and options on futures more accessible to more people.
CMG Announces Successful Launch of the Industry’s First Connected ECM Platform; Over 100 asset managers are now active on CMG XC along with 7 of the world’s largest banks
Capital Markets Gateway LLC (CMG), a fintech company defining the future of equity capital markets issuance, announced the launch of CMG XC™, the first end-to-end ECM platform digitally connecting the buy-side and sell-side. The XC launch was highlighted by live interactions on several trial offerings by thirteen of the world’s top banks and asset managers interacting live over the CMG network. XC fundamentally transforms the equity capital markets by providing connected infrastructure across industry participants and streamlining the entire new issue lifecycle. XC is disrupting the decades-old technology used today, dramatically improving the way ECM deals are managed. XC’s flexible architecture enables clients to leverage the platform as best suited for their organization without disrupting the critical multi-constituent interactions of the capital raising process.
Man Group revamps data science platform to tackle data deluge; The London-based investment manager spent four “long and intense” years rewriting its data science platform, Arctic.
Josephine Gallagher – Waters Technology
Around five years ago, London-based Man Group ran into a problem that buy-side firms are all too familiar with: its tech and data science platforms were unable to cope with the avalanche of data that was being generated internally and was also flowing into its front office from external sources. The firm’s trading desks and quants were struggling to consume this data and create trading strategies from it.
The Next $1 Trillion US Tech Stock Is Far Away From Joining Exclusive Club; Investor says stock ‘still pretty damn expensive’ after slump; Results expected to show strong earnings and revenue growth
Ryan Vlastelica – Bloomberg
It’s only six months since Nvidia Corp. was being hailed as Wall Street’s next $1 trillion tech stock. The memory now seems distant. Having soared to a record peak back in November, the chipmaker has pretty much given back all its gains of the last 12 months, rattled by this year’s rout in high-valuation stocks. For investors wondering where the stock is headed next, first-quarter earnings due after US markets close on Wednesday will provide a stern test.
Robeco to access Goldman Sachs pre-trade cluster analytics via FlexTrade EMS; The move is designed to help the Dutch asset manager optimise on its best execution obligations.
Dutch asset manager Robeco has gone live using a FlexTrade execution management system to access pre-trade analytics from Goldman Sachs. Included in the integration is Goldman’s equity cluster data set which classifies each stock according to its individual microstructure characteristics and summarises its intraday behaviour.
Ethereum’s co-founder thinks the blockchain can fix social media; But before the blockchain can fix social media, someone has to fix the blockchain. Frank McCourt, who’s put serious money behind his vision of a decentralized social media future, thinks Gavin Wood may be the key.
Ben Brody and Benjamin Pimentel – Protocol
Frank McCourt, the billionaire mogul who is donating $100 million to help build decentralized alternatives to the social media giants, has picked a partner to make the blockchain work at Facebook scale: Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood. McCourt’s Project Liberty will work with the Web3 Foundation’s Polkadot project, it said Tuesday. Wood launched Polkadot in 2020 after leaving Ethereum. Project Liberty has a technical proposal to allow users to retain their data on a blockchain as they move among future social media services. Wood’s involvement is to give the idea a shot at actually working at the size and speed of a popular social network.
A ‘whale’ of a threat evolves in the financial industry to steal sensitive data
Karen Hoffman – SC Magazine
Cybersecurity attacks in the financial industry have not only become more sophisticated but more bold. Bad actors are aiming high, directing their schemes at the top level of financial executives to gain the greatest access and, potentially, the highest profit.
In gambling hotspots like Las Vegas and Macau, the term “whale” usually refers to a big gambler — the kind who might bet thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, on a single hand of Black Jack or roulette. When cybersecurity experts discuss “whaling,” they are looking at how cybercriminals target high-level executives with an eye to stealing the most privileged information and getting access to the most sensitive data.
These are the flaws that let hackers attack blockchain and DeFi projects
Most losses were due to ‘unsophisticated’ attacks.
Charlie Osborne – ZDNet
The number of decentralized finance (DeFi) and blockchain projects grew massively during the past year, but their increased popularity has also piqued the interest of cyberattackers – who managed to steal at least an estimated $1.8 billion in 2021.
New SEC Cybersecurity Reporting Requirements: Three Things Companies Need To Do Now
In March of this year, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed a set of rules and amendments that they hope will bolster the financial sector’s defense against cyberattacks. They aim to standardize disclosures of material cybersecurity incidents and improve visibility into a company’s cybersecurity risk management and governance policies to better inform investors.
Nearly half of US cryptocurrency investors last year had six-figure incomes, the Federal Reserve says in a new report
Brian Evans – Business Insider
Close to half of US cryptocurrency investors in the US last year had high incomes, the Federal Reserve said in a report Monday. According to the report on the Economic Well-Being of US Households in 2021, said 46% of American adults who used cryptocurrencies only as an investment made $100,000 or more annually, while 29% of investors had an income of $50,000 or less. The Fed’s prior report didn’t include data on crypto usage. Overall, 11% of US adults held crypto as an investment, while 2% used it to buy something and 1% used it to send money to friends or family.
Cryptocrash: ‘I was arrested for knocking on Luna boss’s door’
Joe Tidy – BBC News
The sudden collapse of two popular digital coins in early May shocked investors and wiped $400bn (£318bn) from the value of many other cryptocurrencies, including the biggest, Bitcoin. All over the world, people who lost their life savings are now appealing for help. One desperate man was even arrested after visiting the home of the elusive businessman at the centre of the “cryptocrash”. He told BBC News his life was in tatters. In the volatile world of cryptocurrencies, fortunes can be made and lost rapidly – but the May 2022 cryptocrash has been particularly devastating for one man in South Korea. “I felt like I was going to die,” the cryptocurrency streamer known as Chancers says. “I lost a lot of money in a short period of time. Around $2.4m (£1.9m) of my cryptocurrency was wiped out.”
Bitcoin Adopter’s African Crypto Hub Plan Has World Bank Vexed; World Bank $35 million loan unrelated to CAR’s crypto project; CAR second after El Salvador to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender
Katarina Hoije – Bloomberg
The World Bank is concerned about a plan by the Central African Republic to set up a crypto hub after it became the world’s second country to adopt Bitcoin, citing lack of transparency and the effect the move may have on financial inclusion.
Do Kwon Wins Backing for Proposal to Rescue Terra Project; Proposal for new blockchain got 65% of votes in favor; TerraUSD stablecoin plunged from peg to as low as 4 cents
Sidhartha Shukla and Emily Nicolle – Bloomberg
A proposal by the founder of the troubled Terra ecosystem to salvage the project was approved, averting a total collapse of one of the most-watched experiments in decentralized finance.
Turkey Pushes for Bigger Say Over Crypto Market With Draft Bills
Firat Kozok – Bloomberg
Turkey is crafting legislation that would establish greater control over the cryptocurrency market and possibly impose a tax on some transactions involving digital assets, according to two officials.
Andreessen Horowitz bets on crypto ‘golden age’ with new $4.5bn fund; Silicon Valley venture capital firm launches its largest fund to date focused on digital assets despite market downturn
Hannah Murphy – FT
Andreessen Horowitz has launched a $4.5bn cryptocurrency fund, making its biggest bet yet on the future of blockchain technology despite the dramatic market crash. The Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm said on Wednesday that it will allocate around $1.5bn to seed investments while the remaining $3bn will be earmarked for venture investments — the largest crypto fund to date.
SS&C provides Cowen Digital’s institutional digital assets platform with OEMS access; SS&C Eze will provide clients with improved broker-agnostic access to institutional liquidity across the market.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
SS&C Technologies has announced that Cowen Digital, Cowen’s digital asset division, will use SS&C Eze’s institutional order and execution management system (OEMS) platform to meet its clients’ digital asset trading needs. Launched earlier this year, Cowen Digital aims to accommodate the rising demand for digital assets from institutional investors, offering full trade execution and custody services.
High-profile NFT auctions from Beeple, Madonna flop amid crypto crash
Lydia Moynihan – NY Post
The once-sizzling market for NFTs has become a spectacular bust, as high-profile auctions increasingly flop and investors who plunked down millions for bizarre digital artworks now struggle to unload them at a tiny fraction of what they paid. Last spring, the little-known crypto artist Beeple sold an NFT for an eye-popping $69 million. This month, he revealed he’d been working with Madonna for a year to create a trio of racy NFTs that depicted the “Material Girl” giving birth to a tree, a centipede, and butterflies.
Bridgewater Ex-CEO Asks Pennsylvania High Court to Rule on Votes; McCormick wants undated Pennsylvania mail-in ballots counted; He’s narrowly trailing Mehmet Oz in state’s GOP primary race
Mark Niquette – Bloomberg
Former Bridgewater Associates Chief Executive Officer David McCormick is asking the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to intervene in a dispute over whether certain absentee and mail-in ballots should be counted in his too-close-to-call Republican US Senate primary race with celebrity physician Mehmet Oz. McCormick’s campaign filed a request at the commonwealth’s highest court to declare that counties cannot reject ballots that were filed on time but lack a handwritten date on the outside envelope. Earlier, McCormick sued in state court seeking similar relief.
China’s dominance of critical minerals may be as dangerous for Europe as Russia’s energy weapon
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard – The Telegraph
Europe’s leaders are increasingly worried that the EU will jump from the frying pan into the fire as it breaks dependence on Russian fossil fuels, becoming equally dependent on supplies of strategic minerals controlled by China.
Crypto billionaire says he could spend a record $1 billion in 2024 election
Alex Seitz-Wald – NBC News
Democratic billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried says he could spend $1 billion or more in the 2024 election, which would easily make him the biggest-ever political donor in a single election. Bankman-Fried, 30, the founder of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX, said in a podcast interview released Tuesday that he expects to give “north of $100 million” in the next presidential election and that he has a “soft ceiling” of $1 billion, with his spending likely to be on the higher end if former President Donald Trump runs again.
Oil Windfall Brings Free College and Day Care to One of the Poorest States
Catarina Saraiva and Olivia Rockeman – Bloomberg
New Mexico this year became the first US state to offer free college to its residents and free child care to most families, all on the back of soaring revenue from royalties and taxes on oil and gas production, which are booming on its patch of the Permian Basin. The state now ranks behind only Texas in energy production.
Statement of Chairman Rostin Behnam at Press Conference Announcing Enforcement Action Involving Manipulation and Corruption in the U.S. and Global Oil Markets
Good afternoon. Thank you, Attorney General Garland and all of our law enforcement partners for working closely with the CFTC after we brought this activity to light. Today, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission resolved charges against Glencore International A.G., Glencore Ltd., and Chemoil Corporation. This settlement represents the largest settlement in CFTC history. Glencore is one of the world’s largest commodity trading firms, and a major participant in the global oil markets. The deceptive and corrupt conduct was deliberate, long-standing, and egregious in that it involved a concerted effort by individuals at all levels within the oil trading group—including its most senior leadership—to undermine the pricing mechanism on which trillions of dollars of financial derivatives contracts, which the CFTC oversees, are based.
Statement of Commissioner Caroline D. Pham Regarding Order Filing and Settling Charges Against Glencore
Since 1974, a time of historically high commodity prices, Congress has mandated that the CFTC protect our markets from fraud and manipulation. Today, we are in another time of volatility and disruption in the global commodity markets. These historic fines—the largest ever brought by the CFTC—show that we are committed to bringing cases that protect American consumers at the gas pump and the dinner table. Bad actors in our markets are on notice that the CFTC has a leading role in enforcing our laws around the world together with other U.S. regulators and foreign authorities. I am proud to support the Division of Enforcement as it does its part in keeping our economy running.
Statement of Commissioner Christy Goldsmith Romero Regarding Charges Against Glencore International AG, Glencore Ltd., and Chemoil Corporation
Commodity Futures Trading Commissioner Christy Goldsmith Romero released the following statement regarding charges against Glencore International AG, Glencore Ltd., and Chemoil Corporation:
CFTC Orders Glencore to Pay $1.186 Billion for Manipulation and Corruption
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today issued an order filing and settling charges against Glencore International A.G. of Switzerland, Glencore Ltd. of New York, and Chemoil Corporation of New York (collectively, Glencore), an energy and commodities trading firm, for manipulative and deceptive conduct. The conduct, which spanned from least 2007 to 2018, involved manipulation and foreign corruption in the U.S. and global oil markets, including manipulation or attempted manipulation of four U.S. based S&P Global Platts physical oil benchmarks and related futures and swaps. Glencore is required to pay a total of $1.186 billion, which consists of the highest civil monetary penalty ($865,630,784) and highest disgorgement amount ($320,715,066) in any CFTC case.
The Division of Clearing and Risk Announces Participants and Agenda for May 25 Staff Roundtable on Non-Intermediation
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Division of Clearing and Risk today released the participant list and agenda for its upcoming staff roundtable on non-intermediation that will be held on May 25 at 9:30 a.m. EDT at the CFTC’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. for participants only. In accordance with the agency’s implementation of COVID-19 related precautions, the general public will have access to the roundtable by webcast on the CFTC’s website or may also listen by telephone.
Richard R. Best Named Director of Division of Examinations
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced the appointment of Richard R. Best as Director of the Division of Examinations, effective immediately. He has served as the Division’s acting director since March 23, 2022.
SEC Charges TradeZero America and Co-Founder with Deceiving Customers about Meme Stock Trading Halts
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged broker-dealer TradeZero America Inc., and its co-founder, Daniel Pipitone, with falsely stating to the firm’s customers that they didn’t restrict the customers’ purchases of meme stocks when in fact they did.
SEC Charges RiverSource Distributors with Improper Switching of Variable Annuities
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced settled charges against RiverSource Distributors Inc. for improper switching or replacing of variable annuities. This is the SEC’s first-ever enforcement proceeding under Section 11 of the Investment Company Act of 1940.
Joint Statement of Intent between the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Swiss State Secretariat for International Finance to Promote Data Connectivity for Financial Services
In recognition of the importance of data connectivity in financial services, the Swiss State Secretariat for International Finance (“SIF”) and The Monetary Authority of Singapore (“MAS”) have agreed on and jointly issue the following statement of intent:
SIF and MAS recognize the importance of a sound regulatory and policy framework, one that is conducive for the cross-border transmission, storage, processing, access to and protection of data in the financial sector (“data connectivity for financial services”).
New speech by Ashley Alder: Keynote speech at ASIFMA China Capital Markets Conference
A speech entitled “A regulatory perspective on expanding market access” delivered by Mr Ashley Alder at the ASIFMA China Capital Markets Conference was posted on the SFC website.
2022 Q1 financial results of listed companies.
A total of 1,742 listed companies (excluding 3 companies, which has approved by FSC to extend filing deadline) are required to file 2022 Q1 financial reports by May 16, 2022. All listed companies have completed the filing except Taiwan Land Development Co. (code: 2841) and Billionton Systems Inc. (code: 6172). The domestic listed companies (871 TWSE- and 764 TPEx- listed companies) as a whole report NT$9,679.2 billion in total operating revenue for the three months ended March 31, 2022, which is a YOY increase of NT$1,275.7 billion, or 15.18%, compared to 2021. The total net profit before tax for the three months ended March 31, 2022 is NT$1,225.3 billion, which is a YOY increase of NT$254.4 billion, or 26.2%, compared to 2021. The quarterly profits of domestic listed companies hit a new high in recent years.
SEC Charges Executive Compensation Consultant with Insider Trading
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged Frank B. Glassner, a California-based executive compensation consultant, with insider trading in advance of a corporate acquisition announcement by one of his clients, biopharmaceutical company Kadmon Holdings, Inc.
Resolving the Lack of Audit Transparency in China and Hong Kong: Remarks at the International Council of Securities Associations (ICSA) Annual General Meeting
YJ Fischer, Director, Office of International Affairs – SEC
Thank you, Ken, for that kind introduction. I am glad to be here with you today. As I approach my first anniversary as the Director of the SEC’s Office of International Affairs, it is my pleasure to have this opportunity to share ideas with you on how best to carry out the goal of serving investors. Cooperation between regulators and the industry is critical to the SEC’s mission. I am impressed by the event that SIFMA has organized. The program over the last two days covers some of the most important global issues affecting the international securities industry, including cross-border regulation, crypto, sustainable finance, and, of course, China.
Investing and Trading
Pandemic Housing Boom Hits a Wall With US Buyers Priced Out; Home values in the Sun Belt boomtowns spiked, but now rising mortgage rates, inflation, and recession fears are starting to pinch.
Prashant Gopal – Bloomberg
The US pandemic housing boom, marked by record price gains and coast-to-coast bidding wars, is finally reaching its limit. After the fastest rise in mortgage rates for any four-month period since 1981, hot markets such as Austin and Riverside, Calif., are suddenly slowing. Buyers who once had to make on-the-spot offers now have time to shop and even negotiate. And some sellers are doing something unthinkable just months ago: slashing prices.
Venture Capital’s Billions Are Taking Over London Finance; The bankers of the Square Mile ruled London for centuries. Now private money is making the running.
Swetha Gopinath, Ivan Levingston, and William Shaw – Bloomberg
In the City of London’s 1980s heyday most well-behaved investment bankers paid little heed to King’s Cross, then a seedy, drug-ridden den of vice a few miles away from their trading floors and wine bars. Today the area attracts tech giants, startups and global investors, even as the centuries-old heart of London’s financial world stands still. At the heart of the renaissance is Alphabet Inc., which has built Google’s £1 billion ($1.24 billion) UK headquarters and housed artificial-intelligence powerhouse DeepMind in the area. The British base of Meta Platforms Inc. is close by. Early investors LocalGlobe and Balderton Capital are based locally; they have funded fintech firms ranging from Wise Plc to Revolut Ltd.
Michael Burry Posts Cryptic Tweet Raising Specter of 2008 Crash; Investor known for betting against the housing market is no stranger to drawing attention with commentary on social media.
Paulina Cachero – Bloomberg
A cryptic tweet from “Big Short” investor Michael Burry is adding to the grim mood on a day when markets are sliding and there are signs that the US housing boom is slowing down.
Shockwaves From Russia’s Aggression Spread Further Through Global Oil Markets; Azeri crude oil, popular in Europe, trading at huge premiums; Markets for light, sweet supplies strengthened globally
Sherry Su, Sharon Cho, Sheela Tobben, and Grant Smith – Bloomberg
The shockwaves from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are spreading ever further through global oil markets. European refiners have been shunning cargoes of Russia’s Urals grade, a crude variety useful for making gasoline, diesel and jet fuel yet cheapened by its content of corrosive sulfur. With similar blends in short supply, they’re being forced to chase higher quality crude — the industry’s most prized barrels, known as light sweet.
Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance
Top Soy Processor Bunge Expands Deforestation Tracking in Brazil
Tarso Veloso Ribeiro – Bloomberg
The company can already trace the origins of its direct purchases from Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. Now, the company will be able to track 64% of crops from its indirect supply chain in key regions, up from 30% last year, according to a statement. The goal is to track 100% of all purchases by 2025. Companies are cutting back on purchasing grains from deforested areas like the Cerrado and Amazon to reduce their carbon footprint. The Cerrado is known as one of the high-risk areas of deforestation in Brazil and responsible for over half of the country’s output of soybeans and corn. “We are seeing more and more demand for a clean carbon footprint, not only offsetting,” said Rob Coviello, Bunge’s chief sustainability officer.
JPMorgan’s $30 billion racial-equity commitment was the biggest of any U.S. company. How much progress has it made?
Ciara Linnane – MarketWatch
JPMorgan Chase & Co. made the biggest racial-equity commitment of any U.S. company in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder in May of 2020, promising to spend $30 billion over five years to close the wealth gap for communities of color. The bank now says it has made substantial progress — while some critics say it hasn’t gone far enough.
Asset managers divided by HSBC executive’s climate criticism; Stuart Kirk’s speech has won plaudits for prompting debate, but drawn criticism for downplaying risks
Harriet Agnew and Adrienne Klasa – FT
A provocative speech on climate change that led to HSBC suspending an executive has split the asset management industry. “Who cares if Miami is six metres underwater in 100 years?” asked Stuart Kirk, head of responsible investing at HSBC Asset Management, during an FT conference last week. “Amsterdam has been six metres underwater for ages, and that’s a really nice place. We will cope with it.”
Only 10% of German ESG funds shun controversial assets, activists claim; Campaign groups say more than 40% of ESG funds invest in defence companies
Sandra Heistruvers – FT
Only 10 per cent of environmental, social and governance funds available to retail investors in Germany are free from controversial investments, according to new research, which found that ESG exchange traded funds run by DWS had the highest concentration.
FTSE UK Index Series – Indicative Annual Review Changes June 2022
FTSE Russell, the global index provider, advises of the following indicative changes to the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250, based on data as at Friday 20 May 2022.
Jamie Dimon’s Next Act? Wall Street’s Top Tech Mogul; There is a technology arms race in finance. The banks that can afford to spend the most will reap the greatest rewards.
Paul J. Davies – Bloomberg
Jamie Dimon delivered an almost upbeat message on the US economy on Monday: Recession worries and inflation were storm clouds that could blow away, not the kind of hurricane that struck in 2008. But attendees at JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s investor day weren’t there to hear the chief executive officer discuss that, even if the message did boost the stock by 6% on Monday. What they wanted was to understand the bank’s big hike in costs. Its investment budget for this year is $14.7 billion, up one-third from 2021. It includes a 20% jump in technology spending to $6.7 billion.
One Man Helped Credit Suisse Make Billions From Russia Tycoons; A charismatic fixer made the Swiss bank the leading destination for Russia’s wealthiest individuals. Then war and sanctions got in the way.
Hugo Miller and Marion Halftermeyer – Bloomberg
The Dilbar is a maritime exercise in excess. Commissioned by Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, the largest super-yacht in the world boasts four cascading balconies, two helipads and the biggest interior pool of its kind. German shipyard Lürssen calls it one of the most challenging yachts it ever completed.
UBS, Invesco China Funds Downgraded by Morningstar on Staffing
Lulu Yilun Chen – Bloomberg
Morningstar Inc. cut its ratings of three funds run by UBS Group AG and Invesco Ltd., citing high staff turnover as a concern for performance. The researcher downgraded UBS (Lux) Equity Fund China Opportunity, UBS (Lux) Investment SICAV – China A Opportunity, and Invesco Greater China Equity Fund, according to a note on Wednesday. Morningstar said a loss of team members was the main reason for the ratings change.
BofA and Citi suspend equity trading with Segantii Capital on block trade concerns; Hedge fund run by Blackpool FC owner is a ‘priority customer’ in Asia
Tabby Kinder and Arash Massoudi – FT
Bank of America and Citigroup have suspended all equity trading with Segantii Capital Management, due to the banks’ concerns about the hedge fund’s bets on the sale of large blocks of shares, according to several people with knowledge of the matter.
Quant hedge funds reap windfall during 2022 market ructions; Computer-driven managers post biggest gains since financial crisis after ‘dead decade’
Laurence Fletcher – FT
Hedge funds that use powerful computers to run their portfolios are making huge profits in this year’s market turmoil, marking a resurgence for a sector trying to recover from a long stretch of weak performance.
U.S. CDC recommends re-isolation if COVID recurs after taking Pfizer’s pill
Patients who experience recurrence of COVID-19 symptoms after completing treatment with Pfizer’s (PFE.N) drug Paxlovid should isolate again for five days, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in an advisory issued on Tuesday. Dozens of individuals have reported rebounding COVID symptoms on social media or to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration after taking Paxlovid, but Pfizer suggests the experience is rare. A recent rise in COVID cases has driven up use of therapeutics in the country.
Pfizer warns of ‘constant waves’ of Covid as complacency grows; Chief executive Albert Bourla launches plan to offer patented medicines at lower cost to poorer nations
Roula Khalaf, Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson and Stephen Morris and Jamie Smyth – FT
Growing complacency about Covid-19 and politicisation of the pandemic response will cost lives as the world is hit by new waves of the virus in the coming months, Pfizer’s chief executive has warned.
Zimbabwe’s Inflation Is Back Above 100% After Currency Plunge
Rene Vollgraaff – Bloomberg
Zimbabwe’s inflation rate jumped back into triple digits in May after the central bank effectively devalued the local currency by introducing a new interbank rate at which most commerce will take place. Annual inflation quickened to 131.7% from 96.4% in April, ending a 10-month period in which the rate was below 100%. Costs rose 21% in the month, the fastest pace since July 2020. Food prices increased more than 150% from a year earlier.
Germany has the power to kick its Russian O&G habit; Block BRICS and chill
Rui Soares – FT
The Russian energy problem for the European Union and Germany was never oil. Russia accounts for approximately 10 per cent of the worldwide oil production: 10.5mn barrels per day, of which 5mn are exported to the EU. A full EU oil embargo would not take the 5mn barrels out of the market, since these can be easily re-routed to China, which imports 9mn out of the 14mn barrels per day it consumes. Instead, the 5mn barrels a day from the Middle East currently sold to China could be re-routed to the EU. We know because this is already happening.
Saudi Arabia to use oil windfall to bolster sovereign fund; Finance minister says petrodollar surpluses could accelerate Riyadh’s ambitious plans
Andrew England and Samer Al-Atrush – FT
Saudi Arabia plans to increase the firepower of its sovereign wealth fund and boost its reserves as it enjoys a huge windfall from high crude prices that will enable it to post its first budget surplus in almost a decade.
Hunt for Lithium Sparks Frantic Rush Into Argentine Mountains; Looming shortage of lithium, key for electric vehicles, gives Argentina a chance to become a mining mecca.
Yvonne Yue Li and Jonathan Gilbert – Bloomberg
At a lavish lunch this month in Buenos Aires, 400 mining executives and government officials gathered to toast Argentina’s natural resource riches amid the kind of corporate giddiness not seen since the country’s first attempt to develop its shale oil resources a decade ago. The attraction for investors this time around is Argentina’s lithium. There’s a looming shortage of the rare metal, a key raw material in the batteries used in electric vehicles. Elon Musk signaled Tesla Inc. might get involved in mining to secure supplies. Chinese and US companies engaged in bidding wars for Argentina’s lithium resources, while Rio Tinto Group and Zijin Mining Group Co. are pouring more than a billion dollars into the country.
Why Casinos Are Spying on Their Ultra-Rich Clients; It turns out surveillance is the highest form of indulgence — and the future for the rest of us.
Parmy Olson – Bloomberg
You could easily miss the exclusive Les Ambassadeurs casino in London. Just off Hyde Park Corner, it sits at the end of a quiet side street populated only with chauffeured black vans waiting to whisk wealthy guests to five-star restaurants or soccer games. The casino’s sole imposition on the street is a red awning above the door. A wall of fragrance, floral and citrus notes to the fore, hits as you cross the marble tiles to be greeted by a receptionist