In China, fears of financial Iron Curtain as U.S. tensions rise

Aug 13, 2020

First Read

Spoofing Is Not Just Bluffing: No Zero-Sum Game in Trading
By Thom Thompson – John Lothian News

Stepping away from the increasingly settled legal issues around spoofing, we see that business ethicists are also addressing the moral and economic dimensions of spoofing. When we spoke to market participants and experts, defendants of spoofing often analogized it to other trading practices or strategies that are admittedly deceptive.

Admitting that spoofing is a form of deception is the jumping off point for considering the moral dimensions of spoofing. A common example is iceberging. An iceberg order is an automated order type that submits parts of a trader’s total targeted order seriatim, so that a latter part of the order is only submitted once a former partial order is filled. Iceberg orders, so long as they do not obtain price-time matching priority, are widely sanctioned even though the trader is deceiving the marketplace about the total size of the order.

To read the rest of this commentary, go here.

The above commentary is the newest addition to JLN’s Spoofing Special Report, which you can find here.


Hits & Takes
By John Lothian & JLN Staff

The American Financial Exchange (AFX) announced that the overnight AMERIBOR rate has been added to the Bloomberg terminal’s Treasury and Money Markets page (BTMM ) to add to other funding and markets insights frequently referenced by users.

The U.S. reported the highest number of COVID-19 deaths yesterday since mid-May with 1499 dead.

The New York Times is reporting that retail chains are starting to abandon Manhattan.

Later today we will publish an interview I did with Scott Morris of Blackthorne Capital Management about how they are using alternative data to create a new commodity pool.

I should have been getting back from Austria and Germany about now from my cancelled trip. Instead of the trip, I had new siding and a new roof put on my garage.

We added the Thom Thompson story at the top of the newsletter to our Spoofing Special Report. The special reports are like living documents that we keep adding to over 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


The London Metal Exchange has issued a discussion paper on its sustainability plans, including launching new contracts to support recycled, scrap and electric vehicle (EV) industries, plans to introduce LMEpassport, a digital register that enables a voluntary market-wide sustainable aluminium labelling programme, and plans to launch a spot trading platform for price discovery and trading of low carbon aluminium for interested buyers and sellers. You can find the full press release on LME’s web site here. ~SR


Luc Fortin: CORRA Futures Debut at Montreal Exchange

JLN spoke to Luc Fortin, president of TMX’s Montreal Exchange, about its newest short term interest rate product, CORRA futures, which launched in June. CORRA is calculated by the Bank of Canada from transaction-level overnight repo rates. CORRA represents Canada’s move away from using interbank offer rates as interest rate benchmarks.

Listen to the podcast »


Most U.S. Cities Expect Next Fiscal Year to Get Worse, Survey Finds; Economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic raises likelihood of more municipal layoffs and service cuts
Scott Calvert – WSJ
Most U.S. cities say continuing economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic will leave them in worse financial shape in the coming year than they were earlier in the crisis, raising the odds of deeper municipal layoffs and service reductions, according to a new survey.

*****I am considering what to do with our offices, which have 18 months to run on the lease. What will we need a year from now? How will the world have changed? There are no answers, just unknowns.~JJL


REI Built an Elaborate HQ. Because of Covid-19, the Outdoor Retailer Wants to Sell It; Surprised by how productive remote work has been, companies are reconsidering the need for central offices
Konrad Putzier – WSJ
Recreational Equipment Inc. is looking to sell its custom-made new headquarters and allow employees to work from home or other offices, the latest sign that the pandemic is driving companies to ditch central offices to raise cash.

*****This is a solution, but I don’t think Glenstar would like it if we sold the CBOT Building, since we don’t own it.~JJL


The Daily News Is Now a Newspaper Without a Newsroom; Tribune Publishing said that it was permanently closing the tabloid’s office in Lower Manhattan. As its journalists work remotely during the pandemic, plans for a future workplace are uncertain.
Marc Tracy – NY Times
A tabloid once famous for its bustling, big-city newsroom no longer has a newsroom. In a move that was almost unthinkable before the coronavirus pandemic, Tribune Publishing said on Wednesday that The Daily News, once the largest-circulation newspaper in the country, was permanently closing its physical newsroom at 4 New York Plaza in Lower Manhattan. The same day, Tribune, the Chicago newspaper chain that has owned The News since 2017, told employees that it was closing four of its other newspapers’ offices.

*****This is probably the short term solution until there are more known knowns and fewer unknowns and unknown unknowns.~JJL



Wednesday’s Top Three
Our top story Wednesday was the Wall Street Journal’s High-Speed Trader Virtu Discloses $6.9 Million Hacking Loss. (Virtu disclosed the breach in a lawsuit filed against Axis Insurance in an effort to get the insurer to cover the loss.) Second was The Washington Post’s Wearing a neck gaiter may be worse than no mask at all, researchers find. Third was JLN’s Richard Schaeffer Remembrances By Former Colleagues.


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Lead Stories

In China, fears of financial Iron Curtain as U.S. tensions rise
Samuel Shen, Winni Zhou, Kevin Yao – Reuters
A sharp escalation in tensions with the United States has stoked fears in China of a deepening financial war that could result in it being shut out of the global dollar system – a devastating prospect once considered far-fetched but now not impossible.

Why Young Adults Are Driving the New Coronavirus Spike; Wider testing explains the spike in reported cases among millennials and Generation Z, but so does social-distancing fatigue.
Lara Williams – Bloomberg
In parts of Europe, new coronavirus cases have been creeping up again. While this is by no means a second wave, and case numbers are still lower than they were before, an interesting demographic pattern has started to emerge. Whereas elderly populations had the greatest share of new cases early in the crisis, younger age groups are now taking the lead. People aged between 20 and 39 account for about 35% to 40% of new cases in England, Belgium and the Netherlands. In Spain, 15- to 29-year-olds account for more than a fifth of new cases. The charts below illustrate the shift, using the date that bars and pubs reopened in each country as the dividing line for gauging how things evolved as restrictions were lifted.

CME Group Announces Record Precious Metals Volumes on August 11
CME Group
CME Group, the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, today announced that Precious Metals markets reached a record volume of 1.55 million contracts on August 11, surpassing the previous record of 1.51 million set February 28, 2020. A record 397,000 Silver futures contracts were traded on August 11, 2020, surpassing the prior record of 329,000 set on August 7, 2020.

The Age of the Everything Banker Is Here; Get Ready for Odd Jobs; Faced with leaner times, dealmakers stretch to help their clients any way they can.
Sonali Basak, Crystal Tse – Bloomberg
Wall Street bankers feasted on mergers and acquisitions over the past five years, ringing up fees by the billions for a fairly straightforward task: combine two companies to make something bigger. Now the job is getting more complicated.

Manhattan Apartment Rents Plunge 10% in Pandemic-Fueled Exodus
Oshrat Carmiel – Bloomberg
Decrease is the biggest in almost nine years of data-keeping; Vacancy rate and supply of rental listings reach record highs
Manhattan apartment rents plunged last month by the most in nearly nine years. That’s only one sign of weakness for the borough’s leasing market. By almost every measure, the news is dismal for landlords, who are trying to keep units filled amid a global pandemic that’s sparked an urban exodus.

Oil Demand Faces Bigger Coronavirus Shock Than Previously Thought; OPEC leaves its forecast for a record-breaking rebound in 2021 unchanged
David Hodari – WSJ
The coronavirus pandemic will have an even bigger impact on the global economy and its demand for oil than previously expected, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said Wednesday. The cartel estimates that world-wide oil demand this year will amount to 90.6 million barrels a day, 9.1 million barrels less than last year. The 9.1% decline is deeper than OPEC forecast in its previous monthly report.

Corporate America Worries WeChat Ban Could Be Bad for Business; Companies including Apple, Disney and Walmart participate in call with White House over action against China’s most important app
John D. McKinnon and Lingling Wei – WSJ
U.S. companies whose fortunes are linked to China are pushing back against the Trump administration’s plans to restrict business transactions involving the WeChat TCEHY 3.11% app from Tencent Holdings Ltd., TCEHY 3.11% saying it could undermine their competitiveness in the world’s second-biggest economy.

Inflation Is Actually a Lot Higher Than You Think; We’re all spending more on food in the Covid-19 era, but statistics bureaus haven’t updated the weightings of CPI baskets.
Shuli Ren – Bloomberg
After almost a decade in hibernation, gold bugs are roaming the earth again. A fast drop in the dollar’s real yield and the uptick of a favored gauge of inflation expectations have sent the metal on a wild ride.

The CDC issues a dire warning for the fall if coronavirus measures are not followed
Faith Karimi and Steve Almasy, CNN
A top federal health official is issuing a dire warning: Follow recommended coronavirus measures or risk having the worst fall in US public health history. Coronavirus has infected more than 5 million people and killed over 166,000 nationwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. On Wednesday alone, there were 55,910 reported new cases and 1,499 deaths — the highest number of fatalities since May.

2020 is on pace to be the best year for US IPOs since the dot-com bubble
Nicolás Rivero – Quartz
Even a global pandemic can’t slow the US IPO market down. After slowing to a trickle in March, public listings roared back and are now on pace to reach their highest levels since the peak of the dot-com boom in 2000.

‘The Gold Standard:’ Why Chinese Startups Still Flock to the U.S. for IPOs; More than 20 Chinese companies have gone public on the Nasdaq or NYSE this year
Jing Yang – WSJ
The U.S. remains a magnet for initial public offerings of Chinese technology companies, despite rising political, trade and regulatory tensions between the world’s two largest economies.

Corporate America worries WeChat ban could be bad for business: WSJ
U.S. companies whose fortunes are linked to China are pushing back against the Trump administration’s plans to restrict business transactions involving Tencent Holdings Ltd’s WeChat app, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

New York Accuses Egg Producer of Price Gouging in Pandemic; New Yorkers may have paid quadruple what they should have for eggs at a time when virus cases were surging, according to a lawsuit by the state attorney general’s office.
Will Wright – NY Times
One of the nation’s largest egg producers has been accused by New York authorities of raking in $4 million in illegal revenue by gouging customers with exorbitantly high prices when the state was grappling with rising coronavirus cases. A lawsuit filed on Tuesday by Attorney General Letitia James of New York contends that the producer, Hillandale Farms, at times quadrupled the price of eggs to cash in on a surge in demand in March and April.

Wall Street Prepares for Disappointing Bonus Season
Bloomberg MarketsTV
Bank and bond traders on Wall Street aren’t expecting much of a windfall this bonus season. Bloomberg’s Sonali Basak reports.

Tankers Waiting for Weeks off Congested China Ports, Oil Facilities; The growing fleet of idled vessels includes supertankers; together they hold millions of barrels of oil in an oversupplied energy market
Costas Paris – WSJ
Crude-laden tankers have been lining up for weeks at a time off China’s coast as ports struggle to handle the millions of barrels of inbound oil that have swamped the country’s overfilled storage sites.

Critics Urge Sweden to Reboot Its Virus Strategy
Niclas Rolander – Bloomberg
Sign up here for our daily coronavirus newsletter on what you need to know, and subscribe to our Covid-19 podcast for the latest news and analysis. Critics of Sweden’s coronavirus strategy say now is the time to beef up measures to avoid a renewed outbreak after a sharp drop in the rate of infections and deaths during the summer.

ED&F Cleared To Float $1B Refinancing Plan To Creditors
A London judge on Tuesday said ED&F Man may ask its creditors to refinance more than $1 billion in debt the financial giant is unable to pay after its plans to sell its brokerage were stymied by the pandemic.

SteelEye and Margin Reform partner on reporting solutions amid market uncertainty; SteelEye’s RegTech suite will be available to clients of Margin Reform as firms switch vendors following reporting shut downs at CME and Deutsche Börse.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Compliance technology firm SteelEye and consultancy firm Margin Reform have teamed up to offer compliance and regulatory reporting solutions, following service shut downs at CME and Deutsche Börse.

RJ O’Brien appoints former Citi veteran as EMEA managing director; Emre Degirmenci joins RJ O’Brien as EMEA managing director with 25 years’ experience at Marex Spectron, Citi, and the Royal Bank of Scotland.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
A former 15-year Citi veteran has joined futures broker and clearing firm, RJ O’Brien, as its new managing director EMEA in London.


The Virus Is Killing Young Floridians. Race Is a Big Factor.
Frances Robles, Robert Gebeloff, Danielle Ivory and Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura – NY Times
The last time Miriam Castro saw her son Herman, he was in the hospital. A mask covered his tear-stricken face as he sobbed over a FaceTime call. “He kept saying: ‘I love you, Ma, I love you, Ma. Take care of yourselves. This is no game,'” Mrs. Castro recalled. “He cried and cried.”

How Covid Sends Some Bodies to War With Themselves; Many Covid-19 patients may be dying from their immune response to the virus, not from the virus itself. Can science figure out how to save them?
Moises Velasquez-Manoff – NY Times
Back in April, as the pandemic was cresting over New York, Iris Navarro-Millán, a physician at Weill Cornell Medicine in Manhattan, treated a Covid-19 patient, a Hispanic woman in her 60s, who would prove to be a turning point in how she approached the disease. The woman was just a little short of breath when Navarro-Millán first saw her; a day later, she deteriorated so rapidly that she was rushed to intensive care, put on a ventilator and hooked up to a dialysis machine for her failing kidneys. Navarro-Millán feared that she would die. (She survived after spending two months sedated on the breathing machine.) When Navarro-Millán saw another Covid-19 patient soon after — a white man in his 60s already struggling to breathe — her first thought was, Not again. Believing that the prevailing standard of care — which, lacking drugs to directly fight the virus, consisted primarily of supportive measures like supplemental oxygen — was insufficient, she resolved to try something different, a treatment that was heretical in some circles but that she thought could save his life.

The True Coronavirus Toll in the U.S. Has Already Surpassed 200,000
Denise Lu – NY Times
Nationwide, 200,000 more people have died than usual since March. This number is about 60,000 higher than the number of deaths that have been directly linked to the coronavirus. As the pandemic has moved south and west from its epicenter in New York City, so have the unusual patterns in deaths from all causes. That suggests that the official death counts may be substantially underestimating the overall effects of the virus.

Covid-19 vaccine hopeful doubles on China stock market debut; Investors brush off profitability concerns at group working on treatment alongside army
Christian Shepherd and Hudson Lockett – FT
Shares in a pharmaceutical group that is developing a coronavirus vaccine alongside China’s military more than doubled on its trading debut, as investors brushed aside longstanding doubts over profitability.

Rise in Covid-19 cases will weigh on demand for oil, warns IEA; Paris-based agency revises down its forecasts for consumption this year and next
David Sheppard – FT
The International Energy Agency has revised down its forecasts for oil consumption this year and next as a recovery in global demand slows.

UK Covid death toll revised down by 5,377 after data review; New methodology of counting daily figures brings England in line with rest of nation
Laura Hughes – FT
The government has overhauled the way coronavirus death data is compiled in England after scientists revealed Public Health England had been counting people as having died from the virus regardless of when they tested positive.

UK considers adding France to Covid-19 quarantine list; Immediate restrictions not expected but Matt Hancock closely monitoring situation
George Parker and Alice Hancock and Victor Mallet – FT
France on Wednesday reported 2,524 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, a post-lockdown record, as British officials prepared to decide whether to add the country to its quarantine list. But Boris Johnson’s government is not expected to immediately announce on Thursday that British travellers to France must self-isolate for 14 days upon their return, in a welcome development for British holidaymakers.

Philippines to begin Russian Covid-19 vaccine trials in October; President Rodrigo Duterte says he will be one of the first to take controversial jab
John Reed – FT
The Philippines has said it will launch clinical trials of Russia’s Covid-19 vaccine after the country endorsed the controversial jab, as President Rodrigo Duterte vowed to be one of the first injected with it.

The World’s Airports Are Catching Covid, Too; After they invested billions of dollars to become retail and leisure hubs, the pandemic has caused a dearth of free-spending travelers.
Bruce Einhorn, Angus Whitley – Bloomberg
In surveys of the world’s best airports, Singapore’s Changi regularly ranks near the top. A leader among utilitarian transportation hubs that have been transformed into upscale shopping destinations, Changi Airport in 2019 added Jewel, a futuristic play land with 1.5 million square feet of stores and attractions including a rainforest, hedge maze, and the world’s highest indoor waterfall. And the government had planned this year to begin selecting contractors to work on a huge fifth terminal to boost annual capacity 55%, to 140 million passengers.

India’s Virus Death Toll Becomes the World’s Fourth Largest, Topping U.K.
Ari Altstedter – Bloomberg
India’s Covid-19 death toll grew to the fourth largest globally as the disease’s spread continues to accelerate through the world’s second most populous country. India added 942 deaths from the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours, topping the U.K. with a total of 47,033 fatalities. Now India is only behind the U.S., Brazil and Mexico in the overall number of deaths. Its total number of confirmed cases, almost 2.4 million, is the third largest in the world.

Major Antibody Study Finds 3.4 Million in England Had Covid-19
Tim Ross – Bloomberg
London had 13% infection rate, compared to 6% for England; Nearly one in three virus patients — 32% — had no symptoms
Around 3.4 million people in England — 6% of the population — have contracted coronavirus, with infection rates twice as high in London, a major antibody study found.

New Zealand was acclaimed a world leader in handling Covid-19. Now it’s dealing with a fresh outbreak
Julia Hollingsworth, CNN
New Zealand reported 13 new community coronavirus cases on Thursday as the country tackles a fresh outbreak that ended an enviable run of more than 100 days without any locally transmitted infections.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta: Why I am not sending my kids back to school
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent
One of the questions I am getting more than any other: Am I going to send my children back to school? As a father of three teen and preteen girls, this has been a constant discussion in our household, and it hasn’t been easy. My girls want to go back to school, and they are placing enormous pressure on us parents to make it so. They miss their friends, the social structure and the immersion in humanity that kids need and crave at this age. Virtual learning has played an important role for them, but it is not a substitute for in-person learning, especially for younger kids. As things stand now, my children are scheduled to start school next week.

Fighting Anti-Vaccine Pseudoscience, One Viral Video at a Time; On the social media frontlines with anti-anti-vaxxer Zubin Damania, aka ZDoggMD.
Thomas Buckley – Bloomberg
In January, as the first cases of Covid-19 were gaining global attention, Nicole Baldwin, a pediatrician in Cincinnati, posted a playful 15-second clip on TikTok, listing the diseases that inoculation prevents and rebuking the conspiracy theory that vaccines cause developmental disorders. After accruing a dozen or so views, she posted it to her Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts in the hope it would reach a wider audience. Almost overnight, it did, but not the audience she intended.

Hundreds Quarantined in Schools That Followed Trump’s Advice
Margaret Newkirk, Kristen V Brown, and Jordan Fabian – Bloomberg
The president wants classrooms filled, but educators resist; Debacle in a Georgia district with lax Covid guidelines
President Donald Trump is pushing U.S. schools to open classroom doors wide. In some districts that have followed his instructions, they’re slamming shut again. Schools that reopened fully and early are seeing hundreds of students, staff and teachers put into quarantine as Covid-19 spreads. Some are closing buildings opened just days ago. Others are frantically looking for workarounds — and for the money to pay for them. In Memphis, Tennessee, and Irvine, California, teachers must sign liability waivers in case they get sick.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

Nasdaq Private Market Reports $1.7 Billion in Transaction Value in First Six Months of 2020; Strongest first quarter for transactions in Nasdaq Private Market history
The Nasdaq Private Market, LLC, a leading provider of liquidity solutions for today’s private companies, has published its Mid-Year Private Company Report, which summarizes private company liquidity activity on the Nasdaq Private Market platform for the first six months of 2020. Nasdaq Private Market facilitated 29 private company-sponsored secondary transactions during the period, with total transaction value of $1.7 billion.

STOXX decides to change rules for DAX selection indices
Deutsche Börse Group
Insolvent companies have to leave indices at short notice; rule change comes into force on August 19th
STOXX Ltd., Qontigo’s global index provider, announced a change in the DAX rules today. STOXX will adopt the definition of an insolvency event as described in the latest market consultation. According to the new rules, insolvent companies are removed from the DAX selection indices with a period of two trading days. The rules come into effect on August 19th.

NZX Half Year 2020 Results & Interim Report Published – Lift In Earnings Reflects Strong Foundations, Support For Kiwi Companies
The 21.5% lift in operating earnings1 to $17.6 million for the six months ended 30 June 2020 reflects the strategic foundations laid down by NZX, and a focus on meeting increased demand from Kiwi companies needing capital to address the impacts of COVID-19.

Taiwan Futures Exchange Newsletter – August 2020
After posting strong growth in the first half of this year, TAIFEX extended its growing momentum into July, as the total trading volume surged to nearly 32 million contracts, up 27% month-on-month and 52% year-on-year. Compared with the same period last year, the Mini TAIEX Futures’ trading of over 5 million contracts marks a 122% growth, which makes it become the 2nd most traded product on TAIFEX.

Nasdaq’s Adena Friedman: “Capital is Part of the Cure.”
Center for Strategic & International Studies
This week’s guest is Adena Friedman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Nasdaq. One of Forbes magazine’s “Most Powerful Women of 2019,” Ms. Friedman is a Class B director to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and a board member of FCLTGlobal, a non-profit organization that researches tools to encourage long-term thinking in business and investing. In this episode, she talks about the central role of capital markets in economic recovery, the power of technology, and how companies that do the right thing deliver superior returns.

Euro Fixed Income Futures: Definition of reporting and position limits for September 2020
Position limits apply only to long positions in the front month contracts of the products concerned. Reporting limits will be valid from 31 August 2020 after close of trading until 3 September 2020 after close of trading.

CME Globex Notices: August 10, 2020
CME Group
Critical System Updates

Enhancement to CME STP Transaction Type
CME Group
In Q3 2020, new trades on CME STP submitted through CME ClearPort will be reported using TransTyp=”0″ (New), currently new trades are reported using TransTyp=”2″ (Replace).

CME Group
In connection with this week’s reopening of the Eurodollars options pit, all members, member firms, and employees of the foregoing are reminded of the strict prohibition on the use of any type of camera or video equipment on the trading floor.

*****This is in ALL CAPS for a reason!!!!

Position Limits, Accountability Levels and Large Trader Reporting Requirements in Connection with the Initial Listing of Two (2) Singapore Gasoil vs. Marine Fuel (Platts) Spread Futures Contracts
CME Group
In connection with the listing of New York Mercantile Exchange, Inc.’s (“NYMEX” or “Exchange”) two (2) Singapore Gasoil vs. Marine Fuel (Platts) Spread Futures contracts on trade date Monday, August 17, 2020 (see SER-8626 published July 22, 2020), please note below and in Exhibit B of NYMEX Submission No. 20-251, the corresponding spot-month position limits (Rule 559), aggregation allocations (Rule 559.D.), single month and all month accountability levels (Rule 560) and reportable levels (Rule 561) for the new contracts. The new, financially settled, contracts shall have diminishing balances.

Position Limits, Accountability Levels and Large Trader Reporting Requirements in Connection with the Initial Listing of Four (4) European Renewable Fuel Futures Contracts
CME Group
In connection with the listing of New York Mercantile Exchange, Inc.’s (“NYMEX” or “Exchange”) four (4) European Renewable Fuel Futures contracts on trade date Monday, August 17, 2020 (see SER-8623 published July 20, 2020), please note below and in NYMEX Submission No. 20-195, the corresponding spot-month position limits (Rule 559), aggregation allocations (Rule 559.D.), single month and all month accountability levels (Rule 560) and reportable levels (Rule 561) for the new contracts. The new, financially settled, contracts shall have diminishing balances.


Fintech Sector Financing Update
Funding in the fintech sector increased 17% quarter-over-quarter, after two quarters of declines, to $9.3 billion according to CB Insights’ recent State of Fintech report. Despite the funding increase, the number of deals continued to decline globally, continuing the decline since the fourth quarter of 2019. In the second quarter of 2020, 397 global venture-backed fintech deals were completed, compared to 452 deals in the first quarter. The number of deals hit a monthly low in April with 127 deals, but rebounded in June to 141 deals.

Singapore parks $182M for fintech innovation, with special focus on AI
Eileen Yu – ZDNet
Singapore has pledged to invest SG$250 million ($182.1 million) over the next three years to drive technology innovation in the financial services sector, with added focus on artificial intelligence (AI). The move comes as the country wraps up a previous five-year roadmap that saw the emergence of 1,000 fintech companies and 40 innovation labs, which facilitated 500 projects.
Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said Thursday the new three-year plan aimed to boost support for “large-scale innovation projects” and scale up fintech skillsets in the city-state.

Federal Bank Chooses Fiserv To Support Launch Of Their First Independent Credit Card – Proven Platform, Market-Ready Functionalities And Business Process Outsourcing Reduce The Need For Heavy Capital Investment And Customization
Federal Bank (NSE: FEDERALBNK), a leading private sector bank in India, has chosen Fiserv, Inc. (NASDAQ: FISV), a leading global provider of payments and financial services technology solutions, to enable the digitization of the bank’s end-to-end card issuance and processing cycle, and support the launch of the Federal Bank credit card. The bank will also outsource associated operational processes to Fiserv.

Top 10 Women in FinTech
Carey O’Connor Kolaja – Fintech Magazine
A recent interviewee of our new FinTech Magazine podcast, Carey O’Connor Kolaja believes that great leadership in the modern market can be summed up as being about “vision, ambition, mobilisation and motivation”.
Truly influential within the financial technology industry and possesses over 25 years of experience, including leadership roles at Fortune 500 entities, she has been instrumental in the adoption of cutting-edge tech through commercial strategies to meet international and domestic market needs. Kolaja is an entrepreneur and thought-leader with a pioneering spirit who successfully overlooks high-performing teams and idea creation.

Margin Reform Partners With SteelEye To Offer Clients Best-Of-Breed Compliance Solutions
SteelEye, the compliance technology and data analytics firm, has today announced a partnership with Margin Reform, a management and information technology consultancy in the margin, collateral, and legal space, to support the consultancy’s clients with best-of-breed compliance and regulatory reporting solutions.

The Top 5 Fintech Trends in 2020 According to the Experts
Rachel McIntosh – Finance Magnates
2020 has been a huge year for fintech companies. The spread of COVID-19 across the planet had a massive influence on the role that fintech plays in the daily lives of people all around the globe, as well as in the backend infrastructure of the world’s financial systems.
In other words, it seems that fintech is bigger than ever.

Symphony to Make KYC Play as Part of Ongoing Rebrand; The chat and collaboration platform will tap into the trade and client lifecycle management spaces, beginning with an identity management service.
Rebecca Natale – Waters Technology
In line with its decision last fall to rebrand as an end-to-end workflow platform for capital markets, Symphony Communications Services is making a play in the know-your-customer (KYC) space. The move is part of its plan to make client and trade lifecycle management services a core of its business.

Allianz Global Investors adopts IHS Markit platform thinkFolio; The fixed income business at Allianz Global Investors will leverage the thinkFolio platform from IHS Markit as a managed service hosted on the AWS cloud.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Asset manager Allianz Global Investors has adopted the investment management platform from IHS Markit, thinkFolio, to support its global fixed income business.


With $16bn in cryptocurrency, Ripple attempts a reset; The start-up is still trying to find compelling uses for the blockchain technology underpinning its XRP currency
Richard Waters – FT
San Francisco start-up Ripple can lay claim to having created one of the most valuable cryptocurrencies. Its digital tokens, known as XRP, have a total value of almost $30bn, behind only bitcoin and Ether.

Rampant bitcoin gives crypto hedge funds a big lift; Digital currency funds were up more than 50% from January to July, according to Eurekahedge
Eva Szalay and Camilla Hodgson – FT
Hedge funds focused on cryptocurrencies are on a hot streak, having managed to navigate choppy markets much better than peers focused on more mainstream assets such as stocks and bonds.

Fed Reserve Analysts Say Common Digital Currency Distinction ‘Problematic’
Sebastian Sinclair – Coindesk
Financial experts at the New York Federal Reserve have taken a critical look the differences between a “common” distinction made between digital currency systems.

Coinbase to Offer Bitcoin-Backed Loans to US Customers
Nathan DiCamillo – Coindesk
Coinbase will allow U.S. retail customers to borrow fiat loans against as much as 30% of their bitcoin holdings in the fall, the San Francisco-based exchange announced Wednesday.

Decentralized Finance Frenzy Drives Ethereum Transaction Fees to All-Time Highs
Zack Voell, William Foxley – Coindesk
The average fee per transaction on Ethereum reached $6.04 Wednesday night, according to Blockchair, the highest fees since 2015.

Ethereum transaction fees reached an all-time high of $6.87 million yesterday
Yogita Khatri – The Block
Ethereum transaction or gas fees reached an all-time high of $6.87 million yesterday, August 12, according to The Block Research. The previous all-time high was during the market peak of 2017 — $4.55 million. The recent surge in Ethereum fees suggests that users are willing to shell out higher amounts to get their transactions completed in a period of decentralized finance (DeFi) boom.

Bitmain spin-off’s crypto exchange to launch bitcoin options as pricing competition heats up
Frank Chaparro – The Block
A new player in the crypto derivatives space is launching bitcoin options as that particular corner of the market continues to heat up., the derivatives trading venue backed by Matrixport, told The Block Wednesday that its options product is set to launch next week. went live at the beginning of August, as reported by The Block’s Yogita Khatri.

What Today’s Robinhood Rally Has in Common With the Last Crypto Boom
Jill Carlson – Coindesk
Jill Carlson, a CoinDesk columnist, is co-founder of the Open Money Initiative, a non-profit research organization working to guarantee the right to a free and open financial system. She is also an investor in early-stage startups with Slow Ventures.

Link Price Surges 32% to Overtake Bitcoin Cash as 5th-Largest Crypto by Market Cap
Sebastian Sinclair – Coindesk
The native token of decentralized oracle network Chainlink (LINK) has just claimed a top-five spot in terms of market value. According to data provider Messari, LINK has overtaken bitcoin cash (BCH) to become the fifth-largest crypto asset by market capitalization in what is affectionately known in the community as a “flippening.” Market capitalization refers to the total number of coins or tokens in circulation multiplied by its spot price and is often used by the community to rank various assets.

One Of The Biggest Ever Bets On Bitcoin, Worth A Massive $250 Million, Is Already Paying Off
Billy Bambrough – Forbes
Bitcoin, after a long period in the wilderness, has begun to find its place both on Wall Street and with non-financial companies.

Square is reportedly testing short-term loans via Cash App
Saniya More – The Block
Square is testing a new feature on its Cash App that will allow users to borrow up to $200 in short-term loans. Cash App, the company’s peer-to-peer payments service, allows users to transfer money to other users using a mobile app. According to a TechCrunch report, the company is only testing the feature with about 1000 users right now, but plans to make the feature more widely available. The app is offering loans to users for amounts between $20 and $200.

YAM token’s market cap collapses by more than 90% within minutes as a flaw gets uncovered
Yogita Khatri – The Block
The viral DeFi project Yam.Finance’s YAM token has lost more than 90% of its market capitalization within a few minutes as a “potential flaw” gets uncovered. Yam.Finance later described the bug in detail, saying that the YAM rebasing contract was minting far more YAM than intended to sell to a Uniswap pool. So on a technical level, YAM will now behave in a similar fashion to other rebasing assets such as AMPL. Yam.Finance would now set up a Gitcoin grant to coordinate a community-funded audit of the YAM contracts.

Apollo Fintech Announces Completion of the First Blockchain National Currency Platform
Press Release
Blockchain company Apollo Fintech is announcing the completion of its National Payment Platform (NPP), an innovative cashless system that enables a central bank to issue a sovereign, digital currency (stablecoin) for national adoption. After central bank issuance, the NPP system enables a government agency and/or central bank to add commercial banks and agents. The entire platform has the capability to power an economy, from merchants to peer to peer transactions using its app, SMS, QR codes, cards, offline codes, and more.


As Kamala Harris Joins Biden Ticket, Wall Street Sighs in Relief; Wall Street’s warm welcome to Joe Biden’s running mate reflects a belief that tougher financial regulation isn’t a top priority
Emily Glazer and Liz Hoffman – WSJ
When Joe Biden announced California Sen. Kamala Harris as his vice presidential pick, he pointed to her tough-on-banks record. Much of Wall Street cheered anyway. The warm welcome reflects some relief that in choosing Ms. Harris, Mr. Biden has—for now at least—fended off the more progressive wing of the Democratic Party that has called for tougher financial regulation.

Wall Street Democrats Rejoice at Biden’s Pick of Kamala Harris
Max Abelson, Amanda L Gordon, and Katya Kazakina – Bloomberg
‘Damn cool’ that a Black woman seen as safe choice, Nides says; Harris tangled with banks before, wasn’t always so popular
Morgan Stanley Vice Chairman Tom Nides was doing Zoom calls from his Washington home Tuesday when his TV screen flashed with the news that Joe Biden had picked Kamala Harris as his running mate. The former deputy secretary of state, a major Wall Street donor to Democrats, was still rejoicing the next morning.

Kamala Harris hits at Trump’s pandemic record in Biden ticket debut; Democratic VP candidate’s focus on president’s ‘failure’ foreshadows campaign role
Lauren Fedor – FT
Kamala Harris used her first appearance as Joe Biden’s vice-presidential pick to attack Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, foreshadowing how the former prosecutor plans to take on the president ahead of November’s election.

Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and other major companies denounce Trump visa restrictions
Priscilla Alvarez, CNN
Apple, Facebook and Microsoft are among the 52 companies and organizations in a court filing denouncing Trump administration restrictions on employment-based visas, saying that the action “fundamentally disserves the interests of the United States by stifling the ability of U.S. businesses to attract the world’s best talent, drive innovation, and further American economic prosperity.”

Financial disclosures reveal postmaster general’s business entanglements and likely conflicts of interest, experts say
Marshall Cohen – CNN
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy continues to hold a multimillion-dollar stake in his former company XPO Logistics, a United States Postal Service contractor, likely creating a major conflict of interest, according to newly obtained financial disclosures and ethics experts.

Facebook, Twitter step up fight against misinformation on U.S. elections
Kanishka Singh – Reuters
Social media platforms stepped up fight against misinformation on the U.S. elections, with Facebook starting a hub to help users with poll-related resources and Twitter expanding rules against misinformation on mail-in ballots and early voting.


Bank scam victims face refund “lottery”; Banks are unfairly blaming victims for fraud losses, according to a new report
Lucy Warwick-Ching – FT
Victims of bank transfer scams are being treated unfairly or inconsistently when trying to get their money back, according to a study by Which?, the consumer group.

Deputy Chief Accountant Marc Panucci to Leave SEC
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Marc Panucci, Deputy Chief Accountant, plans to leave the agency later this month.

FINRA Alerts Firms to Use of Fake FINRA Domain Name
FINRA is warning member firms of a new imposter website (please notice the extra “n” in the domain name). One portion of the website contains a link to a registration site that is not legitimate (see images, below).

Investing and Trading

My stock market summer school (and why I’m paying my children to do it); With holiday camps largely closed, a five-day programme that will hopefully pay dividends
Moira O’Neill – FT
The scarcity of holiday camps for children this summer has left many UK working parents with the double worry of how to manage their hours while occupying their children.

Can Spacs shake off their bad reputation? Investors have lost money on a majority of blank cheque companies over the past five years
Ortenca Aliaj and Sujeet Indap and Miles Kruppa – FT
Gabriel Grego was scanning a directory of newly-listed companies when his eyes landed on his next potential target: Akazoo, a Greek music streaming service that billed itself as the Spotify of emerging markets.

Fed Officials Warn Pandemic Response Is Hobbling Economic Rebound; Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren says states’ inability to control the virus will prolong downturn; San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly calls for more stimulus
Nick Timiraos – WSJ
Federal Reserve officials said a recent slowdown in U.S. economic activity was likely to persist because of difficulties states have encountered in suppressing the coronavirus pandemic, which could require more government spending to support the economy.

U.S. Corn Supply Grows on Record Crop Yield; USDA projects corn production in 2020 to further expand thanks to good growing weather in the Midwest
Kirk Maltais – WSJ
The U.S. corn supply—already projected to near record levels—is continuing to grow thanks to supportive weather in the Midwest that has improved crop yields. In its monthly supply-and-demand report released Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said it expects 2020 corn production to total 15.3 billion bushels, up 278 million bushels from its previous estimate. The main driver of the uptick is higher yields per crop acre, which the USDA now projects to be at a record 181.8 bushels per acre.

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

Last decade was Earth’s hottest on record, exposing grim reality of climate change
Helen Regan, CNN
A new report released Wednesday details how 2019 was another year of extremes for Earth’s climate, adding to a litany of evidence exposing the grim reality of our warming world.

The growing trend of ESG Investing in commercial real estate
In recent years, environmental responsibility has shifted from individuals to organizations. Perhaps twenty years ago, helping the environment was viewed as a personal choice or lifestyle. An individual makes daily choices that affect their personal carbon footprint: recycling, riding a bike, becoming a vegetarian, converting to solar energy, and transitioning to a hybrid or electric vehicle are all ways that people, as individuals, have been helping the environment. But as the increasing effects of climate change continue to wreak havoc on the planet, it has become clear that choices made by individuals are not going to solve this issue.

‘Sea-change’ in adviser ESG perception – Rathbones research
Jenna Brown –
Three-quarters of advisers believe ESG investment strategies give clients “enhanced returns” and the vast majority (97%) agree business and society is shifting in favour of environmental, social and governance concerns. The figures were released in Rathbones’ report The Value of ESG: how mainstream is ESG investing within today’s adviser world? It also found 96% of advisers who favour ESG investment had reported “fast or steady business growth” in the area during the past five years.


China Banks Act to Comply With Trump Sanctions on Hong Kong
Bloomberg News
China’s largest state-run banks operating in Hong Kong are taking tentative steps to comply with U.S. sanctions imposed on officials in the city, seeking to safeguard their access to crucial dollar funding and overseas networks. Major lenders with operations in the U.S. including Bank of China Ltd., China Construction Bank Corp., and China Merchants Bank Co. have turned cautious on opening new accounts for the 11 sanctioned officials, including Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, according to people familiar with the matter. At least one bank has suspended such activity.

BGC Announces The Expiration Of The Tender Offer For Any And All Of Its $300 Million Outstanding 5.125% Senior Notes Due 2021
BGC Partners, Inc. (NASDAQ: BGCP) (“BGC”) today announced that its previously announced cash tender offer (the “Offer”) to purchase any and all of its 5.125% Senior Notes due 2021 (the “Notes”) expired at 5:00 p.m., New York City time, on August 11, 2020 (the “Expiration Time”). As of the Expiration Time, $43,968,000 aggregate principal amount of the Notes (14.66%) were validly tendered. BGC expects to accept for payment all Notes validly tendered and not validly withdrawn in the Offer and expects to make payment for the Notes on August 14, 2020. Such tendering holders will receive the purchase price in the amount of $1,020.00 for each $1,000 principal amount of Notes tendered, plus accrued and unpaid interest from the last interest payment date to, but not including, August 14, 2020. Pursuant to the terms of the Offer, Notes not tendered in the Offer will remain outstanding.

Big Banks Hire 19,000 With Pandemic Boosting Demand for Services;
Yalman Onaran – Bloomberg
Most of the top U.S., European banks added to payrolls in 2020; Many firms have frozen earlier reduction plans during crisis
The biggest U.S. and European banks added 19,000 people to their payrolls in the first half of the year as demand for loans and other services surged during the pandemic and planned staff cuts were largely put on hold. Eight of the top 15 firms increased headcount this year through June, while only four reduced it. Three lenders’ staff levels were unchanged from the end of 2019. Barclays Plc had the largest increase, with more than 7,000 additions, and HSBC Holdings Plc had the biggest reduction, cutting almost 3,000 positions.


Chinese investors miss out on best performing active funds; More than 85% of the most successful vehicles outperformed their passive rivals
Sandra Heistruvers – FT
Chinese investors have generally failed to pick the top-performing actively managed funds in the country, even though more than 85 per cent of them outperformed their passive rivals net of fees over 12 months and three years, according to Morningstar.

Investors should note that Japan is dismantling some old defences; Unwinding dense networks of cross-shareholdings could help Topix close gap with peers
Makiko Hakozaki – FT
After a strong run for Japanese equities, which were flying high before the coronavirus outbreak, sentiment from foreign investors has soured. Some fear another false dawn for the country’s capital markets, which have often promised to make strides only for investors to be left disappointed.

Aberdeen Asks U.S. to Shield Chinese Listings From Low-Ball Bids
Abhishek Vishnoi and Ishika Mookerjee – Bloomberg
SEC should make interested parties abstain from votes: Smith; More than 200 companies face risk of delisting, fund says
Aberdeen Standard Investments Ltd. has urged the U.S. to protect minority shareholders in Chinese companies listed on American bourses from the risk of unfairly low take-private offers amid growing tensions between the world’s two biggest economies.

State Street Opens Saudi Office as It Expands Into Middle East
Matthew Martin – Bloomberg
State Street Corp. opened its first office in Saudi Arabia and hired Abdullah Saleh Bakhrebah from Ashmore Group Plc as chief executive officer for its operations in the kingdom.

Italy’s Summer Debt Sale Signals a Bond Market Onslaught; It’s rare to sell long-duration debt in the dog days of August. Imagine how busy the euro sovereign market will be in September.
Marcus Ashworth – Bloomberg
Italy sold 1.25 billion euros ($1.5 billion) of 30-year debt on Thursday — offering a yield of about 1.91% — along with three- and seven-year bonds. It’s the first time in a decade that it’s done a sale like this in the dog days of mid-August. Rome’s desire to beat the crowd suggests an onslaught of supply is headed our way from European sovereign issuers.

Gold’s Shine Was Starting to Blind India; This week’s volatility may deter bankers from handing out risky loans backed by the metal.
Andy Mukherjee – Bloomberg
Even if it proves to be a blip, this week’s volatility in gold may have its uses. For one thing, Tuesday’s steepest single-day price decline in seven years should make bankers in India wary of storing up future trouble by writing risky subprime loans against the country’s most-loved commodity.


Boris Johnson to Meet Irish Prime Minister During Visit to Belfast
Robert Hutton – Bloomberg
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson will meet his Irish counterpart Micheal Martin for the first time on Thursday, during a visit designed to strengthen ties between London and Northern Ireland. Although Britain is still negotiating its post-Brexit relationship with the European Union, Johnson’s agreement last year to accept a regulatory border in the Irish Sea — thereby ensuring the Irish border with Northern Ireland remains open — has taken much of the heat out of the issue, and Martin is unlikely to be as confrontational as his predecessor Leo Varadkar.

New Zealand’s Deputy PM says British negotiators are ‘not match fit’ to hammer out global trade deals as he compares; Brexit team to cricketers ‘trying to win the Ashes having not played the game for 30 years’ after decades in EU
Tom Pyaman – Daily Mail
Britain’s bid to complete several global trade deals at once as it leaves the EU has been compared to a cricketer trying to win the Ashes without playing in 30 years.

New Zealand ‘frustrated’ over UK trade talks, says deputy PM
BBC News
New Zealand is “very frustrated” with the pace of post-Brexit trade talks with the UK, the country’s deputy prime minister has said. Winston Peters said the UK’s EU membership had not left it “match fit” to negotiate its own agreements around the world. The UK opened trade talks with New Zealand in July, but will not be able to sign a deal until next year. The government said talks on a deal had been “positive and productive” so far.

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CME to permanently close most trading pits

CME to permanently close most trading pits

First Read $40,626/$300,000 (13.5%) Anonymous ++++ Hits & Takes John Lothian & JLN Staff Without fanfare or amplification from its executives, the CME Group shut the books on most -- but not all -- of its floor trading history Tuesday afternoon with the...

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