Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff
The good people at Quantitative Brokers announced today the unveiling of a revolutionary options execution algorithm for energy and the commodities markets. QB has expanded their popular Striker algo execution tool to support NYMEX energy and CBOT commodity options markets via a multi-Futures Commission Merchant workflow.
QB launched Striker in 2020 and this expansion of Striker “revolutionizes the way energy and commodities markets can be traded by buy-and sell-side institutions.” This should be a popular breakthrough product for QB.
Our good friend Nils-Robert Persson‘s new company Vermiculus Financial Technology has a new investor from Brazil. L4 Venture Builder, a venture capital fund created in 2022 with R$ 600 million by B3 S.A. – Brasil, Bolsa, Balcão (B3), will be a minority shareholder in Vermiculus, which specializes in “providing state-of-the-art technology to exchanges, clearinghouses, and CSDs.”
The FIA has established the President’s Award and honored six derivatives industry leaders with the inaugural awards. The award honors individuals “for their contributions to the global cleared derivatives industry over the past year.” The first group of winners of the President’s Award include: Nick Briggs, Operations; Max E, Operations; Edward Mayfield, Legal; Laura Mul, Next Gen; Raj Ramanath, CCP Risk; and Meher Sutaria, Operations.
Commissioner Christy Goldsmith Romero and the CFTC announced the members of the reconstituted Technology Advisory Committee and not surprisingly I am no longer a member of the committee. My tenure, which dates back to 2012, began when former Commissioner Scott O’Malia was the sponsor of the committee.
Given my criticism of the CFTC while I was running the online petition on behalf of software vendor Jitesh Thakkar, it is not surprising to see this. Quite frankly, eleven years is long enough and the new commissioners should have some new blood to face the multitude of technology-related issues facing the markets. While participating in the TAC was nice, I considered it more my way to serve my civic duty. I wish Commissioner Goldsmith Romero the best with the new TAC and thank the CFTC for the opportunity to have served.
The Singapore Trading Festival is returning in 2023 from March 25 to April 2. You can participate in a range of activities designed to help you reposition, reallocate and reset your portfolio.
Bloomberg picked up on the Inside the ICE House interview with Terry Duffy and the story about his wife having recently been carjacked. The story is titled “CME CEO Says Wife’s Carjacking Highlights ‘Insane’ Chicago Crime.”
Speaking of Mr. Duffy and his excellent podcast with ICE, he also appeared in an episode of the “On the Tape” podcast with Danny Moses, Guy Adami and Dan Nathan.
According to a highly reliable source at the Coinbase pre-conference networking event last night at the FIA Boca conference, Eurex had its biggest volume day ever yesterday.
Have a great day and stay safe and treat people the same way you want to be treated: with respect, equality and justice.~JJL
CEO JJ Kinahan talks about the journey to rebranding “tastyworks” as “tastytrade,” adding crypto wallet and equities
JJ Kinahan became CEO of IG North America, which consists primarily of tastytrade, tastyworks, and its IG FX Business, on July 1, 2023. The company rebranded tastyworks as tastytrade on February 22, 2023. JLN spoke to Kinahan on that day.
Relative Value Framework for Analyzing Volatility; Mat Cashman, Experienced Trader & Principal of Investor Education at OCC, Explains This & More in Part 2 of This Options Discovery Full Interview
In part 2 of this Options Discovery full interview, JLN’s Alex Teng continues the conversation with Mat Cashman, principal of investor education at OCC, to discuss the relative value framework for analyzing volatility, advice for starting a career in options, and The Options Industry Council (OIC) free online tools.
FIA establishes President’s Award, honoring six derivatives industry leaders
This year, FIA has established its President’s Award, an annual honor that recognizes outstanding individuals for their contributions to the global cleared derivatives industry over the past year. “FIA relies on partners at our member firms to help manage industry-wide projects, contribute to comment letters, inform the industry about emerging trends, and respond quickly to unexpected market events,” said FIA President and CEO Walt Lukken.
**** Congratulations to these six. Well deserved. Let them know if you see them in Boca. ~JB
US capitalism is ‘breaking down before our eyes’, says Ken Griffin
Harriet Agnew, Laurence Fletcher and Patrick Jenkins – Financial Times
Ken Griffin, founder of hedge fund Citadel, said the rescue package for Silicon Valley Bank unveiled by US regulators shows American capitalism is “breaking down before our eyes”. Griffin told the Financial Times that the US government should not have intervened to protect all SVB depositors following the collapse of the Santa Clara-based bank on Friday.
****** It is a good thing that Mr. Griffin has figured out how to make money amidst the breakdown of capitalism. Of course, I think he would have made more money had the government let the banking system go to hell in a handbasket.~JJL
Silicon Valley Bank posted ‘financial crimes’ senior manager job listing just before closure
Adam Sabes – Fox Business
Silicon Valley Bank posted a job listing for Senior Manger, Financial Crimes on Friday just before it was shut down by regulators. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation said in a press release on Friday that SVB was closed by the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation, which appointed the FDIC as the receiver of insured deposits of the bank. On Friday, the SVB posted a job opening for “Sr. Manager, Financial Crimes.”
**** Demand six months salary in advance before taking that position.~JB
Monday’s Top Three
Our Monday top three were Everything Oscars All at Once. Our top clicked item was the trailer for “Everything Everywhere All at Once” on YouTube. Second was the New York Times article about how “Everything Everywhere All at Once” won all the Oscars. And third was Bloomberg’s Brendan Fraser Wins Best Actor Oscar in Career Comeback. (Number four was Michelle Yeoh, but I’m supposed to stop counting.)
27,234 pages; 243,514 edits
Investor Anxiety Hits a Fever Pitch After Silicon Valley Bank Collapse
Gunjan Banerji and Eric Wallerstein – WSJ
Investors are scrambling to protect against the possibility of a protracted stock-market downturn.
The collapse of three banks in the past week has exacerbated a bout of recent volatility that has quickly crested through stock, bond and derivatives markets. Many traders are reaching for bets that would pay out if the haywire stretch for U.S. markets continues.
CEO Greg Becker Was There for SVB’s Quick Rise and Even Quicker Fall
Ben Eisen, Ben Foldy, Justin Baer and Hannah Miao – WSJ
Greg Becker and two top lieutenants, Chief Financial Officer Daniel Beck and President Michael Descheneaux, were at the helm of Silicon Valley Bank as it rode a wave of low rates and easy-money policies. Last year, when the world changed and the Federal Reserve started raising rates at its fastest pace in decades, they all but ignored it, betting that interest rates would fall and homing in on the boom-and-bust tech industry.
Credit Suisse Finds ‘Material’ Control Lapses After SEC Prompt
Marion Halftermeyer – Bloomberg
Credit Suisse Group AG said it found “material weaknesses” in its reporting and control procedures for the past two years, after questions from US regulators last week. The Zurich-based bank said Tuesday it will take steps to fix ineffective checks on the process it follows to pull together its financial reports. But the firm said its statements for 2022 and 2021 “fairly present” its financial condition.
Schwab Pares Declines After Brokerage Seeks to Calm Investors
Silla Brush – Bloomberg
Charles Schwab Corp. rebounded from a record intraday decline after the online brokerage sought to reassure investors that it has sufficient liquidity to handle any volatility following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank. Shares of Westlake, Texas-based Schwab fell 12% to close Monday at $51.91 after plunging as much as 23% early in the session. The stock has dropped 38% this year.
Credit Suisse publishes delayed annual report in which it admits to financial control weaknesses
Steve Goldstein – MarketWatch
Credit Suisse on Tuesday published its delayed annual report – which describes material weaknesses in its financial controls – as it also announced it won’t be paying bonuses to its board after a difficult 2022 Credit Suisse shares CSGN, -1.73% CS, -4.51% fell 4%, moving to levels just above the record low it reached at the worst point of trade on Monday, when the financial sector reacted to the failures of Silicon Valley Bank SIVB, -60.41% and Signature Bank SBNY, -22.87%. The annual report had been delayed over a dispute with the Securities and Exchange Commission over revisions to its cash flow statements from 2019 and 2020, as well as related controls. The bank’s annual report published Tuesday describes “material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting” both for 2021 and 2022.
Apollo Eyes SVB Assets as Suitors Circle $73.6 Billion Loan Book
Jan-Henrik Foerster and Lisa Lee – Bloomberg
Apollo Global Management Inc. expressed interest in snapping up a book of loans held by Silicon Valley Bank, the California lender seized by federal regulators last week. Apollo, one of the world’s largest alternative asset managers, is among other investors looking to buy pieces of Silicon Valley Bank, according to people familiar with the matter. The bank had $73.6 billion of loans as of Dec. 31, 2022, but the size of the loan book Apollo is interested in couldn’t be determined. Apollo declined to comment.
How to Safely Store Deposits If You Have More Than $250,000
Charlie Wells and Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou – Bloomberg
The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, and fear that the pain is spreading to other financial institutions, is raising an uncomfortable question: Is it safe to leave a lot of money in a single bank? The answer, at least according to financial advisers, is generally yes. Thanks to banking legislation dating back to 1933, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. covers up to $250,000 per depositor in qualified accounts at insured banks.
Binance Halts Deposits and Withdrawals for Customers in the UK; Move comes after local partner halts service for Binance; Banking partner Paysafe cites UK regulators’ crypto approach
Emily Nicolle – Bloomberg
Binance Holdings Ltd., the world’s largest crypto exchange, is suspending deposit and withdrawal services via bank transfers and card payments for UK customers after its local banking partner stopped providing support for transactions in British pounds. Paysafe, a London-based online payments company, said it would stop providing one of its products to Binance’s customers in the UK, citing local regulators’ approach to cryptoassets. Paysafe didn’t say whether it would drop support for other crypto companies as well.
How Silicon Valley Bank skirted Washington’s toughest banking rules
Dan Fitzpatrick, David Hollerith and Jennifer Schonberger – Yahoo Finance
Before Silicon Valley Bank went down, it was the 16th-biggest US bank and had more than $200 billion in assets. Yet it didn’t have the same level of regulatory scrutiny as JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Bank of America (BAC), Citigroup (C) or Wells Fargo (WFC).
White House approves Alaska oil project in face of climate criticism; ConocoPhillips’ $8bn Willow venture would add 180,000 b/d of new supply
Myles McCormick – Financial Times
The Biden administration has given final approval to an Alaska oil project in the face of an environmental uproar as it seeks to tread a line between energy security and climate concerns. ConocoPhillips’ $8bn Willow project in the oil-rich area known as the North Slope can now proceed to drilling after the US Department of the Interior on Monday authorised a slimmed-down version.
The weekend US officials hatched a plan to stave off a banking crisis
Colby Smith, James Politi, Ortenca Aliaj and James Fontanella-Khan – Financial Times
Just hours after Wall Street opened for trading on Friday morning, US regulators had seized control of Silicon Valley Bank, which had imploded under the strain of depositors pulling out their money en masse. What at first seemed like the failure of a one-of-its-kind lender with deep ties to the technology industry quickly appeared as though it might spiral out of control.
Banking’s Next Threat? It Might Be Commercial Real Estate; If the saga at Silicon Valley Bank hastens the arrival of the next recession, expect to see many more properties go into default sooner rather than later.
Robert Burgess – Bloomberg
If market participants are wringing their hands over the potential fallout from the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, just wait until they look at the banking industry’s exposure to the rapidly weakening commercial real estate sector. It seems as if every few days brings news of some big property going into default. Within the past few weeks, an office landlord controlled by Pacific Investment Management Co. defaulted on about $1.7 billion of mortgage notes on seven buildings in places such as San Francisco, Boston and New York.
Massive vulnerabilities revealed at Dogecoin, Litecoin, and Zcash, with developers warning of additional risks
Leo Schwartz – Fortune
Last year saw a historic rise in cryptocurrency hacks, with cybercriminals stealing over $3 billion. According to a discovery from the cybersecurity firm Halborn, 2023 could have been even more disastrous, with the company finding massive vulnerabilities in top blockchains such as Dogecoin, Litecoin, and Zcash-putting about $25 billion of assets at risk.
Crypto exchange OKcoin pauses USD deposits following closure of Signature Bank
Frances Yue – MarketWatch
Crypto exchange OKcoin said it has temporarily paused U.S. dollar deposits in the wake of the closure of crypto-friendly Signature Bank, which was shut down by New York state regulators on Sunday. OKcoin has temporarily paused U.S. dollar deposits by wire, along with ACH and over-the-counter services, Hong Fang, chief executive at the exchange, wrote on Twitter Monday.
‘Shark Tank’ star Kevin O’Leary says he will never buy a bank stock again as Biden has essentially nationalized the industry post-SVB
Filip De Mott – Business Insider
“Shark Tank” star Kevin O’Leary said he would not invest in bank stocks in the aftermath of the Silicon Valley Bank failure last week. The chairman of O’Leary Ventures told CNN on Monday that the federal rescue of depositors at SVB and Signature Bank means President Joe Biden has effectively “nationalized” the banking industry.
USDC’s ‘Black Swan’ Depegging Could Have Been Avoided With Proper Regulatory Framework
John Rizzo – CoinDesk
The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank ricocheted through the crypto ecosystem, even causing Circle’s USDC stablecoin to de-peg from the dollar this weekend. The momentary fall, which is currently reversing itself, was symptomatic of a black swan event, as Circle noted, but also of a larger truth: Stablecoins exist in a dangerous state due to the lack of a regulatory framework.
Ukraine, Russia Gird for a Decisive Spring Campaign After a Bloody Winter; Kyiv hopes for a breakthrough as Western weapons pour in, but the battle over Bakhmut might sap its reserves
Yaroslav Trofimov – The Wall Street Journal
Exhausted by winter combat that has resulted in heavy casualties but few significant changes to the front line, Ukraine and Russia are preparing for spring offensives that both sides hope will shift the course of the war. As the muddy ground dries up, unpaved roads and fields will become passable again in the coming weeks, first in Ukraine’s south and then in the east, enabling both countries’ militaries to attempt breakthroughs with mobile mechanized units.
Russia Built $80 Billion Offshore Cash Pile in Year of Sanctions
Russia was able to save abroad about a third of the $227 billion windfall earned last year from its commodity exports, creating a potential new flashpoint as the US and its allies look to tighten their sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine.
Russia is using one of Ukraine’s bloodiest battles to decimate the Wagner Group, after its boss started a feud with military leaders, experts say
Sinéad Baker – Business Insider
Russia is using the fight for the city of Bakhmut as a way to heavily weaken a mercenary force that once boosted its army but has become increasingly critical of its military leadership, according to the Washington DC-based Institute for the Study of War, or ISW.
Exchanges, OTC and Clearing
ABN AMRO and Societe Generale support Eurex Clearing with launch of ESG Clearing Compass
Wesley Bray – The Trade
Eurex Clearing, part of Deutsche Börse Group, is set to launch its new ESG Clearing Compass on 3 April, with involvement from ABN AMRO Clearing Bank N.V. and Société Générale as early partners. The new ESG clearing compass will consist of two services: the ESG Portfolio Assessment and the ESG Visibility Hub.
CME CEO Says Wife’s Carjacking Highlights ‘Insane’ Chicago Crime
Isis Almeida – Bloomberg
Crime in Chicago is getting increasingly personal for Terry Duffy. The CME Group Inc. head told Chicago’s mayor to deal with rising violence and that was before his wife was recently carjacked. “Three o’clock in the afternoon, my wife got carjacked right in the city of Chicago and it’s absolutely insane what’s going on here,” Duffy told the ICE House Podcast in an interview.
After the trials of 2022, traders mull the changing face of volatility
Ahead of the Eurex Derivatives Forum in Frankfurt this month, Eurex is releasing a series of articles that highlight the major themes affecting derivatives markets. One of the biggest of these has been volatility. We discussed this topic with a group of experts who will be appearing at the conference. Volatility was a constant presence in markets last year, as all asset classes were hit by inflation concerns, rising interest rates and the war in Ukraine.
Changes To ASX Non-Executive Directors
ASX today announces that non-executive director Rob Woods will resign from the Board, with his departure effective from tomorrow, 14 March 2023. Mr Woods has been a non-executive director of ASX Limited since January 2020 and has served on the boards of ASX’s clearing and settlement companies since 2015. He is a past Chairman of ASX Clear Pty Limited and ASX Settlement Pty Limited.
Nasdaq Halts Signature Bank
The Nasdaq Stock Market® (Nasdaq: NDAQ) announced that trading was halted on March 13, 2023 in Signature Bank (Nasdaq: SBNY and SBNYP) at 04:00:01 Eastern Time for “additional information requested” from the company at a last sale price of $70.00 (Nasdaq: SBNY) and $11.90 (Nasdaq: SBNYP).
News about Adani Enterprises Limited
The media had reports that Adani Group Does Not Own Ambuja Cements and ACC; Ultimate Beneficiary Is Vinod Adani. The Exchange, in order to verify the accuracy or otherwise of the information reported in the media and to inform the marketplace so that the interest of the investors is safeguarded, has written to the company. Response from the company is awaited.
Stablecoin USDC Sees Redemptions Even as Crypto Market Rebounds; USDC lost its peg to the dollar following collapse of SVB; The peg has been restored following various assurances
Olga Kharif – Bloomberg
Crypto market participants redeemed nearly $1.74 billion of the stablecoin USD Coin on Monday, according data compiled by researcher Nansen. That represents more than 2% of USDC’s circulating supply, Nansen said. The outflows come after the stablecoin lost its 1-to-1 peg with the dollar last week when its issuer, Circle Internet Financial, said it held $3.3 billion – or 8% of reserves supposed to back USDC – at Silicon Valley Bank, which collapsed following a bank run.
CQG Announces Strategic Partnership with Broadridge to Integrate OMS and EMS Technologies
CQG, a leading global provider of high-performance technology solutions for market makers, traders, brokers, commercial hedgers and exchanges, today announced a strategic partnership with global Fintech leader, Broadridge Financial Solutions Inc. (NYSE: BR) that will integrate the two firms’ Execution Management System (EMS) and Order Management System (OMS) respectively. The combination of CQG’s front-end trading technology with Broadridge’s Order Management System and the NYFIX network will be a first of its kind out-of-the-box solution for institutional customers who wish to take advantage of a full front-, middle- and back-office technology suite.
Nigerian credit-led fintech FairMoney acquires PayForce in retail-merchant banking play
Tage Kene-Okafor – TechCrunch
Nigerian credit-led digital banking platform FairMoney has acquired PayForce (sub-brand of YC-backed CrowdForce), a merchant payment services that serves small businesses, as the digital lender looks to broaden its financial services proposition to merchants.
The Impact of SVB’s Collapse on FinTech
Bloomberg Technology – Bloomberg
FinTech Partners founder, CEO and Managing Partner Steve McLaughlin joins Ed Ludlow and Caroline Hyde to discuss the impact of the Silicon Valley Bank fallout on the FinTech space.
Virtu Financial Meeting with Shareholders at FIA Boca
Virtu Financial – GlobeNewswire
Virtu Financial, Inc. (Nasdaq:VIRT), a global market maker, broker and leading provider of global financial services technology, today announced that Virtu management will be speaking and meeting with investors at the Futures Industry Association conference in Boca Raton, FL the week of March 13, 2023. Information to be presented and discussed at the conference is available at ir.virtu.com.
CIA Goes to South by Southwest to Look for Technology That Can ‘Supercharge’ Spies; Agency’s deputy director makes case for collaboration; Wireless technology, quantum computing named as focuses
Tiffany Kary – Bloomberg
The Central Intelligence Agency called for more partnerships with the private sector, saying at a music and tech festival that the US needs to “supercharge” its ability to keep up with foreign adversaries against threats like social-media manipulation and ubiquitous surveillance. “Supercharged spies are exactly what you want, and what you deserve,” David Cohen, deputy director of the CIA, said Monday at the outset of a South by Southwest conference panel in Austin, Texas.
SVB Meltdown: What It Means for Cybersecurity Startups’ Access to Capital
Jai Vijayan – DarkReading
Last week’s stunning collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) could put a damper on the ability of venture-backed cybersecurity startups to secure vital capital for operations and strategic investments. Security experts perceive that even the US government’s swift move over the weekend to protect SVB customer deposits will likely do little to tamp down the uncertainty that the bank’s sudden exit has caused.
Supply Chains Need The Protection Of Unified Multifunctional Cybersecurity
David Schiffer – Forbes
The worldwide pandemic opened our eyes to the vulnerabilities of global supply chains. Now, with eyes wide open, we must move forward by protecting these vital business ecosystems with the right cybersecurity. Keeping supply chains viable requires more than balancing supply and demand issues or managing the logistics of how things flow between the point of origin and consumption. Supply chains need the protection of multilayered cybersecurity with a holistic analytics-driven security fabric.
Key Takeaways From The National Cybersecurity Strategy
On March 2, 2023, the Biden administration announced its National Cybersecurity Strategy. The administration’s stated goals for the strategy are “to secure the full benefits of a safe and secure digital ecosystem for all Americans.” Here we outline key points to help organizations navigate, manage, and prepare for the implications of the National Cybersecurity Strategy.
Coinbase Files Amicus Brief in Insider Trading Case: ‘We Need Rulemaking’
Sam Reynolds – CoinDesk
The digital assets that Coinbase lists are not securities, but Coinbase, if given proper guidance and rules from the Securities and Exchange Commission, would like to list securities, Coinbase said Monday in an amicus brief. But the SEC’s willingness to work with the exchange in a productive fashion has been limited, the brief reads.
Justice Department Investigating TerraUSD Stablecoin Collapse: Report
Nelson Wang – CoinDesk
The U.S. Justice Department is probing last year’s collapse of the TerraUSD stablecoin, raising the possibility of criminal charges being filed against the stablecoin’s creator, Do Kwon, according to the Wall Street Journal, citing sources familiar with the matter.
Founder of troubled crypto asset unicorn Babel launches new DeFi project, stablecoin
Rita Liao – Techcrunch
Flex Yang, the former CEO and founder of Babel Finance, is leading efforts to restructure the now embattled crypto asset unicorn while introducing a new decentralized project with hopes to avoid some of the flaws of his previous venture.
With Signature Bank’s Collapse, US Reformer Barney Frank Watches His Own Lender Fail
Max Reyes – Bloomberg
It was a seemingly unthinkable scene: Barney Frank, co-author of the Dodd-Frank Act, the radical overhaul of the banking system after the 2008 global financial crisis, was having his very own Dick Fuld moment. There was none of the Fuld-style shouting and ranting, but Frank, just like the former Lehman Brothers top executive had famously done, was taking to the phones to lament how authorities had unnecessarily shuttered the bank he helped oversee. Frank, to the surprise of some, landed on the board of Signature Bank, a New York-based lender that boomed during the pandemic. It was seized by regulators Sunday, making it the third US bank to collapse in just five days.
Biden Walks a Cliff Edge on Alaskan Oil; With approval for ConocoPhillips’s Willow project, the president is attempting to be pragmatic on energy security, oil prices and the transition away from fossil fuels.
Liam Denning – Bloomberg
President Joe Biden’s Alaskan oil policy can be summed up as: One if by land, none if by sea. Monday’s approval of ConocoPhillips’ Willow project in northern Alaska was twinned with new restrictions on drilling in the Beaufort Sea off the coast. On one side of Biden stand his own party’s environmental priorities, exemplified in his presidential campaign pledge to end drilling on federal land and last summer’s passage of the green-tinged Inflation Reduction Act.
Washington’s bank rescue fails to erase all doubts; On Wall Street, bank stocks were ravaged, with regional institutions hit hardest
David J. Lynch and Tony Romm – The Washington Post
Washington’s banking rescue had a rocky start Monday on Wall Street, as the government’s response to the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank failed to quell doubts about the health of some midsize banks and left investors debating whether the Federal Reserve would be forced to change course in its fight against inflation.
Biden approves Willow oil project in Alaska despite campaign pledge
Jake Bittle – Grist
Since taking office, the Biden administration has faced intense cross-pressure regarding the Willow Project, a ConocoPhillips venture that would open up an immense swath of public land on Alaska’s North Slope to new oil drilling. While Alaska politicians and oil industry figures have vigorously lobbied the administration to approve the project – particularly in the wake of the energy crisis stemming from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – progressives, environmental groups, and some Alaska Native communities have strenuously opposed it.
US would destroy Taiwan’s semiconductor factories rather than letting them fall into China’s hands, a former national security advisor says
Britney Nguyen – Business Insider
A former national security advisor said the US would destroy Taiwan’s semiconductor factories if China seemed on the verge of controlling them after an invasion. Robert O’Brien, who served as national security advisor in the Trump administration, told Semafor the US “and its allies are never going to let those factories fall into Chinese hands.”
US regulators are setting a dangerous precedent on SVB; The FDIC seems to think the banking system is more fragile than it really is
Sheila Bair – Financial Times (opinion)
(The writer is a former chair of the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and a senior fellow at the Center for Financial Stability.) Preventing “systemic risk” was repeatedly used as a rationale for bailing out Wall Street during the 2008 financial crisis. The 2010 Dodd-Frank Act was supposed to have fixed all of that by strengthening regulation and banning government bailouts. Yet, banking regulators have now decided that the failure of two midsized banks, Silicon Valley Bank and Signature, pose systemic risk, requiring the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to pay off their uninsured depositors.
Commissioner Goldsmith Romero Announces Newly Constituted Technology Advisory Committee and Announces Chair and Vice Chair
Commissioner Christy Goldsmith Romero, sponsor of the CFTC’s Technology Advisory Committee (TAC), announced the newly constituted membership of TAC. Commissioner Goldsmith Romero also announced that Carole House will serve as TAC’s chair and Ari Redbord will serve as Vice Chair. Chair Carole House is an Executive in Residence at Terranet Ventures, Inc., and recently served as the Director for Cybersecurity and Secure Digital Innovation for the White House National Security Council, where among other things, she was instrumental in President Biden’s Executive Order on Ensuring Responsible Development of Digital Assets.
CFTC Names Executives From Circle, TRM, Fireblocks Among Others to New Tech Advisory Group
Nikhilesh De – CoinDesk
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced former White House official Carole House as the new chair and blockchain analysis company TRM Labs’ Ari Redboard as the vice chair of its Technology Advisory Committee. The CFTC published a list of its members to the committee on Monday, announcing the committee had been newly constituted, and is being sponsored by Commissioner Christy Goldsmith Romero, who took office last March.
SEC Obtains Judgment Against Individual in Multi-Million Dollar Securities Offering Fraud
On March 9, 2023, the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts entered a final judgment against Joshua Dax Cabrera ordering him to pay approximately $1,126,000 in disgorgement, prejudgment interest, and penalties in a securities offering fraud previously filed by the SEC in August 2021.
SEC Charges Water Treatment Company and Former Executive with Accounting Violations
The Securities and Exchange Commission charged Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based Evoqua Water Technologies Corp. and its former division-level finance director Imran Parekh for improper accounting practices that materially misstated Evoqua’s revenue reported in the company’s SEC filings during 2017 and 2018. Evoqua and Parekh have agreed to settle the charges by, among other things, agreeing to injunctions against future violations of the securities laws and Evoqua paying a civil penalty of $8.5 million. Monetary and other relief against Parekh will be left to later decision by the court.
FMA appoints Daniel Trinder to new executive leadership team
Financial Markets Authority
The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) – Te Mana Tātai Hokohoko – today confirmed the appointment of Daniel Trinder, to join its enterprise leadership team as Executive Director – Strategy and Design. Mr Trinder brings over twenty-five years’ experience in strategy, policy and regulatory affairs including senior roles at HM Treasury in the UK, the IMF, international investment banking firms, as an advisor to central banks and international organisations, and as a consultant on strategy, policy, and governance to several firms and institutions. Mr Trinder joins the FMA from his most recent role with Binance, and has also held senior global roles at Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs.
Statement on Silicon Valley Bank UK
Following events at Silicon Valley Bank, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has been working closely with the Bank of England, Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) and the UK Government. This morning, The Bank of England (Bank), in consultation with the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), HM Treasury (HMT) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), has taken the decision to sell Silicon Valley Bank UK Limited (SVBUK), the UK subsidiary of the US bank, to HSBC UK Bank Plc (HSBC).
Singapore’s Banking System Remains Sound and Resilient
Monetary Authority of Singapore
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said today that Singapore’s banking system remains sound and resilient amid heightened volatility in global financial markets following the recent closure of banks  in the US. The Singapore Dollar money market and foreign exchange market continue to function well.
Investing and Trading
Trafigura’s Head of Metals Operations to Leave in Restructuring; Svetlana Kabanova ran group handling metals-trade logistics; Company is doing ‘major audit’ after alleged nickel fraud
Jack Farchy and Archie Hunter – Bloomberg
Trafigura Group’s head of metals operations is leaving as part of a global restructuring of its logistics team, the latest shakeup at the trading house since it was hit by a vast alleged nickel fraud. Svetlana Kabanova, who ran operations for Trafigura’s metals trading unit, is leaving the company, according to people familiar with the matter.
Ackman Says Regional Bank Stocks Are an ‘Incredible Bargain’ Now
Jessica Park – Bloomberg
Pershing Square Capital Management’s Bill Ackman said that regional bank stocks are an “incredible bargain” right now as long as the government does the “right thing.” The trade is not without real risk but offers “very attractive asymmetry,” he said in a tweet, adding that a decline in rates makes this an even better investment.
VIX Soars as Markets Rush for Cover on Financial Contagion Risk; Options gauge exceeds 30 for first time since last October; Two-year Treasury yields tumble amid recession concerns
Lu Wang – Bloomberg
Fears that failures at US regional lenders including Silicon Valley Bank could portend a much bigger issue are sweeping across the globe, prompting Wall Street traders to seek shelter in the options market. The Cboe Volatility Index, a gauge of options cost tied to the S&P 500 known as VIX, jumped Monday to briefly exceed 30 for the first time since last October, while the equity measure sank as much as 1.4% before paring.
SVB fallout stings exchange traded funds; ETFs focused on US regional banks hit with steep declines
Steve Johnson – Financial Times
A number of exchange traded funds suffered sharp falls for a third day on Monday as the fallout from the collapse of US lenders Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank rippled out across equity markets. One of the biggest losers was the iShares US Regional Banks ETF (IAT), which by late morning US trade had tumbled 27 per cent from its closing price on Wednesday, before the start of the sell-off.
IRA Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) Table for 2023
Ben Geier – SmartAsset
An individual retirement account, more commonly referred to as an IRA, is a good place to save for your retirement. Once you reach a certain age, though, you’ll have to start taking a minimum amount out of your account each year, called a required minimum distribution (RMD). The RMD table the IRS provides can help you figure out how much you should be withdrawing. This guide will take you through how to use the RMD table, explain what it means for your retirement and discuss what happens if you don’t hit the required minimum distribution for a given year. If you have questions about managing your money in retirement, then consider talking to a financial advisor.
Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance
The Alaska Oil Project Will Be Obsolete Before It’s Finished
Emma Marris – The Atlantic
If the world turned off the tap of fossil fuels tomorrow, all hell would break loose. Something like 30 percent of global electricity and 9 percent of transport would still be running; billions of people would be stuck at home in the dark. That’s why, even though world leaders now talk constantly about transitioning away from fossil fuels, they also fret about ensuring a supply of oil and gas for next week, next month, and next year. But right now they are also green-lighting new fossil-fuel projects that won’t start producing energy for years and won’t wind down operations for decades.
Silicon Valley Bank collapse could slow the transition to clean energy
Evan Halper – The Washington Post
The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank has created new challenges not just for the nation’s banking system, but also for the Biden administration’s climate agenda, following a harrowing weekend in which many major clean tech companies faced insolvency. Although the federal government has stepped in to enable investors and company founders to access their funds, the episode has left them to navigate a more challenging and uncertain landscape.
Why the Global Shipping Industry Can’t Clean Up Its Act; Both old and new strategies to cut emissions are being tried, but they barely touch the dirty truth at the heart of ocean transport.
William Ralston – Bloomberg
Singapore-based BW LPG goes about its business differently than many shipowners. If during a vessel’s passage it becomes clear that a berth won’t be free upon arrival at port, the ship will simply slow down so it shows up when there’s room. By not being forced to wait for days or weeks at a time, fuel is saved and emissions avoided-since these massive ships can’t just power down at anchor. Last year, the strategy equated to more than 500 metric tons of unburned fuel, according to BW Vice President and Head of Operations Prodyut Banerjee.
From grey to green: unique farm on top of car park proposed for Birmingham; Plan would provide fresh locally grown food, promote sustainable agriculture and cut carbon emissions
Jessica Murray Midlands – The Guardian
Plans have been submitted to create a first-of-its-kind urban farm on top of a multi-storey car park in Birmingham as part of a vision to “turn grey space to green productive space”. Slow Food Birmingham, a grassroots organisation that promotes hyperlocal food production, has sent proposals to the council to build a farm, glasshouses, community space and garden, as well as an education hub and cafe on the site. The farm will provide fresh locally grown food for Birmingham residents, it said, while promoting sustainable agriculture and reducing carbon emissions.
Competition From the US Is Forcing Europe to Up Its Green Game; A newly muscular American approach is forcing the European Union to get savvier about the business side of its climate strategy.
Laura Millan Lombrana and Akshat Rathi – Bloomberg
It looked like the start of a transatlantic trade war over climate policy. As US President Joe Biden hosted his French counterpart in Washington on Dec. 1, not long after finalizing a $369 billion green tax-break bonanza, there was a rupture in the usual diplomatic cooperation on global warming. Just a day earlier, and in front of US lawmakers, French President Emmanuel Macron criticized protectionist features of the Inflation Reduction Act that would be “super aggressive” toward European businesses.
Latest atmospheric river brings “catastrophic” flood risk to soaked California
Rebecca Falconer, Andrew Freedman – Axios
California faces another atmospheric river event Tuesday that forecasters warn will bring heavy rains, widespread flooding and mountain snow to much of the state through Wednesday – as officials continue to respond to the last deadly storm. The big picture: As heavy rain fell early Tuesday, officials warned the latest atmospheric river could “hammer” areas inundated by flooding in the earlier storm.
Landowners Fear Injection of Fracking Waste Threatens Aquifers in West Texas; Operators pump a sea of “produced water” underground for disposal. Intensifying tremors raise fears that the deep toxic waste pits could intermingle with water for farming and drinking.
Dylan Baddour – Inside Climate News
A fracked well in West Texas can produce five times as much wastewater as oil. Every day, fleets of tanker trucks haul hundreds of millions of gallons of this toxic brine to loosely regulated disposal facilities that line the rural highways. There, companies inject it deep underground into rock formations, where they hope it will stay forever. The situation troubles David Shifflett, a farmer who irrigates his crops and draws his drinking water from the ground, which has started to heave and bulge in recent years. One tremor left a broad hump and a half-mile crevice in his land, not far from his water wells, raising fears among him and other landowners that underground storage spaces could fracture and leak their toxic contents into aquifers and wells.
Here’s the aerial view as red tide blooms off Pinellas County right now; Streaks of discolored water were seen from the air near Clearwater and Indian Shores Friday morning.
Max Chesnes – Tampa Bay Times
From 1,000 feet up, ribbons of rust-colored water stuck out against the backdrop of white-sand beaches. For many in Pinellas County, spring break has just arrived. But this year, so has the red tide. “Normally, this water up ahead has a Caribbean look to it. You’ll see now it looks nasty. That’s red tide,” said Christopher Noth, a volunteer pilot with the Southwings conservation organization.
High Demand for Japanese Sustainable Finance Taxonomy
A survey by the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) has identified “substantial demand” from investors for some form of comprehensive sustainable finance taxonomy for Japan. The survey found that only 35% of respondents agreed that existing financial disclosure regulations and frameworks adequately support their achievement of sustainability-related investment objectives. Around 60% of respondents to the survey supported the development of a sustainable finance taxonomy in Japan, while more than two-thirds said they perceived the absence of such a taxonomy for Japan as a potential risk for investors.
Climate resilience: Is the UK ready for the impacts of global warming?
Every area of UK society will feel the effects of climate change and, as global emissions continue to rise, preparing for life in a warmer world is crucial. This is the focus of the UK Climate Resilience Programme, which is a government-backed initiative with the goal of understanding the risks the nation faces and helping people to adapt accordingly. Last week, researchers involved with the programme gathered at the Wellcome Collection in London to present and discuss their findings. They ranged from assessments of elderly people overheating in care homes through to building community-run water storage.
Media reaction: US Inflation Reduction Act and the global ‘clean-energy arms race’
Last summer, US president Joe Biden made history by passing the largest package of domestic climate measures ever under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). After earning praise at home for the bill – which includes $369bn for climate measures such as tax breaks for clean energy and electric vehicles – Biden proudly presented his new green agenda to the world at the COP27 climate summit in Egypt in November. But, at the sidelines of the talks, tensions were already brewing about how the IRA may affect industry and business in other countries – and even fuel a global “clean-energy arms race”. World leaders from Brussels to Seoul say the small print of the IRA – which stipulates that generous subsidies will only be on offer to companies operating mostly or wholly in the US – amounts to “green protectionism” and could harm business overseas.
Billionaire Charles Schwab’s Fortune Is Slammed by SVB Fallout; Founder of the eponymous discount brokerage has seen his wealth drop more this year than any other US billionaire.
Benjamin Stupples and Jack Witzig – Bloomberg
Charles Schwab, the billionaire founder of the eponymous discount brokerage, has seen his wealth plunge the most ever as pain spreads across the banking world in the wake of SVB Financial Group’s collapse. Schwab, 85, has had $2.9 billion erased from his fortune since March 8, the steepest drop since he appeared on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index a decade ago. His net worth is down more than any other US billionaire this year and now stands at $10 billion, making him the world’s 183rd-richest person.
In a Wild Day for Markets, Bonds and Stocks Rally But Banks Crater; Regional bank stocks such as First Republic, PacWest plummet; Investors are “rushing for the exits without thinking twice”
Jess Menton and Matt Turner – Bloomberg
US authorities raced over the weekend to put together a package of emergency measures that would snuff out fears about the health of the banking system. On Monday, it had limited success, at best. US bonds rallied sharply and stock indexes recovered from their lows, but in the one sector that matters most right now – regional banks – losses piled up at a frantic clip. Shares of First Republic Bank sank 62%, Western Alliance Bancorp 47% and PacWest Bancorp 21%, tripping multiple trading halts along the way.
SVB Crisis Drives Concern Over Japanese Banks’ Exposure to US Bonds; Banks’ value-at-risk at 2.29 trillion yen in April-June: BOJ; Japanese stock gauges lead declines in Asia on Tuesday
Hideyuki Sano – Bloomberg
The troubles at Silicon Valley Bank and its subsequent collapse have driven investor attention to the heavy investment in US bonds by Japan’s lenders, casting a pall over their shares. SVB’s woes have been rooted in tens of billions of dollars it plowed into longer-term bonds, confident that rates would stay steady. Japanese banks have also stepped up investment in foreign debt over the past decade as outgoing Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda’s aggressive monetary easing crushed domestic yields.
Some SVB Clients Are Finally Regaining Account Access
Daybreak Asia – Bloomberg
Some startup founders and venture capitalists were finally starting to regain access to their accounts at Silicon Valley Bank. Sally Bakewell reports on Bloomberg Television.
SVB Couldn’t Ignore Its Losses, But the Fed Can; Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank, BTFP exploits, claims trading, bond trading, USDC and the effect of Money Stuff vacations on volatility.
Matt Levine – Bloomberg
The way a bank works is that it borrows short to lend long. Simplistically, a bank might get its money from demand deposits, checking and savings accounts that customers can withdraw at any time. And the bank might pay, say, 0% interest on those deposits. And then it invests the money in some longer-term assets, loans and bonds that don’t get paid back for years, and that pay, say, 2% interest.
HSBC Plans to Inject £2 Billion of Liquidity Into UK Unit of SVB
Mark Bergen and Harry Wilson – Bloomberg
HSBC Holdings Plc, the new owner of Silicon Valley Bank’s UK unit, is planning to inject £2 billion ($2.4 billion) of liquidity into the division. Chief Executive Officer Noel Quinn and Ian Stuart, the head of HSBC UK, told London tech investors on a call Monday that the bank would commit billions of pounds to ensure that business-as-usual continued at SVB UK.
First Horizon Plunges 38% Below TD Bid in Regional Bank Nightmare; Traders fear price-cut risk amid rout in financial stocks; ‘It’s extremely hard to have any conviction’: merger-arb
Yiqin Shen – Bloomberg
First Horizon Corp. fell by the most since September 2008 as the crisis in regional banks cast doubt on whether Toronto-Dominion Bank will follow through with its planned $13.4 billion takeover of the lender. First Horizon declined as much as 33% Monday morning and was briefly halted due to volatility. The stock pared losses but still ended the day down 20% at $16.04. That’s about 36% below TD’s takeover offer.
Venture capitalists weigh SVB salvage operation; Options include teaming up with a large buyout group to bid for portions of collapsed lender’s business
George Hammond , Arash Massoudi, Tabby Kinder and Sujeet Indap – Financial Times
Venture capital firms are working on a long-shot plan to preserve parts of Silicon Valley Bank so it can keep serving clients in the technology sector, according to people briefed on the effort. Since late last week a group of more than a dozen VC firms have been in talks about how to enable SVB to continue lending to, investing in and advising companies and executives in the sector.
SVB shows the perils of regulators fighting the last war; Worries have focused on credit and liquidity risks rather than interest rates
Gillian Tett – Financial Times
How could regulators have missed the risks at Silicon Valley Bank? That is the question many shocked investors were asking on Monday. After all, the fact that SVB was sitting on a massive, unhedged portfolio of long-term Treasuries was no secret; last year, JPMorgan circulated shocking calculations to its clients (which were recirculated this week) that showed that these (then) unrealised losses could wipe out tier one capital.
California bank failure shakes global financial stocks; Investors worry over the value of sector’s bond portfolios and falling deposits
Brooke Masters, Jennifer Hughes, Owen Walker, Katie Martin and Laurence Fletcher – Financial Times
Shares of some of the world’s largest banks fell on Friday as the failure of California’s Silicon Valley Bank reverberated around financial institutions across the US and in Europe. Several of the biggest US banks were lower for a second day following sharp losses on Thursday. Bank of America closed down 0.9 per cent, having opened nearly 5 per cent lower, while Citigroup slipped 0.5 per cent.
Let’s hope the start-up world remembers this Great British Tech Rescue
Helen Thomas – Financial Times
Banks are international in life and national in death. But finance isn’t the only place where success is global and failure is a decidedly local problem. The tech sector has got the same idea. The UK start-up fraternity has just had its second emergency government rescue in three years. As the world shut down in 2020, the government saved start-ups from extinction by pumping money matched by venture capital investors into the sector.
Recriminations fly as venture capitalists contemplate Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse
George Hammond, Tim Bradshaw and Antoine Gara – Financial Times
As Silicon Valley Bank was gripped in a crisis last Thursday, General Catalyst boss Hemant Taneja gathered a group of fellow venture capitalists in a last-ditch attempt to avert disaster. Over the previous few days, some VC funds had leaned on portfolio companies to retreat from the tech scene’s favourite bank, with Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund the most significant to do so, according to people with knowledge of the situation.
Buy your ‘We have excellent capital and funding!’ t-shirt today; Get ahead of those pesky questions
Tech founders, we get it. You’re just trying to reshape the economy, and for the past few days you’ve had to deal with people asking you if you have adequate capital and funding. Thankfully, Alphaville has a solution: a shirt that says “We have excellent capital and funding!”. We even added a reassuring smile.
How Not to Cover a Bank Run; When financial panic looms, reporters need to stick to the facts.
Brian Stelter – The Atlantic
On September 17, 2008, the Financial Times reporter John Authers decided to run to the bank. In his Citi account was a recently deposited check from the sale of his London apartment. If the big banks melted down, which felt like a distinct possibility among his Wall Street sources, he would lose most of his money, because the federal deposit-insurance limit at the time was $100,000. He wanted to transfer half the balance to the Chase branch next door, just in case.
Moody’s Puts First Republic, Five US Banks on Downgrade Watch; Western Alliance, Comerica among banks with ratings on review; US bank stocks pummeled after collapse of Silicon Valley Bank
Russell Ward – Bloomberg
Moody’s Investors Service placed First Republic Bank and five other US lenders on review for downgrade, the latest sign of concern over the health of regional financial firms following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank. Western Alliance Bancorp., Intrust Financial Corp., UMB Financial Corp., Zions Bancorp. and Comerica Inc. were the other lenders put on review by Moody’s.
Here are all the banks getting crushed right now-and what to do if your money is there
Lucy Brewster – Fortune
If there’s one thing that history has taught us about bank runs, it’s that panic begets panic when one financial institution falls. As anxiety spread through and beyond the Bay Area last week after the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, rumors began swirling that the famed tech financial institution would drag others down with it.
Work & Management
Artificial intelligence is reaching behind newspaper paywalls; Publishers long accused tech firms of profiting from their content. Now they have a point
There was big news in Canada last week-but if you were in Canada itself you may have missed it. On February 22nd it emerged that Google was blocking access to news content, in a five-week trial affecting about 4% of users in the country. The measure comes as Canada’s Senate considers a bill that would force big internet companies to pay publishers for displaying links to their stories. Google says it may simply block them instead; Canada’s government says the search engine’s actions amount to intimidation.
ManpowerGroup’s Becky Frankiewicz: Burnout, equity and women at work
World Economic Forum (podcast)
COVID-19 hit women at work hard pushing many to leave professions or careers. With many women in dual-earning couples still doing the lion’s share of childcare, those remaining in the workforce might feel skeptical about the benefits of workplace innovations such as 4-day weeks. In a conversation recorded at the Annual Meeting in Davos, ManpowerGroup’s Becky Frankiewicz talked to Forum editor Gayle Markovitz about how leaders can ensure their remote and flexible work policies are adapting to meet their staffers’ changing needs – and how to tackle looming challenges in reskilling and labor scarcity for their teams overall.
Gen Z isn’t ‘quiet quitting’-they’re grappling with a lack of interpersonal connection; A lack of work ethic isn’t to blame
Bella Pittinger – Fast Company
People have claimed that Gen Z workers are “quiet quitting.” That is, doing the bare minimum to maintain their position at work. This behavior isn’t explained by some stark generational divide that’s left young people devoid of ambition while their seasoned counterparts maintain a no-nonsense work ethic that’s driven them forward for years. No, a lack of work ethic isn’t to blame-but a lack of interpersonal connection and belonging in the workplace may very well be.
Opioid Settlement Hinders Patients’ Access to a Wide Array of Drugs; An agreement between attorneys general and major drug distributors increased scrutiny on medications for A.D.H.D., addiction, anxiety and pain.
Christina Jewett and Ellen Gabler – The New York Times
Charity Benefield of Van Buren, Ark., was in the middle of cancer treatments and facing a series of surgeries when her pharmacy’s distributor cut its contract to sell controlled substances.Credit…Terra Fondriest for The New York Times By Christina Jewett and Ellen Gabler March 13, 2023 Nearly a year after a sweeping opioid settlement imposed new requirements on the companies that provide medications to pharmacies, patients across the United States are having difficulty obtaining drugs to treat many conditions, including anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and addiction.
The New Crisis of Increasing All-Cause Mortality in US Children and Adolescents
Steven H. Woolf, MD; Elizabeth R. Wolf, MD; Frederick P. Rivara, MD – JAMA Network
Although life expectancy in industrialized countries has lengthened over the past century, increases in US life expectancy ceased after 2010, a trend attributed to rising mortality rates among individuals aged 25 to 64 years.1 Although midlife mortality rates increased over the past decade, mortality rates among children and older adults continued to decrease. The COVID-19 pandemic altered this trend and resulted in a sharp increase in mortality among older adults, an unsurprising outcome. However, pediatric mortality rates also increased, and COVID-19 contributed little to this surge. This increase in all-cause pediatric mortality has ominous implications. A nation that begins losing its most cherished population-its children-faces a crisis like no other.
The Arctic Is the New Spot for NATO and Russia to Flex Their Military Muscle; Moscow houses nuclear submarines in the region, which is set to increase in strategic importance for major powers including the US and China.
Natalia Drozdiak and Danielle Bochove – Bloomberg
A submarine snakes through a fjord in Norway alongside a British amphibious transport ship, as F-35 fighter jets roar overhead. NATO forces are gathered for a joint drill to repel a simulated invasion, albeit one where the enemy seems anything but theoretical. President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine may be raging thousands of kilometers to the south, but in the remote Arctic there is a close watch on his military activities. It’s an increasingly important region for energy, trade and security, and one where Russia, the US, China and others are vying for greater control.
Japan’s Top Refiner Is Gearing Up for the Oil Industry’s Decline
Shoko Oda and Tsuyoshi Inajima – Bloomberg
Japan’s biggest oil refiner is drawing up plans to consolidate production as domestic demand slumps because of a shrinking population and efforts to cut emissions. Eneos Holdings Inc. has an outline for fusing operations but is still discussing which of its refineries to shutter when, President Takeshi Saito, who took over the helm of the Tokyo-based company in April, said in an interview. Eneos, which expects domestic fuel demand to slump 50% by 2040, has already announced a plan to close one of its 10 refineries next year.
Nigeria’s old currency can be used longer amid cash crisis
Nigeria’s central bank has extended the timeline to swap out its old currency for redesigned notes after the change triggered a cash shortage, forcing businesses to close and leaving millions unable to withdraw their money.
Lebanon’s banks begin strike action over ‘arbitrary’ judicial decisions; Closures are the latest blow for the country’s depositors who are already struggling to access their own money
Raya Jalabi in Beirut – Financial Times
Lebanon’s commercial lenders have closed their doors to customers for an open-ended strike that presents the latest obstacle for beleaguered depositors struggling to withdraw their money from the country’s zombie banking system. The closure of the banks from Tuesday, for an indefinite period, is largely in response to what the industry said were “arbitrary” judicial decisions against them, which had drained their already dwindling foreign currency reserves.
Baby boomers, now outnumbered by millennials, see a shift in generational power
Richard Eisenberg – MarketWatch
Baby boomers’ decades-long domination of the economy, power and culture in America is ending, says Washington Post columnist Philip Bump in his new book, “The Aftermath: The Last Days of the Baby Boom and the Future of Power in America.” The result, he writes, is “a historic disruption of the American Empire.” The 69.6 million U.S. boomers – down from their 78.8 million peak – were born between 1946 and 1964 and are now age 59 to 77. The generation has been surpassed in size by 72 million millennials, who are age 27 to 42 and often the boomers’ kids.