First Read

Bits & Pieces
By John J. Lothian

Our friend John Needham offered an update yesterday on the number of FCMs based on the latest FCM segregated funds report from the CFTC. He noted that Jefferies is now completely gone, zeroed out. He noted we were down to 55 FCMs, then corrected it when he was reminded by Gary DeWaal of X-Change Financial Access LLC being barred by the NFA. Another two chairs removed from the dance. Unfortunately this dance is the limbo, and the question remains how low can we go.

Another friend Steve Grob of Fidessa was hit by a bicycle crossing the street in London, breaking his surgically repaired hip. He now has a new surgically repaired hip. We wish him a speedy recovery, hopefully a lot better than the last one. As a fellow new body parts recipient, I can feel his pain.

ICE had some busy days of late, closing the deals for Trayport and Interactive Data. Also, ICE just reported NYSE lead again in global capital raising for the fifth consecutive year and is the top exchange in tech IPOs. See Lead Stories and Exchange News for details.

Jim Kharouf came home from Asia over the weekend after attending FIA Asia. It was an important trip for us, and the beginning of new ideas and initiatives to come in the region.

Doug Ashburn is in New York. We are not really sure what he is doing there, but if you want a selfie taken with him in Times Square, you can email him at TheRealDougAshburn@johnlothian.com

My Boy Scout Troop earned the highest level of the Journey to Excellence quality unit award, the gold level. In order to earn gold, you have to score 1000 points on your application that looks at activity level, planning, training, recruitment, retention and advancement among other factors. We earned 1700 points and had 100% retention. I am not sure we could have done better.

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Insider Gift Tips for the Trader in Your Life
By Barry Ritholtz – Bloomberg
Don’t let the 65 degree weather fool you — it’s holiday time! With less than two weeks of Shopmas to go, your gift list is probably down to those hard-to-please folks. Choosing just the right memento for that favorite trader, fund manager or analyst is never easy, but we are here to solve your problems.
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***** Rule number one, don’t use the world “insider” and “trader” in the same sentence, lest the insider trader is sentenced.

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Empowering female traders in east Africa will boost growth – and fight poverty
Frank Matsaert – The Guardian
This week trade ministers from across the globe will meet in Nairobi to try to hammer out a deal to follow the 2013 Bali package, hoping for the first universal agreement by World Trade Organization (WTO) members on measures to lower international barriers to trade.
bit.ly/1jZWDqu

***** We are holding back economic growth globally by the way women are held back and discriminated against. You want a better global economy, empower more women.

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The Making of What Might Be the Perfect Corkscrew
By Balint Portneczi – Bloomberg
Forge de Laguiole makes some of the world’s finest knives and corkscrews: solid to handle and nothing superfluous. The first knife – crafted almost two centuries ago – was a multitool device used by peasants in the Aubrac plateau in southern France. While initially furnished with an oak or boxwood handle, today’s folding knife – based on the “gentrified” 1990 version – comes in cow horn, deer antlers or even ebony. Corkscrews, champagne sabers and cigar cutters also are available. Expect to pay at least $200 for a knife.
bloom.bg/1OtAYiI

***** A sturdy shoe and a stiff wall can be used in a pinch to uncork a bottle of wine. But a good corkscrew is a treasure.

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Millennials ask advisers: ‘Will I be paying student loans until the day I die?’
MarketWatch
Scarred by the Great Recession and laden with student debt, few millennials are in the mood, or in a position, to seek out a traditional financial adviser. But they need financial advice just the same.
on.mktw.net/1TN6i02

***** The answer is YES.

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Vote Doug Bry and Ernest Jaffarian for NFA Board, CTA/CPO Category
John Lothian – John Lothian News
Doug Bry and Ernest Jaffarian deserve the votes of NFA member Commodity Trading Advisors and Commodity Pool Operators in the upcoming contested election for the Board of Directors of the National Futures Association. They have worked hard on behalf of CTAs and CPOs and have made a positive impact on the board. They deserve to be re-elected.
bit.ly/1IJKKkf

**** I voted yesterday. And you can be sure I voted Bry and Jaffarian.

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Lead Stories

CME Eyes China, India in Hunt for Higher-Margin Derivatives
Eduard Gismatullin – Bloomberg
Group plans to offer CSI 300 Index futures outside China
CME picks MCX for potential commodities joint venture in India
CME Group Inc., the world’s largest futures market, is targeting China and India as it scours the globe for higher-margin products to sustain recent profit growth.
bloom.bg/1QqgTjm

New York Stock Exchange Leads in Global Capital Raising for Fifth Consecutive Year
ICE
The New York Stock Exchange, a subsidiary of the Intercontinental Exchange’s (NYSE:ICE) global network of exchanges, announced today that NYSE Group raised $136.0 billion from 397 transactions in 2015, more than any other exchange in the world. This includes eight of the largest 10 initial public offerings (IPOs) in the U.S., and resulted in NYSE’s fourth consecutive year as the leader in technology IPOs. In the last three years, the NYSE has listed 18 of the 20 largest IPOs.
bit.ly/1O2CLuP

EU rules demand transparent research fees
Jim Brunsden and Philip Stafford – FT
Asset managers will be forced to be transparent about how much of a client’s money goes on buying broker research, under tough new European Union standards aimed at tackling conflicts of interest.
on.ft.com/1TN2FHh

American Financial Exchange (AFX) Announces Results Of Its First Day
Mondovisione
American Financial ExchangeSM (AFXSM), an electronic marketplace for small and mid-sized banks to lend and borrow short-term funds, announced today the results of its first day of trading on Friday, December 11, 2015. Exceeding expectations, a total value of $15 million was transacted on the first day of operations.
bit.ly/1O2yE1K

Thousands more bank jobs under threat
Financial Times
Big banks in Europe and the US announced almost 100,000 new job cuts this year, and thousands more are expected from BNP Paribas and Barclays early next year, as the wave of lay-offs that began in 2007 shows no sign of abating.
The 2015 cuts — which exclude the impact of major asset sales — amount to more than 10 per cent of the total workforce across the 11 large European and US banks that announced fresh lay-offs, according to analysis by the Financial Times.
on.ft.com/1Uo1mQ7

Junk bond ETFs hit record trading levels
Joe Rennison and Stephen Foley in New York – FT
Trading in the biggest junk bond exchange traded funds soared to record levels during the recent market sell-off, intensifying a debate about whether high-yield ETFs contribute to financial stability or put it at risk.
on.ft.com/2242Nbk

Bonds, Plastic and Boiler Rooms
Matt Levine – Bloomberg
What if we actually have a financial crisis driven by the liquidity mismatch between corporate bond mutual funds and their underlying holdings, exacerbated by the inability of banks to buy and sell bonds due to new regulations? I mean, it would be bad, obviously — crises are bad — but it would also be kind of amazing. The bond-market-liquidity crisis is the most anticipated crisis since, you know, tech bubbles. Everyone called it! Everyone can go on television and congratulate each other for anticipating the crisis.
bv.ms/1TN3Gze

Third Avenue CEO leaving; other high-yield funds shutter
Pensions & Investments
Third Avenue Management said CEO David M. Barse is leaving, days after he announced that a credit mutual fund would halt redemptions to allow for an orderly liquidation.Mr. Barse and the firm have “mutually agreed” to part ways, effective Monday, the money manager said in a statement. Third Avenue will be led by the firm’s management committee, according to the statement.
bit.ly/1TN4Vyh

Third Avenue Gives High Yield a Bad Name
MoneyBeat – WSJ
What if the recent rout in the high-yield market was not actually sparked by a high-yield fund?
Third Avenue Management LLC surprised the market last week by suspending redemptions in one of its funds, the $789 million Third Avenue Focused Credit Fund. The junk market sold off. Stocks, bonds, and exchange traded funds with exposure to high yield have all since felt the pain.
on.wsj.com/1TN58RZ

Janet Yellen: An orthodox economist for unorthodox times
BY JASON LANGE – Reuters
Janet Yellen is guiding the Federal Reserve towards its first rate rise in a decade armed with traditional economic models that some economists worry could fail her in a world of massive money printing and near zero rates.
reut.rs/1NR7mj8

Blockchain believers seek to shake up financial services
Financial Times
Michael Mainelli was well prepared for the surge of interest this year in how blockchain technology might transform financial services.
Two decades ago, Z/Yen, the City consultancy he co-runs, was approached by a client with a request. The client was working in a sensitive area that required a high degree of trust between the parties involved. They wanted a shared database to provide an indelible and tamper-proof record of who had spoken to who and when.
on.ft.com/1TN324M

Ex-BoE exec to chair blockchain settlement project
The Trade News
A former Bank of England (BoE) executive director has joined a blockchain-based settlement start-up founded by Peter Randall, the ex-CFO and founder of Chi-X.
SETL was launched by Randall in July 2015 and is a system dersigned to enable market participants to move cash and assets directly using the blockchain technology popularised by digital currency Bitcoin.
bit.ly/1TN69cU

First Word Asia: Don’t Expect Another China Commodity Super Cycle
Bloomberg News
“They (commodities producers) just don’t get this. They want China to go back to the old way, they think the slowdown is temporary, the government will stimulate it… and it will be back to the commodity super cycle again; that’s not going to happen,” says Stephen Roach, former non-executive chairman for Morgan Stanley in Asia.
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ECB’s Mario Draghi committed to further stimulus if needed
Financial Times
Mario Draghi has insisted that additional monetary stimulus is still on the table and the European Central Bank stands ready to act should a strong recovery continue to elude the eurozone’s fragile economy.
on.ft.com/1TN37W2

Investors See Third Avenue Fueling More Bond Market Carnage
John Gittelsohn – Bloomberg
Top bond managers are predicting more carnage for high-yield investors amid a market rout that forced at least three credit funds in the past week to wind down.
bloom.bg/1TN3gsu

Never Mind $35, The World’s Cheapest Oil Is Already Close to $20
Angelina Rascouet – Bloomberg
As oil crashed through $35 a barrel in New York, some producers were already living with the reality of much lower prices. A mix of Mexican crudes is already valued at less than $28, an 11-year low, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Iraq is offering its heaviest variety of oil to buyers in Asia for about $25. In western Canada, some producers are selling for less than $22 a barrel.
bloom.bg/1TN3kZp

Bond History Reveals Rate Secrets That Fed Doomsayers Don’t Get
Daniel Kruger and Eshe Nelson – Bloomberg
There’s been plenty of prognosticating about what will happen to the bond market’s unprecedented bull run once U.S. interest rates start rising from rock-bottom levels.
A quick scan of history provides plenty of support for the optimists.
bloom.bg/1TN3vDX

The Fed’s New Chapter Will Be Written in Dollar-Denominated Oil
Timothy A Duy – Bloomberg
This week, Janet Yellen will present the very first few lines of a complex monetary narrative.
The Federal Reserve is set to raise interest rates this week for the first time since 2006.
bloom.bg/1MeNvoE

Regulatory

SEC Reviewing Third Avenue’s Move to Bar Redemptions From Fund
Andrew Ackerman – WSJ
WASHINGTON—U.S. securities regulators are scrutinizing Third Avenue Management LLC’s unusual legal strategy to effectively halt shareholder redemptions from a high-yield fund without first obtaining a green light from the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to people familiar with the matter.
on.wsj.com/1TN3XCg

Illiquid assets at failed Third Avenue junk fund underscore SEC concerns
TIM MCLAUGHLIN AND ROSS KERBER – Reuters
Illiquid assets at Third Avenue Management’s junk-bond fund skyrocketed before it imploded last week, underscoring an opaque corner of risk in the mutual fund industry that corporate governance experts worry is not policed by outside directors.
reut.rs/1MeOlBI

Why MiFID II could boost ETF uptake among UK wealth managers; Enforced disclosure of OTC trades
Daniel Flynn – InvestmentWeek
MiFID II could increase the uptake of ETFs among UK investors by enforcing public disclosure of over-the-counter trades, allowing for a “truer reflection” of how each vehicle is trading, according to Tim Huver, ETF product specialist at Vanguard.
bit.ly/1IROS1K

Assessing How Important a Statement Is for Securities Fraud
Dealbook – NY Times
When someone asks how you are doing, the reflexive answer is often “good” even if it has been a horrible day. The questioner is being polite, and hardly expects a disquisition on the status of your life. Nor would we consider someone a liar if they did not disclose the travails suffered since waking up because the response is largely meaningless. In other words, it is immaterial because it has no real context. For securities fraud, the government must prove that a misstatement or omission was material, meaning that it concerned information a reasonable investor would consider important in making a decision regarding how to proceed in the market.
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Exchanges & Trading Facilities

CME Group’s Strategic Alliances Impress, Competition a Drag
Zacks
CME Group boasts effective capital deployment, modest capital position, and a diverse derivative product line. Moreover, new product launches, strategic alliances and a global presence support the company’s growth.
bit.ly/1TMYHhL

ICE Completes $650 Million Trayport Acquisition
WatersTechnology
IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) has announced the completion of its $650 million acquisition of the Trayport energy and commodities trading platform from BGC Partners and its GFI subsidiary.
bit.ly/1TN39NH

Intercontinental Exchange Completes Acquisition of Trayport
ICE
Intercontinental Exchange (NYSE: ICE), the leading global network of exchanges and clearing houses, today announced it has completed its acquisition of Trayport from BGC Partners and GFI for approximately $650 million, comprising approximately 2.5 million ICE common shares. The transaction was announced on November 16, 2015, and will help ICE provide new services to the European over-the-counter (OTC) energy markets.
bit.ly/1Om2izF

Intercontinental Exchange completes acquisition of Interactive Data Corporation
ICE
Intercontinental Exchange Group (NYSE:ICE), the leading global network of exchanges and clearing houses, today completed its previously announced $5.2 billion acquisition of Interactive Data Corporation (Interactive Data), a leading provider of financial market data, analytics and related trading solutions. Interactive Data is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of ICE, having been acquired from Silver Lake and Warburg Pincus for approximately $3.65 billion in cash and approximately 6.47 million shares of ICE common stock, which were valued at $1.55 billion on October 23, 2015.
bit.ly/1J7eZg2

SGX launches independent research paper on Digital sector
SGX
As part of its investor education efforts, Singapore Exchange (SGX) launched an independent research paper titled “Investing in Financial Technology and Consumer Digital Technology Companies” today. Conducted by independent research firm Frost and Sullivan, the paper commissioned by SGX aims to provide insights to enhance investors’ understanding of the fast evolving digital sector.
bit.ly/1QlzZHS

Hedge Funds & Managed Futures

Investing and the Paradox of Skill
Harry Chemay – Indexology
With the release of the latest mid-year 2015 SPIVA® (S&P Indices Versus Active Funds) U.S. Scorecard results, the debate between active and passive investment management has once again ignited. Proponents of passive management point to the SPIVA data as evidence of the inability (in aggregate) of asset managers worldwide to beat relevant passive indices over meaningful periods of time. Meanwhile, proponents of active management suggest weaknesses in the passive approach, including the potential for active management to protect “on the downside” relative to index-weighted portfolios.
bit.ly/1TMZ3Fo

Now Might Be the Time for VIX
Marya Alsati-Morad – Indexology
An alarming picture is being painted by an economically frail global economy: the threat of a U.S. Fed rate hike and renewed credit weakness driven by falling oil prices. The S&P GSCI (TR) was down 30.8% YTD, with all sectors in the index reporting negative returns for the year, but the S&P 500 and the U.S. stock market have not collapsed yet. In fact, U.S. equities are on pace to outperform commodities for the eighth consecutive year, which would set a new record. If this cycle changes, investors may need a way to protect themselves.
bit.ly/1TMZkbp

Gold to Breach $1,000 as Fed Lifts Rates in ’16, SocGen Says
Ranjeetha Pakiam – Bloomberg
Prices to decline to $955 an ounce next year, Bokobza says
Three further hikes in U.S. interest rates seen in 2016
Gold is going to be a casualty of the Federal Reserve, according to Societe Generale SA.
bloom.bg/1NuLZR7

Asia leads boom in female billionaires
Hugo Greenhalgh, Wealth Correspondent – FT
More women are becoming billionaires than ever before, driven by a marked rise in the number of female Asian entrepreneurs, according to a report into global wealth.
on.ft.com/1RPmLSI

Cotton fills warehouses around the world
Business Standard News
There’s enough cotton sitting in global warehouses to make more than 127 billion T-shirts, or 17 for each person on the planet. That’s bad news for investors betting prices will rise.
bit.ly/1TN4mVe

Billionaire Lasry backs junk bond fund hit with heavy redemptions
BY SVEA HERBST-BAYLISS AND TIM MCLAUGHLIN – Reuters
Billionaire hedge fund manager Marc Lasry on Monday backed a junk bond mutual fund hemorrhaging assets at his Avenue Capital Group as jittery investors exit high-yield bonds amid a market rout.
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Banks & Brokers

Ex-Perella Weinberg partner to launch equity hedge fund
Reuters
Former Perella Weinberg Partners Capital Management partner Andrew Dickson is preparing to launch an equities hedge fund firm called Albert Bridge Capital, six sources familiar with the matter said.
The firm is set to open an initial fund with $100 million in the first quarter of 2016, one source said, while a second added the size could be in the “low hundreds of millions”. A third source said the fund would close at $750 million.
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FXCM Releases Statement on Ongoing Discussions With Leucadia and Stock Repurchase Program
NASDAQ
FXCM Inc. (NYSE:FXCM), a leading online provider of foreign exchange, or FX, trading and related services, today provided an update regarding its relationship with Leucadia and its stock repurchase program.
bit.ly/1I3WT3B

Clearing & Settlement

EU Clearing Obligation For Interest Rate Swaps Set For June 2016 – Finance and Banking
www.mondaq.com
The obligation for central clearing of OTC derivatives under the European Market Infrastructure Regulation will apply from June 2016. A Delegated Regulation that imposes a mandatory clearing obligation for interest rate swap contracts entered into with any European counterparty has now finally been published. Market participants trading OTC IRS derivatives that are not centrally cleared should consider how they are categorised under this legislation and when they will need to implement central clearing.
bit.ly/1Qqgw8p

ASIC applies OTC derivative clearing regime
Money Management
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has released rules that apply Australia’s compulsory central clearing regime for over the counter (OTC) derivatives of financial institutions, which start in April 2016.
bit.ly/1Qqgnlu

Omgeo and SimCorp pair up for repo | Asset Servicing news
Asset Servicing news
DTCC subsidiary Omgeo has partnered with investment management solutions provider SimCorp to deliver central matching and processing for repo trades, through its Central Trade Manager (Omgeo CTM).
bit.ly/1Qqg9ux

EBS Direct Uses FIX 4.4 for Application Links
FTF News
EBS BrokerTec, the electronic foreign exchange (FX) and fixed income business group of interdealer broker ICAP, reports that end-users can connect to its FX platform — EBS Direct via a FIX version 4.4 application programming interface (API).
bit.ly/1QqgsWv

Validis Hires DTCC’s Walters
WatersTechnology
London-based on-demand information start-up hires former DTCC sales head
Leigh Walters is now chief commercial officer at Validis, a financial technology company aiming to transform the way auditors and lenders engage with their end clients.
bit.ly/1QqgdKN

Indexes & Products

China’s New Yuan Index: Here’s What the Market Needs to Know
Bloomberg
A new currency index in China is causing a stir as policy makers seek to refocus the market’s attention away from the yuan’s moves versus the dollar and instead compare performance against a wider selection of peers.
bloom.bg/1TN3AYk

Stocks: The Worst December Since 2002? – Stocks to Watch
Ben Levisohn – Barron’s
MKM’s Jonathan Krinsky observes that the S&P 500 is heading for its worst December since 2002 – and the Russell 2000 to its worst since its creation in 1979:
on.barrons.com/1TMYdZ8

Market Digests, Debates New TW CNY Index Launch
Vicki Schmelzer – eFXNews
World financial markets have digested and largely moved past China’s announcement last Friday of the launch of a new trade-weighted yuan exchange rate index based on a basket of 13 currencies of its main trading trading partners. At the same time, a “guest commentator” on the China Foreign Exchange Trade System website, and analysts overall, have since weighed in on what the launch did and did not mean for overall Chinese yuan direction.
bit.ly/1TMZIq4

BSE, S&P index JV launches factor indices
Ami Shah – LiveMint
Indices provider Asia Index Pvt. Ltd, a joint venture between S&P Dow Jones Indices and BSE, on Monday launched four measures that will include non-market factors such as value, momentum, quality and volatility of stocks to assess their returns and risks.
bit.ly/1TMYs6z

ETFs Had A Good 2015, And 2016 Will Add Even More Choice For Investors: S&P – Focus on Funds
Teresa Rivas – Barron’s
With 2015 beginning to wind down, S&P Capital IQ looks back at what has been a pretty good year for ETFs, with some $200 billion in inflows—and sees more good times to come in 2016.
on.barrons.com/1TMXWp3

Technology

Fintech Innovators Unveils 2015 “Fintech 100” List – Crowdfund Insider
Samantha Hurst – Crowdfund Insider
Fintech Innovators, a collaboration between fintech investment firm, H2 Ventures and KPMG Fintech, today announced the world’s leading fintech innovators, publishing its Fintech 100 list.
bit.ly/1TN0vri

Former Wall St titans shake-up banking with fintech investments
Financial Times
They made their name on Wall Street. Now, they are trying to disrupt it.
Some of the world’s highest-profile bankers have poured millions of dollars into the booming fintech sector during the past year as they tap into new technology providing online financial services from payments and lending to digital currencies and cross-border transfers.
on.ft.com/1TN4sMy

New York and London Fintech Scenes Bridging Gap
Mike Dautner – Payment Week
With the financial technology race underway, speculation over which city claims the top spot as fintech hub of the world continues to spark.
New York, London and Tel Aviv have all been mentioned and certainly each city has their equalities. New York and London, traditionally considered the financial capitals of the world, are beginning to bridge the gap and come closer together with a new agreement.
bit.ly/1TN0R0Z

Speakerbus’ US CEO Launches ‘World’s Smallest’ Trader Voice Platform Shrinking Costs
Roger Aitken – Forbes
The launch of the Micro OneBox, touted as the ‘world’s smallest’ trader voice communications platform or turret by Speakerbus, a specialist provider of critical voice collaboration solutions for global financial markets, further highlights just how technological innovation is progressing. And, anything that reduces costs for trading shops and barriers to entry must surely be viewed positively.
onforb.es/1TN1eZx

Enforcement

Threadneedle Fined for Failings Linked to Otkritie Fraud
Suzi Ring – Bloomberg
FCA fines firm $9 million over attempted $150 million trade
Ameriprise Financial unit also facing Otkritie lawsuit
Threadneedle Asset Management Ltd. was fined 6 million pounds ($9.1 million) by the U.K Financial Conduct Authority for control failings in its handling of an attempted fraud linked to bankers at Russian lender Otkritie Financial Corp.
bloom.bg/1Qlsgtm

Hong Kong watchdog fines JPMorgan for dark pool, control failures
Michelle Price – Reuters
Hong Kong’s securities watchdog said on Tuesday it had fined JPMorgan HK$30 million ($3.87 million) for a range of control failures, including breaches in its dark pool business.
The U.S. bank is the latest institution to fall foul of a broader crackdown by the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) on electronic trading and dark pools in the financial center.
reut.rs/1MeNJMx

Environmental & Energy

The radical idea at the core of the Paris climate deal
By Brad Plumer – Vox
There’s a radical idea at the heart of the big Paris climate accord that strikes many people as baffling. The deal is largely voluntary. That’s right: None of the 195 countries that signed on are actually required to make emissions cuts.
bit.ly/1I4W1vw

COP21: Climate obstacles emerge within hours
By Pilita Clark and Demetri Sevastopulo – Financial Times
The obstacles facing this weekend’s historic global climate change accord were thrown into relief on Sunday night when businesses and government officials played down the impact of the deal and US Republicans underlined their opposition.
on.ft.com/1lJdGip

How the world learned its lesson and got a climate deal
By Richard Valdmanis and Emmanuel Jarry – Reuters
It was an agreement born from a fear of failure, delivered by the smoothness of French diplomacy.
reut.rs/1QHx8aj

***LB: Also in this story “No political leader wanted his reputation stained by a repeat of the debacle in Copenhagen.”

Oil Rout to Claim More Victims After First Norwegian Bankruptcy
Mikael Holter, Luca Casiraghi – Bloomberg
Drillers seen next in line as contracts run out: Clarksons
Norwegian oil investments falling the most since 2000
The collapse of oil prices has claimed its first bankruptcy victim in Norway’s offshore industry, and analysts warn more may follow.
bloom.bg/1YhrkVU

Don’t Count on an Oil Rally If U.S. Crude Export Ban Is Lifted
Dan Murtaugh – Bloomberg
WTI-Brent differential is less than $2, limiting export profit
U.S. exported more oil than some OPEC members this year
Traders betting that U.S. crude prices will jump above those in the rest of the world if Congress lifts America’s oil-export ban may be disappointed.
bloom.bg/1O6LEKa

Gasoline Nearing $2 Seen Spurring Record U.S. Holiday Travelers
Aaron Clark, Mark Shenk – Bloomberg
More than 90 percent of U.S. travelers forecast to drive: AAA
Average price of U.S. regular gasoline at $2.014 on Dec. 13
U.S. travelers over the year-end holiday season will surge to a record 100.5 million as cheap fuel makes trips more affordable.
bloom.bg/1OtB7CY

Asia-Pacific

`Missing’ billionaire in spotlight at meeting
The Standard
The billionaire chairman of Fosun Group, one of the mainland’s biggest privately held conglomerates, has re-emerged after disappearing from public view in connection with an investigation by authorities.
Guo Guangchang, 48, dubbed China’s Warren Buffett, attended Fosun’s annual meeting yesterday morning in Shanghai, pictures on social media showed.
bit.ly/1Qqhce1

Hong Kong share suspension rule abuse to stave off price falls under scrutiny after first half surge
South China Morning Post
Early last Friday before Hong Kong’s stock market opened for business the shares in two listed companies connected to then missing mainland tycoon Guo Guangchang were suspended from trading. The reason given by the firms: pending the release of an announcement containing inside information
bit.ly/1Qqhm5l

Investors should look carefully at Japan
Financial Times
The Japanese stock market is virtually the only market in the developed world that has performed solidly this year, up about 7 per cent in dollar terms.
The performance partly reflects improved corporate earnings, although never mind that it is the translation gains from a weak yen supporting that happy result.
on.ft.com/1QqhJg1

No China Scare Is Scary
By Andy Mukherjee – Bloomberg Gadfly
The picture Fitch has just painted of businesses with outsize China exposure shows credit analysts are painfully aware of the nightmares that might await lenders if the mainland’s economy stalls. Why then are equity analysts so keen to keep investors in dream land?
bloom.bg/1RPpnQF

Another Kind of Climate Change: China Warms to Superpower Role
The Wall Street Journal
SHANGHAI—Though it’s grown into an economic giant, China rarely takes the initiative to solve the world’s big problems, or carry its burdens.
To Western critics, China’s international diplomacy is a mess of contradictions. It craves respect yet shuns responsibility. It wants a seat at the table with rich nations, but can’t abandon a developing-economy mind-set. A frustrated President Obama has labeled Beijing a “free rider.”
on.wsj.com/1Qqi16A

Frontier Markets

Sebi links commodity trade data with its surveillance systems
Economic Times
For better surveillance of commodities derivatives market, regulator Sebi has integrated trading data flow from various commodity exchanges to its own integrated surveillance and intelligence systems.
bit.ly/1Rm9Ecq

South Sudan Devalues Currency by 84% as Dollar Peg Abandoned
Okech Francis, Neo Khanyile – Bloomberg
Central bank adopts black market rate as official rate flouted
Floating currency may help boost economy, BI’s Bohlund says
South Sudan devalued its currency by 84 percent as the government abandoned efforts to fix the exchange rate and allowed the pound to trade freely, surrendering to prices charged in the black market.
bloom.bg/1Z9TG6C

Thailand’s rice industry at turning-point moment
Poandpo.com
Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister General Chatchai Sarikalya said the industry was at a turning-point moment in terms of growing firmly and sustainably.
bit.ly/1NR6ye9

Miscellaneous

These Collectors Hunt for Dollars With ‘Fancy’ Serial Numbers; Fans of ‘fancy notes’ appreciate string of digits in the serial numbers; hunting for Fibonaccis and flippers
By BRIAN HERSHBERG – WSJ
When is a dollar worth more than a dollar? The answer is when it is a “fancy” note like a repeater, a ladder or maybe even a flipper.
on.wsj.com/1O6MrdZ

One man’s lonely quest to recover his life savings from Fanya Metal Exchange ends badly
Quartz
Around 220,000 Chinese investors sunk an estimated $6 billion into Fanya Metal Exchange, a trading platform that many now suspect was a giant Ponzi scheme. Many of these mostly mom-and-pop investors fear they have lost their life savings—complaints to local and central government have been mostly ignored and sometimes resulted in arrests and harassment of the investors themselves.
bit.ly/1TN8zIq

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