First Read

Locations, Locations
Sarah Rudolph, JLN

Today and tomorrow John and Doug are in New York City, where it is equally as rainy and windy as it is here in Chicago. Jim is still in an undisclosed location, with no access to IMs, emails, or John’s puns.

Since announcing the two-day swing through New York, their dance cards have gotten quite full, but there may still be some time to to squeeze in a meeting. Anyone interested should email John at johnlothian@johnlothian.com

Jeff Bergstrom and I are holding down the fort here in the Windy City, putting the Newsletter together with help from John and Doug, who contributed to JLN this morning from a NYC cab, which is a first.

Since we published our column last week on CME Group’s Kim Taylor and her battle with colon cancer, donations to the Lisa Fund have been pouring in and the associated wristbands have been flying off the shelves. The generosity displayed by JLN readers never ceases to amaze. Additional contributions have come into MD Anderson in Texas

You can learn more about John’s efforts with the Boy Scouts on his blog at www.myscoutingblog.org. The story is titled “Trading Tech 300 is Reinventing Scouting and Exploring Programs in Chicago.”

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Brand New: LME’s Jones Says Exchange Is Set For Growth, 2 Ways
JohnLothianNews.com

London Metal Exchange had quite a year in 2014.

From its integration into the Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing, launching its own clearinghouse, and addressing the metals warehousing problems, LME has the pieces in place for expansion. Garry Jones, CEO of the LME spoke with John Lothian News about the exchange’s focus on China and the potential for new products in the coming months.

LME launched its own clearing house last September and has brought its technology in-house, under the HKFE. All of that has added staff to LME, tripling its payroll over the past three years, as well as a new building set to open later in the year.

“There’s two main themes for the LME,” he said. “Our business, given that 40 percent of the world’s metals production and consumption is in China, we’re focused on that as well.”
Watch the video »
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America’s Endless War Over Money
NY Times
The “Audit the Fed” debate is the latest manifestation of a conflict as old as the nation, between those who argue that a strong central bank improves economic stability, and those who see an overbearing government engaged in harmful meddling.
jlne.ws/1a4ZNEp

***JB: Rabble rabble rabble (I hope I am not the only one who gets that).

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Does a happy employee make for a healthy stock price?
Reuters
When BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, evaluates potential stock purchases, its managers look at all the usual financial metrics.
Some of them also consider something much harder to quantify: employee sentiment.
jlne.ws/1a52ZA6
***JB: Print this up and leave copies scattered about the office and bathrooms. Subtlety is the name of the game.

UK police seek gang behind 200 million pound heist
Reuters
British police were hunting for a gang on Wednesday who raided safety deposit boxes in London’s major jewellery business district, making off with cash and gems in what local media said could be the country’s biggest-ever heist. London’s Metropolitan Police said the thieves used heavy cutting equipment to get into the vault at Hatton Garden Safety Deposit Ltd, where they are believed to have broken into 60 to 70 boxes.
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***JB: Sounds like the premise of a few movies I have seen.

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Greece claims Germany owes $303 billion war debt
MarketWatch
Greece’s government publicly quantified its long-standing claim for World War II-related compensation from Germany, continuing to press claims that Berlin says have long since been settled.
jlne.ws/1a5bMC6

***JB: Did Greece just Godwinize their economy?

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Sponsored Content
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Trading rules need to work together
Scott O’Malia, ISDA derivatiViews
Cross-border fragmentation is one of the biggest concerns for ISDA and its members. A split in global liquidity pools means lower trading liquidity, regulatory arbitrage, duplicative compliance requirements and, ultimately, higher costs for end users. To avoid this happening, it’s vital that regulators develop and implement each set of rules based on a common set of principles – and ISDA has looked to help guide this process by formulating principles on central counterparty recovery, data reporting and, most recently, the centralized execution of swaps.
jlne.ws/pZFQ0O

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JPMorgan Algorithm Knows You’re a Rogue Employee Before You Do
by Hugh Son, Bloomberg
Wall Street traders are already threatened by computers that can do their jobs faster and cheaper. Now the humans of finance have something else to worry about: Algorithms that make sure they behave.
jlne.ws/1DJqTik

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Amid a Drought, Cue the Almond Shaming
Bloomberg
It takes a gallon of water to produce an almond. That’s one remarkable fact. Here’s another: 82 percent of the world’s almonds are grown in California, almost all of them in its agricultural heartland, the Central Valley. Here’s another: Almond growers use about 10 percent of the state’s water supply every year. And here’s yet another: California’s mountain snowpack, the main source of the Central Valley’s water, is at 5 percent of its historical average for this time of year.
jlne.ws/1a5lgNz

***JB: Almonds are a staple food in the JLN offices.

***SR: At least, they have been.

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Shining Star: SGX’s Ramaswami Says Asia Risk Mitigation Still In Early Stages
JohnLothianNews.com

When exchanges look at growth areas, Asia gets top ranking. The Singapore Exchange, which has positioned itself as the Asian gateway for international traders over the past 30 years, now sees great potential in the decades ahead.

Muthukrishnan Ramaswami, president of SGX spoke with John Lothian News editor-in-chief Jim Kharouf at the FIA Boca conference, and said the exchange is ready to expand geographically through technology upgrades and by asset class as well, especially in FX and commodities.
Watch the video »
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Lead Stories

HK-Shanghai stock trading link activity surges
Josh Noble in Hong Kong, FT
A huge jump in equities purchases by Chinese investors has produced record trading volumes in Hong Kong, a signal that the prolonged stock rally on the mainland is finally spilling over into global markets.
jlne.ws/1yVeqke

Royal Dutch Shell to Buy BG Group for Nearly $70 Billion
Dealbook – NY Times
Royal Dutch Shell said on Wednesday that it had agreed to buy the BG Group for nearly $70 billion, creating a formidable global player in the fast-growing business of producing and selling liquefied natural gas.
BG, which was once part of British Gas, is particularly attractive to Shell because it is a major player in liquefied natural gas, whose use is growing fast despite a recent slump in prices.
jlne.ws/1a4Z2vc

Rahm Emanuel wins Chicago mayoral run-off
Neil Munshi in Chicago, FT
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has defeated a union-backed challenger who had forced him into a surprise run-off election for the top job in the US’s third-largest city.
jlne.ws/1HQhZ0c

***** This is an important win for the Chicago financial community.

Active managers have no excuse for poor performance
John Authers, FT
As I have told readers of this column many times, active equity managers are having a horrible time. That is in part because the whole game of trying to beat the market is inherently difficult and expensive — which is why passive index-tracking has grown in popularity.
jlne.ws/1FBmnzV

Kraft wheat case poses test for commercial traders
Gregory Meyer in New York, FT
Kraft Foods’ old mill in Toledo, Ohio, grinds wheat into flour for Oreo cookies, Ritz crackers and other mainstays of the American cupboard.
jlne.ws/1GKFzwE

Repo Market Sees a Lending Shift as Rules Bite;Short-term loans known as repos increasingly come from sources other than brokers
By KATY BURNE
Investors and small firms are entering the $2.6 trillion U.S. repo market, taking advantage of banks’ retreat from a key corner of the credit markets.
jlne.ws/1Fl9IhU

This is nuts. When’s the crash?
Financial Times
Yes, dot-com comparisons are flung about all too easily. But it’s quite hard to argue with the fairness of this one from Bloomberg:
jlne.ws/1GKDu3I

Wall Street sanguine as it heads into worst earnings season in six years
Reuters
Wall Street is greeting what is expected to be the worst earnings season since 2009 with a gigantic shrug.
Though there has been some selling in recent weeks, there’s been no panic dumping of stocks, even though forecasts for S&P 500 first-quarter earnings have tumbled since Jan. 1, thanks to the surging dollar, falling oil prices and another severe winter. The earnings season unofficially kicks off Wednesday with results from aluminum company Alcoa (AA.N).
jlne.ws/1a50PAh

Bank of Japan Votes Down Call to Slash Easing Measures
WSJ
The Bank of Japan’s internal split widened Wednesday as Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda’s toughest critic on the policy board officially called for a steep reduction of its aggressive monetary stimulus.
jlne.ws/1a5aJ4T

As Greece Battles a Debt Crisis, Its Banks Issue More Short-Term Debt
Dealbook – NY Times
A strange thing is happening as Greece struggles to avert bankruptcy: Its troubled banks are loading up on more debt.
These short-term bonds, which have been issued by the country’s largest banks and carry the guarantee of the Greek government, are not being sold to foreign investors. They are being issued to the only entity that would dare buy them: themselves.
jlne.ws/1a4ZedK

Charles Grassley Questions Diversion of Fannie and Freddie Earnings
NY Times
For almost two years, shareholders of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been asking the United States government about its 2012 decision to divert all of the mortgage finance giants’ earnings to the Treasury rather than let them repay taxpayers under the original bailout agreement.
But the government has declined to disclose documents relating to that decision, contending that some may be subject to presidential privilege.
jlne.ws/1a4ZtWf

US farmers take a gamble with belt-tightening as incomes slide
Reuters
Bracing for their leanest season in eight years, U.S. farmers are skimping on everything from machinery to fertilizers, betting that they can go down-market and yet maintain crop production and quality.
The belt-tightening has already squeezed sales of suppliers, and farming experts warn the gamble can backfire: less robust crop protection and less resilient seeds combined with some rough weather could hurt crops this year and beyond.
jlne.ws/1a53zOj

EU Gathers Evidence on Deferred Tax Assets in Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain
WSJ
The European Union is gathering evidence for a possible investigation into whether Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain are illegally supporting banks that use a type of capital considered low-quality by international regulators.
jlne.ws/1a5cRd2

Funds hit by currency volatility
Financial News
UK-listed private equity firms have seen millions wiped off their balance sheets in the past six months due to the declining value of the euro.
jlne.ws/1GKCEnH

RBI allows companies to sell rupee-denominated bonds in overseas markets
Economic Times
The Reserve Bank of India on Tuesday moved in to liberalise the bond market, permitting companies to sell rupee-denominated bonds in overseas markets, which essentially shifts the exchange rate risk from the bond seller to the buyer.
The central bank, with this move, may be signalling a limited opportunity in expanding the role of foreign institutional investors in Indian bond markets.
jlne.ws/1GKD2CC

The Fiscal Future I: The Hyperbolic Case for Bigger Government
NY Times
Brad DeLong has posted a draft statement on fiscal policy for the IMF conference on “rethinking macroeconomics” — and I’m shocked, in a good way. As regular readers may have noticed, Brad and I share many views, so I expected something along lines I have also been thinking. Instead, however, Brad has come up with what I believe are seriously new ideas — enough so that I want to do two posts, following different lines of thought he suggests.
jlne.ws/1GKFid7

The Fiscal Future II: Not Enough Debt?
NY Times
Continuing my meditation on Brad DeLong’s meditation on the fiscal future. Brad doesn’t just argue that governments should be bigger in the future; he also argues that governments have historically not had enough debt, and should have more.
jlne.ws/1GKFvwU

Regulatory

Industry Professionals Voice Strong Support for Fiduciary Standard
Business Wire
Brokers and Investment advisers indicate strong support for the Department of Labor ERISA fiduciary standard, according to the report on the 2015 fi360 Fiduciary Standard Survey from fi360 and Fiduciary Path, “Seeking Trusted Advice for Individual Investors.” The results are particularly timely as the White House calls on the Department of Labor to propose fiduciary rules for advice to retirement investors. The rules have not yet been made public, but are intended to update decades-old ERISA regulations and eliminate conflicts of interest that harm investors and their retirement nest eggs.
jlne.ws/1Fydjvz

SEC’s Head of Compliance, Andrew Bowden, to Leave
Andrew Bowden plans to return to the private sector
By Andrew Ackerman, The Wall Street Journal
WASHINGTON—A top Securities and Exchange Commission official who made headlines for criticizing the private-equity industry last year is planning to leave the commission.
The SEC announced Tuesday that Andrew Bowden will step down from his post as head of the SEC’s Office of Compliance, Inspections and Examinations at the end of April, to return to the private sector.
jlne.ws/1DjIZ8o

Silver Ridge hedge fund launch delayed over FCA inquiry
Lindsay Fortado, Legal Correspondent, FT
UK regulators have held up the launch of a new hedge fund because one of the founders headed up foreign exchange at Citigroup during a period when the bank has admitted rate-rigging.
jlne.ws/1IJBHe2

Financial News: EMIR clearing rules for swaps set for further delay
Eurex
According to industry experts central clearing for swaps will not be forced on the market for another 12 months. The requirement for a clearing of standardized swaps is part of the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR) and is meant to reduce systemic risk in derivatives markets.
Due to continuing differences between the EC and ESMA have raised expectations that the first phase of clearing under EMIR might not begin before March or April 2016. (Subscription only)
jlne.ws/1akZHsP

Exchanges & Trading Facilities

World domination: Brent trumps Nymex in war of crude oil benchmarks
By Henning Gloystein and Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen, Reuters
Investor positions in Brent crude oil futures have risen to a historic high and outnumbered contracts in U.S. futures by the most ever as more traders held the North Sea benchmark as a truer reflection of global market conditions.
jlne.ws/1IJyQ4Q

First CME cocoa futures trades
Confectionery Production
CME Group, a derivatives marketplace, has announced the first trades of its new Physically Delivered Cocoa futures contract (contract code CCP), which were launched on its European exchange, CME Europe.
A total of 240 contracts traded through four delivery months out to March 2016, with most trades taking place in the new crop December 2015 and March 2016 contracts.
jlne.ws/1IJwH9p

Nasdaq, KBW Form Index Partnership; Pairing will expand access to indexes and exchange-traded funds
Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. and Keefe, Bruyette & Woods are forming a partnership to expand access to indexes and exchange-traded funds with more than $770 million in licensed assets under management.
jlne.ws/1y4i7sO

Hedge Funds & Managed Futures

Switzerland First With 10-Year Bond at Negative Yield
WSJ
Switzerland Wednesday became the first country ever to issue 10-year debt that gives investors a yield under 0%.
Several European countries inside and outside the eurozone have sold government debt with up to five years of maturity at negative yields, which means investors effectively pay for the privilege of buying it. But no other country has previously stretched this out as long as 10 years.
jlne.ws/1a58Rt6

Going Long in Treasurys Wins
WSJ
During the first quarter, a price rally in riskiest U.S. government bonds continued, baffling many.
jlne.ws/1a5b5sf

New Hedge Fund Strategy: Challenge the Patent, Short the Stock
WSJ
A well-known hedge-fund manager is taking a novel approach to making money: filing and publicizing patent challenges against pharmaceutical companies while also betting against their shares.
jlne.ws/1a5dLGw

Once-hot bond market droops as rate cut seen delayed
Reuters
India’s bond investors are sharply paring expectations on how soon the central bank will cut interest rates again, now anticipating a more drawn-out process that could dull the momentum in a market that had surged from last year.
Traders now warn that a sell-off in bonds – under way since prices hit their highs early this year – could accelerate after the Reserve Bank of India held rates on Tuesday and issued a statement that was seen as being cautious on inflation.
jlne.ws/1GKAIeR

Large Banks Don’t Know All Their Derivatives Risk
The leading consultant on contractual derivatives risk management reveals that bank’s “are just starting to get their heads around the problem”
Posted By: Mark Melin
As the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) promotes regulatory consistency and centralized trading rules for generally unregulated derivatives, consistent with increased pressure from the White House to manage risk acknowledged to threaten the world economy, new information regarding bank derivatives risk is revealed outlining the depth of the problem.
jlne.ws/1IJvMWD

Active funds struggle to beat the US market
afr.com
Nearly anyone with money in the sharemarket since 2009 has benefited from the great bull market run. But compared with the overall market, most actively managed stock mutual funds haven’t performed very well or very consistently.
Exactly how the funds stack up will depend on the precise measurements you use. If you use the definitions and updated results of a recent study by S&P Dow Jones Indices titled Does Past Performance Matter? The Persistence Scorecard, actively managed stock funds as a group look quite weak. In fact, in the six years through March, they did worse than you would have expected if their managers had flipped coins instead of picking stocks.
jlne.ws/1Ca5kkV

Banks & Brokers

Top Executives at FXCM Redraw Their Contracts
WSJ
Currencies broker FXCM Inc. won a lifeline after January’s surge in the Swiss franc almost put it out of business, but insiders are still bracing for more stress at the firm.
Several top executives have redrawn their contracts to make sure they are better compensated in the event they are ousted or the company is broken up.
jlne.ws/1GKwwf3

Fidelity Investments’ New Chief Confronts Market Shift
WSJ
Abigail Johnson was so eager for change at mutual-fund giant Fidelity Investments that she once tried to oust her own father as CEO, according to executives at the time.
jlne.ws/1a5d3ZU

Barclays Markets Chief to Leave After Year on Job
WSJ
Barclays PLC’s head of markets, Eric Felder, is leaving the bank a year after being appointed to the role, according to an internal memo.
Mr. Felder, a 21-year veteran of both Barclays and Lehman Brothers, will be replaced on an interim basis by Joe Corcoran, who currently heads the bank’s equities and credit products unit, according to the, memo which was sent to staff on Tuesday.
jlne.ws/1a5bsDh

Steven Cohen’s investment firm appoints new paid advisory board
Financial News
Steven A Cohen’s investment firm appointed a new external advisory board, according to a person familiar with the matter, the latest public attempt by the firm to demonstrate tighter oversight after its predecessor admitted to insider trading.
jlne.ws/1GKBHvJ

The changing of the guard in M&A
Financial News
Activity is hotting up in the match between the biggest mergers and acquisitions houses.
jlne.ws/1GKCr3K

UBS promotes two to run US equities
Financial News
UBS has named two new co-heads of its Americas equities business in the latest of a string of changes in the unit over the past 12 months.
jlne.ws/1GKCvRa

Former Goldman Exec Wants to Upend the Way the World Moves Money; Hank Uberoi is reinventing the $21 trillion global payments system. Will the banks go along with him?
by Edward Robinson, Bloomberg
When Hank Uberoi said goodbye to a long and lucrative career on Wall Street in 2004, he could have retired to a life of investing in ventures he loved and tending his 20,000-bottle wine collection. Instead, he’s working late nights and winging from continent to continent in a bid to transform one of the most vital functions in the world economy: the movement of money from one country to another.
jlne.ws/1CfsGFY

Clearing & Settlement

LCH.Clearnet offers landmark inflation swap service
Asset Serving Times
LCH.Clearnet has become the first central counterparty (CCP) to offer inflation swap clearing, launching the service through its SwapClear offering.
Barclays and JP Morgan completed the first cleared inflation swap, as two of the 11 members that are already live and trading.
jlne.ws/1IJtyXb

Shona Milne joins LCH.Clearnet board
Financial News
London Stock Exchange-owned clearing house LCH.Clearnet has recruited a former Deutsche Bank finance chief to its UK board, adding to the ranks of high-profile female directors recruited by the bourse and its subsidiaries since the start of 2014.
jlne.ws/1a5iDew

Australian derivatives shift to centralised clearing
Naomi Rovnick and Philip Stafford, The Financial Times
The derivatives market in Australia has experienced a pronounced shift towards centralised clearing, a central aim of regulators since the financial crisis.
The surge in derivatives volumes comes after the country introduced centralised clearing of over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives to comply with a G20 commitment to safeguard the vast off-exchange market.
jlne.ws/1IJuHOw

UBS to offer clients clearing member services for Nodal Exchange
Finextra
Nodal Exchange, LLC announced today that UBS Securities, LLC, through its LCH.Clearnet Ltd membership, is now offering clients Clearing Member services for Nodal Exchange.
jlne.ws/1IJxh6X

Indexes & Products

European commercial real estate funds on top, MSCI study shows
IPRE
European commercial real estate funds outperformed their US counterparts last year, according to MSCI.
The firm’s IPD Global Property Fund Index recorded strong growth in both the UK and Continental Europe.
MSCI said net returns of 13.7% from pan-European funds last year were well ahead of their US counterparts, which recorded 11.7%.
UK funds were the best performer in IPD’s index, with returns of 15.9%.
jlne.ws/1a5nexu

Don’t Forget Spain ETFs
ETF Trends
Thanks to the European Central Bank’s accommodative monetary policy and the subsequently stumbling euro, European equity exchange traded funds have received ample adulation and attention this year.
Investors put $71 billion into non-U.S. developed equities in the first three months of the year, making it the strongest first quarter on record. Currency hedged ETFs saw inflows of $26.8 billion in Q1 as investors looked to hedge their international equity exposure due to a stronger dollar,” according to BlackRock, parent company of iShares, the world’s largest ETF issuer. [ETFs see big March Inflows]
jlne.ws/1a5nyfH

S&P 500 Low Volatility Rate Response Index Launched By S&P Dow Jones Indices
MarketWatch
S&P Dow Jones Indices (“S&P DJI”), one of the world’s leading providers of financial market indices, announced today the launch of the S&P 500® Low Volatility Rate Response Index. The Index has been licensed to Invesco Powershares for ETF development.
The S&P 500 Low Volatility Rate Response Index is designed to measure the performance of the top 100 companies of the S&P 500 that have exhibited low volatility and are less sensitive to changes in interest rates. The launch of this index further broadens S&P DJI’s smart beta index offering and incorporates an event driven factor into the widely followed S&P 500 Low Volatility Index.
jlne.ws/1GKILbJ

A Tale of Two Benchmarks: Factors
S&P Dow Jones Indices
This is the third in a series of blog posts relating to the in depth analysis of performance differential between the S&P SmallCap 600 and the Russell 2000.
jlne.ws/1GKJf1t

Technology

Cinnober’s Annual Report 2013/14
Cinnober
Cinnober’s Annual Report for 2013/14 has been published today and is available to download from the company’s website, http://www.cinnober.com/financial-reports. It is also attached to this press release.
jlne.ws/1Co3coO

Cyberdefense Spending Rises Amid High-Profile Hacks
WSJ
As cyberattacks become more frequent across the globe, companies are ramping up spending to guard against potential breaches.
The latest development underscoring the trend: The $810 million acquisition of U.S.-based cybersecurity provider Trustwave by Singapore Telecommunications Ltd., Southeast Asia’s biggest telecommunications firm by revenue.
jlne.ws/1GKArIR

Patent case could shift power balance in tech industry
Richard Waters in San Francisco, FT
A US appeals court is set to hear a landmark patent case on Wednesday that could change the way royalty rates are set for commonly used intellectual property in the tech industry.
jlne.ws/1IJCz2k

Fintech firm Basware to acquire UK’s Procserve
CNBC
The merger and acquisition climate in Europe heated up Wednesday with more dealmaking in the burgeoning financial technology — or “fintech” sector.
Finnish firm Basware – which sells enterprise software for financial processes – has announced it is to acquire a U.K.-based rival Procserve for 25 million euros ($27million).
jlne.ws/1GKKbD7

Fintech: MBA’s P2P Foreign Exchange Start-Ups Challenge Big Banks
BusinessBecause
The disruption of traditional business models has been salient and the financial services sector is poised for a further shake up in foreign exchange.
Niche players have been biting at the fringes of big banks’ business models but a venture has not yet emerged with the scale to rival established institutions. This has not stopped MBA graduates from trying.
jlne.ws/1GKKq0I

UK accelerator Startupbootcamp will host fintech companies for 3 months.
www.globes.co.il
Fintech (financial technology) has been building up a lot of steam in recent years. Research company Accenture estimates that investments in this field totaled $12.2 billion in 2014, triple the $4 billion total in 2013. Fintech is a general term for technology designed to improve and upgrade the banking system. Among other things, it includes the payment servicer recently launched by Apple Computers, applications that make it possible to transfer money to an individual via smartphone, a digital wallet, etc.
jlne.ws/1GKKptO

Environmental & Energy

Can the world economy survive without fossil fuels?
By Larry Elliott – The Guardian
The final chapters of The Bone Clocks, David Mitchell’s 2014 novel, describe a future in which progress has gone into reverse.
jlne.ws/1CdCyjp

Unilever promises greener Magnums with latest deforestation drive
By Jessica Shankleman – BusinessGreen
Unilever has beefed up its zero deforestation efforts with confirmation it will deliver on plans to source all its paper and cardboard packaging from sustainable and transparent sources ahead of schedule.
jlne.ws/1Cw2W6Q

Obama: ‘A lot more work to do’ on climate
By Timothy Cama – The Hill
President Obama called attention to the public health impact of climate change Tuesday and said the country has to do more to reverse it.
jlne.ws/1Ir0irl

White House: Obama ‘greenest’ president ever
By Jordan Fabian – The Hill
President Obama’s environmental record will make him remembered as the “greenest” president in history, the White House said Tuesday.
jlne.ws/1IIAEuR

Asia-Pacific

Day of Records of Securities Market as Stock Connect Trading increases
HKEX
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited’s (HKEx) securities market turnover rose to an all-time high of $252.4 billion today (Wednesday), exceeding the previous record of $211 billion set on 3 October 2007, as trading through Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect surged to its best level since launch. The market capitalisation of Hong Kong-listed shares also reached a record high, climbing to $28.6 trillion.
jlne.ws/1FgxQYv

Why silencing short-sellers is futile
Breakingviews
Arnaud Vagner is about to become a legal guinea pig. Noble Group, the Singapore-based commodity trader, blames the Hong Kong-based former credit analyst for conspiring to drive down its share price. A court is soon expected to hear Noble’s claim against Vagner, who it says worked for the company until he was fired less than two years ago.
This is the latest front in the ongoing battle between Asian companies and short-sellers.
jlne.ws/1GKLbqG

Manulife Financial Corp to pay Singapore’s DBS $1.2 billion to sell insurance in Asia
Financial Post
Canadian insurer Manulife Financial Corp is paying US$1.2 billion to Singapore’s DBS Group Holdings Ltd for a 15-year partnership that will allow the insurer to sell products through the lender’s Asian branch network.
Manulife will pay the amount upfront to the Singaporean bank, while there will be variable payments based on the success of the partnership, the two companies said in a statement.
jlne.ws/1a5pC7o

Japan Stands Pat on Stimulus Program
NY Times
The Bank of Japan stuck with its monetary stimulus program on Wednesday, brushing off a lack of inflation two years after it vowed to pull the economy out of more than a decade of falling prices.
As its initial deadline for stoking inflation passed, the central bank maintained that consumer prices were temporarily depressed by cheaper oil, and would gradually rise as consumers and businesses spent more and the economy recovered further.
jlne.ws/1a5pN2G

As Much as Japanese Love Treasuries, Yen Bonds Are Safer
Bloomberg
For Japanese investors who are snapping up Treasuries, the outlook for yields suggests they’d be better off keeping their money in bonds at home than buying more now.
Ten-year Japanese government yields will rise to 0.47 percent by year-end from 0.36 percent Wednesday, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists. While bond prices would fall, the loss would be less than 1 percent after accounting for interest payments. For Treasuries, the forecast is for an increase to 2.56 percent from about 1.88 percent, for a 4 percent loss, based on data compiled by Bloomberg.
jlne.ws/1a5pPaK

Frontier Markets

NCDEX may provide technical assistance to Myanmar Commodity Exchange
MICEX has been looking for extensive participation from Indian firms to exploit hidden opportunities in Myanmar
Dilip Kumar Jha, Business Standard
National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange (NCDEX), India’s largest agri centric commodity futures trading platform, might ink a pact with Myanmar International Commodity Exchange (MICEX). Under the tie up, NCDEX will provide technical assistance MICEX
jlne.ws/1ycVwun

Foreign funds brace for India’s alternative tax demand
James Crabtree in Mumbai, FT
Dozens of foreign funds investing in India are preparing to challenge a series of unexpected new tax demands, raising concerns that global investors could be the latest international businesses targeted by Indian revenue authorities.
jlne.ws/1Pjt7YN

Emerging market banks face tough challenge as growth slows
Henny Sender, FT
A while ago, Temasek, the Singapore state-linked investment fund, grew concerned about the weak balance sheet and problem loans of Standard Chartered Bank. So it briefly considered merging it with DBS, a large local bank. Temasek decided against this plan because of regulatory and tax issues and concerns that the deal created conflicts of interest for the fund itself, because it is the largest shareholder in both lenders. Temasek executives also feared that rather than strengthening StanChart, a merger might cripple DBS.
jlne.ws/1aJTFTg

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