Focused: What The Industry Knows About Transparency (Part 1)
Back in November, the industry gathered for the annual FIA Expo event in Chicago. There, John Lothian News used an exhibitor booth (Thanks Cinnober!) as its studio to ask industry participants key questions about transparency issues in today’s markets.
Part 1: Where do we need to improve transparency in the markets today?
Watch the video »
Foreign exchange trading; “Same as it ever was”. A market ripe for disruption
Raymond McKenzie, Special to John Lothian News
When I first began trading FX in the age when dinosaurs roamed the earth, spot was traded through brokers and once in a while on the Reuters dealing system or via Telex. And of course direct over the phone. It took much prodding, begging and pleading to convince the brokers and the banks to allow Morgan Stanley (where I traded) to be allowed to use the broker market. Our argument was that we really were
***** The thoughtful Ray McKenzie calls for FX futures for all. He says “now to disrupt the status quo in FX.”
The Cruel Oil-Market Math Conspiring Against ETF Bulls
By Moming Zhou, Bloomberg
The $2.3 billion that has poured into funds that track oil since December would seem like a logical enough investment. After crude dropped more than 50 percent to a five-year low, the thinking goes, prices are due for a rebound. There’s just one problem. And it’s a big problem. The market is stuck in something called contango, an exotic term that really just means that prices on crude contracts to be delivered in coming weeks are lower than those on contracts due later. Exchange-traded fund (DBO) managers, as a result, are left to sell the cheaper expiring oil contracts and re-invest the proceeds in the more expensive ones due the following month, creating a vicious cycle that erodes returns.
***** It is a bear of a problem.
Commodities explained: Contango
Anjli Raval, Oil and Gas Correspondent, FT
The oil price plunge over the past several months has spooked the world’s biggest producer countries and energy companies.But those traders who buy and sell physical barrels of oil, such as Vitol and Trafigura, have spotted a moneymaking opportunity. It’s all about “contango”.
***** Contango is the word of the day.
UBS fined $14m over dark pool disclosures
Gina Chon in Washington, FT
UBS will pay $14.4m to resolve allegations that it failed to disclose information about order types for its dark pool, a settlement that includes the largest penalty the US Securities and Exchange Commission has imposed in such a case.
***** $14 million fines are the new black.
The Swiss Give a Scary Lesson on the Limits of Central Banks
By Swaha Pattanaik, NY Times
Central bankers have to live up to high expectations. Investors and politicians expect them to control inflation, prevent deflation, promote growth and keep the financial system healthy. The Swiss National Bank, an above-average institution, has failed at two simpler tasks, keeping its word and preventing destabilizing currency moves. The lessons for the rest of the world are scary.
***** I was always taught that no one player is bigger than the market. I think we received a new lesson on that subject.
Arbitrator Profile: Cameron Azad
Cameron Azad is one of NFA’s newest arbitrators. He is a Senior Vice-President in Wealth Management for UBS Financial Services, has been a financial advisor for 31 years and loves his profession. Cameron says that being a wealth manager offers him intellectual challenges and the opportunity to serve others. Since the financial industry has provided Cameron with a rewarding career, he feels it’s his responsibility to give back. This is one of the reasons why he didn’t hesitate to say yes when asked to serve as an NFA arbitrator.
***** NFA giving some PR to its arbitrators.
Ex-Morgan Stanley broker to plead guilty in napkin-eating scheme
By Joseph Ax, Reuters
A former Morgan Stanley stockbroker accused of a three-man insider trading scheme in which one of his co-conspirators allegedly wrote stock tips on napkins before eating them has agreed to plead guilty, according to a court filing.
****** If I gave illegal stock tips, I would write them in syrup on my pancakes. They taste better than napkins. I also like the Mickey Mouse pancakes with a smile on them for bullish Disney tips.
Republican Who Ran Hog Castration Ad to Rebut Obama Speech
By Kathleen Hunter, Bloomberg
Freshman Iowa Senator Joni Ernst, who bragged on the campaign trail that she would use her experience castrating hogs to make Washington “squeal,” will deliver the Republican State of the Union response speech, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters.
***** This whole thing just makes me feel uncomfortable.
MarketsWiki Recent Updates
Companies, Organizations and Groups
57,183,496 pages viewed, 8,133 articles, 188,688 edits
Swiss-Franc Move Crushes Currency Brokers; FXCM Suffers ‘Significant’ Losses; Alpari Enters Insolvency; New Zealand Currency-Trading House to Close
By Anjani Trivedi, Lucy Craymer and Tommy Stubbington, WSJ
Brokers around the world are crumbling in the wake of the Swiss National Bank ‘s shock decision to remove the cap on its currency.
Mayhem Erupts on Trading Floors After Swiss Central Bank Removes Cap on Franc
By Julia Verlaine, Bloomberg
At 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, trading floors across the City of London erupted. Outbursts of obscenities and confusion followed the Swiss central bank’s surprise decision to abolish its three-year-old policy of capping the Swiss franc against the euro, according to traders in London’s financial district. The U-turn sent the franc as much as 41 percent up against the euro, the biggest gain on record, a move that one trader estimated may cause billions of dollars of losses for banks and their customers.
Volatility Is the New Weather for Banks
By Antony Currie, NY Times
Volatility is the new weather for the likes of Citigroup and Bank of America. The two mega-banks joined JPMorgan Chase in blaming market ups and downs for crimping trading revenue and thus hurting overall earnings. That’s rich after years of claiming conditions were too docile. It doesn’t mask the deeper problem the lenders have, either.
Casualties From Swiss Shock Spread From New York to New Zealand
By David Evans and Kevin Buckland, Bloomberg
Losses mounted from the Swiss currency shock as the largest U.S. retail foreign-exchange brokerage said client debts threatened its compliance with capital rules and a New Zealand-based dealer went out of business.
SNB Officials Eating Words Risk Lasting Investor Aches
By Catherine Bosley and Stefan Riecher, Bloomberg
Switzerland’s central bank officials have just eaten their words, risking lingering indigestion in financial markets.
The Swiss National Bank jolts the financial system
With the shock abandonment of the currency peg, history is repeating itself, says George Magnus
Biggest Banks Lag Behind as Economy Gains Steam; Slow Trading Environment Hurts Profits at Bank of America, Citigroup and Elsewhere
By Christina Rexrode And Saabira Chaudhuri
More than five years into the economic recovery, the nation’s biggest banks are still on the outside looking in, as their fortunes grow increasingly disconnected from the rest of the country’s.
GFI bidding war heats up
Neil Munshi in Chicago, FT
The bidding war for GFI Group was heating up on Thursday, with both CME Group and BGC Partners increasing their offers for the US interdealer broker.
Goldman Sachs Posts Lower Earnings, Revenue; Investors to Focus on Investment Bank’s Compensation Ratio, Trading Results
By Saabira Chaudhuri, WSJ
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. ‘s fourth-quarter net income fell while revenue declined. Results beat the estimates of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, but shares declined 1.3% premarket.
Morgan Stanley executives visit brokerages to reassure after data theft
By Lauren Tara LaCapra, Reuters
The leadership team of Morgan Stanley’s (MS.N) wealth management business has been visiting brokerage offices around the country since last week to reassure advisers and clients in the wake of an alleged data theft by a former employee, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
IG Group faces up to £30m losses from Swiss franc fall-out
Mark Odell, FT
IG Group said it could face losses of up to £30m after the Swiss National Bank removed the peg on the Swiss franc . The London-based spread betting business became one of the first companies to reveal its exposure to Thursday’s gyrations in currency markets as the Swiss currency reached near parity with the euro.
Regulator Prods Colleges on Vetting Accounts Pitched to Students
By Alan Zibel, WSJ
Colleges around the country should do a better job of negotiating deals in which banks pay for the rights to offer financial products to students, a federal regulator says.
Regulators test the universal banking model; Dimon’s complaint of pressure on JPMorgan shows shift in US policy
Tom Braithwaite in New York and Martin Arnold in London, FT
In 1991, US Treasury secretary Nicholas Brady pointed to a chart showing that the US had slipped from having the world’s three biggest banks in 1969 to having its largest bank — Citibank — rank 27th after Japanese, German and French rivals.
War of the Words between FINRA and SIFMA
Fee Rate Advisory #3 for Fiscal Year 2015
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that starting on Feb. 14, 2015, the fee rates applicable to most securities transactions will be set at $18.40 per million dollars.
New FINRA Rule Addresses Payments to Unregistered Persons
The National Law Review
The role of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in dealing with payments to unlicensed persons for securities-related and capital-raising activities has grown significantly. On Dec. 30, 2014, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the SEC) approved FINRA Rule 2040 governing when and how registered broker-dealers can provide compensation to unregistered persons. Not only does the approval enhance the authority of FINRA’s activities in this area, it informally codifies some of the existing guidance and clarifies some of the existing ambiguities.
FINRA’s New Background Investigation Rule Will Likely Increase Firms’ Costs and Potentially Increases Exposure for Firms in Customer Disputes
The National Law Review
Recently, the SEC approved FINRA’s proposed new Rule 3110(e) relating to background investigations of registered persons. FINRA Rule 3110(e), which replaces NASD Rule 3010(e) and goes into effect on July 1, 2015, streamlines and clarifies the rule language by providing that “each member shall ascertain by investigation the good character, business reputation, qualifications and experience of an applicant before the member applies to register that applicant with FINRA and before making a representation to that effect on the application for registration.” The rule further clarifies that a firm is required to review a copy of an applicant’s most recent Form U5, if available. Most importantly, the rule requires that firms adopt “written procedures that are reasonably designed to verify the accuracy and completeness of the information contained in an applicant’s Form U4 no later than 30 calendar days after the form is filed with FINRA.”
New Best Execution Requirement for Municipal Securities Transactions
The National Law Review
Although the MSRB’s new best execution rule is generally consistent with FINRA’s, differences exist and questions remain regarding FINRA’s examination and enforcement of the requirements.
Self-Regulatory Organization (SRO) Rulemaking and National Market System (NMS) Plans
- BATS: Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change Related to Fees for Use of BATS Exchange, Inc. (Release No. 34-74052; File No. SR-BATS-2015-02; January 14, 2015); see also Exhibit 5
- BYX: Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change to Related to Fees for Use of BATS Y-Exchange, Inc. (Release No. 34-74050; File No. SR-BYX-2015-01; January 14, 2015); see also Exhibit 5
- CME: Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Related to Clearing of Certain iTraxx Europe Index Untranched CDS Contracts on Indices Administered by Markit (Release No. 34-74055; File No. SR-CME-2015-001; January 14, 2015)
- FINRA: Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change to Extend the Expiration Date of FINRA Rule 0180 (Application of Rules to Security-Based Swaps) (Release No. 34-74049; File No. SR-FINRA-2015-001; January 14, 2015); see also Exhibit 5
- NYSE: Notice of Designation of a Longer Period for Commission Action on a Proposed Rule Change Amending Rule 13 and Related Rules Governing Order Types and Modifiers, as modified by Partial Amendment No. 1 (Release No. 34-74051; File No. SR-NYSE-2014-59; January 14, 2015)
- Phlx: Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Relating to Amendments to Sections II and IV of the Pricing Schedule 1 Pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”), and Rule 219b-4 thereunder, notice is hereby given that, on January 13, 2015, NASDAQ OMX PHLX LLC (“Phlx” or “Exchange”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or “Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I, II, and III, below, which Items have been prepared by the Exchange. The Commission is publishing this notice to solicit comments on the proposed rule change from interested person (Release No. 34-74062; File No. SR-Phlx-2015-06); see also Exhibit 5
- Phlx: Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Relating to Customer Rebate Program 1 Pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”), and Rule 219b-4 thereunder, notice is hereby given that, on January 2, 2015, NASDAQ OMX PHLX LLC (“Phlx” or “Exchange”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or “Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I, II, and III, below, which Items have been prepared by the Exchange. The Commission is publishing this notice to solicit comments on the proposed rule change from interested person (Release No. 34-74059; File No. SR-Phlx-2015-01); see also Exhibit 5
Exchanges & Trading Facilities
CME Group Notices
- CME Clearing Notice: Week of Monday, January 12, 2015
- Performance Bond Requirements: Electricity, FX, Metals, Natural Gas, Refined Products Outrights; FX and Refined Products Intra-Commodity Spread Charges; Agriculture, Coal, Crude Oil, Electricity, NGLs, FX, Metals, Refined Products and Natural Gas Inter-Commodity Spread Credits – January 16, 2015
- Performance Bond Requirements: FX outrights and volatility scans
Risk Awards 2015: Eurex is Exchange of the Year
Decisions were tight as every year. But it was a fair process: The shortlisted companies underwent face-to-face and telephone interviews, this was supplemented by feedback from clients and other market participants. Then the final decisions were made by Risk’s editors and journalists, weighing a number of factors, including risk management, creativity and innovation, liquidity provision, quality of service, and engagement with regulatory issues. In the end the decision was made: Eurex is the Exchange of the year 2015.
ICE Futures Europe Sets Daily Volume Record in Three Month Euro Swiss Franc Futures
Intercontinental Exchange, the leading global network of exchanges and clearing houses, today announced that ICE Futures Europe reached a daily volume record of 199,692 contracts in Three Month Euro Swiss Franc (Euroswiss) futures on January 15, 2015. The previous record of 194,340 contracts was set on December 4, 2012.
LME appoints John Lee as Chief Technology Officer
The London Metal Exchange (LME) is pleased to announce the appointment of John Lee as Chief Technology Officer. John has 22 years of technology experience within financial exchanges, along with extensive leadership and systems delivery expertise. He joins from ICE/ NYSE Euronext where he most recently led the technology delivery for a new clearing house for LIFFE. Following ICE’s acquisition of NYSE Euronext, John’s responsibility switched to the integration of the LIFFE market with ICE Clear Europe, which was successfully launched in July 2013.
Hedge Funds & Managed Futures
Swiss Stocks Blindside Traders as Volatility Soars 70%
By Sofia Horta e Costa and Namitha Jagadeesh, Bloomberg
If anyone saw Switzerland’s central bank coming, they didn’t do much about it in the options market. A contract that paid out should the benchmark Swiss Market Index (SMI) drop to 8,150 by today from around 9,200 had no volume for the last week. That changed yesterday, when the Swiss National Bank’s move to abandon its currency peg against the euro sent shock waves through markets. A rout in Swiss equities spurred traders to snap up 4,300 of the puts in a matter of hours, sending the price soaring from a few centimes to more than 15 francs — a jump of about 15,000 percent.
Franc Fallout Boosts Dollar on Growing Demand for Haven
By Lukanyo Mnyanda and Hiroko Komiya, Bloomberg
The euro dropped toward an 11-year low against the dollar after the Swiss National Bank roiled financial markets by unexpectedly scrapping the franc’s cap.
Lone Forecaster in Texas Predicted the Swiss Currency Cap Would Fail
By Lucy Meakin, Bloomberg
After Switzerland’s central bank pledged the “utmost determination” to defend its currency ceiling last month, only one currency forecaster began this year predicting the cap’s demise.
These investments could get creamed in the Swiss avalanche
By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch
Back in the early ’90s, while I was backpacking around Europe, Switzerland was just one of the places to cross off my bucket list. Breathtakingly beautiful, but no place for an impoverished 20-something. A girlfriend and I splurged on a bottle of water and soaked as much of the scenery up as we could from the Eurail train window. Check.
Low Inflation Bad for TIPS? Nope.
By Allan S. Roth, WSJ
Last week, Jason Zweig offered a tip to buy more TIPS. The drop in prices of these Treasury inflation-protected securities has left them at reasonable levels, he suggested, and they are designed to become more valuable when inflation heats up.
Russia May Resort to Currency Restrictions If Outflows Continue to Mount
By Andre Tartar and Anna Andrianova, Bloomberg
Russian net capital outflows probably doubled last year and the government may resort to currency restrictions if the pace doesn’t ease in 2015, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists.
Banks & Brokers
End to euro cap on Swiss franc ensnares brokers
Josh Noble in Hong Kong, and Philip Stafford and Michael Hunter in London- FT.com
The move by the Swiss National Bank to scrap its currency ceiling against the euro has ensnared foreign exchange brokers across the globe, from New York to London and New Zealand. New York-based FXCM, one of the world’s biggest currency brokers, said it may be in breach of capital requirements after its clients suffered heavy losses on their Swiss franc trades.
FXCM Faces Losses on Franc Trades as Swiss Shock Spreads
By David Evans and Kevin Buckland, Bloomberg
Shares in the largest U.S. retail foreign-exchange brokerage slumped in pre-market trading in New York as upheaval caused by a surge in the Swiss franc rippled from New Zealand to the U.S.
Goldman Sachs Posts Lowest Annual Trading Revenue Since 2005
By Michael J. Moore, Bloomberg
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), which set a Wall Street record for trading revenue in 2009, posted less than half that amount in 2014 as revenue from the firm’s biggest business fell to the lowest in almost a decade.
Citigroup Says Derivatives Face Value Fell in 4th Quarter
By Dakin Campbell, Bloomberg
Citigroup Inc. (C), the third-biggest U.S. bank, said the notional value of its derivatives fell by about $5 trillion in the fourth quarter.
Citi and Bank of America take a fourth-quarter beating
By Kevin Dugan, NY Post
It isn’t getting any easier on Wall Street. Bank of America and Citigroup on Thursday reported sharply lower fourth-quarter earnings that disappointed investors. Their results came a day after JPMorgan Chase kicked off earnings season with a similarly weak report.
Morgan Stanley Names 151 New Managing Directors
By DealBook, NY Times
Morgan Stanley said on Thursday said that it had promoted 151 employees to managing director, down slightly from 2014’s class of 153 managing directors.
Credit Suisse’s Davos Disaster: From Grand Hotel to Big Bust in Six Months
By Jeffrey Vögeli and Jan Schwalbe, Bloomberg
The Golden Egg, Davos’s newest luxurious hotel, was the place to be for the global elite at last year’s World Economic Forum, selling out all of its 216 rooms. On one evening, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife dined at its restaurant, while Tony Blair was having a grappa in the bar with a colleague, according to General Manager Peter Pedersen.
Goldman Opens Istanbul Office as Turkey Pushes Asset Sales
By Isobel Finkel, Bloomberg
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is opening an office in Istanbul in preparation for asset sales in Turkey estimated to total as much as $20 billion this year.
UBS’s Richest Clients Seen Flocking to Dollars After Swiss Franc Shock
By Netty Ismail, Bloomberg
UBS Group AG (UBSG), the largest Swiss bank, said its wealthiest clients will be attracted to U.S. dollars after Switzerland roiled markets by scrapping the franc’s cap.
Clearing & Settlement
EurexOTC Clear for IRS: Where are we and what is our focus for 2015?
We wish you “Happy New Year” and all the best for 2015. 2014 has been a very successful year for EurexOTC Clear for IRS. On 10 April we received EMIR approval as one of the first clearing houses in Europe, in May we introduced our cross-margin functionality and we have seen a strong growth not only in Clearing Members and clients but also in our cleared IRS volumes and open interest throughout the year.
Indexes & Products
Move would affect Chinese Internet sector, including Alibaba
By Gregor Stuart Hunter, MarketWatch
MSCI will allow shares of companies trading outside their home markets to enter their native country indexes, a move which is likely to funnel billions of dollars in capital flows toward companies that lack a domestic listing, such as Alibaba BABA, -3.28% .
MSCI Paves Way for Overseas Listings
By Gregor Stuart Hunter, WSJ
MSCI will allow shares of companies trading outside their home markets to enter their native country indexes, a move which is likely to funnel billions of dollars in capital flows toward companies that lack a domestic listing, such as Alibaba.
Google suspends sale of smartglasses
Richard Waters and Tim Bradshaw in San Francisco, FT
Google has suspended sales of the test version of its smartglasses and reshuffled the group behind the project to put it under different management.
Silk Road suspect hunt started at Mt Gox; Bitcoin exchange’s Karpèles says he is not Dread Pirate Roberts
Kara Scannell in New York and Ben McLannahan in Tokyo, FT
US authorities initially investigated the founder of Mt Gox, the world’s largest bitcoin exchange until its collapse last year, as the suspected person behind Silk Road, an online marketplace for illegal drugs, a federal agent testified on Thursday.
Finra Fines Merrill Lynch Over Delay in Reporting Allegations Against Adviser; Brokerage Employee Was Siphoning Money From Client Accounts
By Matthias Rieker, WSJ
The Financial Regulatory Authority, Wall Street’s self-regulator, fined Bank of America Corp. ‘s Merrill Lynch, saying the brokerage took a year to report allegations that one of its financial advisers was siphoning money from client accounts.
CFTC orders New Jersey based commodity pool fraudster to pay $871,000 for several offenses
By Mike Fox, LeapRate
Failure to provide monthly statements, misappropriating funds and failing to return funds to pool participants who sought to withdraw lands New Jersey based investment pool operator in hot water
SEC Announces Charges Against Attorneys and Auditors in Microcap Scheme Involving Purported Mining Companies
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced charges against attorneys, auditors, and others allegedly involved in a microcap scheme the agency stifled last year when it suspended the registration statements of 20 purported mining companies being used for sham offerings of stock to investors.
SEC Charges UBS Subsidiary With Disclosure Violations and Other Regulatory Failures in Operating Dark Pool
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged a subsidiary of UBS with disclosure failures and other securities law violations related to the operation and marketing of its dark pool. UBS Securities LLC agreed to settle the charges by paying more than $14.4 million, including a $12 million penalty that is the SEC’s largest against an alternative trading system (ATS).
Environmental & Energy
Chinese experts want to know how foul the air and water can possibly get
How much pollution an ecosystem can handle is a question that must be answered in an environmental policy setting, but it has gone unanswered in China, despite apparent ambitions to fix the problem.
Self-Styled Transparent Quant Fund Starts Operating in Japan
By Yuji Nakamura, Anna Kitanaka and Yuko Takeo, Bloomgerg
Acadian Asset Management, the Boston-based quant fund that says it shares its investment secrets with clients, has set up in Japan as the nation starts to embrace smart-beta strategies.
China funds bring Chaos to metals markets
Henry Sanderson and Neil Hume, FT
Until a few days ago, only copper market cognoscenti had heard of Shanghai Chaos. But now the Chinese hedge fund is the talk of the metals trading world.
HKEx Invites Views on Proposed Volatility Control Mechanism for Securities and Derivatives and Closing Auction Session for Securities
Presentation by HKEx Head of Market Operations Roger Lee at a Media Briefing on Consultation Paper on Proposals to Introduce Volatility Control Mechanism in the Securities and Derivatives Markets and Closing Auction Session in the Securities Market
MSE working to facilitate SME financing
Times of Malta
The Malta Stock Exchange (MSE) is working on a product which will encourage small- and medium-sized enterprises to access capital markets which, subject to all the relevant regulatory approvals, should be implemented during this year.
DHS Believed Mt. Gox CEO Might Have Been Silk Road’s Secret Mastermind
By Andy Greenberg, Wired
Long before the Department of Homeland Security set its sights on Ross Ulbricht, the agency had another surprising suspect in mind as the possible creator and administrator of the Silk Road’s massive online drug market: Mark Karpeles, the chief executive of what was then the world’s biggest bitcoin exchange, Mt. Gox.
Death of an FX punter
Paul Murphy, FT Alphaville
Ive came back to my computer and Alpari have closed all my trades, loosing over $1000 off of my current balance, anyone got any idea what may have happened!!! they arent answering the phone!!
The liquidity monster and FXCM
by Izabella Kaminska, FT Alphaville
As we have already pointed out about Thursday’s unprecedented Swiss franc move following the SNB’s announcement about removing its 1.20 euro level floor and introducing a -0.75 per cent interest rate regime, the real story to pay attention to is what exactly motivated a price surge to that level.