First Read

MarketsWiki Education World of Opportunity Summer Intern Education Series
Don’t forget to sign up your interns, newer employees or anyone who would be interested in or find value in the series. We are in New York on July 15 at the NYSE and in Chicago on August 4, 5, & 7. Find details on our newly redesigned website.


Court throws out former Goldman programmer’s conviction
Ben McLannahan in New York, FT
A former Goldman Sachs programmer has had his conviction for stealing code tossed out for a second time — the latest twist in a long-running saga that has thrown light on the murky world of high-frequency trading.

***** A star of the book “Flash Boys” did not break the law. You can beat City Hall, or in this case, Goldman Sachs.


TT: The Next Generation…of Interns
by Genna Pirrong (TT), TradeTalk, The official blog of Trading Technologies
I’m just now starting my second month as a summer intern at TT, and to be honest, my experience was not what I originally anticipated.

***** What is your focus, yesterday or the future? Keep your eyes on the future and the people who are going to drive it.


China’s stock turmoil drags down remaining strong commodities
By Henning Gloystein, Reuters
China’s stock market rout is injecting new stress into the already ravaged global commodity sector, with prices of copper, coal, natural gas  and iron ore all falling back towards their 2015 lows. Analysts say the worst is yet to come as the stronger performers – solar and oil – are now also struggling.

***** We have seen this before, when stocks get really bad, speculators will pull money out of other markets to meet liquidity needs.


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Sun Trading CEO Bernard Dan steps down
Lynne Marek – Crain’s Chicago Business
Bernard Dan stepped down yesterday as the CEO of Chicago-based Sun Holdings, parent to Sun Trading, handing the title to Global Head of Trading Kevin Cuttica. Dan, 54, who was formerly CEO of the Chicago Board of Trade, also exited his position on Sun’s board, the company said in a statement. Dan confirmed the news, but declined to comment.

***** Let’s hope there is a better ending for Sun than there was for the firm from which he previously departed


HSBC employees sacked for ‘abhorrent’ mock Isil execution video
The Telegraph
The bank has apologised after a video emerged online of staff dressed in jumpsuits apparently pretending to behead an Asian colleague

****** Someone has not gotten the message about the need to improve the reputation of bankers and the culture they operate in.


Hacking Team, the Surveillance Tech Firm, Gets Hacked; Italian company sold surveillance tools to dozens of countries, according to leaked files
A company that sells software allowing governments to hack into computers has itself been hacked, and files posted late Sunday indicate it sold surveillance technology to dozens of countries, including Sudan, Egypt, Russia and the U.S.

***** Hey, it can happen to anyone.


Britain loved The Beatles because they sang about the weather
The Telegraph
Out of 308 songs penned by the Fab Four, 48 (16 per cent) make reference to the weather, researchers found

*****Here comes the sun.


Lead Stories

Libor Reform Has Not Gone Far Enough, Says Regulator; Financial benchmark at the heart of the rate-rigging scandal remains broken
Nearly five years after the emergence of a rate-rigging scandal that cost banks more than $7 billion in fines, the financial benchmark at the heart of the affair remains broken.

China sell-off threatens party credibility
Gabriel Wildau in Shanghai, FT
An uneven recovery of Chinese stocks following official measures to halt a three-week sell-off has prompted warnings that government credibility is at stake in the performance of the market.

China Targets Short Sellers in Stock-Index Futures Contracts
China will limit the opening of new futures contracts in an index of small-company stocks to rein in excessive trading and stem a bear market rout.

Banks team up to resolve OTC swaps margin disputes
Philip Stafford, FT
The world’s largest swaps dealers and market infrastructure providers are working on a utility to cut down the number of disputes over the amount of margin used in swaps trading.

Spread-betting poster-child IG in the line of fire post-SNB
by Farah Khalique, Euromoney
Euromoney can reveal more details emerge about IG’s alleged failures to deliver best-execution practice on Black Thursday.
January 15 will go down in history as one of the craziest days in currency markets. The Swiss National Bank (SNB) did a U-turn by abandoning its EUR/CHF 1.20 peg, resulting in the Swiss franc surging against the euro, with quotes plunging more than 50% to as little as 0.5696.

Judge Tosses Ex-Goldman Programmer’s Second Conviction; Sergey Aleynikov was charged with stealing bank’s high-frequency trading computer code
Sergey Aleynikov has spent about half a decade on trial, accused of stealing sophisticated trading software from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. And for the second time in four years, a court delivered a judgment that went against a jury’s findings: He isn’t guilty of breaking the law.

Bank living wills reveal Wall St victims
Barney Jopson in Washington and Ben McLannahan in New York, FT
Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley would cease to exist under “living wills” the banks have drawn up to show how they would handle bankruptcy in a crisis, but JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo would survive in stripped-down form.

Biggest U.S. Banks Would Ditch Securities Arms in Bankruptcy
by Jesse Hamilton, Bloomberg
Big U.S. banks said they would chop off Wall Street arms and non-essential units if the companies were to fail, with JPMorgan Chase & Co. slashing its broker-dealer operations by as much as two thirds.

Traders forced to quit the pits setting up shop nearby
Commodity traders in Chicago and New York aren’t ready to call it quits even after CME Group Inc. shuts most of the futures pits in both cities.

The World Federation of Exchanges Names FCA’s Gavin Hill as Head of Regulatory Affairs
The World Federation of Exchanges, the global industry association for regulated exchanges, today announced the appointment of Gavin Hill as Head of Regulatory Affairs. Gavin joins London-based WFE from the Financial Conduct Authority, the U.K. securities regulator, where he has worked for the past 14 years.
(via email)

John Weinberg, Scion of Goldman, Is Retiring
John S. Weinberg, a banker whose father and grandfather led Goldman Sachs for decades, is retiring after his own 32-year career at the firm.

Stephen Cutler, JPMorgan’s General Counsel, to Become Vice Chairman
After helping JP Morgan negotiate multiple billion-dollar settlements with regulators, the bank’s general counsel, Stephen M. Cutler, is taking on a new job as vice chairman.

FT Explainer: What is China Securities Finance Corporation?
Gabriel Wildau, FT
Once an obscure institution, China Securities Finance Corp was thrust into the spotlight on Sunday by news it would serve as conduit for the central bank to inject funding into the country’s ailing stock market.

If Greece Goes, Political Contagion Is the Bigger Risk in Europe
Whatever the odds of Greek exit from the euro were last week, they have topped 50% since Greeks voted “no” to their creditors’ demands in Sunday’s referendum.
The question then becomes, if Greece goes, how likely is it that larger, more consequential countries will follow? A sober appraisal must conclude that the odds of a wider contagion are uncomfortably high.


Boutiques face existential threat as time runs out on MiFID II
Investment Week
Smaller fund firms have been left in limbo as delays in finalising dealing commission regulations leave them unsure of the future of their businesses.

FCA publishes final rules to make those in the banking sector more accountable
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) have today published the final rules confirming the approach to improving individual accountability in the banking sector. The final rules cover the Senior Managers Regime; the Certification Regime; and new Conduct Rules.

Strengthening accountability in banking: Final rules (including feedback on CP14/31 and CP15/5) and consultation on extending the Certification Regime to wholesale market activities
In this paper we follow up on the feedback that we provided earlier this year in Consultation Paper 15/9: Strengthening accountability in banking: a new regulatory framework for individuals – Feedback on FCA CP14/13 / PRA CP14/14 and consultation on additional guidance and publish final rules.

Jonathan Davidson appointed new Director of Supervision – Retail and Authorisations
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) today announced the appointment of Jonathan Davidson as their new Director of Supervision – Retail and Authorisations.

Exchanges & Trading Facilities

GMEX interest rate swap futures launch for trading in August at Eurex
Press Release
GMEX will launch a euro-denominated innovative IRS Constant Maturity Future (CMF) on August 7th that will clear on Eurex. The electronic arranging of CMF contracts will take place on GMEX’s platform with trade confirmation and central clearing taking place at Eurex.

The New York Stock Exchange, part of the Intercontinental Exchange (NYSE:ICE) global network of exchanges, remained the leading exchange globally for capital raising in the first half of 2015, with 264 transactions raising a total of $94 billion, more than any other exchange in the world. This includes 42 companies that raised $12 billion from initial public offerings (IPOs) in the first half of 2015.

CME Group closes futures pits without extended U.S. review
CME Group Inc ended open-outcry trading in most of its futures markets as planned on Monday as the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission chose not to extend a review of the closures, according to the agency.

CBOE Futures Exchange To List VIX ‘Weeklys’ Futures July 23
CBOE Futures Exchange, LLC today announced that it plans to list futures with weekly expirations on the CBOE Volatility Index beginning Thursday, July 23, 2015, subject to regulatory review. VIX Weeklys options at CBOE are expected to follow, also subject to regulatory approval.

New York, Chicago Traders Forced to Quit Pits Move Next Door
Bloomberg Business
Commodity traders in Chicago and New York aren’t ready to call it quits even after CME Group Inc. shut most of the futures pits in both cities. Some brokers and traders will rent booths as office space to trade futures electronically as more active options pits for energy to grains stay open. The owner of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the New York Mercantile Exchange announced the decision in February because open outcry deals accounted for just one percent of futures volume.

LSE welcomes first Chinese euro-bond
London Stock Exchange reports the first euro-denominated bond by a Chinese issuer has been admitted to trading on its markets. Bank of China has issued the EUR 500 million bond through its Hungarian branch; it forms part of a wider issuance programme by the bank to provide funding for China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ projects. This project aims to boost links and commerce between China and countries along the old land-based and maritime silk routes.

Members support auction and volatility control on HKEx
The Trade News
Hong Kong’s main market is set to introduce volatility controls and a closing auction, following a positive response to proposals from its members. A recent consultation paper from Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEx) asked whether it should introduce a volatility control mechanism (VCM) to safeguard its markets and whether it should introduce a closing auction session (CAS). Both measures received support and will be implemented in mid-2016.

HKFE Announces Revised Margins for HKEx Futures

Athens stock market to remain closed until Wednesday
The Athens stock exchange will remain closed until Wednesday, the Greek Capital Markets Commission said, in line with the closure of the country’s banks as Greece races to avert bankruptcy and remain in the euro.

SGX welcomes Noble Group’s initiative to increase transparency
Singapore Exchange (“SGX”) welcomes Noble Group’s decision to commission a third-party review of its Mark-to-Market models and valuations. This will address and help bring closure to questions raised by the market on this issue.

Thai Bourse To Boost Investor Confidence At Upcoming Singapore Roadshow
The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) has joined hands with DBS Vickers Securities (Thailand) Co., Ltd. to host “The Pulse of Asia Conference”, on July 9, 2015 in Singapore with 15 Thai listed companies to present their strengths and potential growth to global institutional investors.

Bats Suffers a 30-Minute Trading Outage on Its EDGX Stock Market
by Sam Mamudi, Bloomberg
Technical difficulties forced Bats Global Markets Inc. to halt trading on its second-largest stock exchange for more than 30 minutes on Monday morning.

Euronext sees record volume in commodities franchise led by heavy trading in its Milling Wheat contracts
Euronext today announced that its commodity derivatives franchise continues to outperform with its most active week ever from 29 June to 3 July with an average daily volume of 125,561 contracts, surpassing the previous record weekly ADV of 117,289 contracts in December 2014.

Hedge Funds & Managed Futures

Unequal terms alienate smaller investors
By Becky Pritchard, Financial News
Private equity firms are increasingly offering their largest investors better fund terms and conditions, leaving smaller investors out in the cold.

Hedge Funds Weather Greek Crisis
Hedge funds slashed bets on European stocks ahead of the latest developments in the Greek debt crisis, a move that has helped them limit the impact of a downturn in the markets.

David Winters: Index Funds – Dangerous Bubble
As investors’ move in droves to passive, low cost index funds, one veteran money manager is sounding the alarm. Wintergreen Fund’s David Winters says index funds are a dangerous market mania, akin to other market bubbles.

Notable Angel Investors
NY Times
Tech start-ups are attracting so-called angels — wealthy individual investors — at unprecedented levels. Some of the most prominent angels have invested in dozens of companies, according to figures compiled by AngelList, a site that connects investors with start-ups seeking funding. Here are some notable investors and investments.

The Hugely Profitable, Wholly Legal Way to Game the Stock Market
by Yuji Nakamura, Bloomberg
It’s an easy way to game the stock market, and getting easier by the day.

Banks & Brokers

J.P. Morgan Taps New Top Lawyer; Stacey Friedman to succeed Stephen Cutler early next year
J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. named a relative newcomer to the bank to be its top lawyer, succeeding the executive who led the firm through a series of bruising clashes with regulators.

Goldman Restructures Its Activism Defense Team
By MICHAEL J. de la MERCED, NY Times
Goldman Sachs has reshaped its activism defense practice, days after the senior banker who led the team, William Anderson, defected to the boutique investment bank Evercore Partners.

HSBC fires UK staff over mock execution video
HSBC has fired UK staff who filmed themselves staging a mock Islamic State-style beheading of a colleague and posted the video online, it said on Tuesday.

RBS May Buy Back $15.5 Billion of Stock in 2016, Investec Says
by Stephen Morris, Bloomberg
Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc may buy back 10 billion pounds ($15.5 billion) of stock in 2016 if the lender reduces its risk-weighted assets by 125 billion pounds, according to Investec Plc.

Clearing & Settlement

CME Group Clearing Advisories
CME Group
Performance Bond Requirements: Electricity Inter-Commodity Spread Credits –
Product Modification Summary: Monthly Energy Contracts Last Trading Day Amendment

EuroCCP upgrades capacity to deal with wild market swings
Philip Stafford, FT
EuroCCP, Europe’s largest equities clearing house, has upgraded the capacity of its systems to cope with the large swings in market liquidity and the forthcoming addition of business from the London Stock Exchange.

LCH.Clearnet appoints Head of US Repo Clearing
LCH.Clearnet Group today announces that it has appointed John Vinci as Head of its Repo Clearing Business, North America. John will join LCH.Clearnet on 13 July and will be responsible for establishing LCH.Clearnet’s RepoClear service in the US. John will report jointly in to David Weisbrod, CEO, LCH.Clearnet LLC and Bruce Kellaway, Global Head of Fixed Income, LCH.Clearnet Group.

Yuan clearing deal signed with South African central bank: People’s Bank of China statement
China’s central bank has signed an agreement with the South African central bank to clear yuan transactions in the country, the People’s Bank of China said in a statement on Tuesday.

Indexes & Products

MSCI asks clients if Greek stock market closure warrants different treatment
Index provider MSCI on Tuesday asked clients for feedback on whether Greece’s decision to temporarily shut its stock market

S&P Capital IQ Adds Intra-Day Pricing On Munis To Its Roster Of Pricing Products And Services
S&P Capital IQ
S&P Capital IQ, a leading provider of financial research, data, analytics and securities pricing, announced the availability, starting today, of a new intra-day municipal bond pricing service designed to assist regulatory and industry efforts aimed at bringing about greater transparency to that market. Provided by Standard & Poor’s Securities Evaluations Inc., a business unit of S&P Capital IQ specializing in multi asset class mark to market solutions, the new service will enable users to track pricing on over 3 million bonds throughout the trading day.

Nasdaq: Semi-Annual Review Of The OMX Helsinki 25 Index – The New Portfolio Of The OMX Helsinki 25 Index Will Become Effective On August 3, 2015
Nasdaq (NASDAQ:NDAQ) announces today the results of the semi-annual review of the OMX Helsinki 25 index, (Nasdaq Helsinki: OMXH25), which will become effective with the market open on Monday, August 3, 2015.

Video: MSCI Hong Kong Index – Hot or Not
The MSCI Hong Kong Index is the biggest and most liquid option for investors looking to get broad exposure in the Hong Kong equity market.

No signs of contagion so far- S&P Dow Jones Indices
Portfolio Adviser
S&P Dow Jones Indices has said its data indicates bond market contagion stemming from the Greece situation is not a huge concern.

China Targets Short Sellers in Stock-Index Futures Contracts
Bloomberg Business
hina will limit the opening of new futures contracts in an index of small-company stocks to rein in excessive trading and stem a bear market rout.


Fintech driving record hike in London startup VC funding
Wired UK
The financial technology (FinTech) sector is responsible for a record hike in venture capital being poured into London’s startup scene, a report has revealed ahead of our own WIRED Money event this week.

FinTech Calls Out the Innovation Gap on Wall Street
By Alexander Tabb, Tabb Group
The FinTech space is experiencing an explosion not just of technology startups, but also of the supporting ecosystem – including a growing list of accelerators, marketers and data providers seeking to service the burgeoning industry. What, if anything, should traditional financial providers do about it?

How Banks and Fintech Can Find Common Ground
Bank Think – American Banker
For a long time, the terms “user friendly” and “banking experience” rarely appeared in the same sentence. Between limited banking hours and holidays, customer portals that would make Windows 3.1 look sophisticated and week-long waits to transfer funds, almost nothing within the industry was designed around the customer. This approach didn’t hurt banks, since complex regulation, capital requirements, and entrenched technology kept potential disruptors at bay.

China is neglecting the internet and tech startups that are supposed to fuel the economy
This past weekend, China’s State Council, a central governing body led by premier Li Keqiang, released a detailed outline of Internet Plus, an ambitious plan to boost the economy by promoting new web-based businesses. But the plan is being promoted at an awkward time for Li – after all, as the government’s intervention in China’s stock markets shows, that support and encouragement is mostly theoretical right now. Stocks of massive state-owned enterprises were stabilized on Monday by billions of dollars in governments stimulus, while private tech and internet companies have watched their stock prices continue to plummet.

There Is No Tech Bubble. Still, Be Worried.
Bloomberg View
Andreessen Horowitz, the most innovative and outspoken of Silicon Valley’s big venture capital firms, recently came out with a presentation intended to kill the idea that there’s a new tech bubble under way. The 53-slide presentation, by Morgan Bender, Benedict Evans and Scott Kupor, takes on the idea that too much money is flowing into private technology companies, especially in the highly valued startups called “unicorns.”

Amid the Greek Crisis, Bitcoin Reminds Everyone It’s Not Perfect; Transactions are taking five times longer to authenticate due to a software upgrade problem
by Olga Kharif, Bloomberg
The economic crisis in Greece has turned some attention to Bitcoin again. The price of the digital currency has rallied over the past few days, partly because some Greeks have been snapping up the currency amid bank closures and cash withdrawal limits. It’s trading at the highest rate since March, and Bitcoin bulls expect demand to go even higher if the situation worsens. Citing the Greek crisis, Coinbase waived fees last week for customers buying Bitcoin with euros.

Kx Systems announces that it has been awarded an SEC contract for use of its database software platform, kdb+
Kx Systems, a leader in high-performance database and time-series analytics, has announced that it has been awarded a contract by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for use of its kdb+ software in supporting its ongoing IT objectives.


CFTC Files Enforcement Action against Chinese National Yumin Li and BVI Company Kering Capital Ltd. for Defrauding a CME Member in an Illegal Trading Scheme
The CFTC Complaint, filed on July 1, 2015, alleges that Li was an employee of an individual with trading privileges on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME). According to the Complaint, on six separate occasions over the course of seven weeks between March 17, 2015 and May 6, 2015, Li and Kering Capital engaged in a series of unlawful money passes involving the Eurodollar contract traded on the CME’s electronic Globex platform. Li misappropriated approximately $300,000 from her employer by trading the employer’s account noncompetitively against an account belonging to Kering Capital that Li controlled, the Complaint charges.

SEC Charges Oil Company and CEO in Scheme Targeting Chinese-Americans and EB-5 Investors
The SEC alleges that Bingqing Yang knew that Luca International Group was earning no profits and sinking under a mountain of debt, yet she made presentations to investors portraying a successful oil and gas operation with millions of barrels of oil reserves and billions of cubic feet in gas reserves. Yang falsely projected outsized investment returns ranging from 20 to 30 percent annually. She allegedly commingled investor funds to prevent the scheme from collapsing and used money from new investors to make sham profit payments to earlier investors. Yang also allegedly diverted $2.4 million in investor funds through her brother’s company in Hong Kong, purportedly for the purchase of an oil rig, but instead used it to purchase a 5,600-square-foot home in an exclusive gated community in Fremont, Calif. In addition, Yang allegedly spent investor funds on pool and gardening services, personal taxes, and a family vacation to Hawaii.

Conviction of Former Goldman Sachs Programmer Is Overturned
Kevin H. Marino pumped his fist in the air in celebration. Then Mr. Marino, a New Jersey lawyer with a linebacker’s build, turned to his longtime client, Sergey Aleynikov, and gave Mr. Aleynikov, a former Goldman Sachs programmer, a bear hug and a hearty pat on the back.

Environmental & Energy

Oil headed for bear market after biggest drop in five months
Neil Hume, Anjli Raval and David Sheppard in London and Gregory Meyer in New York, FT
Oil’s price slide steadied on Tuesday after its biggest one-day fall in five months over the previous session took it near bear market territory as Greece rejected bailout terms and Iran edged closer to a nuclear deal with western powers.

UK’s big six energy groups overcharged by £1.2bn
Christopher Adams, Energy Editor, FT
Millions of UK households have been paying £1.2bn a year too much for their energy, the Competition and Markets Authority has found, in a report proposing a temporary price cap on some bills until new reforms are introduced.

Electric ‘robocabs’ would reduce US greenhouse emissions by 94% – study
By Philip Oldfield – The Guardian
Self-driving electric taxis could reduce greenhouse gas emissions from conventional car travel in the US by 94% in 2030, according to a study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Clean global economic growth now ‘within reach’
By Pilita Clark – Financial Times
Halting global warming without denting economic growth can be done more easily than many companies and governments realise, a report from 28 chief executives, economists and political figures shows.


Video: Chinese firms race to freeze stock trades

China stocks fall in defiance of Beijing’s support efforts
Patrick McGee and David Pilling in Hong Kong, FT
Shares on China’s benchmark index slid again on Tuesday, defying attempts by policy makers to halt the worst month-long fall in more than two decades.
Since Monday’s close, more than 200 companies have halted trading in their shares, joining a growing number of businesses trying to shield themselves from the market tumble.

Scant Relief From Beijing for Bruised Investors
For millions of ordinary Chinese who have borne the brunt as the mainland’s stock market has plummeted in recent weeks, government measures to bolster the market are offering little relief.

China market rout: heard in the chatroom
Compiled by April Na, FT
Chinese investors have been in full voice in the nation’s online chatrooms amid the slide in the stock markets. Here is a selection of their comments:

Singapore’s Temasek Shrugs Off China Volatility
Singapore’s state investment firm Temasek Holdings Pte. Ltd. on Tuesday played down concerns about slowing economic growth and volatile equity markets in China, its second-largest investment destination, as it reported a sharp jump in net profit for its most recent fiscal year.

Frontier Markets

HC questions government’s charge of NSEL as deposit taking company; NSEL counsel argues that the exchange did not hold or put the money for own use, so cannot be called a deposit
Dilip Kumar Jha, Business Standard
The high court here on Monday asked the government counsel in the National Spot Exchange (NSEL) controversy the basis of the charge that it was a deposit taker. The bench asked the government counsel to explain how NSEL could be considered so, when the money deposited by buyers of commodities on its platform had been immediately transferred to the account of sellers, with NSEL’s interest being a transaction charge of 0.001 per cent.

FM takes a jibe at economists, market pundits
Business Standard
Citing another issue, of economists predicting crude oil prices over the past few months, he said in a lighter vein that even “astrology is getting credibility”
aking a potshot at some economists and commentators, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said they change their views according to the evolving situation, as it happened in the domestic capital market on Monday in the aftermath of the referendum in Greece. Citing another issue, of economists predicting crude oil prices over the past few months, he said in a lighter vein that even “astrology is getting credibility”.

Saudi sovereign fund to invest $10bn in Russia
Kathrin Hille in Moscow, FT
Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund has agreed to invest $10bn in Russia, in a powerful sign of the rapprochement between Moscow and Riyadh.


Starbucks Raises Prices Despite Declining Coffee Costs; Coffee purveyor increases average price by about 1% to cover rising wages, rent
Starbucks Corp. is raising prices slightly on some of its beverages to cover rising costs including wages and rent, even as prices for raw coffee have been falling.

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