First Read

Why Our Strategic Plan is Important to Hong Kong
Charles Li, HKEx
We recently unveiled our third three-year Strategic Plan since I’ve been at HKEX, and it’s our most ambitious yet. Our first plan aspired to go into commodities, and we bought the London Metal Exchange. Our second plan aspired to develop mutual market access and connect with Mainland China’s equity market, and we launched Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect. Now we have a new plan for 2016 to 2018, and given our bold aspirations, people are asking me why we have such an ambitious agenda and how we can achieve it.

***** And it is important to the rest of the world too.


Review: In ‘Madoff,’ What He Was Thinking
Bernie didn’t fail us. We failed Bernie.
That’s the message, perhaps unintentional, of the four-hour ABC mini-series “Madoff” (Wednesday and Thursday). Told from the point of view of Bernard L. Madoff, now serving a 150-year prison sentence for perpetrating America’s greatest Ponzi scheme, it’s a story of chutzpah, not hubris. Mr. Madoff was just a poor boy from Queens with a dream. Was it his fault that people are so easy to fool?

****** What is it about guys named Bernie that makes my skin crawl?


This man wants to upend the world of high-frequency trading
When developers at a top U.S. stock exchange needed help debugging a program that puts time stamps on quotes and trades in July, they could have hired a high-profile consulting firm. Instead, they called a customer who runs a company out of a small office in a Chicago suburb who had weeks earlier called the exchange’s dealings with high-frequency trading firms “completely illegal” on Twitter. The customer, Eric Scott Hunsader, and a colleague did the work in a few days — for free.

***** I find Eric Hunsader’s ad hominem attacks to be distasteful and intellectually dishonest.


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Nonbank Runs – A Flight of the Fancy
Doug Ashburn – JLN
“Potter’s not selling; Potter’s buying. Why? Because we’re panicking and he’s not!” – George Bailey
We all remember the scene in “It’s a Wonderful Life when James Stewart (as George Bailey) tries to stave off a run by nervous depositors at his Bailey Bros. Building and Loan while, across town, financier Mr. Potter looks to swoop in at fire sale prices. These days, according to a panel of economists at Monday’s CME Group-MSRI Prize in Innovative Quantitative Applications seminar, it may well be the Mr. Potters of the world who touch off a bank run.


Orc and CameronTec merge to form new firm Itiviti
Futures & Options World
Tech vendors Orc Group and CameronTec Group said on Tuesday they have merged to create a new firm called Itiviti in line with a plan announced last October. Stockholm-based Itiviti, owned by Nordic Capital Fund VII, said it will use the natural fit between Orc and CameronTec to launch a new portfolio that will be modular, transparent and offer flexible solutions for end-to-end trading, routing, connectivity and risk.

***DA: Though their name is Itiviti, their software is biggie wiggie.


A (Pretty) Penny for your Thoughts
Today, we plan to set a closing date for this year’s (very short!) survey. The bottom line is the cutoff date is coming, so please don’t wait. Help us help you by giving us three minutes of your time and sharing your thoughts. Plus, we tried to make it fun and colorful. The final kicker? You could win an Apple Watch. Click HERE to get started.


Euronext Commodities Quarterly, Now Available
Dayre Lashnits, Manager of Euronext’s Commodity Derivatives Business Unit
The year has had an interesting start and you can barely walk down the street without overhearing talk of a sluggish Chinese economy or record lows in oil. Couple those things with lower commodity prices and patchy recovery in the US, and 2016 looks to be a fascinating year.
Whichever side of the trade you are on, Euronext wishes you all the success the year will allot.
Please find more details in this issue on our final quarter of 2015 and what to expect in the coming months.


Innovation ecosystems: Unlocking real value through fintech innovation
FTSE Global Markets
Barely a day goes by without a fintech startup claiming it is going to do to capital markets what Uber and Airbnb have done to the transport and accommodation industries. The journey towards true innovation in capital markets, however, looks much harder because of the entrenched technologies, processes and regulatory obligations that comprise global financial markets.
Steve Grob, Fidessa’s Head of Group Strategy, looks at two different types of innovation that are emerging and what is required for them to be truly disruptive.

***DA: No one cuts through the bull like Mr. Grob. Fidessa allowed us to post this last September, but since FTSE posted it this morning, and it is such a good read, we thought we would rerun it.


KFC wins China payout over mutant chicken rumors
A Shanghai court has fined three local tech firms for helping spread rumours about Yum Brands Inc’s KFC fast food chain that included doctored photos of deformed chickens and allegations the birds had six wings and eight legs.

***** I have an idea for a new television show, Teenage Mutant Ninja Chickens.


Yesterday’s Top Three
The most clicked story in yesterday’s newsletter was the Trade News story on the reshuffling at Barclays, Barclays reshuffles US derivatives leadership. Second place went to the Financial News story, CME picks former FX research head as digital lead. As an aside, we made CME Group’s Sandra Ro our MarketsWiki Page of the Day. Third place was a winner for the home team, Doug Ashburn‘s column, Nonbank Runs – A Flight of the Fancy. Yay.

Lead Stories

U.S. stock market reforms suggested to prevent market chaos
A U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission committee said on Tuesday that limiting the types of stock orders available to retail investors and moving away from halting trading in individual stocks could help prevent a repeat of the market chaos seen last August.

Rule 48 Nears Its End at the NYSE
The New York Stock Exchange is moving to end a controversial rule that observers say worsened volatility last August 24th, according to an executive. The rarely-used Rule 48 was originally designed to help dampen volatility by letting market-makers forgo disseminating information about how stocks might trade at the opening. But on Aug. 24, the rule ended up exacerbating problems and delayed trading for some stocks.

LSE names board of directors for new futures exchange
Joe Parsons, The Trade
The London Stock Exchange (LSE) has named a new ten-man board of directors for its new interest rate futures exchange, CurveGlobal. The board consists of some Europe’s most senior derivatives bankers, as well as the CEO of the LSE, Nikhil Rathi, according to company fillings.

***DA: Though Cathy Lyall is confirmed as COO, no word yet on the new CEO.

Goldman Sachs Says It May Be Forced to Fundamentally Question How Capitalism Is Working; The profit margins debate could lead to an unsettling conclusion.
Joe Weisenthal – Bloomberg
One of the most heated debates among investors is the question of whether corporate profit margins can maintain their elevated level, or whether they will inevitably mean revert.

NYSE seeks to abandon controversial trading rule
By Nicole Bullock in New York – FT
The New York Stock Exchange wants to eliminate a controversial rule that came under scrutiny during market volatility last August as it overhauls the way it opens the market during times of stress.

Nasdaq wins Australian equities clearing deal
Philip Stafford – FT
Australia’s main stock exchange is planning to use tried-and-trusted systems to upgrade equities clearing, even as it explores transferring the operation on to emerging blockchain technology.

The Fed Wants to Test How Banks Would Handle Negative Rates
Rich Miller – Bloomberg
Three-month Treasury bill rate falls to negative 0.5 percent; Very adverse scenario posits harsh worldwide recession
As interest rates turn negative around the world, the Federal Reserve is asking banks to consider the possibility of the same happening in the U.S.

Negative Yields From Paris to Tokyo Draw Investors to U.S. Debt
Cordell Eddings – Bloomberg
Foreign ownership of American company debt close to a record; Demand from international investors could bolster corporates
After seeing their borrowing costs rise to their highest level since 2012, U.S. companies may have at least one ray of hope: yield-starved foreign investors.

Many Investors Are Still in the Dark About Bonds
Despite the massive growth of the bond market in recent years, many individual investors are still fuzzy on their bond math.

China Said to Plan Looser Limits on Foreign Fund Outflows
Bloomberg News
Central bank plans to relax rules for withdrawal of QFII funds; PBOC also to loosen rules on when QFII funds enter the country
China’s central bank plans to loosen rules determining when foreign investors can bring money in and out of the country, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter.

ABC’s ‘Madoff’ miniseries is not the payback you were hoping for
By Hank Stuever – Washington Post
Too soon? Too late? Too something. “Madoff,” ABC’s dutiful but not terribly daring four-hour miniseries (airing in two parts Wednesday and Thursday), stars Richard Dreyfuss as the nefariously dishonest Bernard Madoff, the Manhattan private-fund manager who rose to prominence by outpacing the markets and delivering returns that banks and other funds could not.

‘Madoff’: Charmer, Egotist, Fiend, Swindler; ABC’s movie depicts the Wall Street rogue as a master manipulator without a conscience
Early in ABC’s two-part series about Bernard Madoff, the legendary swindler is at a Connecticut country club trying to reel in a wealthy investor.

Here’s Why ‘Too Big to Fail’ Is Still a Problem
Too big to fail banks are even bigger today than they were in 2008 when they were already… “too big to fail.” So what’s changed? Bloomberg’s Yalman Onaran looks at whether the American taxpayer might once again have to pick up the tab the next time big banks collapse. (Source: Bloomberg)

Trader Navinder Singh Sarao to fight extradition in London court
By Philip Stafford and Jane Croft – FT
A gifted trader with a penchant for testing rules or a law breaker who contributed to one of the most spectacular market crashes yet seen?

SIFMA and the SIFMA Foundation Kick-Off the 13th Annual Stock Market Game™-Capitol Hill Challenge
SIFMA and the SIFMA Foundation Kick-Off the 13th Annual Stock Market Game™-Capitol Hill Challenge; Students in Schools across the U.S. Participate in SIFMA Foundation Competition that Fosters Financial Capability and Exposes Students to Fiscal Policymaking
SIFMA and the SIFMA Foundation today kicked-off the 13th annual Stock Market Game™-Capitol Hill Challenge (CHC). This national 14-week financial education competition organizes teams of middle and high school students by congressional and senatorial district and teaches them about saving, investing, and government.


US regulator delays Tullett Prebon and Icap tie-up
American regulators could delay Tullett Prebon’s plans to take over the voice broking operations of rival Icap, the firms have said. The US Department of Justice has asked for further information about the £1.1bn deal to combine two of the biggest inter-dealer brokers, which act as the middleman between financial trading partners.

Derivative clearing could be harmed by final rule
Bloomberg Professional
U.S. and EU regulations that threaten to make clearing derivatives too expensive for banks may get reconsidered in 2016. The final leverage ratio rules require banks to count clients’ collateral as their own assets, potentially leading to higher capital requirements. Several banks consequently have reduced operations or increased prices. The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision is expected to act this year, but U.S. banking regulators are likely to resist before the rules become effective in 2018.

Regulator warns spread betting industry over poor controls
Caroline Binham, Financial Regulation Correspondent – FT
The UK financial watchdog has put the spread betting industry on notice, warning it to improve what the regulator found to be shoddy controls over information and assessments given to customers, leaving the sector vulnerable to financial crime.

ICE targets end of quarter for sugar contract launch; Some 60-80 pct refined sugar exports containerised; New contract deliverable to 20 ports in 17 countries
By Maha El Dahan – Reuters
The Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) is targeting the end of the first quarter for the launch of a white sugar futures contract that will for the first time reflect containerised trade.

Exchanges & Trading Facilities

CBOE To Begin Overnight Dissemination Of CBOE Volatility Index (VIX)
The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) today announced that it plans to begin overnight dissemination of the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX Index) in March. Values for the VIX Index are expected to be published every 15 seconds during CBOE’s extended trading hours session for VIX and S&P 500 Index (SPX) options, which runs from 2:00 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. CT.

ICE targets end of quarter for sugar contract launch; Some 60-80 pct refined sugar exports containerised; New contract deliverable to 20 ports in 17 countries
By Maha El Dahan – Reuters
The Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) is targeting the end of the first quarter for the launch of a white sugar futures contract that will for the first time reflect containerised trade.

DME Sets Multiple Records In January
Physical delivery for March loading reached 27.3mn bl; Average daily volume increase by 17%
DME, the premier international energy futures and commodities exchange in the Middle East, announced today a set of records for the month of January 2016

Bursa Malaysia Closes For Chinese New Year
Bursa Malaysia Berhad (“Bursa Malaysia”) and its subsidiaries will be closed on these dates in conjunction with the following public holiday:

Euronext announces volumes for January 2016
Euronext, the leading exchange in the Eurozone, today announced trading volumes for January 2016.

EEX exchange looks beyond freight to steer through dry shipping storm
Cleartrade Exchange is expanding its commodities business, aiming to boost fertiliser and bunker fuel derivatives activity after a lukewarm reception for its dry freight futures, partly due to turmoil in the shipping market, a top official said. Singapore-regulated Cleartrade, 52 percent owned by Deutsche Boerse’s EEX, is looking to increase its position in derivatives and other products, such as iron ore, to tap into growing demand for hedging tools in the volatile commodities sector.


Bernie Sanders Wants to Break Up Big Banks. Here’s Why; Eight years after the financial crisis, the debate is still hot — and now fodder for presidential campaigns.
Yalman Onaran – Bloomberg
You might think people would have forgotten, but Americans are still upset about the 2008 bailouts of U.S. banks and the economic crisis caused by their reckless behavior. That’s why the issue is now central to political debate as the presidential primaries get going.

Hedge Funds & Managed Futures

Investors pull $1.1 billion from Pimco Total Return Fund in January
The Pimco Total Return Fund, which lost its crown as the largest bond fund in the world last year, started 2016 with yet another round of outflows, $1.1 billion in January, illustrating the difficulty Pimco’s flagship fund is having in attracting new money.

Wealth Adviser Daily Briefing: UBS’s U.S. Hiring Binge Boosts Assets
Aggressive recruitment tactics at UBS Group AG’s U.S. brokerage appear to be paying off, with the unit reporting billions of dollars in net new money from investors, according to Wealth Adviser at UBS Wealth Management Americas’s results were one bright spot in earnings announced Tuesday by its parent company, which said investors in its global wealth-management franchise pulled out a net $3.3 billion during the fourth quarter. UBS said $16.8 billion in net new money flowed into the U.S. brokerage, ” reflecting significant inflows from newly recruited experienced advisers,” UBS Chief Financial Officer Kirt Garner said on a conference call with analysts on Tuesday. That was up from about $500 million in the third quarter and $5.5 billion in the year-earlier period. The U.S. brokerage’s total number of brokers rose by 151 from the third quarter, to 7,140. UBS Wealth Management Americas has been aggressively recruiting experienced brokers from its main U.S. rivals and from European banks that are winding down their U.S. wealth-management operations, most notably Credit Suisse Group AG.

Eurozone IPOs set to outpace US in 2016
Gavin Jackson and Nicole Bullock – FT
Equity bankers are expecting the European market for initial public offerings to outpace its US counterpart for the second year running as the economic and credit cycles in the two regions show signs of drifting apart.

Five ways tech is crowdsourcing women’s empowerment; From gathering data on street harassment in Egypt to finding respectful gynaecologists in India, technology is helping women fight discrimination
Zara Rahman- The Guardian
Around the world, women’s rights advocates are crowdsourcing their own data rather than relying on institutional datasets.

Five ways tech is crowdsourcing women’s empowerment; From gathering data on street harassment in Egypt to finding respectful gynaecologists in India, technology is helping women fight discrimination
Zara Rahman- The Guardian
Around the world, women’s rights advocates are crowdsourcing their own data rather than relying on institutional datasets.

Banks & Brokers

U.S. brokerages consider revamping procedures to prevent bad trades
U.S. brokerages are taking steps to change the way their agents trade in an attempt to protect clients from the next big selloff.
Wells Fargo & Co, for instance, has instituted an early-warning system that interrupts brokers and advisers trying to enter stop-loss orders, which were accused of inflaming the August “flash crash” and resulting in deep losses for some investors.

UBS faces up to the good, bad and outflows
Laura Noonan in London – FT
How do you increase profits to their highest level since 2008 and still end up carrying the can for an 8 per cent fall in your bank’s share price? That is the question exercising the top brass at UBS wealth management after the bank’s 2015 results announcement.

Mesirow’s privacy rooms offer respite for employees battling cancer
Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz – Chicago Tribune
Diana Ware kept brushing away tears as she showed off the new “privacy rooms” at Mesirow Financial, cozy retreats where employees battling cancer, either as patients or caregivers, can take a break during the workday.

Clearing & Settlement

DTCC Hits LEI Milestone; Adoption of identifier is ‘achieving maturity and momentum’
Joanna Wright – Waters Technology
Utility has issued more than 200,000 legal entity identifiers—just under half of all such codes in existence

DTCC’s LEI Service, GMEI Utility, hits key milestone; issues over 200,000 LEIs
Automated Trader
The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC), the post-trade market infrastructure for the financial services industry, has announced that its Global Markets Entity Identifier Utility (GMEI Utility) has issued more than 200,000 legal entity identifiers (LEIs) to entities from over 184 jurisdictions since its launch in August 2012, representing a 20% uptick year-on-year and approximately 50% share of the total LEIs issued worldwide – more than three times the next largest Local Operating Unit (LOU).

Singapore grants LCH.Clearnet clearing house recognition
FX Week
Clearing house expects tremendous demand once mandate kicks in The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has formally granted LCH.Clearnet’s EnClear, ForexClear and SwapClear businesses recognised clearing house status, as the global clearing house continues to expand in the Asia-Pacific region in anticipation of Singapore mandating clearing in some products. Singapore proposed introducing a clearing mandate for US dollar- and Singapore dollar-denominated interest rate swaps in July 2015, leading LCH.Clearnet to expect a significant demand for its services in the future.

Smooth sailing ahead
Asset Servicing Times
A year since joining the multilateral trading facility Turquoise, Robert Barnes explains his team’s strategy and the vision for a single European market

Fed Addresses the Faster Payments Identity Crisis
A Federal Reserve task force has issued criteria for its faster payments initiative, part of a long journey to build a framework to securely and efficiently accommodate the near real-time processing for digital commerce. It’s also an opportunity to achieve long overdue fixes to security and identity verification on the Internet, according to Stephen Lange Ranzini, president and CEO of University Bank & University Bancorp, and a member of the steering committee for the Federal Reserve Secure Payments Task Force.

Indexes & Products

BATS Becomes Primary Listing Market for iShares MSCI Eurozone ETF Beginning Today
BATS Global Markets (BATS), the #1 U.S. market for the trading of exchange-traded funds (ETFs), today announced that the iShares MSCI Eurozone ETF (NYSE: EZU) was successfully transferred to BATS from NYSE Arca today, marking
the first iShares transfer to The BATS ETF Marketplace.

Deutsche Börse launches new XDAXDAX index; Index covers full trading hours of the derivatives market
Deutsche Börse
Deutsche Börse has added the XDAXDAX index to its DAX index family. The new index will enable customers to use just one index as an underlying for their products that are linked to the performance of DAX before, during or after Xetra trading hours. Issuers previously had to use both the DAX and XDAX indices for this purpose. XDAX trading data is used to calculate the XDAXDAX during pre- and post-trading hours; as soon as calculation of the DAX index begins, the XDAXDAX runs on the basis of these values.

FTSE Russell Expands Latin American Business With New Office In Mexico City
FTSE Russell, the global index provider, announced today that it has opened a new office in Mexico City, headed by David Estefan, a senior international industry professional. Estefan will serve as Country Manager for Mexico and Columbia, leading sales and development efforts.

Why Apple Still Beats Alphabet in Biggest S&P 500 Weighting
Google parent Alphabet Inc. surpassed Apple Inc.AAPL -2.02% on Tuesday for the title of most valuable company.
Or did it?
It is true that Alphabet is now the S&P 500’s largest company by market capitalization. But it still doesn’t have the largest weight in the index. Apple still holds that distinction due to the way S&P Dow Jones Indices calculates its indexes.

Smart-Beta ETFs Take Center Stage
ETF Trends
Smart-beta strategies that try to deliver enhanced returns or diminish market risks through alternative indexing methodologies have been the hot-button topic in the exchange traded fund industry.

Smart beta: This is what you need to know
Smart beta strategies generally track indices that are not constructed by market capitalisation and typically attempt to capture performance by applying a specific investment strategy. This could include reducing volatility, capturing companies that pay sustainable and growing dividends, or investing in a particular set of momentum, quality or value stocks after various filters have been applied.


Green Key Releases New Front End, Launches Partnership Program
Green Key Technologies, creator of an award-winning voice workspace designed for financial market voice collaboration, today released its first web-based platform, Voice Box, in conjunction with the launch of a third-party Partnership Program. Green Key will upgrade all current users to the new HTML5 voice workspace, the first in the industry to bring sophisticated trader voice capabilities to a broad range of devices that includes low-cost touch-screen tablets.

Yahoo: It’s Just About Quitting Time; Yahoo is bowing to the inevitable by saying it will consider a sale of its core business
Yahoo may finally be open to doing what its investors want it to do: Throw in the towel.

Twitter was never destined to be a sustainable company, analysts say
Twitter shares fell 4% Tuesday morning after Stifel Nicolaus analysts downgraded the stock to sell from hold.

Why Bitcoin Will Thrive First in the Developing World
Cade Metz – Wired
EXPLAINING THE APPEAL OF bitcoin to the average American isn’t easy. Here in the US, it’s not terribly hard to save, spend, and send money. Most people have bank accounts and credit cards, and when they need to send money to a friend, relative, or acquaintance, they can use any number of online services, from PayPal and Square to SnapChat and Facebook. For most people, bitcoin and other digital currencies looks like a solution in need of a problem—a technological end-run around big banks and big government that interests only geeks, drug dealers, and crazed libertarians.


SEC Completes Muni-Underwriter Enforcement Sweep
The MCDC Initiative, announced in March 2014, offered favorable settlement terms to municipal bond underwriters and issuers that self-reported violations. The first enforcement actions against underwriters under the initiative were brought in June 2015 against 36 municipal underwriting firms. An additional 22 underwriting firms were charged in September 2015. All of the firms settled the actions and paid civil penalties up to a maximum of $500,000.

Morgan Stanley in $63 million deal with FDIC over mortgage bonds
Morgan Stanley has agreed to pay $62.95 million to resolve claims over the sale of toxic mortgage-backed securities to three banks that later failed, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp said on Tuesday.

Barclays Fined $70M For Dark Pool, Market Data Violations; The bank misrepresented its NBBO calculations
Faye Kilburn – Waters Technology
The US Securities and Exchange Commission has ordered Barclays to pay $70 million in fines over violations relating to operations of its LX dark pool including misrepresenting the type and number of market data feeds that it used to calculate the National Best Bid and Offer.

Early Release for Insider Trading Convict
A hedge fund manager convicted of insider trading is being allowed to leave the San Francisco halfway house where he was serving out his 24-month sentence while he appeals his 2012 conviction.

U.S. urges gas storage owners to shore up leak prevention
Federal pipeline safety regulators on Tuesday urged operators of underground natural gas storage facilities to shore up efforts to prevent leaks like the one that has devastated a Los Angeles area community

Environmental & Energy

Russian Roulette for Oil Traders
By Liam Denning – Bloomberg
Feb 2, 2016 8:29 AM CSTWhen you’ve reached the point of putting your faith in Russia to bail you out, you’ve almost capitulated. Almost.

ADM says exploring “strategic options” for dry-mill ethanol plants
U.S. agricultural processor Archer Daniels Midland Co is studying “strategic options” for its U.S. corn ethanol dry-mills as part of ongoing cost-cutting measures, CEO Juan Luciano said on Tuesday.

Have Oil Companies Finally Had a Climate Epiphany?
By Ken Blackwell – CNS
As world leaders gathered in Paris in December for the United Nations climate summit, many seemed surprised that several large oil companies, including BP and Shell, endorsed a carbon tax as a “key element” of any international climate deal.

Butterflies for Ted Cruz, Determined Foe of Ethanol Mandates
By Andrew C. Revkin – The New York Times
No matter who prevails as the Republican presidential candidate and who wins the election next November, there may already be a big and enduring win out of this crazy race — for the environment, including ailing monarch butterflies.


Chinese Ponzi scheme sparks calls for protests
Tom Mitchell in Beijing – FT
The allegation that one of China’s most popular online investment platforms was a Ponzi scheme has sparked a nationwide “rights protection” movement, with jilted investors calling for three days of protests.

Though trying to stem capital outflows, China will press on with foreign buys
China Inc will carry on buying foreign companies with key strategic value despite battling to rein in huge capital outflows, as ChemChina’s acquisition of Syngenta (SYNN.VX) shows.

‘No limit’ to Japan easing, says Kuroda
Robin Harding in Tokyo – Ft
Governor of the Bank of Japan (BoJ) Haruhiko Kuroda explains his negative interest rate plan using a board during his regular press conference in Tokyo©Getty
Haruhiko Kuroda said there was “no limit” to monetary easing as he vowed to slash Japanese interest rates deeper into negative territory if necessary.

Chinese Seen Buying More Gold as Investors Seek Haven Assets
Bloomberg News
Consumption grew 3.7% to 985.9 metric tons last year; Buying rose as investors sought the safety of bullion
China’s gold demand will keep expanding as investors seek safe assets and jewelry buying increases, the China Gold Association said.

U.S. Security Concerns Could Stand in the Way of ChemChina’s Syngenta Bid
David McLaughlin – Bloomberg
Syngenta’s U.S. sites may draw scrutiny from security panel
Cfius review would come as China’s overseas investment rises
For the Chinese chemical giant hoping to absorb a Swiss seed and pesticide company, the toughest scrutiny may come from American officials.

Frontier Markets

Sliding lira increases the pain for Turkey’s central bank
Mehul Srivastava in Istanbul – FT
Timur Erk knows all too well the risk a sliding currency poses for Turkey’s economy.

Putin Prepares to Court Foreign Investors Wary of Past Stumbles
Natasha Doff, Ksenia Galouchko – Bloomberg
Sanctions, government influence among concerns for investors; Potential buyers of state-backed companies can come from Asia
President Vladimir Putin is considering selling stakes in some of Russia’s state jewels to foreign buyers to raise cash for an economy brought to its knees by the collapse in oil prices and sanctions related to Ukraine. Investors are dubious.

Barclays Said to Restructure Middle East Corporate Banking
Stefania Bianchi, Dinesh Nair – Bloomberg
Bank to lay off about 150 staff in Dubai and relocate bankers; Standard Chartered, HSBC and BNP also cut jobs in Middle East
Barclays Plc will dismiss about 150 staff in Dubai as it restructures its Middle East corporate banking business, a person with knowledge of the matter said.


Noncompete Agreements Hobble Junior Employees; A young journalist gets in a bind when she tries to move on to a new job
Stephanie Russell-Kraft started work in September as a reporter covering the business of law for New York-based Thomson Reuters Corp., a job she says she considered a step up after spending two years at legal newswire Law360.

Americans are stuck in a financial groundhog day; Long work hours, little vacation and not much to show for it
The harder we work, the less money we appear to have. Does today feel a bit like yesterday, and the day before that? Feb. 2 is Groundhog Day. In the 1993 movie of the same name, Phil (Murray) wakes up at 6 a.m. only to find out that his day is actually exactly the same as the day before and the day before that. “I think people place too much emphasis on their careers,” he says. There may be a reason why that resonates with people in 2016. “Americans are doomed to relive the same reality each year: Forfeited vacation time, burnout, less time for loved ones, and negative consequences for health and well-being,” according to a report by the U.S. Travel Association’s Project Time Off released Tuesday.

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