Oil’s Wild Ride Is Driven by a Disruptive Band of Bot Traders

Dec 1, 2023

First Read

Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

Julie Lerner, the founder and CEO of PanXchange, announced with “deep remorse” on LinkedIn that the exchange was “closing its doors.” Lerner created PanXchange to trade cash (spot) physical commodities and had created benchmarks in frac sand and hemp. The exchange’s demise appears to be tied to the lack of funding from a backer. PanXchange had also moved into the carbon market, which must trade online, Lerner wrote. This would have played nicely into the sweet spot of PanXchange, which was its technology, designed to be able to trade different types of commodities, including carbon credits.

In her LinkedIn post, Lerner said she appreciated everyone who has supported her during the PanXchange journey, especially her team and investors, and said she did everything she could to salvage the seven figure deal that fell through. She is focused on helping the PX team find new opportunities and she will miss them the most, she said.

I expect Lerner will see some demand for her technology, which attracted lots of interest from carbon credit sellers because of her market model.

Marex announced it has completed its acquisition of Cowen’s prime brokerage and outsourced trading business. The business is now part of Marex Capital Markets.

Slate’s Alex Kirshner’s November 29 column “Twitter Is Worth More to Elon Musk Dead Than Alive” makes some great points that Twitter, now known as X, is already marked down more than half since Elon Musk bought it. The subheadline of the piece is “Maybe he can’t help himself. Or maybe he’s endorsing antisemitic smears and cursing out advertisers for a reason.” It is an interesting read.

Justin Llewellyn-Jones today announced on LinkedIn that yesterday was his last day at Broadridge, where he served as chief product officer for capital markets. Justin is an old friend of JLN’s from his days at Fidessa, where he spent 14 years before it was acquired by ION.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has launched the SEC Scholars Program for the summer of 2024, offering paid 10-week internships to current students. The program includes two types of internships: Student Trainee (Program Support) and Student Trainee (Law). Applicants must apply by December 19, 2023. Internship locations are available in major U.S. cities. Information sessions are being held online on December 7, 11, and 13, 2023. The SEC Scholars Program aims to attract emerging talent in the securities and exchange field, providing valuable experience and career opportunities.

Kenny Chen is starting a new position as senior sales executive & country manager HK at Trading Technologies. Chen was previously a senior sales executive with TT and has been with the firm since 2016.

Have a great day and stay safe and treat people the same way you want to be treated: with respect, equality and justice.~JJL


Our most read stories from our previous edition of JLN Options were:
Appetite for stocks drives VIX options as investors guard portfolios from The Wall Street Journal.
JPMorgan’s S&P 500 Outlook for 2024 Is Grimmest on Wall Street from Bloomberg.
It’s Eerily Calm Out There In the Stock Market from The Wall Street Journal. ~JB

Subscribe to the JLN Options Newsletter HERE (it’s free).


SGX Group’s Herry Cho discusses the role SGX plays in mobilizing capital for climate transition, the instruments available, and the focus of COP28

COP28 is in full swing in Dubai now and to preview the financial discussions that are occurring publicly and behind closed doors, we talked in early November with Herry Cho, Managing Director, Head of Sustainability and Sustainable Finance, for Singapore Exchange (SGX Group.) Cho highlighted the role of financial infrastructure platforms such as SGX, in financing the transitions to come in sustainability, social change, and climate change.

Listen to the podcast »


Fears of a New World War Prey on Hedge Fund Titans and Policymakers Alike; The proliferation of interconnected conflicts is sparking comparisons with world wars past – and focusing policymakers on measures to prevent escalation
Bloomberg News
Officials and investors are starting to worry that the world is sliding toward a new era of great-power conflict, as the number of flashpoints multiplies from West Africa through Ukraine to the Middle East. With countries scrambling to protect their interests and frozen conflicts again running hot, for some, the web of overlapping conflagrations carries echoes of the period before World War I when the pacts linking major opposing blocs dragged Europe into a continental war.

***** The fears may prey on the hedge fund titans and policymakers, but I pray my fears don’t come true.~JJL


Advertisers Say They Do Not Plan to Return to X After Musk’s Comments; Elon Musk, the owner of X, criticized advertisers with expletives on Wednesday at The New York Times’s DealBook Summit.
Kate Conger and Tiffany Hsu – The New York Times
Advertisers said on Thursday that they did not plan to reopen their wallets anytime soon with X, the social media company formerly known as Twitter, after its owner, Elon Musk, insulted brands using an expletive and told them not to spend on the platform. At least half a dozen marketing agencies said the brands they represent were standing firm against advertising on X, while others said they had advised advertisers to stop posting anything on the platform. Some temporary spending pauses that advertisers have enacted in recent weeks against X are likely to turn into permanent freezes, they added, with Mr. Musk’s comments giving them no incentive to return.

****** And why would they? There is WAY TOO MUCH reputational risk advertising on X/Twitter. It is not worth the risk.~JJL


Billionaires amass more through inheritance than wealth creation, says UBS; A survey of the global elite shows the ‘great transfer’ between generations has overtaken entrepreneurship
Arjun Neil Alim – Financial Times
New members of the global super-rich gained more of their assets through inheritance than through wealth creation this year – the first time that this has been recorded by Swiss bank UBS in its nine years of surveying global billionaires. A total of $141bn was amassed by 84 self-made billionaires around the world in 2023, while $151bn was passed on to 53 heirs, the bank’s research found.

***** Are we running out of great entrepreneurs? It will take another couple of generations for that to turn around, assuming the earth is still a place.~JJL


Bill Gates: Fighting Climate Change Should Be Affordable. The Rich Can Make It So.
Bill Gates – The New York Times
As we head into COP28, the annual global meeting on climate change underway in Dubai, there are two dominating schools of thought, both of which are wrong. One says the future is hopeless and our grandchildren are doomed to suffer on a burning planet. The other says we’re all going to be fine because we already have everything we need to solve climate change.

****** Here is an entrepreneur who made his money and did not inherit, who wants to make sure the earth is still a place for generations to come.~JJL


Thursday’s Top Three
Our most clicked item on Thursday was the new website for Downtown Josh Brown, who wrote his final column as The Reformed Broker on Wednesday. Second was a tie between that final column and Bloomberg’s Miami Exchange Preps Trading Floor in Wynwood During Options Boom, about MIAX. Third was a tie between the Financial Times’ How AI will change investment and research and Bloomberg’s Citadel and Its Peers Are Piling Into the Same Trades. Regulators Are Taking Notice.



Lead Stories

Oil’s Wild Ride Is Driven by a Disruptive Band of Bot Traders
Devika Krishna Kumar and Julia Fanzeres – Bloomberg
Trading oil has perhaps never been more of a roller coaster ride than it is today. Just in the past two months, prices threatened to reach $100 per barrel, only to whipsaw into the $70s. On one day in October, they swung as much as 6%. And so far in 2023, futures have lurched by more than $2 a day 161 times, a massive jump from previous years. What’s happening can’t be entirely explained by OPEC’s machinations, or war in the Middle East. While supply-and-demand fundamentals still dictate overall commodity price cycles, the day-to-day business of trading crude futures is increasingly dominated by speculative forces, fueling volatility and driving a disconnect between physical and paper markets. And it’s not just speculators in general – traders are pointing the finger at an opaque group of algorithmic money managers known as commodity trading advisors.

A Grad-School Number-Cruncher Shakes Up the World of Bond Quants; Professors retract seminal finance paper after detective work uncovers flaws
Justina Lee – Bloomberg
What if researchers discovered a scientifically sound formula for predicting returns in the bond market? If you were a number-crunching investor known on Wall Street as a quant, it could validate your approach and offer clues to new trading strategies. But what if you later found out that key data underlying that breakthrough were actually wrong? That’s the unsettling prospect facing the quantitative investing world now, thanks to the detective work of a then-28-year-old doctoral student named Alex Dickerson. While working on his degree at Warwick Business School in England in 2021, he tried to understand established thinking about bonds by replicating the field’s seminal research. But he found he couldn’t do that with an influential paper by three Georgetown University professors.

Chocolate Prices Are Rising Everywhere as Cocoa Rots in West Africa; Punishing rains and the relentless creep of black pod disease push futures to their highest since the 1970s.
Mumbi Gitau, Baudelaire Mieu, and Ekow Dontoh – Bloomberg
The muck from incessant rain sloshes around Nestor N’Guessan’s feet as he points to a plot of cocoa trees ravaged by rot on his farm in Ivory Coast. The 52-year-old grower can’t save those plants from black pod disease, so he’s focusing efforts on quarantining whatever healthy ones he has left. The soakings of recent months mean fewer pods on his trees, with some supporting just a handful of cocoa buds.

Wall Street Takes Fight Over Arcane Banking Rules to Main Street; Big banks want to convince the public they should worry about Basel III financial regulations.
Hannah Levitt, Paige Smith, and Katherine Griffiths – Bloomberg
In recent weeks dozens of entrepreneurs have paraded through the US Capitol, carrying signs reading “Stop the Squeeze on Small Businesses” and knocking on the doors of their representatives and senators. Regulations under consideration, they insist, will cut into profits at consignment stores, pizza parlors, auto body shops and more. “This proposal will increase borrowing costs,” Dina Akel, the owner of a New Hampshire bridal boutique, wrote on LinkedIn, making it harder “for small businesses to secure essential funding to hire more workers, and for farmers to take out loans for next year’s crops.”

The Big Risk Causing Investors to Shun China; More than $24 billion of foreign money has left mainland China’s stock market since August
Dave Sebastian – The Wall Street Journal
Investing in China has never been this perilous. When global investors flocked to the country during its economic boom in the past decade, geopolitical risks were at the back of their minds. Such risks are now a top consideration for buyers of Chinese stocks, bonds and stakes in private companies-and are turning many people off investing in China.

The Year ChatGPT Changed Almost Everything; The launch of ChatGPT one year ago brought artificial intelligence into the public consciousness and sparked a wave of investment and hiring across industries. It also created a new era of AI anxiety.
Jessica Nix – Bloomberg
When AI researcher Sasha Luccioni went to business conferences and speaking events last year, she would field basic questions like: “What is artificial intelligence?” Now, she said, the people she meets are not only familiar with AI, they’re worried about whether it will “take over the world.”

Spoofing Market Manipulation Cases Set Stage for More Enforcement
Elisha Kobre – Bloomberg Law
The Seventh Circuit issued the third in a trilogy of opinions in October establishing the metes and bounds for criminal prosecutions of “spoofing”-a form of market manipulation, mostly in the commodities markets-that Congress expressly prohibited in the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act. The decisions create a roadmap for government enforcers to bring more cases. The Department of Justice and Commodity Futures Trading Commission have in recent years brought several high-profile spoofing cases, including on Nov. 9, when a commodities trader with the investment bank Jeffries was criminally charged in a 16-count indictment in New Jersey federal court with securities and wire fraud for engaging in spoofing.

Short-sellers are endangered. That is bad news for markets.
The Economist
If you want to be liked, don’t be a short-seller. Some other investors might defend you, at least in the abstract, as an important part of a healthy and efficient market. But to most you are-at best-a ghoul who profits from the misfortune of others. At worst, you are a corporate raider who bets that honest firms will go bust and then spreads lies about them until they do.

LME court win affirms the broad powers of exchanges; The court said it would not second-guess the LME’s ‘specialist decision-maker’ role
Jeremy Chan – Financial News
The London Metal Exchange’s win in its court battle with Elliott Management and Jane Street has made clear the broad power of exchanges in protecting the markets they oversee.The High Court in its decision on 29 November said the LME didn’t act unlawfully when it cancelled trades and upheld margin requirements on 8 March 2022 after a short squeeze sent nickel prices surging to over $100,000 per ton.

Marex Completes Acquisition Of Cowen’s Prime Brokerage And Outsourced Trading Business
Marex, the diversified global financial services platform, today announces the completion of its acquisition of Cowen’s prime brokerage and outsourced trading business, extending its global capabilities and client base. The transaction brings a team of around 160 people from the acquired business from across eight offices worldwide as well as all clearing counterparties, trading and reporting technologies. Now part of Marex Capital Markets, the business will continue to be led by Jack Seibald and Mike Rosen who have run the business since its inception in the mid-1990s, selling to Cowen in 2015. In addition to being Global Co-Heads of Marex’s Prime Brokerage Services and Outsourced Trading, Jack Seibald and Mike Rosen have also been appointed to Marex’s Management Executive Committee.

The World’s Key Canal Is Clogged Up. Winter Fuel Prices Could Get Wacky; In the troubled waters of the Panama Canal, gas carriers-and their investors-are reaping bumper profits
Megha Mandavia – The Wall Street Journal
Climate change may be making winters more unpredictable. It could make your winter heating bills more unpredictable too, particularly if you live at the end of long and vulnerable fuel supply chains. The price of liquefied petroleum gas, a significant U.S. export, has rocketed higher recently in Asia, a remarkable development given that crude oil prices have been falling. Prices for Brent crude, the main global benchmark, are down about $9 a barrel, or about 10%, since mid-September. But Asian propane LPG prices are lower only by 3%, data from Argus Media shows, trading around $665 per metric ton in late November.

Coinbase Stock Triples in 2023 After Firm Survives Crypto Chaos
Carmen Reinicke – Bloomberg
A 62% rally in Coinbase Global Inc. shares this month is shining a spotlight on Wall Street euphoria around the largest US crypto exchange. In the shadow of FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried fraud conviction and revelations at Binance Holdings Ltd., traders are rushing to snap up shares in Coinbase on hopes that it’ll see an influx of business – especially if authorities approve exchange-traded funds that target Bitcoin.

Belarus debtholders dispute frozen $800mn bond at Euroclear; Securities depository holds up payments due to disagreement over debt status
Nikou Asgari – Financial Times
Euroclear is locked in a dispute with holders of Belarusian government debt who say the securities depository is barring them from selling a defaulted $800mn bond. Bondholders are pushing Euroclear to settle trades of the sanctioned country’s debts, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Belgium-based Euroclear has only labelled the 2023 bond as “matured”, rather than “defaulted”, the people said. This means the bonds are in effect stuck in limbo and this prevents debtholders from selling on their claims.

Bankers Face New Era of CO2 Reporting; First industry standard marks milestone in climate finance; Capital markets units will need to report 33% of CO2 footprint
Alastair Marsh and Frances Schwartzkopff – Bloomberg
After months of stalled negotiations, banks are about to get their first ever industry standard for calculating the carbon footprint of their capital markets units. The Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials, a global alliance of banks and asset managers that develops climate accounting guidelines for financial services, has endorsed a proposal by its joint chairs, Barclays Plc and Morgan Stanley, according to a statement on Friday.

Ukraine Invasion

The AP Interview: Ukraine’s Zelenskyy says the war with Russia is in a new phase as winter looms
James Jordan, Samya Kullab, Illia Novikov – The Associated Press
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says the war with Russia is in a new stage, with winter expected to complicate fighting after a summer counteroffensive that failed to produce desired results due to enduring shortages of weapons and ground forces. Despite setbacks, however, he said Ukraine won’t give up.

Putin Seizes Rights to St. Petersburg Airport From Foreign Investors
Bloomberg News
President Vladimir Putin ordered the transfer of all the rights to managing St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo airport from foreign shareholders that include Germany’s Fraport AG and the Qatari wealth fund by shifting their stakes into a new Russian entity. Under a decree published late Thursday, shareholdings in the Cyprus-registered concession that runs the airport of Russia’s second-largest city will be consolidated in a new domestic company. Existing investors, which also include a consortium with Abu Dhabi sovereign fund Mubadala Investment Co., will retain their stakes but won’t be able to vote because those rights will be held only by Russian shareholders in the new company.

US aims to halve Russia’s energy revenues by 2030, says official; Diplomat tells FT western sanctions will continue ‘for years to come’ to curb Moscow’s war machine
Tom Wilson and Chris Cook – Financial Times
Washington is aiming to halve Russia’s oil and gas revenues by the end of this decade, a senior US diplomat has said, arguing western sanctions on Moscow will need to be maintained “for years to come”.

Russia Plans to Raise Key Diesel Exports; Flows from three major ports seen at 2.83 million tons; Exports rebound as most fuel-export restrictions are lifted
Bloomberg News
Russia plans to boost overseas diesel supplies from its major western ports in December by over a quarter after the government eased further export restrictions and Black Sea storms pushed back November loadings of the fuel. Shipments from main Russian ports on the Black and Baltic Seas, including some batches originating in Belarus, are earmarked at a total of 2.83 million tons for December, according to industry data seen by Bloomberg.

Ukraine’s central bank to remove foreign currency cash sale limits – governor
Ukraine’s central bank will remove limits on banks’ sale of foreign cash currency and soften several other restrictions from Friday, Governor Andriy Pyshnyi said. In a Facebook post, Pyshnyi wrote that the current limits on foreign currency sales had been one of the causes of the current spread between the official and unofficial exchange rates for the hryvnia, Ukraine’s currency.

Israel/Palestine Conflict

Israel plans for ‘long war’ and aims to kill top three Hamas leaders; People familiar with strategy say intensive ground offensive in Gaza will continue into early 2024
Neri Zilber – Financial Times
Israel is planning a campaign against Hamas that will stretch for a year or more, with the most intensive phase of the ground offensive continuing into early 2024, according to several people familiar with the preparations. The multi-phase strategy envisages Israeli forces, who are garrisoned inside north Gaza, making an imminent push deep into the south of the besieged Palestinian enclave.

Israel-Hamas Latest: IDF Resumes Airstrikes in Gaza
Fares Alghoul, Gwen Ackerman, and Courtney McBride – Bloomberg
Israel and Hamas resumed their war in the Gaza Strip on Friday morning after a week-long truce ended with the two sides failing to agree on the release of more hostages held by the militant group. Israeli jets struck Hamas targets in Gaza soon after the cease-fire finished at 7 a.m. local time. The army also dropped leaflets on southern parts of the enclave, including around the city of Khan Younis, telling people to evacuate and signaling an expansion of Israel’s ground offensive beyond the north.

Israel Plans to Kill Hamas Leaders Around the World After War; Nation’s spy agencies have long history of targeted assassinations
Dion Nissenbaum – The Wall Street Journal
Israel’s intelligence services are preparing to kill Hamas leaders around the world when the nation’s war in the Gaza Strip winds down, setting the stage for a yearslong campaign to hunt down militants responsible for the Oct. 7 massacres, Israeli officials said.

Israel Knew Hamas’s Attack Plan More Than a Year Ago; A blueprint reviewed by The Times laid out the attack in detail. Israeli officials dismissed it as aspirational and ignored specific warnings.
Ronen Bergman and Adam Goldman – The New York Times
Israeli officials obtained Hamas’s battle plan for the Oct. 7 terrorist attack more than a year before it happened, documents, emails and interviews show. But Israeli military and intelligence officials dismissed the plan as aspirational, considering it too difficult for Hamas to carry out. The approximately 40-page document, which the Israeli authorities code-named “Jericho Wall,” outlined, point by point, exactly the kind of devastating invasion that led to the deaths of about 1,200 people.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

Nodal Clear wins Clearing House of the Year at FOW International Awards 2023
Nodal Exchange
Nodal Clear was named Clearing House of the Year at the FOW International Awards 2023 in London during an evening ceremony following the publication’s Trading London conference on November 29th. The FOW International Awards recognize innovation and achievement for firms in the derivatives industry. Nodal Clear is a clearing house providing central counterparty services for Nodal Exchange and Coinbase Derivatives Exchange. Nodal Clear has innovated in the clearing space introducing its award-winning expected shortfall methodology for initial margin calculations. Owing to the efficiency and effectiveness of its risk methodology, Nodal Exchange has become the leading power futures exchange in North America.

Euronext Corporate Services unveils results of its first-of-its-kind European survey showing that SRD II makes shareholder identification a new norm for issuers
Key findings of the survey show increase of +38% in the number of European listed companies using shareholder disclosure request (SDR) to identify their shareholders; Euronext Corporate Services is ideally positioned in Europe for Shareholder Analysis services to issuers; New “Bond-holder Identification” service is launched to further facilitate issuers’ dialogue with their debt-investors. Euronext Corporate Services, in partnership with Proxymity Ltd, unveils the results of a first-of-its-kind European survey on shareholder identification for European issuers after the implementation of the Shareholders Right Directive II (SRD II) in 2020. Euronext demonstrates through this survey that listed companies, including small & mid-caps, increasingly identify their shareholders. Euronext accompanies this trend by providing innovative solutions to meet these new corporate sustainable finance needs.

SGX Group and Shanghai Stock Exchange ETF Product Link debuts first pair of ETFs
CSOP Huatai-PineBridge SSE Dividend ETF listed on SGX offers investors access to large-cap and high-dividend paying companies listed on Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE); Huatai-PineBridge CSOP iEdge Southeast Asia+ TECH will be listed on SSE concurrently, allowing Chinese investors to tap the growth potential of tech sectors in Southeast Asia and India. Singapore Exchange (SGX Group) is pleased to announce the concurrent listing of two new exchange traded funds (ETF) with combined assets under management (AUM) of S$56 million. This is the first pair of ETFs launched under the product link between SGX Group and Shanghai Stock Exchange, a landmark initiative established this year to promote stock market connectivity between Singapore and China.

Boerse Stuttgart records November turnover of around EUR 7,6 billion Trading volumes increase in equities, bonds and exchange-traded products compared to the same month of the previous year
Boerse Stuttgart
Based on the order book statistics, Boerse Stuttgart generated turnover of around EUR 7,6 billion in November – around 11 percent more than in the same month of the previous year.

Trading Overview in November 2023
Japan Exchange Group
Japan Exchange Group released Trading Overview in November 2023. Cash Equity Market. In November 2023, the daily average trading value for the Prime Market (domestic common stocks) was JPY 4.5562 trillion. The daily average trading value for the ETF market was JPY 250.3 billion.

FTSE SET Index Series
London Stock Exchange Group
Semi-Annual Review – December 2023. No changes to the constituents of the FTSE SET Large-Cap Index. Three additions to the FTSE SET Mid-Cap Index. 15 additions to the FTSE SET Shariah Index. FTSE Russell announces that there will be no changes to the constituents of the FTSE SET Large-Cap Index, following the December 2023 semi-annual review. The index series is reviewed semi-annually in accordance with the index ground rules.

SIX Exchanges Figures: November 2023
SIX publishes the monthly key figures for SIX Swiss Exchange and BME Exchange about the trading and listing activity in Switzerland and Spain.

Spot market sales statistics for November 2023
Deutsche Boerse
A trading volume of euro 104.46 billion was achieved on Deutsche Boerse’s cash markets in November (previous year: euro 115.10 billion / previous month: euro 95.58 billion). Of this, euro 101.44 billion was accounted for by Xetra (previous year: euro 112.51 billion / previous month: euro 92.79 billion), meaning the average daily Xetra turnover was euro 4.61 billion (previous year: euro 5.11). euro billion / previous month: euro 4.22 billion). euro 3.02 billion was traded at the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (previous year: euro 2.59 billion / previous month: euro 2.80 billion).

Market-wide Position Limit in DELTACORP
National Stock Exchange of India
The derivative contracts in the underlying DELTACORP have crossed 95% of the market-wide position limit on Dec 01, 2023. It is hereby informed that all clients/members shall trade in derivative contracts of DELTACORP by offsetting their existing positions till the open interest comes down to 80% of the market wide position limit.

Meet Our Chief Information Officer, David Hoag
Experience: 25+ years of experience in information technology, including nearly 20 years in financial services working with trading and clearing systems Became OCC’s Chief Information Officer in 2017 Previously served as Chief Technology Officer at Halo Investing, Inc. and as Managing Director, Post Trade Technology Software Development at CME Group Education: Bachelor’s degree in computer science from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Master of Business Administration from Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management Quick Facts: Began his career at DEC programming in…

Trading schedule on the Moscow Exchange during the New Year holidays
The Moscow Exchange has determined the rules for the operation of markets during the New Year holidays in 2024.On January 3-5 and January 8, 2024, trading on the exchange markets is carried out taking into account the following features: trading on the stock and bond markets, deposit and loan markets, and the derivatives market will be conducted as usual; in the foreign exchange market and the precious metals market, trading will be carried out in all instruments, with the exception of transactions with a settlement date on the day of conclusion of transactions (transactions with “TODAY” settlements) and swap transactions, the date of settlement of obligations for the first parts of which falls on the day of conclusion of these transactions swap; concluding over-the-counter transactions with a central counterparty (CCP) in the standardized derivatives market will be carried out with settlements for all instruments, with the exception of derivatives contracts that provide for obligations expressed in Russian rubles.


Illuvium launches Early Access Auto Battler Game in partnership with global Esports powerhouse Team Liquid; Following a three-year development journey and a substantial $60 million investment, Illuvium is thrilled to unveil the Early Access release of their Auto Battler and Overworld game.
Illuvium joins forces with esports organisation Team Liquid in a unique blockchain partnership to explore and limit-test Illuvium: Arena’s competitive modes. This integration will see eight Team Liquid streamers, specialising in Teamfight Tactics, Hearthstone, and League of Legends, begin playing Illuvium’s new auto battler game, Illuvium: Arena.

BMLL Wins ‘Best Data Science Solution’ At The A-Team Data Management Insight Awards Europe 2023
We are delighted to announce that BMLL has won “Best Data Science Solution” at the A-Team Data Management Insight Awards Europe 2023. These awards recognise both established solution vendors and innovation newcomers providing leading data management solutions, services and consultancy to capital markets participants across Europe.

OpenAI Gives Employees Extra Month to Opt Into Plan to Sell Shares; Concerns over the tender had arisen amid tumult over Altman; AI startup is giving staff an extra month to opt into the sale
Shirin Ghaffary, Edward Ludlow, and Gillian Tan – Bloomberg
OpenAI is sticking with a plan to let employees sell shares in the company through what’s known as a tender offer, and it’s giving would-be participants an extra month to decide whether to take part, according to several people with knowledge of the matter. OpenAI had been in talks to sell shares in a deal that would value the artificial intelligence pioneer at $86 billion, people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg in October. But concerns it might not proceed as planned emerged earlier this month amid the turmoil that led to the firing – then quick re-hiring – of Chief Executive Officer Sam Altman.

Sam Altman Returns to OpenAI With More Influence Than Ever Before; If the entire company is willing to follow its CEO out the door, is he essentially unfireable?
Shirin Ghaffary – Bloomberg
The unfireable CEO
After a nearly two-week boardroom drama that had more twists and turns than an episode of Succession, Sam Altman is back as CEO following a mutiny by employees over his firing.Altman, who was ousted for not being “consistently candid” in his communications with the board, called the episode a “painful, but refocusing moment” in an interview on Wednesday. He said his main priority is getting the company on solid ground again. “We have a lot of work to do to rebuild stability. But I think we’re gonna go do that with gusto.”

Adam D’Angelo Bridges the Past, Future for OpenAI Board; Quora CEO, one of four board members who fired Sam Altman, is the only director remaining on new board
Deepa Seetharaman and Sarah E. Needleman – The Wall Street Journal
In the surprise ouster and restoration of Sam Altman as chief executive officer at OpenAI, only one person, Adam D’Angelo, managed to play a role on each side of the drama. D’Angelo, a former Facebook executive and founder of the question-and-answer platform Quora, was one of four members of the board who fired Altman, and the sole surviving director named to a new board of the artificial-intelligence company that took over on Wednesday.

Credit Agricole Seeks Worldline Stake to Bolster Troubled Partner
Manuel Baigorri and Dinesh Nair – Bloomberg


Europe agrees on rules to protect smart devices from cyber threats
Foo Yun Chee – Reuters
EU countries and EU lawmakers on Thursday agreed to rules to protect laptops, fridges, mobile apps and smart devices connected to the internet from cyber threats following a spate of such attacks and ransom demands in recent years around the world. Proposed by the European Commission in September last year, the Cyber Resilience Act will apply to all products connected either directly or indirectly to another device or to a network.

Cybersecurity Insurance: Once Optional, Now Essential
Joe Oleksak – InformationWeek
Two universal truths have emerged for business and IT leaders across industries. First is that the role of IT is shaped by business need and organizational strategy. To stay ahead, organizations must adapt to secure data and systems in alignment with the fast-paced evolution of technology influenced by the business. Unfortunately, business leaders typically prioritize functionality and efficiency in a vacuum, not understanding the implications of security before moving forward. Consequently, they may rely on cybersecurity insurance as a fallback without fully realizing the potential risks involved.

State of Cybersecurity Report 2023: Spotlight on AI
Managing the risk, security and compliance of generative AI (GenAI) is a formidable challenge for CISOs. However, the rapid evolution of GenAI and large language model tools, with their seemingly unlimited capabilities, often leads to risk management being overlooked.


Binance Launches Triparty Pilot Program For Institutional Investors To Keep Collateral With Banking Partner
Hope C – CoinMarketCap
Binance, the leading cryptocurrency exchange, has recently launched a pilot initiative that allows banks to securely store institutional investors’ trading collateral outside of the exchange platform. This move is aimed at mitigating counterparty risk, providing a solution that is commonly employed in traditional financial markets.

Jack Dorsey Backs Ocean In Shifting Toward Decentralized Bitcoin Mining
Susie Violet Ward – Forbes
A significant development has taken place in the world of bitcoin mining, with the introduction of a new mining pool called OCEANOCEAN 0.0%. This initiative, receiving substantial backing from Jack Dorsey and other strategic partners, aims to redefine the bitcoin mining process by prioritizing decentralization and miner autonomy. Understanding the fundamentals of bitcoin mining, the role of ASICs, and the dynamics of mining pools becomes crucial in this context, as well as assessing the specifics of OCEAN’s launch and its potential impact on bitcoin’s price.

Ethereum blockchain produced equivalent of Honduras’ annual emissions before upgrade – study
Tom Wilson – Reuters
The Ethereum blockchain’s historical greenhouse gas emissions before a major software upgrade last year were equivalent to the yearly emissions of Honduras, a University of Cambridge study showed on Friday. Blockchains – the digital ledgers that underpin cryptocurrencies – typically consume large amounts of energy as they produce coins and process transactions, drawing criticism from environmentalists and some investors.

Cristiano Ronaldo faces $1 billion class-action lawsuit for endorsing worthless NFTs
Jordan Valinsky – CNN
Soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is facing a $1 billion class action lawsuit for his promotion of Binance, the world’s biggest crypto exchange. The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in a Florida court, said that Ronaldo “promoted, assisted in, and/or actively participated in the offer and sale of unregistered securities in coordination with Binance,” including selling non-fungible tokens (NFTs) of himself, which led to substantial financial losses for investors.


Oil Titan Reshaping Texas GOP Targets a $10 Billion Windfall; Dunn poised for payout as he considers bids for shale company; Head of CrownRock has been prolific Republican donor
Mitchell Ferman and David Wethe – Bloomberg
Oil tycoon Tim Dunn has spent millions to try to bend Texas toward his conservative politics. Now, as he considers bids for his drilling company that’s said to be valued at more than $10 billion amid a merger-mania in the shale patch, Dunn is poised for a windfall that could dramatically boost his giving – and his influence. The head of CrownRock LP is a devout Christian who has bankrolled candidates and groups that favor book bans and a private-school voucher system. He is a patron for immigration hardliners who have pushed to block asylum-seekers from crossing the US southern border.

US Compels Saudi Fund to Exit AI Chip Startup Backed by Altman
Jane Lanhee Lee – Bloomberg
The Biden administration has forced a Saudi Aramco venture capital firm to sell its shares in a Silicon Valley AI chip startup backed by OpenAI co-founder Sam Altman, an exit that could have broader implications for the Middle Eastern country’s growing investments in US technology.

Nikki Haley’s Proposed Gas Tax Repeal Faces Flawed Criticism
Patrick Gleason – Forbes
It’s possible that no tax policy proposal has generated as much buzz on the presidential campaign trail or received more media attention than Nikki Haley’s proposal to repeal the 18.4 cents per gallon federal gas tax, which she laid out in a September 22 speech on economic policy.

Sunak Pledges £1.6 Billion to Try to Show COP28 He’s On Message; Prime minister watered down UK’s green agenda two months ago; Risks being upstaged by poll-leading Starmer at Dubai summit
Ellen Milligan and Jess Shankleman – Bloomberg
Rishi Sunak will pledge to spend £1.6 billion ($2 billion) on climate projects, as the British premier arrives at the COP28 summit trying to show leaders the UK remains committed to the cause after he watered down his government’s green agenda and promised to boost oil and gas exploration. The UK will contribute up to £40 million for the key loss and damage fund to help vulnerable countries cope with the impact of rising temperatures, £500 million to tackle deforestation and about £300 million for energy innovation projects, the government said late Thursday, confirming a Bloomberg News report. Almost half of the £1.6 billion is new funding not included in the UK’s five-year, £11.6 billion climate aid funding pledge which runs to 2026.

King Charles Urges Action to Slow World’s Descent Into Danger
Will Kennedy – Bloomberg
King Charles III made an impassioned plea for more climate action at the COP28 summit in Dubai, asserting British commitment to combating global warming amid doubts about Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s own green agenda.

Hong Kong Reporter Missing After Trip to Beijing, Kyodo Says
Evelyn Yu – Bloomberg

Mass Removal of China-linked Facebook Accounts Targeting U.S.
Micah McCartney – Newsweek


Ex-Goldman Analyst and His City Lawyer Brother Accused of Insider Dealing; London trial starts over charges of fraud and insider trading; Mohammed and Suhail Zina denied charges, pleaded not guilty
Upmanyu Trivedi – Bloomberg
An ex-Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analyst struck insider trades in ARM Holdings Plc and five other stocks reaping more than £140,000 ($179,850) along with his City lawyer brother, prosecutors said at the start of a London fraud trial. Mohammed Zina, who worked in the Conflicts Resolution Group at Goldman’s London office, is standing trial for using confidential information for insider dealing between July 2016 and December 2017, along with his brother Suhail Zina, who was an attorney at Clifford Chance. The pair face six counts of insider trading and three fraud.

**** Here is the Financial Times version of this story.~JJL

Multi-Million Dollar Crypto Scammer Sentenced to 63 Months in Prison
Yousra Anwar Ahmed – CoinMarketCap
Esteban Cabrera Da Corte, a 27-year-old resident of Miami who headed an elaborate cryptocurrency fraud scheme, was sentenced to 63 months in federal prison yesterday. He had pled guilty earlier this year to charges surrounding a plot from 2020 to early 2021 that utilized stolen personal information to illegally obtain cryptocurrency and then trick banks into reversing the transactions.

PwC fined $7mn over exam cheating by China and Hong Kong staff; US regulator says more than 1,000 of firm’s workers cheated on tests designed to familiarise them with US standards
Stephen Foley – Financial Times
PwC has been fined $7mn after a US regulator found that more than 1,000 of its audit staff in China and Hong Kong cheated on internal training exams designed to get them up to speed on US standards. The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board said that PwC staff improperly shared test answers over the course of at least two years up to 2020. Without admitting the allegations, PwC’s Hong Kong firm agreed to pay a $4mn settlement and PwC China agreed to pay $3mn.

StraightPath Founders Face Criminal Fraud Charges Over ‘Pre-IPO’ Securities Sales; A Justice Department indictment alleges fraud and obstruction of justice at the defunct investment firm
Ted Bunker – The Wall Street Journal
Three co-founders of defunct investment firm StraightPath Venture Partners face criminal fraud charges related to the way they pitched investments in “pre-IPO” shares. Michael Castillero is set to be arraigned Friday in a federal district court in New York while Brian Martinsen and Francine Lanaia entered not guilty pleas Wednesday, court records show. Efforts to reach lawyers for the three were unsuccessful Thursday.

CFTC Chairman Announces Melanie Devoe Director of the Office of Customer Education and Outreach
Washington, D.C. – Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Rostin Behnam announced today that Melanie T. Devoe has been named Director of the Office of Customer Education and Outreach (OCEO). Ms. Devoe will lead the CFTC’s education and outreach efforts aimed at arming customers with the tools they need to avoid fraud and other potential abuse when participating in CFTC-regulated and cash commodity markets.

SEC Investor Advisory Committee to Examine Use of Complex Investment Products and Strategies by Self-Directed Investors and Discuss Practical Applications for Enhancing Financial Literacy at December 7 Meeting
The Securities and Exchange Commission’s Investor Advisory Committee will hold a virtual public meeting on December 7 at 10:30 a.m. ET. The meeting will be webcast on the SEC website.

Statement on PCAOB Enforcement Actions Regarding China-based Firms
Chair Gary Gensler – SEC
Today, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) announced settlements with three PCAOB-registered public accounting firms based in China and Hong Kong. The PCAOB’s ability to investigate in these matters is consistent with its prior determination that it can inspect and investigate completely issuer audit engagements in China and Hong Kong.

FINRA Fines BofA Securities $24 Million for Treasuries Spoofing and Related Supervisory Failures
FINRA announced today that it has fined BofA Securities, Inc. $24 million for engaging in more than 700 instances of spoofing through two former traders in U.S. Treasury secondary markets and related supervisory failures spanning more than six years.

ASIC issues infringement notices to Morningstar for statements regarding exposure to weapon investments
Morningstar has paid $29,820 to comply with two infringement notices issued by ASIC in which ASIC alleged its investor funds were exposed to controversial weapons investments, despite Morningstar’s Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) Policy stating that such investments would be excluded.

Investing and Trading

Vanguard’s Biggest Bond ETF Becomes First to Break $100 Billion
Katie Greifeld – Bloomberg
A bond exchange-traded fund crossed $100 billion for the first time since such products launched over two decades ago. A $14 million inflow Wednesday pushed assets in the Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF (ticker BND) above $100 billion for the first time ever, data compiled by Bloomberg show. BND has absorbed $15.6 billion so far this year.

VCs swarm Finland: saunas and reindeer but few deals; Plus, Peltz reignites proxy fight with Disney and Brookfield raises $30bn
Due.Diligence – Financial Times
One scoop to start: Panera Brands, the casual dining group owned by investment group JAB, has filed confidential paperwork for an initial public offering in the US, according to people familiar with the matter. Read the full story here.

Falling corn prices heap pressure on farmers; Prices hit three-year low after growers expand supply while demand stagnates
Susannah Savage – Financial Times
The price of corn has tumbled to a three-year low as supplies from the US and Brazil surge while demand stagnates, helping to cool food price inflation but heaping pressure on farmers who had been expecting high prices to last. Corn, which is used predominantly for animal feed and to produce ethanol, has been trading below $4.50 a bushel in Chicago in recent days, its lowest level since December 2020. It had been trading above $8 a bushel in May last year.

Woman Discovers Over $86 Million Mistakenly Deposited in Her Bank Account; Maybank customer cites ‘comedy of errors’ on social media; Bank says the problem with the account has been resolved
Anders Melin – Bloomberg
A client of Malaysia’s biggest bank recently discovered that her bank balance had mysteriously increased to more than $86 million. When Hafidzah Abdullah checked her account late last month it showed she was over 404 million ringgit ($86.3 million) in credit. It would have been a huge windfall, especially in a country where the average household takes home around $22,000 per year, but there was a catch: She couldn’t access the money.

How to Donate to Charity, Get a Tax Break and Have Income for Life; With year-end pitches from charities rolling in, older Americans have a new option in 2023: donating funds from an IRA via a charitable gift annuity. Seniors should consider all the angles before jumping in.
Laura Saunders – The Wall Street Journal
Tax breaks for charitable donations come in many flavors, and this year Congress has a new one for seniors called an IRA charitable gift annuity. It allows older owners of traditional IRAs to donate account funds to a charity and get tax breaks plus income payments for life. Brian and Deborah Smith of Park City, Utah, plan to try this option next year. That’s when Deborah Smith turns 73 and has to begin required withdrawals from her traditional IRA. She will donate $53,000 of her $550,000 account to the Episcopal church where the couple is active and Deborah serves on the board.

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

UAE to launch $30bn investment fund at COP28; UN climate summit host seeks to bolster credentials via initiative with BlackRock, TPG and Brookfield
Aime Williams, Simeon Kerr, Attracta Mooney, and Brooke Masters – Financial Times
The United Arab Emirates is preparing to launch a $30bn climate-related investment fund with BlackRock, TPG and Brookfield, according to people familiar with the matter. The launch comes as the UAE attempts to bolster its credentials as host of COP28 on the first days of the UN summit.

COP must lift the omerta on fossil fuel subsidies; Leaders need to talk about the trillions of dollars of incentives behind our energy consumption
Gillian Tett – Financial Times
As the annual ritual known as “COP” – the UN climate conference – gets under way in Dubai, expect a hullabaloo. Green activists will be yelling about the grotesque parody of having a huge fossil fuel producer, the United Arab Emirates, as COP host: Sultan al-Jaber, COP president, also runs Adnoc, the state-owned oil group. Meanwhile the UAE government will be touting its investment in renewable energy – it has spent around $200bn in international energy investments in the last year, mostly green tech.

At COP28, the Role of Food Systems in the Climate Crisis Will Get More Attention Than Ever; As food and agriculture take center stage, industry groups plan a full-on campaign to downplay the carbon impacts of meat and dairy.
Georgina Gustin – Inside Climate News
By the end of the United Nations annual climate conference, going on now in Dubai, the term “food system transformation” will be very well worn. An unprecedented focus on food and agriculture at the conference, known as COP28, comes four months after its Emirati leaders announced a “Food Systems and Agriculture Agenda” for the nearly two-week event, and urged governments to sign onto a first-ever agreement to tackle emissions from their food and agriculture industries.

Wolverines Are Finally Listed as Threatened. Decades of Reversals May Have Caused the Protections to Come Too Late; Climate change is reducing the snowpack the mythic predators depend on for their dens, but resistance from resource extraction and recreation interests delayed Endangered Species Act protection.
Grant Stringer – Inside Climate News
After decades of battles that spanned five U.S. presidencies, the North American wolverine is gaining federal protection under the Endangered Species Act as climate change melts the legendary predator’s high-alpine habitat. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Wednesday that wolverines are officially threatened due to the “ongoing and increasing impacts of climate change.” It echoes a decision the agency made in 2013 and later reversed, then was forced to reconsider by a federal court in Montana.

“Climate Action Through Partnership, Innovation, and Finance” – Speech by Mr Ravi Menon, Managing Director, Monetary Authority of Singapore, at the Climate Leaders’ Assembly on 30 November 2023
Monetary Authority of Singapore
Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. Welcome to the inaugural Climate Leaders’ Assembly. On behalf of the COP28 Singapore Pavilion team, I would like to express our gratitude for the opportunity to co-host this event with Bain & Co. Please also join me in thanking our organiser Carbonless, catalyst sponsor AWS, and co-conveners Conservation International, GAEA, and Temasek for their contributions. Let me begin by briefly reflecting on the state of the planet. It is not in a good place.

Is It Time to Change How We Talk About 1.5C? At COP28 in Dubai, the oft-misunderstood target will be front and center – in part because this year offers a sobering glimpse of what warming looks like.
Zahra Hirji – Bloomberg
When it comes to the collective goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5C, there’s been only one acceptable talking point in the runup to the COP28 conference in Dubai. “We need to show that the international community can deliver and send a clear signal that keeps 1.5 within reach,” COP28 President Sultan Al Jaber said on Oct. 30. At the Bloomberg New Economy Forum on Nov. 9, US climate envoy John Kerry described COP28 as “critical to open up the opportunity to keep 1.5 degrees alive.” A week later, the European Parliament penned a resolution in support of tripling renewable energy by 2030 and quickly phasing out fossil fuels to “keep 1.5C within reach.”

UN Drought Report Highlights ‘Silent’ Threat to Warming Planet; The Global Drought Snapshot says more frequent and severe droughts are a wake-up call to improve resiliency.
Sana Pashankar – Bloomberg

Ethereum blockchain produced equivalent of Honduras’ annual emissions before upgrade – study
Tom Wilson – Reuters

US Sets Stringent Limits on Chinese Content for EV Tax Credit; Rules set 25% threshold of ownership for foreign adversaries; Decision may limit qualifying number of EVs for $7,500 credit
Joe Deaux, Gabrielle Coppola, and Ari Natter – Bloomberg

Sunak accused of sending wrong signals on climate crisis as he heads to Cop28; Charities and NGOs accuse government of changing how it calculates climate spending to claim it will exceed targets
Rowena Mason and Aletha Adu – The Guardian

South Africa Warns Others Not to Go From Electricity to Darkness
Mike Cohen and Jennifer Zabasajja – Bloomberg

Methane Leak in Argentina Halted After Satellite Observation; The United Nations is ramping up its effort using satellites to identify and curb the world’s methane emissions.
Aaron Clark – Bloomberg

Banks get carbon emissions standard they sought for stock, bond deals
Tommy Wilkes – Reuters


Will the Citi Turnaround Work? CEO Jane Fraser Makes Her Case.
Carleton English and Andy Serwer – Barron’s
It isn’t quite Teddy Roosevelt’s “speak softly and carry a big stick,” but Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser has her own aphorism: “Have big ears and thick skin.” And just as T.R.’s credo made sense for his world, Fraser’s seems apt for hers. Still relatively new on the job and with literally millions of constituents, she has done much listening, and faced slings, arrows, and brickbats since the day she became head of the giant, underperforming bank.

BlackRock caps fee on $10bn high-yield corporate bond ETF; Asset manager says capping fund’s fee at 8 basis points is ‘part of regular review of pricing strategy’
Alyson Velati – Financial Times
BlackRock will cap the fee on its $10.3bn iShares Broad USD High Yield Corporate Bond ETF at 8 basis points, the firm disclosed on Tuesday. BlackRock Fund Advisors, the investment adviser to the ETF, agreed to waive a portion of its management fee through February 28, 2025, the filing notes. For now, the fund will waive 14 bps, according to the filing.

Two executives of groups linked to troubled Chinese shadow bank go missing; Financial conglomerate Zhongzhi is under investigation after announcing it faced $36bn shortfall
Cheng Leng – Financial Times
Companies linked to troubled shadow banking company Zhongzhi said they had lost contact with two executives, days after Chinese authorities said they were opening an investigation into the sprawling conglomerate. Ma Hongying, chair of Shenzhen-listed early education provider Dalian My Gym Education Technology, and Ma Changshui, chair of Xinjiang Tianshan Animal Husbandry Bio-Engineering, could not be reached, the companies said in separate exchange filings late on Wednesday.

Goldman Sachs could face exodus over shallow bonus pool, sources say
Lydia Moynihan – NY Post
The bonus pool at Goldman Sachs isn’t looking as large and deep as CEO David Solomon hoped – and that could leave the bank scrambling to prevent a bigger-than-expected talent exodus this spring, sources told On The Money. Some managers at the Wall Street giant had quietly assured the rank and file in recent months that annual bonuses this year will be better than last year’s dismal payout, when a post-pandemic crash in dealmaking tanked the bank’s results, according to sources.

Marex completes acquisition of TD Cowen’s outsourced trading and prime brokerage business; The pair say they have almost zero overlap in terms of existing client base and intend to leverage each other’s offerings to expand.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Commodities specialist Marex has completed its acquisition of TD Cowen’s outsourced trading and prime brokerage business, first announced in September. The business has been rebranded as Marex Prime Services and Market Outsourced Trading, with both becoming part of the Marex Capital Markets business – formed last year following the acquisition of ED&F Man Capital Markets.

Fireside Friday with… Jefferies’ Ben Springett; The TRADE sits down with Ben Springett, head of electronic and program trading, EMEA, at Jefferies, to explore liquidity challenges, the benefits of trajectory crossing, and the effects of tech-based evolutions on market competitiveness.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
What are the current pain points associated with accessing liquidity? We regularly hear from clients, and we observe in our data as well, how much easier it is to trade in the US. Focusing on the challenges of moving liquidity should be done on a regional level. In Europe, that certainly is not an insignificant issue, but sometimes it can be a little overstated.

Work & Management

Coca-Cola Is the Best Place to Work to Get Ahead in Your Career; An index backed by Howard Schultz’s philanthropy tracked the career paths of millions of employees to determine which companies and industries invest most in their workforces.
Matthew Boyle – Bloomberg
What’s the difference between Coke and Pepsi? For job seekers: Coca-Cola Co. offers the best career mobility out of nearly 400 big employers, according to a new five-year analysis of 4.7 million workers. Rival PepsiCo Inc. came in 19th on that same list.

“Striking” trend: College-educated mothers are working at record rates
Emily Peck – Axios Markets
College-educated mothers stampeded into the workforce over the past 20 years, per a striking new paper. Why it matters: No one expected this. Back in the 2000s, the big worry – epitomized in a 2003 New York Times article called “The Opt-Out Revolution” – was that high-achieving women were having kids and leaving the workforce. (The mothers in your local Starbucks watching over toddlers? They have MBAs, wrote Lisa Belkin – setting off a wave of early aughts hand-wringing about feminism.)

The Persistent Myth That Most Americans Are Miserable At Work; One could make the argument that, actually, American workers are happier than they’ve been in decades.
Derek Thompson – The Atlantic (opinion)
The typical career is about 80,000 hours long, or one-sixth of the average person’s waking life. One would love to be deliriously happy for all 80,000 hours. But, alas, we’re not. And the economic-news industry loves nothing more than to remind us of it. In fact, for the past three years, finance media have become so desperate to explain the state of workplace misery to their audience that they’ve often ignored facts, logic, or basic common sense.

Wellness Exchange

A $6 Billion Settlement Threatens to Upend US Bankruptcy Deals
Jonathan Randles – Bloomberg
Members of the Sackler family who profited from the sale of OxyContin may inadvertently upend the way almost every big settlement is carried out in bankruptcy court. The Supreme Court on Monday will consider the Biden administration’s bid to scuttle a $6 billion accord between bankrupt drugmaker Purdue Pharma LP and its billionaire owners. The deal would protect members of the Sackler family from future opioid lawsuits by way of an oft-used legal mechanism that the high court is now scrutinizing for the first time.

Climate Change Drives New Cases of Malaria, Complicating Efforts to Fight the Disease; The number of malaria cases rose again in 2022, propelled by flooding and warmer weather in areas once free of the illness.
Stephanie Nolen – The New York Times
There were an estimated 249 million cases of malaria around the globe last year, the World Health Organization said on Thursday, significantly more than before the Covid-19 pandemic and an increase of five million over 2021. Malaria remains a top killer of children. Those new cases were concentrated in just five countries: Pakistan, Nigeria, Uganda, Ethiopia and Papua-New Guinea. Climate change was a direct contributor in three of them, said Dr. Daniel Ngamije, who directs the W.H.O. malaria program.


Foreigners Sell China Stocks For Fourth Month in Record Streak
Bloomberg News
Overseas investors sold China equities for a fourth month in November, the longest selling streak, as concerns over its economic recovery linger. Foreigners shed 1.8 billion yuan ($252 million) worth of shares on a net basis as the benchmark gauge capped a fourth straight month of losses. Still, this compares to an average outflow of nearly 60 billion yuan a month from August through October.

BOJ’s Paper Loss on Bond Holdings Balloons to Record
Toru Fujioka – Bloomberg
The Bank of Japan racked up the most unrealized losses on its bond holdings on record in the latest six-month period, illustrating the challenge facing Governor Kazuo Ueda if he moves toward normalizing policy. The paper loss on those assets was ¥10.5 trillion ($70.7 billion) at the end of September, the largest loss in data going back to fiscal 2004, according to the central bank’s semi-annual financial statement Tuesday. It’s more than 60 times bigger than the ¥157 billion loss tallied for last fiscal year.

Philippines Eyes Onion Imports to Avert Another Price Surge That Made It Costlier Than Meat
Manolo Serapio Jr. – Bloomberg
The Philippines is planning to import tons of onions to prevent another “absurd increase” in prices, which soared earlier this year on tight supply and made the kitchen staple briefly costlier than chicken and beef. Import licenses will be issued to private firms to bring in 21,000 tons of onions before the end of the year, according to a statement from the Bureau of Plant Industry on Friday. The measure is to guarantee ample supply amid an expected increase in demand over the holiday period, the department said.

Argentina Won’t Join the BRICS Bloc Under Milei, Adviser Says
Patrick Gillespie and Manuela Tobias – Bloomberg
Argentina won’t join the China-led emerging market bloc BRICS under the presidency of Javier Milei, his incoming top diplomat said, a sign of significant foreign policy realignment by the new administration that takes office on Dec. 10.

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The Stock Market Has Rarely Been This Sleepy

Lead Stories The Stock Market Has Rarely Been This Sleepy Gunjan Banerji - The Wall Street Journal It's eerily calm out there in the stock market. The Cboe Volatility Index, or VIX, dropped below 12 last week, a nearly five-year low. The gauge, based on options prices...

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