Quant Models Went Haywire as Chinese Stocks Crashed and Rallied

Feb 22, 2024

First Read

Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

Do you remember that record breaking value jump by Meta Platforms Inc. when it declared a dividend for the first time and its shares jumped the market value in the firm to a $197 billion gain? This morning at the start of trade, Nvidia Corp. is poised to beat Meta Platforms’ historic stock-market session three weeks after the Facebook owner set the record, as the shares of Nvidia have surged 15% in premarket trading, leading to a gain of almost $250 billion in market capitalization, Bloomberg reports.

Just for comparison, the entire 2023 soybean crop of 4.21 billion bushels at a price near where we are today, say $11.50, would be worth a little more than $48 billion. So Nvidia today is jumping in value potentially more than five times the value of the U.S. soybean crop of 2023.

Also setting a new record today was Japan’s Nikkei 225, which breached its 1989 high after surging 2.2% to “close at 39,098.68, above its past peak formed in 1989,” Bloomberg reported.

Jerome Kemp, the former head of futures at J.P. Morgan and Citigroup and who was most recently president of Baton Systems, is replacing Mark Ibbotson as chairman of G.H. Financials, FOW reported. G.H. Financials also posted a notice on their website HERE.

Yesterday the IRS announced, “IRS begins audits of corporate jet usage.” The IRS had to punish us with the subheadline “part of larger effort to ensure high-income groups don’t fly under the radar on tax.” Bloomberg also has a story about this titled Corporate Jet Use by Ultra-Wealthy Is Latest IRS Crackdown Push.” I started digging into some of the other IRS priorities for tax scofflaws and may have found these press release headlines ready to go on an IRS webpage:

    • “IRS launches audits on corporate space travel expenses: Tax evasion is no longer rocket science!”
    • “IRS shifts gears: Auditing corporate bicycle benefits, pedaling past the usual deductions!”
    • “IRS takes flight with audits on corporate kite-flying expenses: A soaring interest in overhead costs!”
    • “IRS kicks off audits on corporate scooter expenses: Scooting around deductions isn’t as easy as it looks!”
    • “IRS on the right track with audits on corporate train travel expenses: It’s not just about riding the gravy train anymore!”

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is set to conduct a webinar focused on inventorship guidance for AI-assisted inventions, aligning with President Biden’s Executive Order 14110 aimed at the safe and trustworthy development of Artificial Intelligence (AI), including its implications on intellectual property (IP) rights. Scheduled for Tuesday, March 5, from 1-2 p.m. ET, this session aims to elucidate how inventorship considerations will be managed as AI increasingly integrates into the innovation process. Open to the public at no cost, the webinar encourages early registration due to limited virtual space. This initiative underscores the USPTO’s commitment to fostering innovation and maintaining U.S. leadership in AI and other emerging technologies, offering stakeholders clarity on navigating IP equities in the evolving landscape of AI-enabled inventions.

You can find the minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee Meeting from January 30-31 HERE.

With ICE in the mortgage data business, it has a good look at what is going on and today issued a first look at mortgage performance. ICE said that in January 2024, the U.S. mortgage delinquency rate improved to 3.38%, hitting a low not seen since the previous year, despite a significant month-over-month increase in foreclosure starts (+43.3% to 34,000) due to seasonal factors. Serious delinquencies dropped by 19% year-over-year, with a large portion still protected from foreclosure, reducing risk. Active foreclosures increased slightly but stayed 23% below pre-pandemic levels. The slight uptick in prepayment activity, attributed to easing interest rates, suggests growing refinancing and homebuyer interest.

The MarketsWiki Education GoFundMe campaign received a $500 contribution from an anonymous donor, according to our GoFundMe page. Our current online total is $75,702 of our $300,000 goal to support production of our MarketsWiki Education historical video series.

The Greenwood Project, whose mission is to forge career pathways in the financial services industry for Black and Latino college students, unveiled substantial enhancements to its programs in its first quarter newsletter. Greenwood is expanding the educational timeline for its scholars, transitioning from the initial four-week period to an extensive program lasting between 12 and 24 months. It is introducing career tracks, ensuring that training evolves from a uniform approach to one that is specifically designed for each career path. And finally, Greenwood is establishing a coaching division with seasoned financial services professionals who will mentor its scholars and provide consistent, exceptional support. You can help the Greenwood scholars directly by sharing your professional expertise, providing internship opportunities, and donating to support their success.

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

Copyleaks, a maker of plagiarism detection software, has launched a new podcast: The Original Source. In the first episode, CEO Alon Yamin and COO Shouvik Paul discuss the company’s origins; what’s happening in AI this month; how to combat genAI misinformation; privacy issues; and AI in politics. Listen in here. ~SAED

The Securities and Futures Commission Hong Kong has released new tools to estimate and calculate greenhouse gas emissions to support sustainability reporting. The Green and Sustainable Finance Cross-Agency Steering Group (Steering Group) and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) launched the two tools to facilitate sustainability reporting by corporates and financial institutions in Hong Kong. With clearly disclosed methodologies and data sources, the tools are free. Learn more here.~SAED

Our most read stories from our previous edition of JLN Options were:
Wall Street Brokers Are Coming for the Hot Retail-Options Trade from Bloomberg.
Options traders bet on huge swing in Nvidia shares after earnings from MarketWatch.
An Executive Bought a Rival’s Stock. The SEC Says That’s Insider Trading. from The Wall Street Journal. ~JB

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


Bitcoin Fair Value Is Still Zero Despite ETFs, ECB Blogpost Says
Craig Stirling – Bloomberg
Bitcoin is still a pernicious phenomenon with no intrinsic value despite its US approval as an asset for inclusion in Exchange-Traded Funds, two European Central Bank staff members wrote. The blogpost on Thursday by Ulrich Bindseil, the Frankfurt institution’s market infrastructure and payments director general, and Juergen Schaaf, an adviser, reiterates their long-held view that the digital currency presents risks to both society and the environment.

***** There are bitcoin believers and then there is the ECB.~JJL


Russia’s Scariest New Threat Is Underwater, Not in Space; A UK study of undersea cables shows that the global network carrying almost all internet and financial traffic is highly vulnerable to sabotage.
James Stavridis – Bloomberg
Mike Turner, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, warns that the US is “sleepwalking into an international crisis” by ignoring Russia’s intent to put nuclear weapons in space and use an electro-magnetic pulse to disable the constellation of satellites that underpins our intelligence, navigation and warfighting capabilities. He is right to be concerned that this capability – although not in place yet – is a serious challenge for the West. But there is an even more vulnerable Achilles’ heel that threatens global commerce, worldwide military readiness and logistics, and the internet itself: the highly vulnerable complex of undersea cables that provide the backbone of the world’s connectivity.

****** This is going to increase technology hedging costs? What is your backup plan?~JJL


Mondelez chief says investors do not ‘morally care’ if groups stay in Russia; Dirk Van de Put says confectionery group has faced no pressure to leave country completely
Madeleine Speed – Financial Times
Mondelez’s chief executive said investors did not “morally care” whether companies continued to do business in Russia, and that the company’s own shareholders had not pressured the chocolate maker to leave the country after its invasion of Ukraine. “I don’t think [investors] morally care…” Dirk Van de Put said in an interview with the Financial Times, but he added, “if you have an important Russian business, the hit on the company would be huge, and that becomes a different discussion”.

****** The CEO of the company that makes Cadbury, Oreo, Milka, Trident, and Chips Ahoy! just stuck a stake in those products’ hearts.~JJL


Wednesday’s Top Three
Our top story Wednesday was Bloomberg’s Capula Partner Nat Dean to Spin Out His $3.5 Billion Hedge Fund. Second was Open regulators and open markets; Speech by Ashley Alder, Chair, delivered at the UK Mission to the European Union, from the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Third was HSBC Slashes Commercial Property Exposure in US, UK to Limit Losses, from Bloomberg.



Lead Stories

Quant Models Went Haywire as Chinese Stocks Crashed and Rallied
China’s quantitative hedge funds are admitting to unprecedented failures by their stock-trading models during one of the wildest two-week stretches in the market’s history. One manager described it as the industry’s “biggest black swan event.” Another said its models “switched from doing it right to getting it wrong repeatedly.” While historical data on China quant returns is limited, all signs point to record underperformance for such funds – a shock that Man Group has compared with the “quant quake” that wreaked havoc on US managers in 2007.

Nvidia: Boss says AI at ‘tipping point’ as revenues soar
Mariko Oi – BBC
The boss of the world’s most valuable chip maker Nvidia said artificial intelligence (AI) is at a “tipping point” as it announced record sales. The technology giant reported that revenues surged by 265% to $22bn (£17.4bn) in the three months to 28 January, compared to a year earlier. For the year as a whole, turnover more than doubled to $60.9bn. “Accelerated computing and generative AI have hit the tipping point,” said Nvidia chief executive Jensen Huang. “Demand is surging worldwide across companies, industries and nations.”

AI’s Unlikely Benefactor: Blackstone’s 77-Year-Old CEO Steve Schwarzman; The private-equity billionaire has donated more than half a billion dollars for AI education and research
Miriam Gottfried – The Wall Street Journal
A chance encounter in 2015 led Steve Schwarzman, the septuagenarian private-equity billionaire, to become one of the biggest and most unlikely champions of artificial intelligence. On a bus ride in Beijing with other global business leaders, the Blackstone chief executive happened to sit next to Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma, who started talking about AI. The technology, he explained, would soon change drug development and education and reshape how people across all industries do their jobs.

MSCI and Cboe Global Markets enter into a strategic collaboration; The two businesses are set to jointly focus on new index options and volatility indices; new options are set to begin trading on 18 March.
Claudia Preece – The Trade
Cboe Global Markets has entered into a strategic collaboration with MSCI in a bid to leverage their combined expertise and develop innovative solutions for investors. Specifically, the initiative will expand Cboe’s suite of Cboe-MSCI index options and volatility indices, introducing five new products. Three are based on additional MSCI global indices: Cboe MSCI World Index Options (MXWLD), Cboe MSCI USA Index Options (MXUSA), and Cboe MSCI ACWI Index Options (MXACW), while two others will broaden its volatility index suite with new Cboe MSCI volatility indices: Cboe MSCI EAFE Volatility Index (VXMXEA) and the Cboe MSCI Emerging Markets Volatility Index (VXMXEF).

LSE Group turns to US data rivals to benchmark CEO’s pay rise; LSEG is consulting on raising David Schwimmer’s pay to about £11mn from £6.25mn
Nikou Asgari – Financial Times
The London Stock Exchange Group is canvassing shareholders to approve a pay package for its chief executive that is benchmarked against major US data groups such as S&P Global, rather than UK businesses. LSEG is using US financial data companies such as index provider S&P Global and research and ratings company Moody’s as a measure against which to raise the pay package of chief executive David Schwimmer, according to people with knowledge of the plan.

UK opens up gilts sales to retail investors; Treasury courts new sources of demand as it faces record bond issuance needs
Mary McDougall – Financial Times
The UK has opened up access for retail investors to buy newly issued gilts, as the government seeks to tap fresh sources of demand in a record year for bond sales. Winterflood Securities, a government-appointed dealer for UK debt, is allowing individual investors for the first time to buy government bonds in the primary market through major retail investment platforms.

Swan Bitcoin and Bakkt Team Up to Provide Bitcoin Trading Across 49 U.S. States
Bakkt Holdings, Inc.
Bakkt Holdings, Inc. (“Bakkt”) (NYSE: BKKT) and Swan Bitcoin (“Swan”) today announced that the companies have enabled Bitcoin trading across 49 U.S. states together. Bakkt provides Swan with a breadth of Bitcoin services, including fiat onboarding, Bitcoin trading, and custody. “We are thrilled to be taking this exciting step forward in our partnership with Swan,” said Gavin Michael, CEO of Bakkt. “This is just the beginning of our collaboration, as we intend to explore further growth opportunities together in the future, including expansion into international markets.”

AI Billionaires Club Looks Like a New Gilded Age; If Nvidia’s boom is a tech “tipping point,” it should also be one for antitrust regulators.
Lionel Laurent – Bloomberg
After several decades of transformative tech wealth, the AI boom is ushering in another. Not only has Nvidia Corp.’s soaring valuation made co-founder Jensen Huang an extremely wealthy man, but his distant cousin Lisa Su, head of Advanced Micro Devices Inc., is now worth $1.2 billion. A glance at the top 10 richest people in the world shows tech leaders, from Elon Musk to Bill Gates, are still on top.

China’s Stock-Sale Ban Eases Path to Propping Up Reeling Markets
Jiahui Huang – The Wall Street Journal
China’s reported ban on the net sales of equities during market opens and closes theoretically makes it easier to prop up reeling stocks, in part by hamstringing quantitative traders at critical parts of the trading day, analysts say. The ban, first reported by Bloomberg late Wednesday, effectively precludes institutional investors as a whole from making big equity sales for 30 minutes at the open and close of each trading session.

Europe’s Coffee Traders Urge EU to Delay Deforestation Rules; Farmers not ready for changes by end of 2024, trade group says; Law to have “shattering” impact on smallholder coffee farmers
Agnieszka de Sousa – Bloomberg
Europe’s coffee industry has urged the European Union to delay the implementation of its ground-breaking deforestation rules citing a potentially devastating impact on millions of growers. The EU’s ban on imports of commodities produced on newly deforested land will force companies to trace their supplies back to a plot of land and submit the proof, which includes geolocation coordinates of farms. Failing to do so will result in costly penalties.

Fund Manager Turned Finance Minister Wants to Revive Poland’s Stock Market
Wojciech Moskwa and Agnieszka Barteczko – Bloomberg
Poland’s new finance minister seeks to give its faltering stock market a boost by spurring investment in energy transition and encouraging state-owned companies to pay more in dividends. Andrzej Domanski, a former Warsaw-based equity portfolio manager, bemoaned the fate of minority investors, who – he said – got sidelined by the previous nationalist administration as it sought to tighten its grip over state-controlled companies. Poland’s stock exchange, the biggest in central and eastern Europe, has seen more firms leave the market than debut on it since 2017.

Texas crypto company sues SEC for ‘overreach’ on digital assets
Jody Godoy – Reuters
A Texas cryptocurrency company and an industry group sued the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday, saying the regulator has overstepped its authority and asking a judge to rule that digital assets traded on exchanges are not securities. Fort Worth-based crypto company Lejilex and lobbying group Crypto Freedom Alliance of Texas (CFAT) claim the SEC has asserted jurisdiction over the industry without a “clear statutory mandate.”

China takes the biggest steps yet to prop up its flailing stock market
Yuheng Zhan – Business Insider
Major institutional investors in China are no longer allowed to sell stocks at the open or close of market trading on a given day. Under this order, investors are not permitted to sell more shares than they buy during the first and last 30 minutes of trading, unnamed sources familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. It’s the latest example of tightened trading restrictions from the Chinese government as it attempts to backstop the nation’s $8.6 trillion stock market. The CSI 300 Index recently hit a five-year low in early February.

Billionaire UOB CEO Hopes to Keep Father’s Stake in Family
Chanyaporn Chanjaroen, Sheryl Tian Tong Lee and Pui Gwen Yeung – Bloomberg
The significant stake in United Overseas Bank Ltd. held by the late patriarch Wee Cho Yaw is something that his eldest son, who is also the lender’s Chief Executive Officer, hopes may eventually be distributed among his descendants. Wee held about 18.5% through both direct holding and other investment vehicles, according to Bloomberg’s analysis of company filings. The Singapore-based bank has a market capitalization of more than $35 billion. Wee Ee Cheong told a briefing for the firm’s earnings on Thursday that he hopes his father’s personal stake will be distributed to the children and grandchildren.

T-Bills Without Tax Bills? This Fund Says It Cracked the Code; A fast-growing exchange-traded fund called BOXX uses an old loophole in a new way.
Zachary R Mider – Bloomberg
A Marine Corps veteran with a finance Ph.D. has come up with a new way to avoid taxes. Any American holding US government securities has to pay income taxes on the interest they generate. For the richest investors, the Internal Revenue Service’s cut is 37%. But a year-old investment fund offers returns that closely track short-term Treasuries, with starkly lower tax bills. The fund, Alpha Architect 1-3 Month Box ETF, uses a complex options strategy and a longstanding tax loophole that favors exchange-traded funds.

Top Goldman Sachs investment bankers threaten to quit over committee snub; Mark Sorrell and Gonzalo Garcia were excluded from operating group set up under chief David Solomon
Joshua Franklin and Arash Massoudi – Financial Times
Two of Goldman Sachs’ top investment bankers have threatened to quit after being excluded from a new operating committee established under chief executive David Solomon, according to people familiar with the matter. Mark Sorrell, the London-based co-head of mergers and acquisitions and son of advertising executive Sir Martin Sorrell, and Gonzalo Garcia, co-head of European investment banking, have told Goldman they may leave after being excluded from the committee, the people said. Their respective co-heads – Stephan Feldgoise in mergers and acquisitions and Anthony Gutman in European investment banking – have been included in the committee, which has about a dozen members. It also includes tech banker Kim Posnett, private equity specialist Pete Lyon and Marshall Smith from the healthcare team.

Uncertainty dogs the global digital market; A WTO meeting next week will discuss the bizarre idea of trying to put border tariffs on data flows
Alan Beattie – Financial Times
From the way some governments are going about it you’d never believe we live in a world where cross-border trade is increasingly measured in trillions of gigabytes rather than tonnes of grain. Next week in Abu Dhabi, an unpromising World Trade Organization meeting of ministers will witness a familiar yet peculiar situation. A small gang of middle-income countries – India, despite its status as a global software giant, Indonesia and South Africa – are threatening to abrogate a 26-year international moratorium on charging border tariffs on digitally delivered services, which the deal quaintly terms “electronic transmissions”.

Digital assets and traditional finance: Can two parallel lanes converge? As the growth of digital assets continues at a rapid pace, Wesley Bray explores its influence on traditional finance, market structure and trading practices, and looks at what can be learned from the asset class.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
In the ever-evolving landscape of financial markets, the emergence of digital assets has resulted in a paradigm shift as conventional notions have been challenged and new players have emerged along with a reshaping of the way in which financial systems are perceived and interacted with. As the introduction of digital assets become increasingly common, their influence on traditional finance is becoming more notable, blurring the line between two seemingly separate, and arguably parallel, financial instruments.

New report: 60% of OpenAI model’s responses contain plagiarism
Megan Morrone – Axios
A new report from plagiarism detector Copyleaks found that 60% of OpenAI’s GPT-3.5 outputs contained some form of plagiarism. Why it matters: Content creators from authors and songwriters to The New York Times are arguing in court that generative AI trained on copyrighted material ends up spitting out exact copies. Copyleaks is an AI-based text analysis company that began selling plagiarism-detection tools to businesses and schools long before ChatGPT’s arrival. GPT-3.5 was the model powering ChatGPT when it debuted, but OpenAI has moved on to the bigger and more capable GPT-4.0.Between the lines: Plagiarism takes many forms beyond simple cutting and pasting full sentences and paragraphs.

Ukraine Invasion

Traders Turn Optimistic That Gas Will Keep Flowing Via Ukraine
Anna Shiryaevskaya, Priscila Azevedo Rocha and John Ainger – Bloomberg
Traders are selling European gas for next winter in a sign of optimism that the region will continue to receive Russian shipments via Ukraine after the current transit deal expires. Contracts for the first quarter of 2025 have slumped by about 20% since the start of the year. The move indicates confidence that there will be a mechanism in place to allow the flows to continue, according to several market participants who spoke on the sidelines of the E-World conference in Essen, Germany.

G-7 to Vow Ukraine Support Won’t Waver as War Enters Third Year; G-7 to target third countries and firms aiding Russia’s war; Allies remain divided over using frozen Russian assets
Alberto Nardelli and Chiara Albanese – Bloomberg
Group of Seven nations will this week aim to reassure Ukraine that their support will not waver as Russia’s war against its neighbor enters its third year. The G-7 will call on Russia to “completely” and “unconditionally withdraw its military forces” from Ukraine and will pledge to never recognize elections that Russia holds now or in future in occupied territories, according to a draft statement seen by Bloomberg.

Kyiv has right to strike Russian targets ‘outside Ukraine’, says Nato chief; Jens Stoltenberg lays out Ukrainian right to defend itself including by extraterritorial attacks
Henry Foy, Max Seddon in Riga and Isobel Koshiw – Financial Times
Ukraine has the right to strike “Russian military targets outside Ukraine” in line with international law, the Nato secretary-general has said for the first time since the start of the full-scale war nearly two years ago. Jens Stoltenberg earlier this week acknowledged that the use of western-supplied arms to strike targets in Russia had long been a point of contention among Kyiv’s allies, due to fears of escalating the conflict.

Israel/Palestine Conflict

The Gaza War Isn’t a Holocaust. It’s Still a Nightmare; Brazil’s Lula is wrong, but the conflict is self-defeating and must end.
Marc Champion – Bloomberg (opinion)
Visiting Ethiopia, Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva declared Israel’s devastating war in Gaza as a genocide conducted by soldiers on women and children, unique in history except for the Holocaust. He was wrong on every count and has rightly outraged many in Israel. But just as with the genocide case brought against the Jewish state at the International Court of Justice, Israelis should listen hard and reconsider the path their government has put them on.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

London Risks Losing Another Major Company to New York Stock Exchange
Lisa Pham – Bloomberg
London’s shrinking stock market suffered a fresh setback after British drugmaker Indivior Plc said it could move its primary listing to the US. Indivior’s share price soared Thursday following its statement that it was starting talks with shareholders on the potential switch in the summer of this year. The move would attract more investors and analysts coverage as well as potentially leading to inclusion in major US indexes, it added.

London Stock Exchange Group platforms suffer brief outages
Nimesh Vora and Rae Wee – Reuters
Various London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) news and currency trading platforms around the world suffered brief outages as European markets opened on Thursday. LSEG’s Eikon and Workspace market data platforms and its interbank foreign exchange matching systems FXT and FXall all stopped functioning, traders in India and Singapore said.

MIAX Named Best Trading Platform at the Fund Intelligence Operations and Services Awards 2024
Miami International Holdings, Inc. (MIH), owner of Miami International Securities Exchange, LLC (MIAX, MIAX PEARL, LLC (MIAX Pearl), MIAX Emerald, LLC (MIAX Emerald), MIAX Sapphire, LLC (MIAX Sapphire), Minneapolis Grain Exchange, LLC (MGE), LedgerX LLC (LedgerX), The Bermuda Stock Exchange (BSX), and Dorman Trading, LLC (Dorman Trading), today announced that MIAX has been named the “Best Trading Platform” at the Fund Intelligence Operations and Services Awards 2024.

SIX Launches New SME Sustainability Assessment Solution Powered by Greenomy
SIX, the global financial information provider, has today launched a new solution enabling the global banking clients of SIX to measure the sustainability performance of their small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) clients, and to assess climate and sustainability risk trajectories linked to their loan books. This product launch is following the company’s partnership with leading Brussels-based ESG assessment and reporting specialist Greenomy in December. SIX is driving forward the increased inclusion of SMEs in financial markets. With their partnership, SIX and Greenomy are recognizing the pivotal role that SMEs can play in the transition to a sustainable and low-carbon economy.

Cboe Global Markets to Present at the UBS Financial Services Conference on February 27
Cboe Global Markets, Inc. (Cboe: CBOE), the world’s leading derivatives and securities exchange network, announced today that Jill Griebenow, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, and David Howson, Executive Vice President and Global President, will present at the UBS Financial Services Conference in Miami, Florida on Tuesday, February 27 at 10:30 a.m. ET. The live webcast and replay of the presentation will be accessible at www.cboe.com in the Investor Relations section, under Events and Presentations. The archived webcast is expected to be available within an hour of the presentation.

LME Asia Week 2024 Dinner and Sponsorship Update
London Metal Exchange
1. This notice provides details to members and other interested parties about sponsorship packages for LME Asia Week 2024 and the process for booking tables at the LME Asia Dinner. 2. As part of LME Asia Week 2024, the London Metal Exchange (LME) hosts a number of events including the LME Asia Metals Seminar and the LME Asia Dinner, both being held on Thursday 27 June 2024 in Hong Kong SAR. 3. LME Asia Week brings together leading voices in the commodities industry globally, to discuss opportunities and challenges facing the industry in the region today.

Product Modification Summary: Basis Trade at Index Close (BTIC); Transaction Eligibility in Connection with CME CF Reference Rates Asia Pacific for Bitcoin Futures, Micro Bitcoin Futures, Ether Futures and Micro Ether Futures Contracts – Effective March 18, 2024
CME Group
Basis Trade at Index Close (BTIC) Transaction Eligibility in Connection with CME CF Reference Rates Asia Pacific for Bitcoin Futures, Micro Bitcoin Futures, Ether Futures and Micro Ether Futures Contracts.

Product Modification Summary: Expansion of the Strike Price Listing Schedule of Three (3) Refined Gasoline Option Contracts – Effective March 18, 2024
CME Group
Expansion of the Strike Price Listing Schedule of Three (3) Refined Gasoline Option Contracts

ICE First Look at Mortgage Performance: Foreclosures Up but Delinquencies Improve as the Mortgage Market Kicks Off 2024
Intercontinental Exchange
In an expected rebound from December’s calendar-driven rise, the national delinquency rate dropped to 3.38% in January, the lowest level since October, and flat from the same time last year. Past-due mortgages were down across the board, as inflows and rolls to later stages of delinquency fell, while early- and late-stage delinquency cures improved. Serious delinquencies (loans 90+ days past due but not in active foreclosure) were down 109K (-19%) year over year, with the population now at 470K. Representing 7.2% of serious delinquencies, January’s 34K foreclosure starts – the most since April 2022 – marked a +43.3% month over month jump, driven in part by seasonal pressures. The number of loans in active foreclosure rose 7K to 219K, but remained 23% below (-64K) pre-pandemic levels.

Satrix lists Satrix MSCI ACWI ETF on the JSE
Johannesburg Stock Exchange
The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) today announced the listing of the Satrix MSCI ACWI Feeder Exchange Traded Fund (ETF). This innovative ETF grants South African investors access to a global portfolio of both developed and emerging markets, tracking the esteemed MSCI All Country World Index (ACWI). The fund encompasses a diverse mix of 23 developed and 24 emerging market countries and is designed to mirror the performance of the MSCI ACWI, which represents at least 85% coverage of the listed equities in each included country, ensuring a comprehensive global equity exposure.

Derivatives Holiday Trading (February 23, 2024)
Japan Exchange Group
The derivatives market will be open for holiday trading on Friday, February 23, 2024 (Emperor’s Birthday)

IPO Vid with Patrick Young with Namibian Stock Exchange CEO, Tiaan Bazuin
Unlocking Namibian Growth
Tiaan Bazuin is an entrepreneurial qualified lawyer who has been CEO of the Namibian Stock Exchange since 2013 and MD of the Central Securities Depository (Pty) Ltd, and MD of Birdsong Properties (Pty) Ltd, a real estate developer company situated outside of Windhoek, the capital city of Namibia. Tiaan is chairman of the CoSSE Legal Sub-committee and serves on the Board of Trustees of NMC (Namibia Medical Care).


Tabiri Analytics Debuts Innovating African Outsourcing Model that Addresses Global Cybersecurity Talent Shortage; Partnership with Carnegie Mellon taps into vast talent pool in Africa, solving client problems while fostering growth in underserved communities
Tabiri Analytics
Tabiri Analytics, a global leader in cybersecurity monitoring services, today announced the debut of an innovative approach to outsourcing that addresses the global cybersecurity talent shortage. By staffing its monitoring operation with personnel from Rwanda trained through a partnership with Carnegie Mellon University and other schools, Tabiri Analytics is able to deliver economical monitoring solutions while fostering socio economic growth in underserved communities.

Nvidia Surges After AI Boom Shows No Signs of Letting Up
Ian King – Bloomberg
Nvidia Corp. surged in late trading after delivering another eye-popping sales forecast, adding fresh momentum to a stock rally that already made it the world’s most valuable chipmaker. Revenue in the current period will be about $24 billion, the company said in a statement Wednesday. Analysts had predicted $21.9 billion on average. Results in the fourth quarter also sailed past Wall Street estimates.

Nvidia To Top Meta Record With Nearly $250 Billion Value Jump
Subrat Patnaik – Bloomberg
Nvidia Corp. is on track to best Meta Platforms Inc.’s historic stock-market session, just three weeks after the Facebook owner set the record. Shares in the chipmaker surged as much as 15% in premarket trading on Thursday, putting it on course to add almost $250 billion to its market capitalization. That would be the biggest single-session increase in market value in history, eclipsing a $197 billion gain made by Meta at the start of the month.

Customer demand for Nvidia chips is so far above supply that CEO; Jensen Huang had to discuss how ‘fairly’ the company decides who can buy them
Kylie Robison – Fortune
With demand for his company’s AI chips soaring and supply limited, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang was forced to deliver an unusual message Wednesday. “We allocate fairly. We do the best we can to allocate fairly, and to avoid allocating unnecessarily,” Huang said in response to a question during Nvidia’s fourth quarter earnings call. The Nvidia boss was referring to how the company decides who gets first dibs on its graphics processors, or GPUs, the hardware that powers the artificial intelligence boom. Tech giants like Meta, Microsoft, Amazon, and Alphabet can’t get enough of Nvidia’s GPUs as they race to build datacenters that make popular generative AI services like ChatGPT, Runway AI and Gemini a reality.

Google Pauses AI-Made Images of People After Race Inaccuracies
Jake Rudnitsky – Bloomberg
Alphabet Inc.’s Google said it will pause the image generation of people for Gemini, a powerful artificial intelligence model, after criticism about how it was handling race. “We’re already working to address recent issues with Gemini’s image generation feature,” Google said in a post on X on Thursday. “We’re going to pause the image generation of people and will re-release an improved version soon.”

How fatalistic should we be on AI? The godfather of artificial intelligence has issued a stark warning about the technology
John Thornhill – Financial Times
A long line of prestigious speakers, ranging from Sir Winston Churchill to Dame Iris Murdoch, has delivered the annual Romanes lecture at the University of Oxford, starting with William Gladstone in 1892. But rarely, if ever, can a lecturer have made such an arresting comment as Geoffrey Hinton did this week. The leading artificial intelligence researcher’s speech, provocatively entitled Will Digital Intelligence Replace Biological Intelligence?, concluded: almost certainly, yes. But Hinton rejected the idea, common in some West Coast tech circles, that humanism is somehow “racist” in continuing to assert the primacy of our own species over electronic forms of intelligence. “We humans should make our best efforts to stay around,” he joked.

Building a successful execution setup; The TRADE speaks to Brendan McMurtray, vice president, FX electronic trading and market structure analyst at T. Rowe Price, about the key things to look out for when selecting an OEMS, utilising pre-trade data to improve execution outcomes and the current vendor landscape for holistic market views.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
What are your key requirements when selecting an OEMS?
For those on the buy-side thinking about changing their order and/or execution management system(s), I would encourage them to explore the modern landscape. It is possible your setup is optimised, but regardless, you’ll accrue benefits and increase your knowledge of the current offerings on the market.

Andreessen Invests $100 Million in Crypto Startup EigenLayer
Hannah Miller and Muyao Shen – Bloomberg


Leaked Files Show the Secret World of China’s Hackers for Hire; China has increasingly turned to private companies in campaigns to hack foreign governments and control its domestic population.
Paul Mozur, Keith Bradsher, John Liu and Aaron Krolik – The New York Times
The hackers offered a menu of services, at a variety of prices. A local government in southwest China paid less than $15,000 for access to the private website of traffic police in Vietnam. Software that helped run disinformation campaigns and hack accounts on X cost $100,000. For $278,000 Chinese customers could get a trove of personal information behind social media accounts on platforms like Telegram and Facebook.

Biden’s maritime cybersecurity actions target China threats
Cynthia Brumfield – CSO
The White House announced a new executive order and other actions to strengthen the cybersecurity of the maritime industry and ports while seeking to revive a domestic crane industry and wean America off Chinese-made port cranes.


Digital Assets Have Tricky Tax Rules. Here’s the Latest Guidance.
Karen Hube – Barron’s
If you sold, traded, or earned interest on any digital assets in 2023, it’s likely you face tax reporting requirements on your 2023 tax return-and possibly a higher tax bill. The good news is that after years of confusing gray areas in the tax law related to how digital assets should be taxed, there is more clarity after several recent IRS guidelines.

New Technology Will Have Institutions Lining Up for Crypto
Colin Butler – CoinDesk
2024 will be the year that transforms traditional asset management. Institutional investment in blockchain technology has been anticipated for years, but that is about to become a reality. Key capabilities, particularly the development of the zero-knowledge Ethereum Virtual Machine, or zkEVM, are capable of enabling tokenization of real-world assets and setting the stage for a fundamental transformation of the global financial system.

Ether ETF Applications Spur S&P Warning on Concentration Risks
Yueqi Yang – Bloomberg
The prospect of a US approval of Ether exchange-traded funds threatens to exacerbate the Ethereum ecosystem’s concentration problem by keeping staked tokens in the hands of a few providers, S&P Global warns. After the first spot Bitcoin ETFs were approved in January, investors are expecting Ethereum’s native token to be next. Some of the spot Ether ETFs applications – namely ones from Ark Investment Management and Franklin Templeton – are proposing to allow staking, that is when Ether holders lock their tokens to the Ethereum network to help validate transactions and to earn additional yields.

CEO of Ripple Brad Garlinghouse Says It “Makes Sense” To Have XRP ETF
Hope C – CoinMarketCap
Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of Ripple, expressed his enthusiasm for a potential exchange-traded fund (ETF) based on the XRP token. In a recent interview with Bloomberg, he stated that Ripple would “certainly welcome” such a development. Beyond his specific interest in an XRP ETF, Garlinghouse predicted a broader trend of diversification within the crypto ETF landscape. He envisions multiple ETFs tracking individual tokens, as well as basket-based funds offering broader exposure to the market. This would mirror the evolution of traditional stock exchanges, where diversifying options attract various investor profiles.


To Restore the SEC’s Credibility, Appoint a New Chair
Todd Tiahrt – RealClearPolicy.com
Economic uncertainty is one of the top issues facing the country today. Many Americans have been forced to rethink their spending habits while concerns about job stability and fluctuating market conditions are leading families to focus more on savings and debt reduction as they prepare for potential financial challenges ahead.

Canadian Firms Are Delaying Climate Investments, Trudeau Is Warned
Brian Platt – Bloomberg
Canada faces a “critical problem” in meeting its 2030 emissions target because businesses are delaying building low-carbon projects due to uncertainty over the future of the country’s climate policies, a new report warns. To fix it, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government should expand a program that backstops carbon trading markets with public money, according to the report from Clean Prosperity, a group that advocates for market-based climate policy.

EU Farmers Push the Bloc to Limit Ukraine Trade Measures
Nayla Razzouk – Bloomberg
European Union farmers have asked the EU parliament to limit the free trade measures put in place in solidarity with Ukraine that they say are endangering the bloc’s economies and its single market. An EU commission met on Wednesday without approving a proposed text that would change terms of the so-called Autonomous Trade Measures, according to a joint statement by groups representing several agricultural groups. “It is now imperative for the European Parliament to take action.”

Russia’s Space Nuke Could Destroy Orbit for Whole Planet, Germans Warn
Noor Al-Sibai – Futurism
The anti-satellite space weapon Russia is said to be developing could potentially destroy low-Earth orbit for everyone. “If somebody dares to explode a nuclear weapon in high atmosphere or even space, this would be more or less the end of the usability of that global commons,” Michael Traut, the major general in charge of Germany’s military space command, said last week per Politico Europe. “Nobody would survive an action like that – no satellite, either Chinese or Russian and American or European.”


Sam Bankman-Fried Replaces Lawyers Ahead of Sentencing; Bankman-Fried replaced his former lawyers, Mark Cohen and Christian Everdale, as he’s headed into sentencing negotiations.
Helene Braun – CoinDesk
Sam Bankman-Fried, in his first appearance in court after being found guilty of defrauding billions of dollars from FTX customers, said his trial attorneys would no longer represent him as he heads towards sentencing. Instead, his newly hired lawyer, Marc Mukasey, will represent him over the next month. Bankman-Fried, who was found guilty on seven different counts of fraud and conspiracy last November, will be sentenced in late March.

Commissioner Pham Announces CFTC Global Markets Advisory Committee Meeting on March 6
CFTC Commissioner Caroline D. Pham, sponsor of the Global Markets Advisory Committee (GMAC), announced today the GMAC will hold a public meeting on Wednesday, March 6, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. EST at the CFTC’s Washington, D.C. headquarters.

CFTC Extends Comment Period for Proposed Rule on Operational Resilience Framework
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today announced it is extending the public comment period for a proposed rule requiring an Operational Resilience Framework for Futures Commission Merchants, Swap Dealers, and Major Swap Participants. The deadline is extended to April 1, 2024.

ASIC calls on industry to improve oversight of Choice super performance and address issues
An ASIC review has called out the risk to retirement outcomes for Australians, of holding their superannuation in persistently underperforming options, and called on super trustees, financial advisers, and financial advice licensees to more consistently focus on the performance of Choice super investment options. As of September 2023, Choice products accounted for over $1.1 trillion in superannuation savings held by Australians across 7.5 million member accounts. Many Australians hold these products based on the recommendation of a financial adviser. ASIC Commissioner Simone Constant said the results of ASIC’s review were concerning.

Open regulators and open markets
Deputy Ambassador, it’s great to be able to join you in what I gather has become a regular Embassy event the day before Eurofi. I joined the FCA as Chair exactly a year ago today. And since then, I’ve come to understand the challenges to global cooperation amongst regulators in a world where market fragmentation and shifts towards protectionism are an undeniable trend. Effective cooperation matters hugely to enable us to manage the considerable risks that accompany extremely large volumes of cross-border financial activity. And of course, this includes activity between the EU and UK, whose financial services sectors remain closely intertwined.

Investing and Trading

Man Group Says China Stock Rout Mirrors 2007 US Quant Meltdown
Ye Xie – Bloomberg
China’s equity rout a few weeks ago was exacerbated by quantitative funds stampeding to exit positions, akin to a 2007 episode in the US when such investors suffered an abrupt meltdown that roiled markets. That’s the analysis of Man Group’s Ziang Fang, who said in a note this week that the unwinding of these funds’ positions was so massive that it spurred small-cap stocks to underperform by a historic margin. China’s intervention to stem the turmoil also caused significant market dislocations, compounding the losses for these funds, according to Fang, a portfolio manager at the world’s largest publicly listed hedge fund.

Citadel Securities Index Arbitrage Head Francois Jeulin Leaves
Bei Hu and Lulu Yilun Chen – Bloomberg
Two senior employees on Citadel Securities’s index arbitrage team have left the firm, said people familiar with the matter. Francois Jeulin, Hong Kong-based global head of the team, departed after eight years at the firm, the people said, requesting not to be named because the matter is private. Sam Zoghaib, quant research lead for index arbitrage, also left, according to one of the people and regulatory data.

Nikkei Overtakes 1989 High to Hit Record as Global Funds Pour In
Winnie Hsu and Yasutaka Tamura – Bloomberg
Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average reached a record high, joining Wall Street stocks in pushing into uncharted territory. The blue-chip gauge surged 2.2% to close at 39,098.68, above its past peak formed in 1989, on the back of a rally in technology shares such as Screen Holdings Co. and chipmaking gear producer Tokyo Electron Ltd. after robust earnings from Nvidia Corp.

AI-darling Nvidia’s earnings could boost its sway over U.S. stock market
Lewis Krauskopf and Noel Randewich – Reuters
No single stock has embodied the U.S. market’s artificial intelligence fervor as much as Nvidia Corp, leaving Wall Street tied to the fluctuations of its volatile shares. The semiconductor company, whose chips are considered the gold standard in the AI industry, forecast fiscal first-quarter revenue above estimates after the market closed on Wednesday in one of the most highly anticipated earnings releases in recent memory.

Warburg Pincus Hands Cash Back to Investors as Rivals Struggle; Its distributions outpaced investments for most of past decade; President Jeff Perlman says firm has ‘luxury’ of being private
Gillian Tan – Bloomberg
The largest US private equity firms have disappointed some fund investors with dwindling distributions in the past two years as they struggled to exit investments. Warburg Pincus is an outlier. The closely held firm generated close to $11 billion last year, more than half of which came from selling or recapitalizing 10 portfolio companies, according to people familiar with the matter. That exceeded the $7 billion of capital invested, the people said.

Anglo American writes down $2.4bn on diamond and nickel businesses; Miner suffers slide in earnings and cuts dividend because of slow recovery in gemstones and tumble in metal prices
Harry Dempsey – Financial Times
Anglo American has written down $2.4bn in its diamond and nickel businesses as the gemstone market takes longer to recover and the battery metal suffers from a glut of Indonesian supply. The FTSE 100 group booked a $1.6bn impairment charge on its De Beers diamond division as well as a writedown of $800mn for its Barro Alto nickel mine in Brazil after the metal’s price tumbled from record highs in 2022.

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

The anti-ESG backlash is not just an American phenomenon as Europe waters down its sustainability agenda
Camille Fumard – Fortune
A wave of discontent over sustainability policies is sweeping across the Atlantic, making green growth harder and putting the leaders and financiers who are fighting to implement environmental, social, and governance (ESG) policies under pressure. And the upcoming U.S. election will not make life any easier for the companies that are navigating the powerful currents of anti-ESG lobbies. In Europe, the ardor for ESG regulations has somewhat cooled. The strong polarization around ESG criteria has not waited for the result of the U.S. election. It is lurking in the undertones of financial and standardization talks. The dynamism of U.S. President Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act is still having ripple effects and unforeseen consequences as the IRA compels Brussels to adapt. This trend can be seen in the significant changes in July to the last draft of the new European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS).

US Watchdog Slams Oil Industry’s Slow Retirement of Aging Wells
Tope Alake – Bloomberg
Thousands of aging offshore oil wells and platforms in the Gulf of Mexico are overdue for plugging and cleaning up, exacerbated by the Department of Interior’s lax oversight, a US government watchdog said. The Government Accountability Office found that oil and gas operators missed the one-year deadline to plug more than 40% of wells and remove 50% of platforms for Gulf leases that ended in 2010 through 2022, a report published Tuesday shows. The unmet decommissioning obligations pose serious environmental, safety and financial risks, the GAO said.

Denmark Told to Put Carbon Tax on Farmers to Reach Climate Goal
Sanne Wass – Bloomberg
Denmark should introduce a carbon tax on farmers to meet its national climate goal and European Union commitments, a government-commissioned advisory group said. The expert group on Wednesday told the Danish government to tax agricultural production by as much as 750 kroner ($109) per ton of emitted CO2-equivalent. It also recommended initiatives to help the industry lower its emissions, including afforestation and the use of new technology such as pyrolysis.

The US Isn’t Recycling Nearly Enough Cardboard and Paper; Thanks to rising package deliveries and limited recycling programs, a significant amount of cardboard is ending up in landfills.
Jessica Nix – Bloomberg
Over the past few decades, the perception of recycling in the US has gone downhill. While the vast majority of Americans still believe recycling is positive for the environment, an increasing number of them are losing confidence in recycling programs’ actual effectiveness. Plastic recycling in particular is criticized for failing to process a critical mass of materials. But plastic isn’t the only problem. As e-commerce habits evolve and package deliveries climb, US paper and cardboard recycling is struggling to keep up. A recent study from the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) found that, out of the 110 million tons of paper and cardboard waste managed in 2019, 62 million tons (56%) ended up in landfills.

Banks Backpedal On Climate Amid Federal Scrutiny, Anti-Esg Pressure
Saul Elbein – The Hill
Many of the largest U.S. banks and asset managers are retreating from their climate commitments amid rising federal scrutiny and an assault on environmentally conscious investing in state legislatures. As more stringent federal oversight looms and bills to blacklist and in some cases criminalize banks that refuse to invest in fossil fuels are proposed in statehouses across the country, many banks have in different ways backpedaled – at least rhetorically – on steps they have taken since the 2015 Paris Climate Accords toward slowing the warming of the planet by financing a gradual transition away from fossil fuels.

Report: Big corporate emitters failing to disclose climate risks
Sidhi Mittal – edie

Sustainable Fuels Show Aviation Is Bereft of Ideas; Low-carbon biofuels sound great, but they mask an industry with few efficiency gains left.
Tim Culpan – Bloomberg

The problem with Europe’s ageing wind farms; As thousands of turbines near retirement, owners must decide whether to invest in upgrades or walk away from a vital source of clean energy
Barney Jopson – Financial Times

The Price Is Wrong – Brett Christophers on saving the planet; A convincing argument for why a solution to the climate crisis cannot rely on markets alone
Jonathan Ford – Financial Times

Investments, Trudeau Is Warned; Report urges expansion of carbon contracts to spur projects; Failure to do so risks Canada missing 2030 goals, group says
Brian Platt – Bloomberg

California’s Oil Country Hopes Carbon Management Will Provide Jobs. It May Be Disappointed; The first carbon storage facility will only produce a handful of permanent positions.
Emma Foehringer Merchant, Joshua Yeager – Inside Climate News


HSBC Sets Rare CO2 Targets for Its Capital Markets Bankers
Alastair Marsh – Bloomberg
HSBC Holdings Plc has become one of the first global banks to set targets for limiting the carbon footprint of its capital markets business. The bank’s so-called facilitated emissions targets will apply to its underwriting of deals for the oil and gas, as well as power and utilities sectors, according to its annual report published on Wednesday.

Citigroup’s pro-tax trading prodigy: “I was the best f**king trader in the world”
Sarah Butcher – eFinancialCareers.com
Who was the best trader at Citi in 2011? In 2024 it probably doesn’t matter much, but Gary Stevenson, the ex-Citi short term interest rates (STIRT) trader who’s become a YouTube sensation with his calls for a wealth tax and condemnation of the super rich, is adamant that it was him. “I am not f**cking Mahatma Gandhi, I am not here to talk about morality, I was the best f**king trader in the f**king world and I am the bloke that called it right every f**king year,” says Stevenson in a recent video titled the ‘Secret Economics Destroying Britain.’ “I’m not here because I’m a good person, I’m here because I’m a good f**king economist and I don’t want this f**king country I grew up in to go down the f**king toilet,” he adds.

Veteran Beth Hammack to leave Goldman Sachs, Bloomberg News reports
Goldman Sachs veteran Beth Hammack is set to quit the Wall Street giant after more than three decades, Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday, citing people with knowledge of the matter. Hammack, 52, was earlier seen as the front-runner to take over the role of chief financial officer, according to the report. Goldman Sachs declined to comment when contacted by Reuters. In her recent role, Hammack was co-head of the Global Financing Group and a member of the management committee. She was also a part of Investment Banking Executive Committee, according to the company’s website.

Citadel Hires Several Traders in Paris, London and New York
Liza Tetley – Bloomberg
Citadel has recruited several new fixed income and macro traders for its London, Paris and New York offices. Hugues de Murard joins the $58 billion hedge fund firm from ExodusPoint Capital Management, where according to his LinkedIn profile he was a fixed income trader. The money manager, who will be starting as a relative value trader for Citadel in Paris later this year, previously held positions at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Societe Generale SA.

Work & Management

Half of College Grads Are Working Jobs That Don’t Use Their Degrees; Choice of major, internships and getting the right first job after graduation are critical to career paths, new data show
Vanessa Fuhrmans and Lindsay Ellis – The Wall Street Journal
Roughly half of college graduates end up in jobs where their degrees aren’t needed, and that underemployment has lasting implications for workers’ earnings and career paths. That is the key finding of a new study tracking the career paths of more than 10 million people who entered the job market over the past decade. It suggests that the number of graduates in jobs that don’t make use of their skills or credentials-52%-is greater than previously thought, and underscores the lasting importance of that first job after graduation.

Wellness Exchange

Could You Pass the Presidential Physical Fitness Test Today? Whether you loved it or loathed it as a kid, the exercises can still be a revealing measure of health – now that no one’s forcing you to do them.
Danielle Friedman – The New York Times
If you went to an American public school between 1966 and 2012, you probably have memories of sweating through the Presidential Physical Fitness Test – a gym-class gantlet that involved a mile run, sit-ups, pull-ups (or push-ups), a sit-and-reach and a shuttle run. For those who were athletically inclined, it was a chance to shine: Children who scored in the top 15 percent were honored with a Presidential Physical Fitness Award. (At my elementary school, those kids got their names painted on the gym wall.) For those who weren’t, it could be a source of dread: proof that you just weren’t cut out to exercise. Anyone else remember hanging in vain from a pull-up bar?


India’s Tech Leaders Jockey For Slice of $300 Billion AI Market
Saritha Rai – Bloomberg
From the US to China, internet giants and startups are spending billions to stake out a spot in a rapidly expanding AI sphere. India too can become a formidable contestant in that race, industry experts say. From DeepMind Technologies co-founder Mustafa Suleyman to Stanford researcher Fei-Fei Li, some of the field’s biggest names debated this week in Mumbai how India – the country that pioneered the $250 billion IT outsourcing industry – can become a player in the transformative technology.

Japan’s FX intervention bark will lack bite
Jamie McGeever – Reuters
The yen’s slide below 150 per dollar has fired up warnings from Japanese officials that the pace of depreciation is “excessive” and “undesirable,” but a repeat of the yen-buying intervention frenzy of 2022 seems unlikely. Tokyo may not intervene at all. Its tolerance for a weaker exchange rate may be greater now than it was then, lower yen volatility points to a pretty relaxed FX market, and U.S.-Japanese yield spreads are probably more likely to narrow than widen from here.

LNG Tankers May be Converted to Floating Storage in India
A consortium of shipping companies is considering converting two liquefied natural gas tankers into floating storage units to help meet rising demand for the fuel in India, according to two people familiar with the matter. Petronet LNG Ltd. currently uses the units, with a capacity of 138,000 cubic meters each, to import LNG from Qatar, but doesn’t plan to renew a lease beyond 2028.

India Extends Parboiled Rice Export Tax to Control Prices
Pratik Parija and Ruchi Bhatia – Bloomberg
India, the world’s top rice exporter, extended a tax on outbound shipments of the parboiled variety to prevent any increase in domestic prices ahead of general elections. The 20% export levy, which was due to expire on March 31, will be valid for an indefinite period, according to a finance ministry notification late Wednesday, confirming a Bloomberg News report earlier this month.

Russia’s Disrupted Oil Trade Crimps Margins for Indian Refiners
Serene Cheong and Elizabeth Low – Bloomberg
India’s state-run refiners are facing a shift in fortunes as once cheap Russian oil becomes more expensive and less accessible, squeezing profits for companies that had been benefiting from Moscow’s war in Ukraine.

China’s Metal Demand Takes a Different Shape; China’s property crisis keeps punishing big miners, but increasing demand from manufacturing and infrastructure could take the edge off
Megha Mandavia – The Wall Street Journal
The realization that China’s property bust is beginning to look semi-permanent isn’t welcome for big miners, which have long fed off the country’s housing demand. But although China is starting far fewer new apartment blocks these days, it is building lots more of other metal-intense things like electric vehicles and windmills. That fact, along with supply discipline from the big iron-ore miners, has kept things from being even worse.

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