SEC’s Gensler Steps Up Push to Get Crypto Exchanges to Register With Regulator

Jul 29, 2022

First Read

Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

A study conducted at the University of Bath and reported by Dean Burnett via Science Focus says, “Money can’t buy happiness, a neuroscientist explains why.” This is why I don’t talk to my neurons; they try to get in the way of my clichés and memes.

One thing that does make me happy is a Choco Taco, and it turns out I may be able to continue to buy Choco Tacos. The public outcry over the demise of the beloved ice cream treat has caused corporate giant Unilever to rethink its decision. The company said it was “exploring options to bring it back,” according to the Wall Street Journal. I guess I was not the only one with fond Choco Taco memories.

For some people, ice cream is not enough to make them happy, they need shiny status symbols of their wealth, like a Rolex or Patek watch. While some of the prices are still ridiculous, they are more affordable as the crypto collapse has caused some to become non-HODLers of these expensive baubles, Bloomberg reported.

There are going to be some happy older people in the U.S. in 2023 as their Social Security benefit checks are to be boosted by a cost-of-living adjustment tied to inflation. How much they will get will be revealed this fall. Get ready for more advertising aimed at older people gumming up the television.

The New York Times editorial board has weighed in on Russia making a ton of money from high oil prices with an editorial titled “Russia Is Making Heaps of Money From Oil, but There Is a Way to Stop That.”

Russia is not the only one rolling in rubles, or dollars, from high oil prices, as the Wall Street Journal reports “Exxon, Chevron, Shell Report Record Profits on High Energy Prices.”

Reminder: Musician Matt Scharpf of Eurex and his pal Lou are playing at Pier 290 in Williams Bay, Wis., tonight. Tomorrow night Matt and the band “Bad Dads” will play on Pat Kenny‘s turf in Fontana, Wis., at the bar Chuck’s where Pat and CME’s Terry Duffy were once bartenders. Pat is now president of the Village of Fontana.

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


The Lonely Office Is Bad for America; Employees may like remote work, but it tends to break down both organizational and national culture.
Peggy Noonan – WSJ
Where are we in the office wars? I think there’s an armistice between the return-to-the-office side and the work-from-home forces. Perhaps hostilities will resume in the fall. Bosses are hoping the old reality will snap back as the drama of 2020-22 recedes, that people will start to feel they need to come back, or can be made to. The work-from-home people are dug in, believing they’re on the winning side, that the transformation of work in America, which had been going remote for years, was simply sped up and finalized by the pandemic. In this tight job market they have the upper hand. Employers are fighting for talent: Fire me—I’ll get a better job tomorrow, and you’ll get 50 hours with HR onboarding my replacement. The balance of power will change if the slowing economy leads to layoffs and hiring freezes.

***** On the plus side, my dogs are feeling much more connected to me.~JJL


Ex-NBA Star Metta World Peace Targets $1 Billion Investment Fund
Katie Roof – Bloomberg
Metta Sandiford-Artest, the former pro basketball player also known as Metta World Peace, is planning a new investment fund for his Artest Management Group, according to a person familiar with the matter. The fund is targeting $1 billion, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the information was private. The fundraising hasn’t begun yet and the target size could still change, the person said. Focusing on the U.S. and Asia, the new fund would invest in sports real estate and professional teams, as well as startups across health, sports, blockchain technology and real estate. The fund could also potentially be used to acquire businesses and to make a large investment in a Las Vegas professional basketball arena.

***** One always wonders if the former star is the brains of the operation or the marketing front for these types of investments.~JJL


ASF Launches First-of-Its-Kind ‘Profound Autism’ Funding Mechanism
Autism Science Foundation
The Autism Science Foundation (ASF), a nonprofit organization dedicated to funding innovative autism research and supporting families facing autism, today announced a new, focused funding mechanism to support research on individuals with “profound autism” and those with severe and challenging behaviors including impulsivity and aggression. ASF’s new funding mechanism is intended to support projects that will improve, expand, or make possible the inclusion of those with “profound autism” into research studies to ensure that scientific discoveries help individuals across the spectrum.

***** Is it time to ride again yet?~JJL


Are You a Fintech Planning to Rebrand? Carefully Consider How to Get It Done
Mark Dowd and Eric Soderberg – Forefront
Did you just close a funding round and are now ready to scale? Perhaps you’ve acquired a competitor and need to integrate the brands? Or maybe you recognize that you’ve neglected your brand for too long and need to modernize it? Regardless of your motivations for rebranding, your next choice – how to do it – will be one of the biggest marketing and communications decisions you make. And the biggest component of that question is whether you try to do this in-house or with a partner.

***** I am thinking of a rebrand, maybe to “Metta Galaxy Peace,” or have I been watching too many Marvel Avenger movies?~JJL


Thursday’s Top Three
Our top story Thursday was Bloomberg’s Crypto Exchange FTX US Expands Stock Trading, Plans Options Next. (And FTX US was our MarketsWiki Page of the Day Thursday.) Second was Peak6’s job posting for a chief of staff in Chicago. Third was Two Loop office buildings face loan trouble, from Crain’s Chicago Business.


MarketsWiki Stats
26,956 pages; 239,868 edits
MarketsWiki Statistics


Lead Stories

SEC’s Gensler Steps Up Push to Get Crypto Exchanges to Register With Regulator
Lydia Beyoud – Bloomberg
US Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler is stepping up his push to get crypto trading platforms to register with the Wall Street regulator. Gensler said in a video released on Thursday that he’s asked the agency’s staff to work with digital-asset exchanges so that they are “regulated much like securities exchanges.” Officials at the markets watchdog are also developing ways to get certain coins to be registered as securities, he said.

New Sustainability Rules Attacked for Protecting Profits Over Planet; A closely watched effort to unify a hodgepodge of climate-disclosure rules has major shortcomings, critics say.
Frances Schwartzkopff and Lisa Pham – Bloomberg
The organization aiming to set worldwide climate reporting requirements for decades to come is under fire for putting corporate interests ahead of the planet’s. In coming months, the International Sustainability Standards Board will publish rules for companies to disclose the growing financial risks they face from climate change, environmental degradation and social inequality. This rulebook is poised to become the leading global standard for sustainability reporting, eventually used by asset managers, lenders and insurers to drive trillions of dollars in green investments.

Lessons learned from Flash Boys; Following the recent dismissal of the so called ‘Flash Boys Case’ made against exchanges for favouring high frequency traders, Annabel Smith explores how Michael Lewis’ original novel has shaped the market… and why it drove asset managers to take legal action.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
The idea that high frequency traders were using speed to take advantage of ordinary investors was first brought to the world’s attention with the release of Michael Lewis’ 2014 novel, ‘Flash Boys: Cracking the Money Code.’ A story that follows the epiphany of former RBC electronic traders Brad Katsuyama and Ronan Ryan as they come to realise that the electronification of the market had opened the door for a new ‘predator’ so to speak that used speed to nip in ahead of slower and larger traditional institutions. Its release emphasised the importance of speed in trading and increased the amount of attention paid to how it can be utilised to take advantage of the unequipped ordinary investor.

***’Flash Boys’ is not a novel. It is a work of nonfiction.~SR

Binance and FTX, Big Crypto Exchanges, Get Bigger; Both firms boosted their spot-trading market share amid market downturn
Paul Vigna – WSJ
Two crypto exchanges—Binance and FTX—are extending their reach amid the continuing market rout. Binance’s spot-trading market share rose to 49.7% in June from 45% in January, according to data from research firm CryptoCompare. FTX, which has been aggressive in both marketing and acquisitions, boosted its market share to 8.95% in June from 6% in January. It is now the second-largest spot market.

Crypto trading, lending platforms should offer similar customer protections as stock exchanges, warns SEC chairman Gary Gensler
Frances Yue – MarketWatch
Crypto trading and lending platforms should offer similar customer protections as stock exchanges provide, warned Gary Gensler, Chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Gensler made the comments after several major crypto companies collapsed as digital assets price crashed. Earlier this month, digital asset broker Voyager Digital and lender Celsius consecutively filed for bankruptcy protection in the U.S., leaving millions of users unable to access their funds on the platforms.

JPMorgan’s Gold ‘Boss’ Led Plot to Spoof Prices, Jury Told; Prosecutor lays out final arguments against three executives; Defense blasts credibility of evidence after three-week trial
Joe Deaux and Tom Schoenberg – Bloomberg
Michael Nowak was “the boss” of a plot at JPMorgan Chase & Co. to manipulate gold and silver prices and worked with the top trader and salesman on the bank’s precious metals desk to “spoof” markets with bogus buy and sell orders, a federal prosecutor told jurors in Chicago. “For years, executives at one of the world’s largest banks conspired to manipulate the markets for precious metals,” Matthew Sullivan, an attorney in the US Department of Justice, said Thursday during closing arguments in the trial of Nowak, Gregg Smith and Jeffrey Ruffo. “All three worked together toward the same goal: earning profits for the precious-metals desk by spoofing.”

Ex-JPMorgan traders abused their positions, prosecutor says as racketeering trial closes
Jody Godoy – Reuters
A U.S. prosecutor urged a jury to convict three former JPMorgan Chase & Co employees on conspiracy and racketeering charges on Thursday, saying they engaged in a yearslong scheme to manipulate the market for precious metals futures. Prosecutor Matthew Sullivan told jurors in Chicago the bank’s former global precious metals desk head Michael Nowak, precious metals trader Gregg Smith and salesperson Jeffrey Ruffo conspired to defraud market participants via a manipulative trading tactic known as spoofing. “The defendants had power and influence, and together they abused their positions and rigged the precious metals markets for their own gain,” he said.

Cboe Partners With Snowflake to Move Corporate Data to Cloud; Tech firm’s platform can also guard against cyber attacks; Exchanges turn to cloud to offload data, analytics functions
Katherine Doherty – Bloomberg
Cboe Global Markets Inc. is working with Snowflake Inc. to shift its corporate data and analytics software to the cloud, as exchanges elect to offload certain technology functions to outside firms. Cboe plans to integrate more capabilities through Snowflake’s service, and to use the technology firm as a security blanket to detect and respond to potential cybersecurity attacks, the Chicago-based exchange said. Snowflake’s platform can create a more seamless experience for users, said Eileen Smith, senior vice president of data and analytics at Cboe.

First Global Gold Exchange in India Seen Burnishing Hub Role; IIBX to allow qualified jewelers to import the precious metal; Bourse may also offer silver spot trading in the future
Ranjeetha Pakiam and Swansy Afonso – Bloomberg
India’s first global gold exchange aims to create a regional bullion hub that will allow more jewelers to import the precious metal. The India International Bullion Exchange is expected to attract dealers, refineries and foreign banks, Chief Executive Officer Ashok Gautam said in an interview this week. The spot exchange — based in western India’s Gujarat International Finance Tec-City — will be launched Friday by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and trade will be in the form of bullion depository receipts.

US Poised to Deliver Bumper Wheat Crop the World Badly Needs; North Dakota spring wheat yield estimated to be biggest ever; World needs US grain but planting woes could still hurt output
Kim Chipman – Bloomberg
The US is poised to deliver a bumper spring wheat crop in the upcoming weeks, which if realized could help relieve global shortfalls caused by turmoil in the Black Sea. Fields in North Dakota, the top producing US state, are forecast to yield a record high 49.1 bushels per acre of the grain, according to the final estimate of a three-day crop tour led by the Wheat Quality Council. North Dakota makes up about half of the US’s spring wheat crop.

Ex-JPMorgan traders’ racketeering trial draws to close
Jody Godoy – Reuters
Three former JPMorgan Chase & Co employees began delivering their final defense against conspiracy and racketeering charges on Thursday, with an attorney telling jurors that ex-traders who cooperated in the case should not be trusted. The bank’s former global precious metals desk head Michael Nowak, precious metals trader Gregg Smith and salesperson Jeffrey Ruffo are accused of conspiring to defraud market participants via a manipulative trading tactic known as spoofing.

Lawyers argue 3AC founders ‘continue to conceal their whereabouts’ in latest hearing
David Hollerith – Yahoo! Finance
Lawyers representing Teneo, the liquidator for the bankrupt crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital, told a U.S. bankruptcy court Thursday morning they aren’t making inroads with the firm’s co-founders Kyle Davies and Su Zhu as they attempt to track down its remaining assets. Adam Goldberg, a lawyer with Latham and Watkins who represents the liquidators, said Davies and Zhu have only handed over “selective” and “piecemeal” disclosures regarding the firm’s remaining assets. “They do continue to conceal their whereabouts,” Goldberg said of both Zhu and Davis, adding liquidators are seeking the co-founders’ cooperation through any available means.

Robinhood Has a New and Powerful Rival; The struggling Gen Z trading platform Robinhood now faces a formidable opponent. And the companies have a shareholder in common.
Luc Olinga – The Street
Robinhood has something to worry about. The brokerage house, which wants to democratize finance and attract a new generation of investors, is faced with the slowdown in trading volumes affecting both the cryptocurrency market and the broader financial markets. The Gen Zers the brokerage wooed appear to have sustained significant losses as cryptocurrency prices plummeted and the stock market slumped on fears of recession and the Federal Reserve raising interest rates to stem inflation at its highest in 40 years.

Russia, Saudis Remain Committed to OPEC+, Oil Market Stability; Alexander Novak, Abdulaziz bin Salman met in Riyadh on Friday; OPEC+ will gather on Aug. 3 to discuss production policy
Bloomberg News
Russia and Saudi Arabia reaffirmed their commitment to the OPEC+ agreement and a stable oil market after a meeting between Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak and Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman. The two nations, which lead the oil-producers’ alliance, “are firmly committed to the goal of the OPEC+ agreement on preserving market stability and restoring the balance of supply and demand,” according to a statement posted on the Russian government website after the meeting in Riyadh.

The Ruble Is Stumbling as Yuan Trading Volumes Soar to Record; Daily volume in yuan-ruble pair now exceeds euro-ruble pair; Russian currency is set for its first monthly loss in five
Bloomberg News
The war in Ukraine has accelerated Russia’s pivot east and sent local demand for China’s yuan surging, helping tame a four-month ruble rally that’s piled pressure on companies and the budget. Daily trading volumes in the yuan-ruble pair are on track to almost double this week compared with last, hitting an all-time daily high of 7.82 billion yuan ($1.16 billion) on Wednesday, according to Moscow Exchange data. Volumes for the yuan-ruble currency pair are now higher than for the euro-ruble pair, the figures show. The ruble is the worst performer against the dollar among emerging markets this month.

Bankrupt Crypto Brokerage Voyager Ordered to Cease False Promises About U.S. Banking Insurance; Fed, FDIC issue joint letter demanding cease and desist ‘false and misleading’ statements
Andrew Ackerman – WSJ
U.S. regulators issued a joint letter ordering bankrupt cryptocurrency broker and lender Voyager Digital Ltd. to cease and desist from marketing itself as insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., saying statements on its website and elsewhere were false and misleading. The joint letter released Thursday, from the Federal Reserve and FDIC, said the company’s statements “likely misled and were relied upon by customers who placed their funds with Voyager and do not have immediate access to their funds.”

Short Seller Carson Block Sued Over $14 Million Whistleblower Award; Lawsuit highlights the often lengthy and complex road to winning SEC whistleblower awards
Mengqi Sun – WSJ
A private investor is seeking $7 million in a lawsuit against short seller Carson Block and his equity research firm Muddy Waters LLC in a dispute over an approximately $14 million whistleblower award by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Kevin Barnes said he worked with Mr. Block on a report on Focus Media Holding Ltd. that formed the basis of a SEC action, and that the two had agreed to share proceeds from legal or regulatory actions stemming from their research on the China-based advertising company. Mr. Block is known for investigating Chinese companies.

JPMorgan Must Face Former Compliance Employee’s Lawsuit, Judge Rules; The behavior that the bank claims justified Shaquala Williams’s termination was inseparable from activity protected under a whistleblower anti-retaliation law, Judge Jed Rakoff said
Dylan Tokar – WSJ
A judge in New York declined to block a lawsuit brought against JPMorgan Chase Bank NA by a former compliance employee who says she was fired for raising concerns about the bank’s compliance program. Shaquala Williams, a former JPMorgan vice president, sued her former employer last year, arguing that the concerns she raised, including that the bank had insufficient sanctions screening and anticorruption practices, were protected under a whistleblower anti-retaliation law.

Crypto Trades Drive Naira to New Low in Unauthorized Market; Nigerians piling into crypto due to low confidence in naira; Naira to dollar rates now tracking crypto exchange rates
Emele Onu – Bloomberg
Nigerians accumulating cryptocurrencies to shield assets against a weakening naira have contributed to a slump in the fiat currency to a record low in the unauthorized market. The naira weakened to 670 per dollar on Wednesday said Abubakar Mohammed, an operator of a bureau de change that tracks the data in Lagos, the nation’s commercial hub. This compares with 424.34 naira at the official spot market as of 9.22 a.m. local time, 58% cheaper than the rate in the black market, where the greenback is freely traded.

Business Groups Sue SEC Over Proxy-Advisory Firm Rules; U.S. Chamber, others seek to have the agency reverse course on easing restrictions on corporate proxy advisers
Paul Kiernan – WSJ
Business groups sued the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday in a bid to reinstate some restrictions on firms that provide proxy-voting advice to shareholders of public companies. The lawsuit—filed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable and Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry—argues the SEC failed to follow proper procedures in its decision earlier this month to roll back a set of new requirements on proxy-voting advisers. It followed a suit filed last week by the National Association of Manufacturers, which alleged the SEC failed to provide enough justification for the move.

Wall Street watchdog ‘not willing’ to send auditors to China, Hong Kong before complete audit deal
Katanga Johnson – Reuters
The head of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said Wednesday that he will not send public accounting inspectors to China or Hong Kong unless Washington and Beijing can agree on complete audit access. SEC Chair Gary Gensler, in an address before an accounting industry audience, said the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) would need to be able to bring “specificity and accountability” in audits of foreign companies listed on Wall Street.

China Going Quiet on LNG Hides Risk That May Upend Global Market
Ann Koh and Stephen Stapczynski – Bloomberg
At a time when natural gas buyers are fighting over every last molecule, China — the world’s top importer — is noticeably quiet. In stark contrast to rivals across the region, China’s liquefied natural gas importers aren’t procuring additional shipments for winter, gambling that the nation’s Covid Zero policy will continue to temper demand, said traders. A global supply crunch has made LNG very expensive, and traders don’t want to pay if the fuel won’t be needed.

SEC Charges J.P. Morgan, UBS, TradeStation Over Identity Theft Programs
Quratulain Tejani -Barron’s
The Securities and Exchange Commission has separately charged J.P. Morgan Securities, UBS, and TradeStation over alleged failures to adequately develop and implement written identity theft prevention programs. The agency’s Identity Theft Red Flags Rule, or Regulation S-ID, requires financial firms with “covered accounts” to have programs in place that detect, prevent, and mitigate customer identity theft.

China-Switzerland Stock Connect Gets Off To A Flying Start With Four Chinese Companies Listing Their First GDRs On SIX Swiss Exchange
Today, GEM, Gotion High-tech, Keda Industrial Group and Ningbo Shanshan became the first Chinese companies to list GDRs on SIX Swiss Exchange. The listings are part of the newly launched China-Switzerland Stock Connect program.

America’s pension promises will go unmet without sweeping reform; The prospect of a partial future default exposes a fragmented, divisive system
Gillian Tett – FT
This year, anybody receiving an annual statement from America’s mighty social security system might notice a tiny ticking time bomb — if they possess sharp eyes. Tucked into a footnote is a website link that explains that the two funds in this system — called “Disability Insurance” and “Old Age and Survivors Insurance” — have $2.9tn to plug the shortfall between expected payouts and what is gathered each year from payroll taxes. Those trillions sound soothingly big. But they are projected to run out in 2034. The website cheerfully points out that the system has “reached the brink of depletion of asset reserves” in the past. In both 1977 and 1983 Congress had to come to the rescue.

Carried Interest Is Back in the Headlines. What Would a New Tax Proposal Do?; Legislation agreed to by top Democrats falls far short of closing a tax loophole that party leaders have complained about for years but would narrow its preferential treatment.
Alan Rappeport and Emily Flitter – NY Times
For years, Democrats and even some Republicans such as former President Donald J. Trump have called for closing the so-called carried interest loophole that allows wealthy hedge fund managers and private equity executives to pay lower tax rates than entry-level employees. An agreement reached this week between Senator Chuck Schumer, the majority leader, and Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, would take a small step in the direction of narrowing that special tax treatment. However, it would not eliminate the loophole entirely and could still allow rich business executives to have smaller tax bills than their secretaries, a criticism lobbed by the investor Warren Buffett, who has long argued against the preferential tax treatment.

CFA Final Exam Pass Rate Climbs to 49% Following Pandemic Lows
Katherine Doherty – Bloomberg
The pass rate for the final level of the chartered financial analyst exam rose from the historic lows set last year, when the pandemic disrupted testing. In May, 49% of candidates successfully finished the series, up from 43% for those who sat for the exam in November, the third-lowest pass rate for the Level III exam. That brings the figure closer to the 10-year average of 52%, according to the CFA Institute.

Robinhood’s CEO Keeps Faith in Face of Stock’s 77% Wipeout; App-based brokerage now more focused on the most-active users; CEO Vlad Tenev says Robinhood is equipped to stay independent
Annie Massa – Bloomberg
A relaxed vibe envelops Robinhood Markets Inc.’s California headquarters, where employees stroll in pairs around a lush courtyard of cacti, towering conifers and a squat grapefruit tree. The Zen-like mood extends to the C-suite of the app-based brokerage, where co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Vlad Tenev, wearing white sneakers and a charcoal button-down, sprawls out on a blue sofa during an interview.

Concerns over fixed income deferral times as liquidity dries up; Latest Mifid II amendments recommend a four-week deferral time for post-trade reporting on large bond transactions – but is it enough, given the current drought in fixed income liquidity?
Laurie McAughtry – The Trade
Fixed income markets are having a strange time of it at the moment – on the one hand, rising interest rates mean that the asset class is seeing activity (and volatility) increase, while on the other, scarce liquidity is placing pressure on the ability to fill orders and exit positions.

Fear of Rampant Crime Is Derailing New York City’s Recovery; Violent incidents are up since the pandemic began ?— and New Yorkers are nervous. But widespread anxiety obscures the fact that crime is still at decades-long lows.
Fola Akinnibi and Raeedah Wahid – Bloomberg
Homicides in New York City have become more common during the pandemic, jolting the perception of a city once called “the safest big city in America.” Things look a bit different with a wider snapshot. The murder rate today looks much like it did in 2009, when the city was clawing its way back from the last national economic collapse.

The Charles Schwab Corporation Names CEO Walt Bettinger Co-Chairman of its Board of Directors; Bettinger to Share Board Leadership Responsibilities with Charles R. Schwab in Addition to Chief Executive Role
Charles Schwab
The Charles Schwab Corporation today announced its board of directors has unanimously approved the appointment of Chief Executive Officer Walter W. Bettinger II as Co-Chairman of the Schwab Board of Directors, along with Founder and Co-Chairman Charles R. Schwab. In addition to becoming Co-Chairman for The Charles Schwab Corporation, Mr. Bettinger will become Co-Chairman of the boards of the firm’s banking subsidiaries: Charles Schwab Bank, SSB (CSB); Charles Schwab Premier Bank, SSB (CSPB); and Charles Schwab Trust Bank (CSTB).

Ukraine Invasion

Ex-journalist fined again for discrediting Russian army over Ukraine
Former Russian TV journalist Marina Ovsyannikova was fined 50,000 roubles ($820) on Thursday after being found guilty of discrediting the country’s armed forces in social media posts condemning Russia’s actions in Ukraine. The ruling was passed after a short hearing in a Moscow administrative court. Ovsyannikova rejected the proceedings against her as “absurd”. “The evidence confirms Ovsyannikova’s guilt. There is no reason to doubt its authenticity,” the judge said.

Russia tasks mercenaries with frontline sectors as infantry losses mount – UK with Reuters
Russia has tasked mercenaries to hold sections of the frontline in Ukraine in a sign it is running short of combat infantry, Britain’s Ministry of Defence said on Friday, as Kyiv steps up a counter-offensive in the south. Greater reliance on paid fighters from the Russian private military company Wagner Group for frontline duties rather than their usual work in special operations would be another sign that Russia’s military is under stress six months into its war in Ukraine. But the British defence ministry said in an intelligence update that Wagner mercenaries were unlikely to make up for the loss of regular infantry units or alter the trajectory of Russia’s invasion.

Russia Asks Sakhalin-2 Gas Buyers to Pay Through Russian Bank; LNG company is set to transfer rights to Russian entity; Stakeholder Shell reiterates unlikely to join new company
Stephen Stapczynski, Anna Shiryaevskaya, and Sergio Chapa – Bloomberg
Russia is asking customers of the Sakhalin-2 liquefied natural gas plant in the country’s far east to make payments through a Russian bank as part of President Vladimir Putin’s decree to create a new company for the project. Project operator Sakhalin Energy Investment Company Ltd. has informed LNG buyers on required changes to their agreements, such as the name of the entity and its location, as well as a move to a Russian bank, according to people with direct knowledge of information. The terms of the contracts — the currency, volumes, prices and delivery locations — will remain intact, they said.

Swiss Exports to Russia Surge in Race to Beat Sanctions; Shipments jump more than tenfold before end of grace period; Swiss adopted EU sanctions after Ukraine invasion in February
Hugo Miller, Bryce Baschuk, and Alberto Nardelli – Bloomberg
Supply Lines is a daily newsletter that tracks Covid-19’s impact on trade. Sign up here, and subscribe to our Covid-19 podcast for the latest news and analysis on the pandemic. Swiss exports to Russia of turbojets, air pumps and other machinery surged in the past two months as manufacturers raced to fill any orders signed before sanctions over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine render some of the sales illegal.

Engie CEO Says Gas Demand Is Falling Amid Russian Squeeze; Utility has substantially reduced exposure to Gazprom volumes; Consumption drop shows certain flexibility on demand side: CEO
Francois De Beaupuy – Bloomberg
Engie SA Chief Executive Officer Catherine MacGregor said the French utility’s clients are cutting natural gas consumption as prices soar amid Russia’s squeeze on fuel deliveries to Europe. “Gas demand has declined among our customers, whether its households, small businesses or large manufacturers,” MacGregor said on a conference call Friday. That’s probably the result of energy savings, a switch to other fuels, and of the “price signal,” especially among large firms, she said.

Ukraine Signals Plans for Grain-Export Test Run on Friday; Market is looking for signs of progress one week after deal; Ships will need to secure insurance and crews before sailing
Aine Quinn, Salma El Wardany, and Volodymyr Verbyany – Bloomberg
Ukraine’s Sea Ports Authority told companies that a small test boat would sail on Friday, according to a local terminal operator, in a potentially encouraging sign that grain shipments are closer to restarting. Crop traders are watching closely for tangible progress toward unlocking the millions of tons of grain that have been piling up in Ukraine since ports were closed following Russia’s invasion in February.

The rouble is soaring and Putin is stronger than ever – our sanctions have backfired
Simon Jenkins – The Guardian
Western sanctions against Russia are the most ill-conceived and counterproductive policy in recent international history. Military aid to Ukraine is justified, but the economic war is ineffective against the regime in Moscow, and devastating for its unintended targets. World energy prices are rocketing, inflation is soaring, supply chains are chaotic and millions are being starved of gas, grain and fertiliser. Yet Vladimir Putin’s barbarity only escalates – as does his hold over his own people.

Special Report: How Russia spread a secret web of agents across Ukraine; Long before Russia invaded Ukraine, the Kremlin was building a network of secret agents to smooth its path. A Reuters investigation shows the infiltration went far deeper than has been acknowledged.
Mari Saito and Maria Tsvetkova –
When the first armored vehicles of Russia’s invading army reached the heart of Chornobyl nuclear plant on the afternoon of Feb. 24, they encountered a Ukrainian unit charged with defending the notorious facility. In less than two hours, and without a fight, the 169 members of the Ukrainian National Guard laid down their weapons. Russia had taken Chornobyl, a repository for tonnes of nuclear material and a key staging post on the approach to Kyiv.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

NSE IFSC-SGX Connect launched by Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi; Milestone for Singapore’s ties with India in financial markets; Connect will enhance liquidity by bringing together international and domestic participants
SGX Group
Singapore Exchange (SGX Group) and the National Stock Exchange of India (NSE) announced today that the NSE IFSC-SGX Connect is ready to trade and clear Nifty equity derivatives for global institutions, a major step towards further connecting the world’s investors to India.

NSE IFSC-SGX Connect: The highway to Indian markets – Video
National Stock Exchange of India
Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched NSE IFSC-SGX Connect. It is a framework between NSE’s subsidiary in GIFT International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) and Singapore Exchange Limited (SGX). Under Connect, all orders on NIFTY derivatives placed by members of Singapore Exchange will be routed to and matched on the NSE-IFSC order matching and trading platform. Broker-Dealers from India and across international jurisdictions are expected to participate in large numbers for trading derivatives through the Connect. It will deepen liquidity in derivative markets at GIFT-IFSC, bringing in more international participants and creating a positive impact on the financial ecosystem in the GIFT-IFSC.

Bakkt Schedules Conference Call to Discuss Second Quarter 2022 Results
Bakkt – Business Wire
Bakkt Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: BKKT) announced that it will release its second quarter 2022 earnings on Thursday, August 11, 2022, before market open. Management will host a conference call at 9:00 a.m. EDT on the same day to review the results and answer questions. Attendance information is provided below. Bakkt is a digital asset platform that unlocks crypto and drives loyalty to create delightful, connected experiences for a broad range of clients.

China-Switzerland Stock Connect Gets Off to a Flying Start with Four Chinese Companies Listing Their First GDRs on SIX Swiss Exchange
Today, GEM, Gotion High-tech, Keda Industrial Group and Ningbo Shanshan became the first Chinese companies to list GDRs on SIX Swiss Exchange. The listings are part of the newly launched China-Switzerland Stock Connect program. Since signing the Memoranda of Understanding in 2019, SIX has been working closely with Shanghai and Shenzhen Stock Exchanges to establish a China-Switzerland Stock Connect offering. Today, the first Chinese companies listed their Global Depository Receipts (GDRs) on SIX Swiss Exchange.

Speech by Loh Boon Chye, CEO, SGX Group at Sina Finance’s China Carbon Neutral Summit on 12 July 2022
Introduction; First of all, thank you to ???? for inviting SGX Group to this China Carbon Neutral Summit, to share our thoughts and role, in the global race to net zero. Countries representing 80% of global GDP have committed to net zero targets. It is estimated that financing the transition to net zero requires an estimated US$100 to US$150 trillion over the next three decades. China’s efforts to reach net-zero emissions by 2060 will require trillions of dollars to be invested in green and low-carbon industries. What this means is that we will see a significant shift in sustainable development and financing in the coming years.

MARF admits a new 100 million euro bond programme from the AQUA 2020 Securitisation Fund
BME’s fixed income market, MARF, has admitted the first securitisation bond programme from AQUA 2020 Securitisation Fund for 100 million euros. AQUA 2020 is a securitisation fund incorporated under Spanish law, which is open on the assets and liabilities side,
(i.e. it allows the successive incorporation of new credit rights and the issuance of new securities throughout the life of the Fund), and whose purpose is to finance present and future credit rights granted by Crealsa Investments Spain.

Cboe Global Markets Reports Results for Second Quarter 2022
Second Quarter Highlights*
Diluted EPS for the Quarter of $(1.74), Down 278 percent, primarily due to the impairment of goodwill recognized in the Digital reporting unit; Adjusted Diluted EPS1 for the Quarter of $1.67, Up 21 percent; Net Revenue for the Quarter of $424 million, Up 21 percent; Increases Organic Total Net Revenue Growth Target for 2022 to 9 to 11 percent, from 5 to 7 percent; Increases Data and Access Solutions Organic Net Revenue Growth Target to 10 to 13 percent, from 8 to 11 percent; Increases 2022 Adjusted Operating Expense Guidance2 to $659 to $667 million, from $617 to $625 million.

Euronext Publishes Q2 2022 Results – Solid Quarter Driven By The Sustained Dynamism Of Non-Volume Activities And Of Trading Operations – First Revenue Synergies Related To The Borsa Italiana Group Acquisition Delivered
Euronext, the leading pan-European market infrastructure, today publishes its results for the second quarter 2022.

Performance Bond Requirements: Agriculture and Energy – Effective July 29, 2022
CME Group
Effective Date 29 July 2022
As per the normal review of market volatility to ensure adequate collateral coverage, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc., Clearing House Risk Management staff approved the performance bond requirements for the following products listed in the advisory at the link below.

Performance Bond Requirements: Energy and FX – Effective July 29, 2022
CME Group
As per the normal review of market volatility to ensure adequate collateral coverage, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc., Clearing House Risk Management staff approved the performance bond requirements for the following products listed in the advisory at the link below.

Notice Of Summary Action
CME Group
Member: Rbc Capital Markets Llc; Rule Violation: 536. Recordkeeping Requirements For Pit, Globex And Negotiated Trades; F.CTR Enforcement Program and Sanction Schedule (In pertinent part) The Market Regulation Department will conduct audits of clearing members in order to verify the accurate recording and submitting of required audit trail information. Findings: Pursuant To The Results Of A Back Office Ctr Exam, For Trade Dates January 5, 2022 Through May 27, 2022, RBC Capital Markets LLC’s data entry errors exceeded the 10% threshold level mandated by Rule 536.F.

EEX Press Release – EEX publishes revised 2022 calendar for EUA auctions and 2023 auction calendar
The European Energy Exchange (EEX) has published the revised 2022 auction calendar and the new 2023 auction calendars for the auctioning of the EU emission allowances (EUA) and EU aviation allowances (EUAA). The calendars are published in coordination with the European Commission, the EU Member States and the EEA EFTA States auctioning on the common auction platform (CAP3) as well as with the competent authorities of Germany (DE), Poland (PL) and the United Kingdom on behalf of Northern Ireland (NI).

Clients of FG “Finam” got access to the precious metals market of the Moscow Exchange
Clients of Finam Financial Group got the opportunity to buy and sell precious metals on the Moscow Exchange. The Moscow Exchange Precious Metals Market is a convenient way to invest in physical gold and silver with minimal costs and buy and sell spreads, as well as additional opportunities for portfolio diversification.

Corporate clients increased activity on the markets of the Moscow Exchange
The volume of transactions of corporate clients in the markets of the Moscow Exchange using the MOEX Treasury terminal doubled in the first half of 2022, to 1.77 trillion rubles. The average deal size increased by 15.2% to RUB 312 million. The total volume of transactions of corporate clients in the markets of the Moscow Exchange increased by 17% in the first half of 2022 compared to the same period last year and reached 9.1 trillion rubles. The average daily trading volume increased by 18.5% to 77 billion rubles, and the average daily open position is at the level of 150 billion rubles.

Interest rate derivative trading will cease at 1:30 p.m. today, July 29, 2022. Furthermore, the Exchange’s markets will be closed on August 1, 2022.

Notice on Collecting Order Fees on Futures and Option Contracts Based on Client Message Amount
All Members, To enhance supervisory efficiency and ensure market stability, and as provided under Article 37 of the Clearing Rules of the Shanghai Futures Exchange, Shanghai Futures Exchange (SHFE) plans to collect order fees on futures and option contracts, based on the extra amount of client messages over the benchmark, starting from August 5th, 2022 (i.e., during continuous trading on the evening of August 4th).

Shanghai International Energy Exchange has released its Announcement on the Adjustment of the Settlement Price for Low Sulfur Fuel Oil Futures LU2208 Contract
Shanghai International Energy Exchange has released its Announcement on the Adjustment of the Settlement Price for Low Sulfur Fuel Oil Futures LU2208 Contract as follows: In accordance with the Article 35 of the Clearing Rules of the Shanghai International Energy Exchange, the settlement price for low sulfur fuel oil futures LU2208 contract today is adjusted to 4501 RMB per ton.

TMX Group Limited Reports Results for Second Quarter of 2022
Revenue of $286.1 million, up 17% from $245.0 million in Q2/21, including $27.3 million from acquisition of voting control of BOX on January 3, 2022; Diluted earnings per share of $1.64, up 20% from $1.37 in Q2/21; Adjusted diluted earnings per share2 of $1.88, down 1% from $1.90 in Q2/21 TMX Group Limited [TSX:X] (“TMX Group”) today announced results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2022.

TMX Group Limited Declares Dividend Of $0.83 Per Common Share
The Board of Directors of TMX Group Limited today declared a dividend of $0.83 on each common share outstanding. This dividend is payable on August 26, 2022 to shareholders of record at the close of business on August 12, 2022.

FTX Exchange FZE Receives Dubai’s First Virtual Asset Service Provider MVP Licence from the Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority
FTX Exchange
FTX Exchange FZE, today announced that it has received approval to enter Dubai’s ‘Minimum Viable Product’ (MVP) programme for Virtual Assets under the world’s only specialist regime for this sector operated by the Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA). As a subsidiary of FTX Europe, FTX Exchange FZE (FTX) becomes the first Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) to receive this MVP licence to operate its Virtual Asset (VA) Exchange and Clearing House services in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.


Twitter to Musk: Pay Up; The big question in the legal battle is how much the tech baron will be forced to shell out
Todd Spangler – Variety
However this tweetstorm ends, Elon Musk will come out a loser. This spring, the right-wing celebrity tech CEO agreed to pay $44 billion for Twitter — boasting that he would turn his favorite social media site into a bigger revenue machine and a bastion of “free speech.” (Critics interpreted that as Musk condoning a flood of misinformation and harassment.) A little more than 10 weeks later, Musk told Twitter he wanted to kill the deal. What happened? After waiving his right to due diligence in the Twitter agreement, the entrepreneur complained that he suddenly needed verification of Twitter’s estimate that fake and spam accounts are less than 5% of its total user base. On July 8, Musk’s lawyers accused Twitter of failing to provide necessary data after his repeated requests and claimed the company made “false and misleading representations.”

Jack Ma Escapes Beijing’s Crosshairs by Giving Up His Power
Lulu Yilun Chen and Abhishek Vishnoi – Bloomberg
Jack Ma is taking a weeks-long tour in Europe after largely disappearing from public view for almost two years, adding to signs that China’s government is easing pressure on the entrepreneur as he steps back from a business empire that had made him one of the country’s most powerful people. The 57-year-old co-founder of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. has popped up at restaurants in Austria, toured a university in the Netherlands to learn about sustainable agriculture and docked his yacht off the Spanish island of Mallorca, according to reporting by Bloomberg and local media.

What good can fintech do?
The Fintech Times
It’s no secret that money makes the world go round. Whether it’s paying for your Saturday takeaway or sending cash halfway across the world, the average consumer will have engaged in paying or receiving money at some point in their week – more often than not via a handy fintech product or service. But where there’s money, there’s motive. Mainly to make more of it at the expense of the little guy. While that is a very sweeping generalisation, I’m sure everyone is familiar with the stereotype of the greedy banker, squeezing every last penny out of the average Joe. So, if money is the root of all evil (broadly speaking), and if fintech is wrapped up with money and its uses, how can fintech possibly be a force for any good in the world? Well, the answer to that question is, of course, lots of ways.

Cloud and APIs begin to (slowly) permeate the post-trade space; As financial firms turn their attention toward modernizing the back office, how they approach these projects comes under new scrutiny.
Wei-Shen Wong – Waters Technology
Front-office trading platforms are increasingly getting cloud makeovers. The same is true for risk systems sitting in the middle office. The next frontier for cloud evolution would logically be post-trade and the back office. But the back office is an area that is notoriously underfunded and contains a hodgepodge of legacy systems that connect to myriad different applications—whether that’s data coming into the firm, or data moving from the front and middle offices into the back office, and vice

OTC Position Limits: Complying with the CFTC’s ‘Good Faith Effort’ Requirement with Data
Julia Schieffer – Derivsource
The second phase of the CFTC position limits rules comes into effect in January 2023. In this episode of the DerivSource’s podcast Living the Trade Lifecycle, we speak to Andrew Castello, vice president, head of reference data and Justin Hasnat, senior manager, Databank operations at FIA Tech about how firms can harness data to comply with the new position limit rules and ensure they are making a “reasonable, good faith effort” determination of the economic equivalence of an OTC swap compared to any of the 25 core-reference futures contracts.


Congress Wants Answers on a ‘Significant’ Cyberattack on Courts; Nadler says three foreign actors breached case filings; Courts accused of covering up full scope of security incident
Katrina Manson – Bloomberg
Three hostile foreign actors breached the federal courts document management system via “an incredibly significant and sophisticated” cyberattack more than 18 months ago, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee said on Thursday. Representative Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, said on Thursday that his committee learned in March of “the startling breadth and scope of the courts’ documents management system security failure.” He added the hack had a “disturbing impact” on both pending civil and criminal litigation and national security.

What you need to land a six-figure cybersecurity job
Sydney Lake – Fortune
Cyber attacks are becoming more prevalent; in fact, Accenture estimates that the number of incidents rose 31% between 2020 and 2021. As the number of attacks climbs, the industry becomes increasingly desperate for qualified cybersecurity professionals. In the U.S. there’s a massive talent gap—to the tune of 715,000 cybersecurity jobs left to be filled, an Emsi Burning Glass market report shows.

Confessions Of A Cybersecurity Pro: We’re Making It Too Easy For Attackers
Manny Rivelo – Forbes
Several weeks ago, I presented a keynote at the RSA conference, where I explained why I was the biggest threat to my company.
Each day, I wake up at 5 a.m. and immediately start consuming information. Reading the news. Catching up on email. Watching my kids’ latest Tik Tok videos. Downloading sales reports. Paying bills. I go from phone to corporate laptop and then to tablet while at the gym, stopping at Starbucks, working from home or heading into the office before driving to the airport, all the while switching devices seamlessly like a fish moving through water.

Officials are racing to protect the absolutely most important hacking targets
Tim Starks – The Washington Post
Congress and the Biden administration are moving on parallel tracks to whittle down the list of U.S. hacking targets to no more than a few hundred they say need extra protection because attacks on them would have dire ramifications for national security, health, public safety or the economy.
It’s an idea floated among cybersecurity policy wonks for a few years, but it’s now making substantial progress on Capitol Hill and at the Department of Homeland Security. Still, some in industry harbor fears of how Congress in particular might apply the concept to them.


‘Massive Liquidations’—Big Money Is Dumping Crypto As Price Of Bitcoin, Ethereum, BNB, XRP, Solana, Cardano, Luna, Shiba Inu, And Dogecoin Recover
Dan Runkevicius – Forbes
The crypto market is wrapping up July on a high note. In the past 24 hours, the bitcoin price jumped 7.8% to $22,900 and ethereum’s price added 11.2%, currently trading just over $1,600. Altcoins were a little more reserved. XRPXRP is up 5.8%, solana 8.2%, dogecoin 6.2%%, shiba inu 5.7%, BNBBNB 5.6%, and Terra’s “luna 2.0” 4.9%. Still, crypto prices are quite a way off this year’s highs. What’s keeping the lid on them? In a July 21 Twitter thread, Arcane Research’s analyst Vetle Lunde pointed out that, for the most, the crypto market is battered by massive liquidations from institutional investors and corporations that began after the Terra-LunaLUNA collapse.

El Salvador’s Bitcoin Bet Is Working, Finance Minister Says; Government still plans Bitcoin-backed bond despite headwinds; Bitcoin draws tourism, investment, official says; IMF frowns
Michael D McDonald – Bloomberg
El Salvador’s finance minister defended the country’s strategy to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender even as critics urge the nation to ditch the experiment as the cryptocurrency world suffers through a bear market. Almost a year into the country’s bet on Bitcoin, Alejandro Zelaya said the digital currency has brought financial services to a largely unbanked population and attracted tourism and investments. While its use as a means of exchange is low, he said he remains a believer in digital money and added the government is still planning to issue a Bitcoin-backed bond using blockchain technology.

Three Arrows Liquidators May Try to Force Founders to Cooperate; Davies and Zhu provide piecemeal disclosures, liquidators say; Whereabouts of the founders remain unknown to liquidators
Jeremy Hill – Bloomberg
Liquidators overseeing the wind-down of Three Arrows Capital may soon try to force founders Kyle Davies and Su Zhu to help clean up the mess left behind by the crypto hedge fund’s collapse. Zhu and Davies have so far provided “rather selective and piecemeal disclosures” about the fund’s assets, attorney Adam Goldberg said on behalf of the liquidators in a bankruptcy hearing Thursday. Without further cooperation, lawyers will try to compel the founders to turn over more information with assistance from US Bankruptcy Judge Martin Glenn, he said.

Binance’s founder CZ sues Modern Media for libel as the richest man in the cryptocurrency world steps up action to defend his reputation
South China Morning Post
The head of Binance has issued a lawsuit against Modern Media in Hong Kong for allegedly making defamatory statements on the cover of a Chinese magazine, as the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange steps up actions to defend its reputation amid a recent cryptocurrency rout. Zhao Changpeng, founder and chief executive of Binance and known as “CZ” in the cryptocurrency community, has filed a writ at the Hong Kong High Court against Modern Media, alleging that the July 6, Chinese-language edition of the Bloomberg BusinessWeek magazine contained defamatory statements. The claim centres on the July 6 issue’s original cover story with a portrait of Zhao and the headline “Zhao Changpeng’s Ponzi scheme,” published online and in hard copy. The original cover was subsequently removed from the magazine’s website.

Netgear teams up with SuperRare for NFT digital art displays
Dean Takahashi – Venture Beat
Netgear is using its Meural digital displays to show off non-fungible token (NFT) art, and now Netgear is teaming up with NFT art marketplace SuperRare. Netgear will join the SuperRare DAO (decentralized autonomous organization) to help develop a licensing and royalty model for displaying NFTs on digital displays. The licensing model, which supports the showcasing of curated SuperRare collections on the Meural platform, strengthens a vision both companies share to create new ways to interact with digital art, culture and collections. The acquisition of $RARE tokens and participation in the SuperRare DAO signals the start of a new era for Netgear and a doubling down on its commitment to creating a new model for digital art, the company said. Its involvement in the SuperRare DAO is designed to shape the future of decentralized curation, community organizing and artist empowerment.

Amazon vet flips NFT model on its head, creates a climate friendly marketplace for digital art sales
Lisa Stiffler – Geek Wire
Well before cryptocurrencies and NFTs began to fizzle this spring, Carly Rector was already sour on their use for digital art sales. Rector, who is herself a digital artist and a former senior engineer at Amazon, thought it was unnecessary to use energy-consuming blockchain ledgers to help artists earn a living. So she flipped the model on its head. Rector launched CO2ign Art, pronounced “cosine art,” where artists can sell electronic files of their work containing a digital signature that verifies who created it and who bought it. The sale additionally includes a documented purchase of carbon offsets from Verra Carbon Standards, a long-standing source for greenhouse gas removal that’s tracked on a public registry.

Miami to raise money by selling NFTs in partnership with Time Magazine and artists
Joey Flechas – Miami Herald
Miami plans to sell 5,000 digital art pieces as part of a new partnership with Time Magazine to support artists and generate revenue for the city and publisher. Commissioners unanimously authorized administrators to finalize a plan to split the proceeds from sales of 5,000 non-fungible tokens (NFTs) with the magazine and the artists. NFTs are digital assets where ownership can be verified using blockchain technology, and they can be digital artworks worth anywhere from a few bucks to millions of dollars. Miami Mayor Francis Suarez sponsored the plan. A relatively new city department, Venture Miami, coordinated the partnership, which will pay 56 artists to produce the NFTs. Commissioners will recommend some artists from their districts for the program, and Time will work with Bakehouse Art Complex to commission work from others. Under the plan, Time will manage the sales of the NFTs.

Common Misconceptions About Cryptocurrency, NFTs, and More
Ellen Gutoskey – Mental Floss
Hearing NFTs explained as “non-fungible tokens” means nothing unless you’re already familiar with the word fungible. After this episode of Misconceptions, you definitely will be. Mental Floss host Justin Dodd is diving deep into the many myths and misunderstandings surrounding cryptocurrency à la Scrooge McDuck in that giant pool of gold coins. Speaking of coins: Just because you can’t hold a bitcoin doesn’t mean there’s an infinite supply of them. And just because the U.S. doesn’t recognize cryptocurrency as legal tender doesn’t mean they don’t tax it. In El Salvador, on the other hand, bitcoin is valid legal tender—meaning you can use it to pay off debts. That said, only around one-fifth of businesses there actually accept it. So what exactly is cryptocurrency? How does it work? And how can you use it to make pools of gold coins to swim through? Press play below for answers to two of those questions (and some others).

The Crypto Collapse Has Flooded the Market With Rolex and Patek; Top watch trading platform says trophy model volumes jumped; Chrono24 says more supply hits prices of Nautilus and Daytonas
Andy Hoffman – Bloomberg
The collapse in cryptocurrencies is easing supply of the most sought after watches on the second-hand market, depressing prices for hard-to get-Patek Philippe and Rolex models.


West Virginia Punishes Banks That It Says Don’t Support Coal; The move to exclude the institutions from state business is part of a growing effort by Republican officials to shut out companies that are backing away from fossil fuels.
David Gelles – NY Times
West Virginia on Thursday morning announced that five major financial institutions, including Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan, would be barred from doing business with the state because they have stopped supporting the coal industry. The announcement, made by West Virginia’s treasurer, Riley Moore, is the first time a state has moved to sever banking relationships with major Wall Street firms over objections to their efforts to reduce dangerous planet-warming emissions.

Democratic Lawmakers Want F.T.C. to Go After Gun Ads; Two Democratic lawmakers are sponsoring a bill that would push the agency to scrutinize the way the gun industry markets firearms.
Andrew Ross Sorkin – NY Times
A new bill being introduced in Congress on Thursday seeks to use the powers of the Federal Trade Commission to limit the spread of guns. The bill would allow the F.T.C. to investigate gunmakers for deceptive advertising practices. That is something the agency is charged with doing for all industries, but has been reluctant to do so with gun manufacturers, which has long received extra protections from Washington, the DealBook newsletter reports. It’s the latest front in the fight in Washington over gun control after the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas. And it comes a day after the House held a hearing on whether gunmakers were culpable in the rise of mass shootings involving assault weapons. Two top gun industries testified to Congress on Wednesday that their companies bore no responsibility for the surge in gun violence.

Chinese Government Asked TikTok for Stealth Propaganda Account; China asked for social account targeting Western audiences; TikTok’s senior policy team pushed back on ‘sensitive’ request
Olivia Solon – Bloomberg
A Chinese government entity responsible for public relations attempted to open a stealth account on TikTok targeting Western audiences with propaganda, according to internal messages seen by Bloomberg. The attempt, which met with push-back from TikTok executives, highlights the internal tensions within the fast-growing social media app, owned by Beijing-based ByteDance Inc., which has constantly attempted to distance itself from Chinese state influence.

Congressional stock trading ban picks up steam
New reporting reveals a proposal is in the works to ban lawmakers, their spouses and senior staff from trading stocks. Rep. Abigail Spanberger, who’s already been leading a bipartisan effort in the House, shares what she knows about the proposal.

On the campaign trail, many Republicans talk of violence; In both swing states and safe seats, GOP candidates say that liberals hate them personally and may turn rioters or a police state on people who disobey them
David Weigel – Washington Post
Days before Maryland’s July 19 primary, Michael Peroutka stood up at an Italian restaurant in Rockville and imagined how a foreign enemy might attack America. “We would expect them to make our borders porous,” Peroutka told the crowd, which had come to hear the Republicans running for state attorney general. “We would expect them to make our cities unsafe places to live. We would expect them to try to ruin our economy.” The country was “at war,” he explained, “and the enemy has co-opted members and agencies and agents of our government.”

Moscow move to shutter Jewish Agency alarms Russian Jews; Some fear the rift in relations with Israel could worsen antisemitism in Russia
Robyn Dixon and Natalia Abbakumova – Washington Post
Russia’s threat to shut down a prominent Jewish organization has stoked fears among Jews planning to leave the country because of its war against Ukraine, while deepening a rift between Russia and Israel.

Liz Truss Has 90% Chance of Becoming UK’s Next Prime Minister; Foreign secretary clear front-runner to replace Boris Johnson; Rival Rishi Sunak rated a 10% shot to win the top job
Damian Shepherd – Bloomberg
UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is rated a 90% shot to succeed Boris Johnson as head of the UK Conservative Party and Prime Minister as the leadership race enters its final weeks, according to betting exchange firm Smarkets.


Alberta And Saskatchewan Securities Regulators Expand The Self-Certified Investor Prospectus Exemption To Facilitate Investment
The Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) and the Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority of Saskatchewan (FCAA) have amended the self-certified investor prospectus exemption in response to market feedback to provide greater flexibility to businesses and investors in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Remarks of Chairman Rostin Behnam at the July 28, 2022 Financial Stability Oversight Council Meeting
The CFTC is one of the regulators at the forefront of climate-related risk management as firms and individuals will increasingly turn to the derivatives markets to manage and mitigate climate change-induced physical and transition risk. We are making great progress at the CFTC to better understand our role in adapting the derivatives markets to withstand increasing climate-related financial risk.

Concurring Statement of Commissioner Caroline D. Pham Regarding Proposed Swap Dealer Capital and Financial Reporting Comparability Determination
I respectfully concur with the notice of proposed order and request for comment on an application for a capital comparability determination submitted by the Financial Services Agency (FSA) of Japan. First, I want to recognize the staff’s work as each of my fellow Commissioners has done because this is not easy—not only for this rulemaking, but also, generally speaking, swap dealer oversight is an incredibly complex regulatory regime. I also appreciate your commitment to providing substituted compliance. In addition, in my past work in Japan and with their financial sector, I have enjoyed working with the FSA for many years, and I appreciate their thoughtful and robust oversight of their regulated firms. I also want to say that my thoughts and heart are with the people of Japan regarding the tragic loss of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

New Report from the Small Business Forum Includes Recommendations to Improve Capital Raising
The Securities and Exchange Commission today released a report to Congress, which summarizes policy recommendations made during the 41st Annual Government-Business Forum on Small Business Capital Formation. The report provides a summary of the forum proceedings, including the recommendations developed by participants for changes needed to the capital raising framework and the Commission’s responses to the recommendations.

Statement Regarding In the Matter of Aegis Capital Corporation
Commissioner Hester Peirce – SEC
The Commission’s Order finds that Aegis Capital Corporation violated various provisions of the federal securities laws because, among other things, certain of its registered representatives made unsuitable recommendations that customers invest in a complex financial instrument. I am unable to support the Order for a number of reasons, but write to highlight one particularly problematic aspect.

Remarks at Financial Stability Oversight Council Meeting
Chair Gary Gensler – SEC
Thank you, Secretary Yellen, and my thanks to the staff and my fellow Council members. Madam Secretary, you have asked me to share an update for the Council regarding the status of the SEC’s proposals on climate-related financial risks. First, let me take a step back. For the last 90 years, our capital markets have relied on a basic bargain. Investors get to decide which risks to take as long as companies provide full, fair, and truthful disclosures.

SEC Charges Pharma Insider and Two Relatives with Insider Trading
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged Dr. Pablo Rubinstein, Eduardo Rubinstein, and Mark Klein for insider trading in the securities of Ampio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. before a negative announcement concerning one of the company’s flagship developmental drugs on August 7, 2018.

SEC Files Subpoena Enforcement Action Against GP Capital Group, Inc. and Its President, Shannon W. IIIingworth
On July 27, 2022, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed an action against GP Capital Group, Inc., a Wyoming corporation headquartered in Corona, California, and its president Shannon W. Illingworth, of Jenks, Oklahoma, seeking an order directing them to comply with investigative subpoenas for documents.

SEC Charges Microcap Issuer and Its CEO and Former Director for False Merger and Dividend Announcements
On July 28, 2022, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Patient Access Solutions, Inc. (“PASO”), its CEO, Bruce Weitzberg (“Weitzberg”), and a former PASO Director, Joseph Gonzalez (“Gonzalez”) with issuing press releases and tweets falsely claiming that PASO was actively negotiating a merger and planning to issue dividends.

Investing and Trading

Oil Giant Shell Isn’t Letting the Cash Go to Its Head; The European supermajor is keeping its capital discipline even in the face of record earnings and sky-high prices
Rochelle Toplensky – WSJ
To see what really matters to Shell, look at where it is spending its boomtime profits. Shareholders should be pleased. The global energy company reported record earnings and $18.7 billion in cash flow from operations in the second quarter and on Thursday announced its highest ever quarterly cash shareholder returns: $6 billion in buybacks and $1.9 billion in dividends. It repaid some debt and flexed to the higher end of its capital spending budget, with a particular focus on gas projects—a politically savvy choice during the current European energy crisis. Shares notched up slightly.

Rich Wall Streeters Face Shock Tax Hike While Rest of Wealthy Escape; Proposed levies on rich would have cost trillions of dollars; Democrats still looking to raise taxes over the long term
Laura Davison and Devon Pendleton – Bloomberg
Wealthy Americans, who were girding for the biggest set of tax increases in three decades just a year ago, now look mostly safe from higher levies for years to come. But there’s one big, glaring exception: investment fund managers. If Democrats succeed in passing Wednesday’s surprise fiscal deal between Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, the carried interest tax break will end — eliminating a benefit used by private equity and hedge fund managers. Only a few items from President Joe Biden’s set of ambitious, wide-ranging tax increases are still alive in the Senate. In the 50-50 chamber, Manchin has made clear he’s only willing to proceed with three tax measures: ending carried interest, increasing Internal Revenue Service audits on businesses and wealthy households, and a 15% minimum levy on corporate profits.

Fed and ECB’s Failure to Spot Inflation Is Proving Costly Now; Forecasting failures at Fed and peers seen as credibility hit; Fallout includes faster rate hikes and greater recession risk
Simon Kennedy – Bloomberg
Global central banks made one of their biggest forecasting failures on record when they woefully underestimated the magnitude and duration of the worst inflation surge in decades. As the following series of charts from the Group of Seven economies shows, most central banks have made repeated errors — forcing them to continuously revise up their forecasts for consumer prices. And the lack of predictive power is having repercussions.

Glencore Flags That Cash Is Tied Up in Record Trading Profits; Working capital significantly increased in first half: CEO; Company lowers its copper production forecast for the year
Thomas Biesheuvel – Bloomberg
Glencore Plc, on course to report it best ever trading year, has flagged that those profitable bets have tied up more working capital than normal.

Social Security Benefits 2023 Update as COLA Set for Huge Increase
Khaleda Rahman – Newsweek
Millions of Social Security recipients could see the biggest cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in four decades, amid rising inflation. Exactly how much more Social Security recipients, disabled veterans and federal retirees will receive in 2023 will be revealed in the fall.

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

Positive ESG performance improves returns globally, research shows
Cole Horton and Simon Jessop – Reuter
ESG positive funds outperformed globally over 5 years; Strong governance drove outperformance in every region
Impact of social and environmental factors mixed
Stock funds outperformed across global markets over the last five years if they were weighted toward companies with positive environmental, social and governance (ESG) scores, research from sustainability data firm ESG Book shared exclusively with Reuters this month showed. ESG Book’s analysis of model portfolios containing 60 to 85 stocks on average showed performance varied widely by individual ESG component. Companies with better governance scores outperformed more strongly than those with higher social scores, for example.

Managers’ use of ESG in fixed income surges, survey finds
Cole Horton – Reuters
The number of asset management firms that incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria into their fixed income investments rose significantly over the past year, the Index Industry Association reported on Thursday. Currently 76% of managers implement ESG within fixed income, up from 42% in 2021, according to the not-for-profit association’s survey of 300 investment management firms in the United States and Europe. That exceeds the 74% of firms that incorporate ESG in equities, up from 53% in 2021, the association said.

Singapore issues ESG funds guidelines to reduce ‘greenwashing’ risks
Chen Lin – Reuters
Singapore’s central bank has issued new disclosure and reporting guidelines for retail ESG funds, including requiring them to provide details on their investment strategy, as regulators globally seek to reduce the risk of “greenwashing”. Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) funds sold to retail investors will have to give details such as investment strategy and criteria and metrics used to select investments, as well as risks associated with a fund’s strategy, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said in its annual sustainability report issued on Thursday.

Index industry survey sees ESG in two-thirds of portfolios in 10 years
Hazel Bradford – Pensions & Investments
Nearly two-thirds of investment portfolios will include ESG within a decade, asset managers said in a global survey conducted by the Index Industry Association and released Thursday. The survey also found use of ESG principles in fixed-income equaling equities, and improved ESG tools. The Index Industry Association, based in New York, represents the global index industry and its members administer more than 3 million indexes covering many asset classes, including equities, fixed income, commodities and foreign exchange.

The Bankruptcy of ESG Is Being Exposed; Today’s Capital Record episode with guest Aswath Damodoran helps explain the emptiness of ESG.
David L. Bahnsen – National Review
Few institutions on the right have been as committed to exposing the danger of the modern ESG movement as National Review Capital Matters. In fact, today’s episode of the Capital Record features my interview with Aswath Damodoran, a leading academic in the field of corporate finance and valuation who has become a fierce critic of ESG (a form of “socially responsible” investment that measures companies against environmental, social, and governmental benchmarks).

Electricity is Expensive. Drivers Shouldn’t Pay For It; Controlled charging could be the key to coping with the increased demand on the grid spurred on by the push to go electric.
Anjani Trivedi – Bloomberg
With the rush to electric vehicle adoption, charging networks are being rolled out across countries, government-backing is growing and automakers are promising a host of green cars. Yet, even if all this happens, it’s worth wondering how power grids will handle the demand for all this electricity. Given the increasing prevalence of power outages globally, I’m not so sure they can. Electricity consumption just from EVs is expected to grow over 25% 1 . Even if charging networks are laid out, the wiring under highways would hardly be enough. Talk to EV drivers who have attempted road trips and they’ll moan about the anxiety associated with finding charging stations. There will need to be more of these as adoption grows, and connecting grids will become even more crucial.

Transcript: What People Get Wrong About The Energy Transition
Joe Weisenthal and Tracy Alloway – Bloomberg
Heatwaves across Europe. The war in Ukraine. Surging oil and gas prices. This year has brought fresh attention to the idea of transition, to reduce our economic dependency on fossil fuels. But what does energy transition actually look like? Can oil and gas really be made obsolete by new and better things? On this episode of the podcast, we speak with Bernstein Managing Director and analyst Bob Brackett about what people get wrong, and why energy sources rarely, if ever, actually go away.

The Success Of One Company Could Just Lead The U.S. To Become Carbon Negative Relatively Quickly
Hersh Shefrin – Forbes
There is a reasonable chance that the U.S. will become carbon negative in the foreseeable future. This prospect holds despite the political dilution of President Biden’s major climate initiative; and it holds despite the recent Supreme Court ruling to hamstring the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate industrial emissions of greenhouse gases. Conceivably, within a decade a single company will be able to remove more carbon dioxide per year from the atmosphere than the U.S. emits during an entire year. In this post, I describe one such company. The company is Noya, which just turned two. Noya is headquartered in San Francisco at the North end of Silicon Valley. The company was founded by entrepreneurs Daniel Cavero and Josh Santos.

??People Need Food and Energy. This Stock Is a Play on Both.
Rupert Steiner – Barron’s
Food and energy are two resilient sectors as recession clouds gather—consumers have to eat, and they need fuel to cook and keep warm. Norwegian conglomerate Orkla (ticker: ORK.Norway; ORKLY) is unusual in that it owns businesses producing both. The former industrial giant transformed itself into a consumer-goods company and earned about 37% of its 2021 revenue from its core food business making frozen pizza, sauces, and ready-to-eat meals. The Oslo-listed stock also owns legacy hydroelectric power stations. While its margins for earnings before interest and tax, or Ebit, are being squeezed due to rising input costs—falling from a 2018 peak of 16.1% to 12.2% in 2021, according to FactSet—that should ease when economic conditions calm.

Citigroup Enlists Black-Owned Banks in Rare $1.2 Billion Loan Deal; Industrial, First Independence, M&F Bank contribute to debt; Banks need to lend where they had ‘not had the reach’
Paula Seligson – Bloomberg
Three Black-owned US banks have bought a piece of a $1.23 billion syndicated corporate loan, a rare move in a market typically dominated by bigger Wall Street and regional lenders. Industrial Bank, First Independence Bank, and Mechanics and Farmers Bank joined the group of lenders to Science Applications International Corp., a provider of IT and other services largely to the government. Together they committed to lend about $10.5 million, or just under 1% of the total, according to a June 30 filing.


Credit Suisse Hires Former Lazard Banker De Gennaro
Crystal Tse – Bloomberg
Credit Suisse Group AG has hired former Lazard Ltd. banker Maxence de Gennaro to focus on consumer and retail mergers in the Americas. De Gennaro will start in August reporting to Steve Geller and Cathal Deasy, global co-heads of M&A, according to an internal memo.

BNP Reaps Record Profit as Higher Rates Boost Lending, Trading; French lender beats on revenue and profit in volatile quarter; CEO Bonnafe has bulked up key units as rivals had to sell
Alexandre Rajbhandari – Bloomberg
BNP Paribas SA posted its highest profit on record as lending income rose amid the prospect of higher interest rates and volatile markets lifted securities trading in the second quarter.

Morgan Stanley Hires Shen as Head of China Onshore Equities; Former head of equities at CICC joins Morgan Stanley next week; Morgan Stanley seeks five new licenses to expand in China
Cathy Chan – Bloomberg
Morgan Stanley hired Shirley Shen from China International Capital Corp. as head of onshore equities for China as the New York-based bank awaits approvals for new licenses. Shen has been with CICC, a former joint venture partner of Morgan Stanley, since 2002 and was most recently head of the equity department and a member of its enlarged management committee. Her appointment is effective Aug. 1, according to a memo confirmed by a Hong Kong-based spokesman.

US Banks Passed the Latest Stress Test, But Are Still Unhappy; The regulatory checkups by the Federal Reserve are one reason no one’s talking about a financial crisis today.
Shubham Saharan – Bloomberg
Wall Street loathes bank stress tests—and arguably owes a lot to them. The regulatory checkups by the Federal Reserve, instituted after the 2008 global financial crisis with the aim of averting another one, run banks’ balance sheets through simulated doomsday scenarios to gauge whether they’d make it through. This year banks were tested on a hypothetical cocktail of surging unemployment, collapsing real estate prices, and a plunge in stocks.

StoneX expands into Asia with new fixed income desk; New desk will provide clients within the APAC region with improved access to the firm’s products and services, while also maximising pockets of credit liquidity in an increasingly strained market.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
StoneX has launched its institutional credit offering in Asia, expanding the global debt capabilities of its fixed income group into the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. The US-based brokerage has established a fixed income sales and trading desk in Singapore, with plans to expand into Australia and Hong Kong – building on the firm’s practice of leveraging local expertise across over 40 offices globally, to offer clients enhanced access to its products and services.

Deutsche Bank bucks the trend with highest Q2 profit in over a decade; Profit before tax for Q2 was up 33% year-on-year, while post-tax profit was up 46% to EUR1.2 billion.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
Deutsche Bank has announced its highest Q2 and half-year post-tax profits since 2011, setting itself apart from other banks which have reported profit losses over the same period. The bank reported EUR1.5 billion in profit before tax for Q2 of this year, up 33% year-on-year. Meanwhile post-tax profit was up 46% to EUR1.2 billion.

EU Banks Get $3.8 Billion Boost From End of Negative Rates Era; Quarterly profits up by 50%, beating analysts’ expectations; Politicians leaning on banks over the cost of living crisis
Steven Arons – Bloomberg
Banks’ core business of lending has finally turned more profitable again, as the era of negative interest rates in the euro area comes to an end. The EU’s five biggest banks that have reported results so far showed an increase in net interest income of 3.74 billion euros ($3.82 billion) on the same quarter last year, a jump of 17%. Their profits beat analyst forecasts across the board, even though credit provisions and expenses generally rose too.

Wellness Exchange

In Rural America, COVID Hits Black and Hispanic People Hardest
Benjamin Mueller – NY Times
The coronavirus pandemic walloped rural America last year, precipitating a surge of deaths among white residents as the virus inflamed long-standing health deficits there. But across the small towns and farmland, new research has found, COVID killed Black and Hispanic people at considerably higher rates than it did their white neighbors. Even at the end of the pandemic’s second year, in February 2022, overstretched health systems, poverty, chronic illnesses and lower vaccination rates were forcing nonwhite people to bear the burden of the virus.

Three myths about COVID-19 — and the biggest challenge that lies ahead
Professor Chris Goodnow – ABC.Net.Au
As an immunologist with four decades of research on antibodies under my belt, I always felt like I had a pretty good handle on COVID-19.
But when I caught the virus in May, my hubris quickly turned into humility.
COVID-19 left me with a serious heart complication that occurs in 2 per cent of infected people, with the risk not diminished by immunisation or prior infection.
It was a scary experience, and a sobering reminder that the virus isn’t done with us — even when we are so desperately done with it.

Philippines Detects First Monkeypox Case, Health Department Says
Andreo Calonzo – Bloomberg
The Philippines has detected its first case of monkeypox in a citizen who arrived from abroad last week, the health department said Friday. The 31-year-old patient — who traveled to countries with documented monkeypox cases — is “recovering well” and is under home isolation, health agency Director Beverly Ho said at a televised briefing. Ten close contacts of the case are being monitored under quarantine, she said.

Japan urges regions to mount COVID fight as variant spreads
Mariko Katsumura and Elaine Lies – Reuters
Japan is encouraging regional authorities to take steps to contain a new coronavirus variant that has sent cases to record levels, but there is no plan for sweeping national measures.


South Korea’s Chip Stockpile Swells in Warning Sign for Exports; Nationwide inventory climbed in June by most since April 2016; Chips are the biggest single driver of South Korea’s economy
Sam Kim – Bloomberg
South Korea’s semiconductor stockpiles expanded at the fastest pace in more than six years, adding to concern about the outlook for exports that drive the country’s economic growth. Nationwide inventory soared 79.8% in June from a year earlier, the statistics office said Friday, up from a 53.8% jump in May. At the same time, both production and shipments decelerated, suggesting a slowdown in the nation’s most profitable industry. The result casts a pall over the outlook for an economy where the central bank is in the midst of a yearlong tightening cycle. Memory chips are sold worldwide and underpin the strength of the won, which has been one of Asia’s worst performing currencies this year as trade deficits mount.

China’s $12 Trillion Onshore Credit Market Brushes Off Defaults
Rebecca Choong Wilkins and Ailing Tan – Bloomberg
China’s $12.3 trillion local credit market is proving more resilient than its offshore counterpart to a historic crackdown on the property sector and a record wave of defaults. Stress in the domestic market eased to the lowest level on Bloomberg’s China Credit Tracker in May, further diverging from the elevated scores seen offshore. Average spreads on riskier AA-rated local bonds over respective government notes that month narrowed to their tightest level since at least 2011.

China Probes Government, Bosses as Chip Race With US Heats Up; Investigations have grown since a probe unveiled in November; The effort raises questions about Beijing’s chip industry
Bloomberg News
China has begun a series of investigations into key figures responsible for shaping chip policy and investment, raising questions about the impact on Beijing’s blueprint for challenging US dominance of a $550 billion industry.

China’s Politburo Ignites Talk About $220 Billion More in Debt; Top leaders ask provinces to better use existing debt limit; New special notes may go through approval in August: analyst
Bloomberg News
China’s local governments may have more money to spend this year after the nation’s top leaders urged better use of the existing debt ceiling limit, with some analysts estimating the unused amount could be as high as 1.5 trillion yuan ($220 billion).

Credit Suisse Woes Spread to Singapore With $800 Million Trial; Billionaire Ivanishvili just won $608 million in related case; Bank’s handling of convicted fraudster now being investigated
Hugo Miller – Bloomberg
Credit Suisse Group AG’s legal battle with billionaire client Bidzina Ivanishvili has spread to Singapore as the Georgian gears up for trial with a unit of the Swiss lender over what he claims are $800 million in losses tied to a rogue banker.

Ghana Cocoa Crop Set for 12-Year Low After Drought, Mine Damage; Illegal small-scale miners damaged swathes of plantations; Cocoa harvest also suffered from long drought early in season
Ekow Dontoh – Bloomberg
Ghana is heading for its smallest cocoa crop in 12 years after drought withered pods and illegal gold miners damaged plantations, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Preliminary data shows the world’s second-largest producer will harvest an estimated 685,000 tons of beans in the season through September, down from a record crop of about 1.05 million tons the previous year, said the people, who asked not to be identified because they’re not authorized to speak publicly.

Middle East’s Biggest Oil Hub Disrupted by Unusual Rain; Operations at Fujairah disrupted with some berths still shut; ADNOC halts crude loading operations at Fujairah terminal
Verity Ratcliffe – Bloomberg
The Port of Fujairah reopened after extreme weather conditions shuttered the port overnight, though oil operations remain disrupted with some berths still out of service. All of the oil berths at Oil Terminal 1 were reopened but some of the berths at Oil Terminal 2 were still shut by late-afternoon Thursday, Khalil Ibrahim, deputy general manager at the port, said by phone. The United Arab Emirates port closed Wednesday evening as a precaution because of an “exceptional” weather event, he said.

Bank of England $1 Billion Gold Cache Not Maduro’s, Says Judge; London judge ruled not to accept Venezuela court decision; Ruling bolsters UK decision to not recognize Maduro as leader
Olivia Fletcher – Bloomberg
Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaido is one step closer to getting his hands on more than $1 billion of gold stashed away in the Bank of England’s vaults after a London judge decided not to recognize a Venezuelan court decision that President Nicolas Maduro should have it. The long-running case has been heard by several UK courts since Maduro sued the bank for access to the bullion, claiming it was needed for a Covid-19 relief fund, according to court filings. Guaido, however, also claimed to be the man in charge of the bank, with his attorneys saying he needed the stash of gold to help future generations of Venezuelans.

Kenya Has $35 Billion of Illegal Debt, Disbarred Politician Says State spent two thirds of loans in past eight years unlawfully
IMF categorizes Kenya’s public debt at high risk of distress
David Herbling – Bloomberg
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government amassed “unauthorized debt” equal to about a third of the nation’s gross domestic product, according to Jimi Wanjigi, a presidential aspirant disqualified from vying in next month’s elections.

Russia Is Wiring Dollars to Turkey for $20 Billion Nuclear Plant; Money will be used for procurement over next 2 years; Front-loaded payment alleviates fears of delays over sanctions
Firat Kozok
A Russian state-owned company is transferring money to a subsidiary that’s building a $20 billion nuclear power plant on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, alleviating concerns the project could be delayed by war sanctions.


Chicken Wings Fall From Favor as Consumers Start to Trade Down
Michael Hirtzer – Bloomberg
Chicken wings may be reprising their role as a bellwether of meat inflation. An early favorite when the Covid-19 outbreak prompted many consumers to eat more meals at home, chicken wings soared in demand and more than doubled in price. That eventually led consumers to stop buying and restaurants like Wingstop to switch to thighs.

Money can’t buy happiness, a neuroscientist explains why
Dean Burnett – Science Focus
“Money can’t buy you happiness” is either a widely accepted insight or a tired cliché. Is it right, though? Scientifically speaking, the answer is… mixed. A recent study carried out at the University of Bath has once again looked at the relationship between income and happiness. It seems that, up to a point and within a specific set of circumstances, money can buy happiness. But beyond that, the relationship between money and happiness becomes much looser and uncertain.

Reports of the Choco Taco’s Death Are Possibly Exaggerated; It turns out killing the Choco Taco was what it took for the wacky ice cream treat to get its due. And it may not be frozen out for long.
Ben Cohen – WSJ
One of the world’s biggest consumer marketers did something so unpopular and curiously timed this week that many speculated it must have been a stunt. Why else would anyone freeze sales of the Choco Taco? Unilever, the parent company of Klondike, blamed an “unprecedented spike in demand” and the pandemic supply chain for what it called “a necessary but unfortunate” decision to discontinue some of its products. “Even a beloved item like Choco Taco,” it said. A spokesperson for Klondike said killing the Choco Taco wasn’t a ploy to sell more Choco Tacos. But within a few days of announcing its demise in the middle of summer, as social media was melting into a puddle of eulogies, the company said it was already “exploring options to bring it back.”

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