U.S., U.K. to Ban Exchanges From Dealing in Russian Metals

Apr 15, 2024

First Read

Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

Do you want to invest in conflict and war? I might have an ETF for you. According to Reuters, the VanEck Defense UCITS ETF, launched at the end of March 2023, is up about 20% and has reached $560 million in net assets within a year.

Marex Group plc has announced the launch of its initial public offering (IPO) of ordinary shares. The IPO consists of 15,384,615 ordinary shares, with 25% offered by Marex and 75% by certain selling shareholders. The underwriters have been granted a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 2,307,692 ordinary shares. The estimated price range for the IPO is between $18 and $21 per share. Marex’s ordinary shares are expected to trade on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol “MRX.” Barclays, Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC, Jefferies, and Keefe, Bruyette & Woods are acting as joint lead book-running managers, with Citigroup, UBS Investment Bank, Piper Sandler, and HSBC serving as bookrunners, and Drexel Hamilton and Loop Capital Markets as co-managers.

Apex Fintech Solutions Inc. has completed the first-ever account transfer using the latest messaging protocols set by the National Securities Clearing Corporation‘s (NSCC’s) Automated Customer Account Transfer Service (ACATS). This milestone, achieved through Apex’s API-based Account Transfer Service, enhances information exchange between broker-dealers. NSCC plans to decommission ACATS’ legacy messaging in October 2025, and Apex’s Account Transfer Service is built to support this transition. It offers benefits such as real-time testing capabilities, leading to shorter testing cycles, and assists financial intermediaries and NSCC members during the transition period.

The Wall Street Journal offers a video today titled “The Lawsuits That Could Shape the Future of AI and Copyright Law” with the subheadline “Artificial intelligence is quickly evolving, but copyright law is still playing catch-up. A lawyer breaks down three of the biggest cases to explain how the law is evolving with this technology.”

Step into the world of commodities trading by participating in the Commodity Futures Trading Challenge from the CME Group, starting on May 12, 2024, at 5:00 p.m. CT and ending on May 17, 2024, at 12:00 p.m. CT. This challenge offers the chance to learn and compete against peers for cash prizes of up to $2,500. Register today to refine your commodity trading strategies and explore the benefits of commodity futures trading in a simulated environment. During the challenge, participants will have access to exclusive daily educational videos filled with valuable insights to enhance their trading skills. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to test-drive your trading strategies and come out on top. Register today HERE.

CFTC Chairman Rostin Behnam is set to deliver a keynote address at the 2024 Europe-US Symposium on Thursday, April 18, 2024, from 3:35 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (EDT) at the JW Marriott Hotel in Washington, DC.

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


A new report titled “Defaulting on Development and Climate – Debt Sustainability and the Race for the 2030 Agenda and Paris Agreement” presents the findings of an enhanced global debt sustainability analysis (DSA). This analysis aims to estimate the extent to which emerging market and developing economies can mobilize the G20 recommended levels of external financing without jeopardizing their sustainability. According to the report, out of 66 economically vulnerable economies, 47 – comprising a total population of over 1.11 billion people – will encounter insolvency issues in the next five years if they attempt to scale up investment to meet climate and development goals. The research was conducted by Debt Relief for Green and Inclusive Recovery (DRGR), a collaboration between the Boston University Global Development Policy Center, Heinrich-Boell-Stiftung, and the Centre for Sustainable Finance at SOAS, University of London. Learn more and access the report HERE. ~SAED

Our most read stories from our previous edition of JLN Options were:
Cboe’s David Howson Talks Product Innovation and International Expansion at FIA Boca Conference from John Lothian News.
Bitcoin options expiry worth $1.5B sets $69K max pain price from CoinTelegraph.
Bitcoin derivatives metrics suggest $70K is here to stay from CoinTelegraph. ~JB

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


Catherine Clay, Global Head of Derivatives at Cboe Global Markets, Discusses Vision for Unified Derivatives Franchise

Catherine Clay, the global head of derivatives at Cboe Global Markets, recently shared insights into the strategic reorganization of the company’s derivatives operations in an interview with John Lothian News at FIA’s International Futures Industry Conference in Boca Raton, FL. This discussion was part of the JLN Industry Leader video series sponsored by Wedbush.

Watch the video »


America’s Corn Belt Bristles at $8 Billion Lifeline
Kim Chipman – Bloomberg
When executives in 2021 announced plans to build the largest carbon capture-and-storage project in the world beneath the heart of the US grain belt, they thought the pitch was a compelling one. The venture, which soon gained the backing of energy billionaire Harold Hamm, would catch, transport and trap emissions from ethanol plants in the upper Midwest, allowing the corn industry to compete in lucrative new markets like low-carbon jet fuel.

****** Farmers can be difficult to deal with, especially when you are messing with their land.~JJL


Marex Group plc Announces Launch of Initial Public Offering
Marex Group plc
Marex Group plc (“Marex”), the diversified global financial services platform, today announces that it has launched the initial public offering (the “IPO”) of its ordinary shares. A total of 15,384,615 ordinary shares are being offered, 25% of which are being offered by Marex and 75% of which are being offered by certain selling shareholders (the “Selling Shareholders”). In connection with the offering, the Selling Shareholders have granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 2,307,692 ordinary shares to cover over-allotments. The IPO price is currently estimated to be between $18 and $21 per share. Marex’s ordinary shares are expected to trade on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the ticker symbol “MRX”.

***** Good luck to Marex with the U.S. IPO launch.~JJL


The Cboe wants to ‘debunk’ some 0DTE myths; Zero-problem options?
Robin Wigglesworth – Financial Times
As HL Mencken, Upton Sinclair or William Jennings Bryan was said to have roughly quipped, it is difficult to get someone to understand something when their salary depends on their obliviousness. On an unrelated note, here is a take from the Cboe: That’s from a report the dominant US options exchange just published that aims to “set the record straight” and debunk some of the myths surrounding zero days to expiry options (0DTEs) – derivatives that expire the day they’re written.

****** The last time I was “debunked” was when I rolled off the top level of a bunk bed.~JJL


Friday’s Top Three
Several of our most-read stories from Friday were part of the Financial Times’ April edition of FT Wealth, a special section on philanthropy and money management. Our top story was FT’s The new (radical) rich who can’t wait to give away their fortunes. Second was a tie between Bloomberg’s Risk of 1987-Style Meltdown Sparks Ruffer’s Record Cash Bet and the Financial Times’ Hillsdale College: the conservative model for education. And third was a tie between FT’s How Asian philanthropists are donating more – but differently and FT’s Investing through the eyes of a child.



Lead Stories

U.S., U.K. to Ban Exchanges From Dealing in Russian Metals; The move, meant to further squeeze Russia’s revenue, comes amid inflation concerns
Richard Vanderford – The Wall Street Journal
The U.S. and U.K. will limit trading of Russian aluminum, copper and nickel on their metals exchanges in a bid to deprive Moscow of a key source of revenue, a move coming despite concerns that rising commodity prices could fuel inflation. The U.S. and U.K. on Friday announced they are tightening a clampdown on Russia’s metals trade with the London Metal Exchange and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the world’s leading metals exchanges, by no longer allowing trade in new aluminum, copper and nickel produced by Russia.

America’s Bonds Are Getting Harder to Sell; Record issuance raises worries that debt sales will exacerbate volatility
Eric Wallerstein – The Wall Street Journal
A series of weak auctions for U.S. Treasurys are stoking investors’ concerns that markets will struggle to absorb an incoming rush of government debt. A selloff sparked by a hotter-than-expected inflation report intensified this past week after lackluster demand for a $39 billion sale of 10-year Treasurys. Investors also showed tepid interest in auctions for three-year and 30-year Treasurys. Behind their caution lies a growing conviction that inflation isn’t fully tamed and that the Federal Reserve will leave interest rates at multidecade highs for months, if not years, to come. The 10-year yield-the benchmark for borrowing rates on everything from mortgages to corporate loans-finished the week around 4.5%, near its highest levels since touching 5% in October.

The US and UK restrict the trade of Russian-origin metals
Fatima Hussein – Associated Press
The U.S. and U.K. will begin restricting the trade of new Russian-origin metals – including aluminum, copper and nickel – on global metal exchanges and in derivatives trading. The announcement is meant to follow up on the Group of Seven nations’ commitment in February “to reduce Russia’s revenues from metals” as its invasion into Ukraine has dragged on for more than two years.

Exclusive: Russia and China trade new copper disguised as scrap to skirt taxes, sanctions
Russian Copper Company (RCC) and Chinese firms have avoided taxes and skirted the impact of Western sanctions by trading in new copper wire rod disguised as scrap, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. Copper wire rod was shredded in the remote Xinjiang Uyghur region by an intermediary to make it hard to distinguish from scrap, the sources said, allowing both exporters and importers to profit from differences in tariffs applied to scrap and new metal, the sources said. Russia’s export duty on copper rod was 7% in December, lower than the 10% levy on scrap. Imports of copper rod into China are taxed at 4%, and there is no duty on Russian scrap imports.

Metal Traders Get Ready for Fireworks After LME Russia Ban
Metal traders are bracing for dramatic moves after the London Metal Exchange responded to new US and UK sanctions by banning deliveries of any Russian supplies produced after midnight on Friday. Most of the two dozen market participants interviewed by Bloomberg expect prices of aluminum, copper and nickel to jump when LME trading reopens on Monday morning at 1 a.m. London time.

Apex Fintech Solutions Completes First-Ever Account Transfer Using New Automated Customer Account Transfer Service Protocols; Today’s milestone marks the first time new messaging protocols included in NSCC’s ACATS clearing service were achieved through Apex’s SaaS Account Transfer Service
Apex Fintech Solutions Inc.
Apex Fintech Solutions Inc. (“Apex”), the fintech for fintechs powering innovation and the future of digital wealth management, today announced the completion of the first-ever account transfer leveraging the latest messaging protocols set by National Securities Clearing Corporation’s (NSCC’s) Automated Customer Account Transfer Service (ACATS). The account transfer was achieved through Apex’s API-based Account Transfer Service. This significant development enhances information exchange between broker-dealers. In October 2025, NSCC plans to decommission ACATS’ legacy messaging. To support this, Apex’s Account Transfer Service is built for scale to assist financial intermediaries and NSCC members during this transition by offering a wide range of benefits, including real-time testing capabilities, leading to shorter testing cycles.

New Metals Sanctions Push Russia Further Into China’s Embrace
Alfred Cang – Bloomberg
US and UK sanctions on Russian metals will cement China as Moscow’s buyer of last resort for key commodities, and enhance Shanghai’s role as a venue to set prices for materials crucial to the global economy. The London Metal Exchange’s ban on newly produced Russian aluminum, copper and nickel is likely to drive Chinese imports even higher. It also leaves the Shanghai Futures Exchange as the only major commodities bourse in the world to accept Russian shipments of the three metals.

Aluminium and nickel prices surge after sanctions on Russian supply; UK and US measures ban delivery of new Russian-origin metals to LME and CME
Harry Dempsey – Financial Times
Aluminium posted its biggest intraday gain since at least 1987 and nickel and copper prices also rose after the UK and US introduced sanctions that in effect ban the trading of new Russian supplies of the vital industrial metals on two of the world’s largest exchanges. Aluminium, which is used in cans, aeroplanes and buildings, surged as much as 9.4 per cent on Monday, the largest intraday rise since the contract was launched in its current form 37 years ago, and was recently trading up 3.7 per cent at $2,586 a tonne. Nickel, a key ingredient in electric vehicle batteries and steelmaking, advanced 2.7 per cent.

Supreme Court Finds Macquarie Infrastructure Not Liable to Investors for Omitting Regulatory Risk; Investors can’t hold the infrastructure business liable for securities fraud for failing to disclose how a U.N. regulation would affect its commodities storage business
Dylan Tokar – The Wall Street Journal
Shareholders can’t sue a company for remaining silent on risks or trends that might have a material impact on its business, the Supreme Court ruled Friday. In a unanimous decision, justices for the court found that Macquarie Infrastructure couldn’t be held liable by investors for securities fraud by failing to disclose how a United Nations regulation on fuel oil might impact the bottom line of the terminals it operates to store bulk liquid commodities.

China’s Stock Market Gets Boost from Overhaul Plan
Matthew Thomas – The Wall Street Journal
China’s government is determined to push stock prices higher. Late Friday, the powerful State Council unveiled a roadmap for boosting capital markets, calling for tougher new listing rules and more dividend payouts. It was the latest in a series of moves by Beijing to boost the stock market, including encouraging state-linked firms to buy shares. The benchmark CSI 300 index rose 2.1% Monday, while the Shanghai Composite Index added 1.3%. That defied a wider decline in Asian shares, after an Iranian attack on Israel stoked concerns.

UK rethinks AI legislation as alarm grows over potential risks; Government draws up regulatory blueprint while competition watchdog expresses ‘real concerns’ about industry
Anna Gross and Cristina Criddle – Financial Times
The UK government is beginning to craft new legislation to regulate artificial intelligence, months after the prime minister vowed “not to rush” setting up rules for the fast-growing technology. Such legislation would likely put limits on the production of large language models, the general-purpose technology that underlies AI products such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, according to two people briefed on the plans.

BlackRock CEO Larry Fink Says AI Will Boost Productivity, Worker Pay
Jo Constantz – Bloomberg
BlackRock Inc.’s Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink said that his firm’s investment in artificial intelligence will ultimately raise his employees’ pay. “If we continue to drive more productivity, what it also means is rising wages,” Fink said on the company’s earnings call Friday. “So people do more, and the whole organization is doing more with less people. That is really our ambition.”

Suncorp’s bank suffers breach, customer funds stolen
Nick Bonyhady – AFR
Insurance and banking conglomerate Suncorp is dealing with a cyberattack in which an intruder has accessed some customers’ bank balances and withdrawn funds. But the institution says it has found the funds and returned them to affected account holders in full, which is unusual in digital breaches where stolen funds are often rapidly funnelled out of the country.

Republican states step up legal threats to Joe Biden’s climate agenda; New rules to curb pollution are set to face a barrage of challenges in the courts
Aime Williams – Financial Times
The US’s top environmental regulator is expected to face a barrage of legal challenges from fossil fuel groups and Republican states after it unveiled a new crackdown this week on pollution. The Environmental Protection Agency issued two new rules that aim to limit toxic emissions from chemical plants and remove cancer-causing chemicals from tap water, as the Biden administration tries to advance its climate agenda before November’s presidential election.

Joe Biden hits US oil drillers with first royalty rate increase in a century; Move comes as White House tries to mobilise progressive voters ahead of November election
Myles McCormick and Aime Williams – Financial Times
The Biden administration has increased the cost of oil and gas drilling on public lands, raising royalty rates for the first time in a century as part of a sweeping crackdown on the industry ahead of November’s election. The Bureau of Land Management said on Friday it had finalised a rule to raise the royalties drillers must pay to the government for the first time since 1920 and the bonds needed to cover the cost of clean-ups for the first time since 1960.

Fears over coffee shortages send prices soaring to new highs; Heatwave in Vietnam damages robusta crop and prompts buying spree, pushing futures contract to highest since launch
Susannah Savage – Financial Times
Global coffee prices are soaring as hot, dry weather in major producing countries in south-east Asia spurs fears of shortages. Both cheaper robusta and higher-end arabica beans have rallied sharply since the start of the year. London robusta futures, the global benchmark, hit $3,948 per tonne on Friday, a record since the contract started trading more than 16 years ago. Arabica futures in New York also rose to $2.34 a pound – the highest level since September 2022.

ETFs surge to dominant position in US model portfolios; Data suggests they make up 51% of assets and rebalancings can send billions sloshing through markets
Steve Johnson – Financial Times
Exchange traded funds have taken over as the dominant holding in the fast-growing multitrillion-dollar US model portfolio market, helping to turbocharge their already rapid growth. ETFs accounted for 51 per cent of underlying assets at the end of last year, up from 46.7 per cent in early 2022, according to data from Broadridge Financial Solutions, a financial technology company, which puts the size of the US model portfolio market at $5.1tn. “It’s certainly a milestone and [the share of ETFs in model portfolios] is only going to be going one way,” said Andrew Guillette, vice-president of global insights at Broadridge.

How Rishi Sunak built a close relationship with Blackstone’s bosses; Links between UK prime minister and the private equity group have fuelled speculation about his post-election future
Michael O’Dwyer, Lucy Fisher, George Parker and Antoine Gara – Financial Times
In February, Rishi Sunak posed for photos beside Blackstone founder Stephen Schwarzman at the groundbreaking ceremony for the private equity giant’s new European headquarters in London. Shovel in hand, the UK prime minister pointed to a model of the planned 10-storey development and, according to people who witnessed or were briefed on the event, quipped: “Where’s my office?” The joke was taken by some who heard it as illuminating two truths: Sunak is unusually relaxed in the company of the Blackstone leadership and, despite Downing Street denials, he is thinking about his future after this year’s general election, which his Conservative party is expected to lose.

EU faces decline without market reform, report warns; Former Italian premier Enrico Letta was asked by European leaders to report on state of single market
Paola Tamma and Henry Foy – Financial Times
The EU must integrate its financial, energy and telecommunications markets or face losing its “economic security” and falling further behind the US and China, the author of a new report has warned. Enrico Letta, the former Italian prime minister tasked by European leaders to assess the state of the EU’s underperforming single market, told the Financial Times that further European integration was a matter of survival in the global economy.

Sorry, rebundling research isn’t going to work; We’re Miffed Too
Craig Coben – Financial Times
“It works in practice, but does it work in theory?” No one knows who first uttered this quip, but it has been applied to scientists, economists and politicians. It also applies to European financial regulators. In early 2014 – with robust British backing – the European Union agreed rules under the 30,000-page Mifid II financial reform to separate trade execution fees from broker research costs. The “unbundling” requirements came into force four years later.

Losing hope of rescue, some European solar firms head to US
Sarah McFarlane and Riham Alkousaa – Reuters
European governments due to move to support their solar power manufacturers this week will be too late to stop solar panel maker Meyer Burger packing up a German factory to send production to the United States. The plant in Freiberg in eastern Germany closed in mid-March with the loss of 500 jobs, as the Swiss-listed firm joined a growing list of European renewable energy manufacturing factories shutting down or moving. In the past year, at least 10 have said they are in financial difficulties.

Wall Street Powers Goldman Sachs to Sharply Higher First-Quarter Earnings; Revenue from investment banking and trading, the bank’s traditional powerhouses, surges
AnnaMaria Andriotis and Charley Grant – The Wall Street Journal
Goldman Sachs reported sharply higher profit for the first quarter, bolstered by strong performance in investment banking and its growing business of managing money and investments for wealthy clients. The bank on Monday said quarterly profit was $4.13 billion, up 28% from a year ago. That amounted to $11.58 a share. Analysts polled by FactSet had expected $8.73 a share.

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

Hedge Funds Pile Into Mexican Peso, Fueling World’s Best Rally; Hedge funds added to peso longs by the most in three weeks; Currency leads EM gains Monday as global tensions ease
Davison Santana – Bloomberg
Hedge funds continue to boost bullish bets on the Mexican peso, strengthening its position as the best major currency in the world and keeping it on track to reach fresh highs. Derivatives data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission show leveraged funds are the main force behind the peso’s strength, increasing holdings to 57,711 on the week through April 9 – the highest since March 2023. It was the biggest move in three weeks, and almost double the one seen the prior period.

Ukraine Invasion

‘Their tactics have changed’: Russia’s bid to blow apart Ukraine’s power grid
Christian Edwards, Victoria Butenko, Olga Voitovych and Svitlana Vlasova – CNN
For the past two winters, Ukraine has withstood a barrage of Russian airstrikes seeking to disable its energy infrastructure, plunge its citizens into darkness and use the freezing temperatures as a weapon of war. Ukraine survived the assault thanks to Western air defense systems and energy-saving measures taken by its citizens, as families cooked on camping stoves and doctors performed surgery by flashlight.

Exclusive-Russia restoring oil refining capacity knocked out by drones
Russia has been able to swiftly repair some of key oil refineries hit by Ukrainian drones, reducing capacity idled by the attacks to about 10% from almost 14% at the end of March, Reuters calculations showed. Ukraine stepped up drone attacks on Russian energy infrastructure since the start of the year, hitting some major oil refineries across the world’s second largest oil exporter in attacks that sent up oil prices.

Can Ukraine Find New Soldiers Without Decimating a Whole Generation?
Andrew E. Kramer – The New York Times
The roughly 1 million men who serve in Ukraine’s army are battered and exhausted. Many soldiers have been on combat duty for two years. Tens of thousands have been lost to death or serious injury. New recruits are desperately needed. But Ukraine is running up against a critical demographic constraint long in the making: It has very few young men. Healthy men under age 30, the backbone of most militaries, are part of the smallest generation in Ukraine’s modern history. The country must balance the need to counter a relentless Russian offensive by adding more troops against the risk of hollowing out an entire generation.

Germany to deliver another Patriot system to Ukraine immediately
dpa international
The German government is supplying another Patriot air defence system to strengthen Kiev, following months of requests by Ukraine, while a commander in the embattled nation said the situation on the front line was becoming more difficult. The German air defence system comes from Bundeswehr stocks and is to be handed over immediately, the German Defence Ministry announced in Berlin on Saturday. So far, Germany has delivered two Patriot systems to Ukraine and the system has proven itself in the fight against Russian aggression, according to the ministry.

Arming Ukraine Turns Soviet Tank Refitter Into a Billionaire; Michal Strnad’s father started refurbishing combat vehicles in the 1990s. Now the son is making a fortune because of the war in Ukraine.
Krystof Chamonikolas and Andrea Dudik – Bloomberg
The run-down factory on the edge of the Czech medieval town of Sternberk used to fix up military vehicles abandoned by the Nazis after World War II. Now it’s part of a compound churning out hardware for Europe’s latest conflict, and has made a billionaire out of its owner. Excalibur Army takes rusting Soviet-era tanks – often with mud and grass on them – and refits them for action. Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, the business run by Michal Strnad has benefited from the biggest demand for weapons since the end of the Cold War.

Israel/Palestine Conflict

US will not take part in any Israeli retaliatory action against Iran
James Mackenzie, Parisa Hafezi and Jeff Mason – Reuters
President Joe Biden warned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the U.S. will not take part in a counter-offensive against Iran, an option Netanyahu’s war cabinet favors after a mass drone and missile attack on Israeli territory, according to officials. The threat of open warfare erupting between the arch Middle East foes and dragging in the United States put the region on edge, triggering calls for restraint from global powers and Arab nations.

Gulf states, vulnerable but influential, seek to stop new Iran-Israel war
Samia Nakhoul and Pesha Magid – Reuters
Gulf states are pushing to stop a full-blown regional war after Iran’s unprecedented retaliatory strikes on Israel, sources in the region said, fearing new escalation could put them on front lines of a conflagration and ruin plans to reshape the region. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in particular may be well placed to triangulate between Iran, Israel and the United States after diplomatic advances in recent years that benefited all those countries. Allies of Washington, Gulf monarchies have sought to stabilise ties with Iran and Israel to resolve longstanding security concerns and allow them to focus on national projects.

Escaping the Aeschylus Trap in the Middle East; Markets and the world need Israel and Iran to break the cycle of vengeance – and so do they. The blueprint lies in Greek tragedy.
John Authers – Bloomberg Opinion
Ancient Greeks make great geopolitical guides. Seemingly everyone now analyzes the contest between China and the US in terms of the Thucydides Trap – the historian argued that war between rising Athens and established power Sparta became inevitable, because the incumbent will always try to protect its position. To understand the terrifying situation in the Middle East, maybe we should invoke Greek tragedy and ask if the world can escape the Aeschylus Trap. Aeschylus was the first of the great Greek tragedians whose works have survived, and he’s most famous for his trilogy The Oresteia. It centers on the notion of blood grudge; each time someone achieves vengeance, someone else must wreak vengeance on them, and so the tragic cycle continues. In the Oresteia’s first play, Clytemnestra kills her husband Agamemnon to avenge their daughter Iphegenia, whom he’d sacrificed to try to ensure victory in the Trojan War. In the second, their son Orestes kills Clytemnestra to avenge Agamemnon. In the third, titled The Furies or Eumenides, Orestes is pursued by the Furies who try to drive him to madness and suicide with guilt. A “blood grudge” forces all the characters into never-ending escalation and violence. No death can go unavenged, and the violence can only escalate.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

Eurex Home Market Settlement drives the further unification of the single stocks derivatives market
The growth of European single stocks derivatives (SSDs) created a large and diverse range of products for equity market exposure. However, this growth came with complexity, often adding costs to trading. As the key hub for the European market, Eurex has undertaken constant upgrades to ensure cost-efficiencies for traders. The newest feature is enabling the home market settlement. While equity derivatives investors can take positions in OTC and structured products, changes such as stricter regulatory enforcement of uncleared margin and the demand for higher transparency made more traders choose listed venues to trade single stock contracts.

ICE Bonds’ Risk Matching Auction Named Best Sell-Side Trading Network by WatersTechnology
Intercontinental Exchange
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE: ICE), a leading global provider of technology and data, today announced that WatersTechnology has selected ICE Bonds as Best Sell-Side Trading Network for its Risk Matching Auction (RMA) service. This award comes after significant product enhancements and expansion of RMA’s network. RMA is ICE Bonds’ dealer-to-dealer sweep solution, which was relaunched in July 2023 as part of ICE Bonds’ suite of trading protocols. RMA offers users a strong pool of corporate bond liquidity across all sectors and maturities. RMA has been recognized for its user-friendly web-based user interface and different post trade options to provide users with a seamless post-trade experience.

Status of Proof of Concept Testing for HTML Disclosure of Earnings Reports (Kessan Tanshin) (as of the end of February 2024)
Japan Exchange Group
JPX Market Innovation & Research, Inc.(JPXI)hereby announces the status of Proof of Concept testing for HTML disclosure of earnings reports*1 (hereinafter referred to as “the PoC testing”) promoted by JPXI as of the end of February 2024. As we have recently announced*2, that submission of HTML files of earnings reports and quarterly earnings reports for accounting periods from April 1, 2024 will be “mandatory” for listed companies*3. Accordingly, the PoC testing will end with the transition to the new system in July 2024.

24 171 Warranting and Trading of Russian Metal on the LME
London Metal Exchange
This Notice sets out the LME’s understanding of the recently introduced UK sanctions on Russian metals and the measures which the LME is introducing to comply with the sanctions1 . The sanctions reflect the intention of the UK Government to restrict the financial benefit which the Russian Government may receive from metals produced in Russia that are traded globally.

LME Intention To Publish Guidance Relating To UK Sanctions On Russian Metal
London Metal Exchange
Summary. 1. The London Metal Exchange (“LME”, or “Exchange”) acknowledges the announcement released today by the UK Government imposing an amended sanctions package in respect of Russian metal, which introduces new restrictions for UK persons on the acquisition of Russian metal produced after 23:59 on 12 April 2024. 2. The LME reflects all relevant sanctions and tariffs in its operations, and so will take steps – in collaboration with LME Clear – to implement these sanctions for its own operations, and the operation of its market.

CME Group International Average Daily Volume Reached Quarterly Record of 7.4 Million Contracts in Q1 2024
CME Group
Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) ADV up 6% in Q1 2024; Significant commodities volume growth in EMEA and Asia Pacific. CME Group, the world’s leading derivatives marketplace, today announced that its quarterly international average daily volume (ADV) reached a record 7.4 million contracts in Q1 2024, up 2% year on year. Reflecting all trading reported from outside the United States, volume was driven largely by 38% growth in energy products, a 29% increase in agricultural products, and 7% growth in metals.

SGX Group welcomes Soochow CSSD Capital Markets (Asia) Pte. Ltd. as Accredited Issue Manager and Catalist Full Sponsor
Singapore Exchange
Singapore Exchange (SGX Group) is pleased to welcome Soochow CSSD Capital Markets (Asia) Pte. Ltd. (SCCM) as a newly accredited Issue Manager and Catalist Full Sponsor. SCCM is a wholly owned subsidiary of Soochow Securities CSSD (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. Its major shareholder is Soochow Securities Co. Ltd., a Chinese State-Owned Enterprise (SOE) listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange. Soochow Securities Co. Ltd. is a full licensed securities firm, with a history spanning more than 30 years. It is known for its expertise in investment banking, securities brokerage, asset management and underwriting services in the financial services industry. SCCM is an investment bank focusing on emerging growth companies across Asia, providing a full suite of investment banking services, including equity capital markets, mergers & acquisitions advisory, equities research and private credit financing.

TMX Group Announces Voluntary Delisting of Series D, E and F Debentures from Toronto Stock Exchange
TMX Group
Series of bonds will be exclusively available for trading via over-the-counter markets, providing fixed income investors with access to greater liquidity. TMX Group Limited (TMX Group or the Company) today announced that its board of directors and Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) have approved the voluntary delisting of the Company’s non-convertible Series D, E and F Debentures from TSX. In making the decision to delist, the Company considered, among other things, the fact that secondary market trading in Canadian non-convertible corporate bonds occurs predominantly via over-the-counter markets (OTC), and this decision allows our fixed income investors access to the deepest pool of liquidity. The total value of the Canadian corporate bond market is estimated at approximately $527 billion, according to the FTSE Canada Corporate Bond Index. Originally listed in July 2021, TMX Group’s Series D, E and F Debentures have traded less than $20 million in aggregate on TSX, through the end of February 2024.

Final Contract Adjustment
Bourse de Montreal
Evolve ETFs. Bitcoin ETF (EBIT & FET) Ether ETF (ETHR & FER) Name Change. The Bourse and CDCC wish to inform you that the following Evolve ETFs will change their names as follows:

Caution for Investors
It has been brought to the notice of the Exchange that entity named “Praveen Gupta” is operating through mobile numbers 9520707107 and with the help of website: https://snpro.in/trade/ and mobile application: http://snpro.in/snpro.apk for providing illegal dabba trading platform and misusing the Multi Commodity Exchange of India Ltd. (MCX) Brand name.

The Moscow Exchange begins trading in shares of PJSC MFK Seimer
On April 12, 2024, trading in shares of PJSC MFC Seimer, one of the leaders in the Russian microfinance services market with its own fintech platform, began on the Moscow Exchange. Trade code – ZAYM. The official ceremony for the start of trading in shares was attended by Elena Kuritsyna, Senior Managing Director for Relations with Issuers and Authorities of the Moscow Exchange, and Roman Makarov, General Director of PJSC MFC Seimer. As part of the initial public offering (IPO), 3.5 billion rubles were raised, the share price was 235 rubles. At the start of trading, the share of shares in free float was about 15%. The shares are included in the third level of listing of the Moscow Exchange; trading and settlements are carried out in Russian rubles.


UK fintechs ask government for help to ease capital shortages
Elizabeth Howcroft – Reuters
Leaders of the UK’s financial technology industry are urging the British government to increase tax relief and help them raise more investment, as some executives warn a shortage of domestic investors is holding back the sector. Trade body Innovate Finance’s “Unicorn Council”, which includes the CEOs of Monzo, Revolut’s UK arm and ClearBank, set out policy recommendations on Monday that it said would help the UK maintain its position as a fintech hub.

Salesforce Eyes Informatica to Boost Data Capabilities
Katie Roof and Brody Ford – Bloomberg
Salesforce Inc.’s Marc Benioff is pursuing what would be one of the company’s biggest-ever deals after fending off activist investors critical of his reliance on acquisitions. Benioff is in talks to buy Informatica Inc., according to people familiar with the matter, in a move that would add to Salesforce’s data integration and management capabilities. The companies could reach a deal as soon as within a week, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks were private. A final agreement could take longer than that, or the talks could still end without one, they added.

Former BrokerTec business development head joins Wematch.live as global head of fixed income; Incoming appointment previously held positions at Brevan Howard spinout SigTech and CME Group’s BrokerTec.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
Wematch.live has appointed David Culshaw as global head of fixed income; a newly created role which reflects the fintech’s expansion into the fixed income space. Culshaw joins Wematch.live from Brevan Howard spinout, SigTech, where he served as global head of business development. Elsewhere, Culshaw held a leadership role at CME Group’s BrokerTec, where he held responsibility for the commercial development of the firm’s dealer-to-client RFQ repo platform across EMEA and North America.

Top Wall St brokerages start Reddit coverage with doubts over user growth
Siddarth S – Reuters
Top Wall Street brokerages, whose investment banking units helped Reddit prepare for its public issue, started coverage of the social media company with doubts over its user growth, while staying bullish on ad revenue and its use of artificial intelligence. J.P. Morgan began with a “neutral” rating and a price target of $47, while Morgan Stanley had “equal-weight” rating and a $45 price target.

SAG-AFTRA union secures AI protections for artists in deal with major record labels
Hollywood performers and media professionals have reached a tentative deal with major record labels such as Warner Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment that includes increases in minimum salaries and protections against the use of AI. The deal covers the five-year period from 2021 to 2026 and has been unanimously approved by the executive committee of SAG-AFTRA, which represents roughly 160,000 actors and other media professionals, the union said in a statement on its website.

Adobe explores OpenAI partnership as it adds AI video tools
Stephen Nellis – Reuters
Adobe on Monday said it is in the early stages of allowing the use of third-party generative artificial intelligence tools from OpenAI and others inside of its widely used video editing software. Adobe’s Premiere Pro app is widely used in the television and film industries. The San Jose, California company is planning this year to add AI-based features to the software, such as the ability to fill in parts of a scene with AI-generated objects or remove distractions from a scene without any tedious manual work from a video editor.


6 bad cybersecurity habits that put SMBs at risk
Rosalyn Page – CSO Online
Smaller businesses are in the crosshairs of cyber criminals and with attacks on the rise, now is not the time for misplaced confidence in your defenses. Experts tell CSO the bad habits making SMBs easy targets. Small and medium businesses (SMBs) have increased their digital footprint, embracing remote work, employing more internet-connected devices, and adopting new tools and technologies. They now find themselves a more attractive target to cyber criminals, and behind the headline-making attacks on large organizations, SMBs are being attacked with increasing regularity.

Cybersecurity investigators worry ransomware attacks may worsen as young, Western hackers work with Russians
Bill Whitaker – CBS News
In the past year — hospitals, pharmacies, tech companies, Las Vegas’ biggest hotels and casinos have been paralyzed by “ransomware” attacks, in which hackers break into a corporate network, encrypt, or lock up critical files and hold them hostage until a ransom is paid. It’s a crime that has been growing more costly and disruptive every year. Now cybersecurity researchers fear it’s about to get worse, with the emergence of an audacious group of young criminal hackers from the U.S., U.K. and Canada the FBI calls Scattered Spider. More troubling, they have teamed up with Russia’s most notorious ransomware gang.

Chief Risk Officers Say Cybersecurity Most Pressing Risk: Survey
Jahna Jacobson – Insurance Journal
In an inaugural EY/Institute of International Finance (IIF) global insurance risk management survey, cybersecurity was ranked as the highest concern for chief risk officers.


Hong Kong Approves Spot Bitcoin and Ethereum ETFs
Hope C – CoinMarketCap
China Asset Management, Bosera Capital, HashKey Capital Limited announced that the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has approved both spot Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) exchange-traded funds (ETFs) applications. Hashkey Capital was founded in 2015 by current CEO Dr Xiao Feng, and is a digital asset platforms and investment fund prominent in Asia. It has $1 billion in AUM and recently seeked to raise funds at a $1 billion plus valuation. Shenzhen-based Bosera Capital is one of the first fund management companies in China, and manages $200 billion in assets. Meanwhile, China Asset Management is a prominent asset management firm founded in 1998. It manages one of the largest equity ETF products in China, with a total of $266 billion in assets under management (AUM).

Bitcoin Halving Has Crypto Miners Racing for ‘Epic Sat’ Potentially Worth Millions
Jamie Crawley – CoinDesk
With Bitcoin’s fourth quadrennial “halving” now as little as a week away, cryptocurrency mining companies are jockeying to capture what could be the most valuable data block of all time, worth millions of dollars potentially. Almost two years ago, Casey Rodarmor, creator of the Ordinals protocol atop the Bitcoin blockchain, developed a system for categorizing the rarity of individual satoshis, or “sats” – the smallest denomination of the digital asset, similar to cents on the dollar or pence on the pound.

Bitcoin ‘Halving’ Will Deal a $10 Billion Blow to Crypto Miners; Cryptocurrency’s update will slash new supply in late April; Competition for favorable electric rates growing from AI firms Mining rig power supply units.
David Pan – Bloomberg
For enthusiasts of Bitcoin, a once-every-four-years software update called the “halving” has long been held as one of the keys to propping up its value. This time around, it’s also set to trigger multibillion-dollar declines in revenue for the very companies that ensure the digital currency’s smooth functioning, right on the heels of a surge in their biggest costs.


World’s Costliest ‘Economics Experiment’ Blamed for Turkish Loss
Beril Akman – Bloomberg
The Turkish central bank had a loss of 818.2 billion liras ($25 billion) in 2023, a reversal from years of profits driven by sharply higher interest rates and the cost of a government-backed savings program designed to shield depositors against currency depreciation. The result, which compares with a 72 billion-lira profit in 2022, means the central bank will have to waive a transfer to the nation’s Treasury at a time when the budget is in a deep deficit. But the staggering loss also keeps the focus on the mechanism – known locally as KKM – designed to act as a backstop for the lira, which authorities introduced in late 2021 and have struggled to unwind. Hakan Kara, the central bank’s former chief economist, said on social media platform X that the loss is a reflection of the “world’s most costly economics experiment,” referring to KKM.

Looking at today’s wars as local issues is a huge mistake. There is one war and it is global
David Axe – The Telegraph
Like it or not, Russia’s wider war in Ukraine is part of a world war. A world war pitting a quartet of authoritarian states against the world’s democracies. It’s Russia and Russia’s allies – China, Iran and North Korea – against Ukraine and its allies. These are most of the Western democracies and, in fits and starts, the United States. The problem, for the democracies, is that only the autocracies are acting like the war is what it is: global. Unless and until this changes, Ukraine will be at a disadvantage. If and when it does change, Russia could suffer a swift and lasting defeat. A defeat that might teach the other autocracies a lesson or two.

Expert warns of ‘chilling reality’ TikTok threat poses: ‘China’s greatest asymmetric advantage’
Andrew Miller – Fox News
China’s “infiltration” of civil discourse in the United States poses an “immediate” threat to Democracy and is one of the “greatest threats we face today” in terms of national security, according to an expert on China. “TikTok is not just a technological concern, it is not just a social media problem, TikTok is today China’s greatest asymmetric advantage against America,” Michael Sobolik, author of the new book “Countering China’s Great Game: A Strategy for American Dominance,” told Fox News Digital.

Big Oil Companies Warm to Biden After Years of Bad Blood; Once a favorite foil of the White House, some U.S. oil executives have reached an unlikely truce with the president’s lieutenants
Collin Eaton – The Wall Street Journal
Heading into an election in which energy prices figure to be a key issue, President Biden and some of the country’s biggest oil companies have reached a surprising detente. The truce comes after years of acrimony: The White House routinely slammed windfall oil-and-gas profits as pump prices surged in 2022, and industry executives bemoaned Biden’s campaign promise to transition the U.S. away from oil. Lately though, top executives from Exxon Mobil, Occidental Petroleum and other producers say they have enjoyed cozier relations with the White House, spending more time discussing-and sometimes influencing-the administration’s thinking on climate investments, energy policy and global oil markets with top Biden officials.

When Facebook blocks news, studies show the political risks that follow
Byron Kaye – Reuters
Since Meta blocked links to news in Canada last August to avoid paying fees to media companies, right-wing meme producer Jeff Ballingall says he has seen a surge in clicks for his Canada Proud Facebook page. “Our numbers are growing and we’re reaching more and more people every day,” said Ballingall, who publishes up to 10 posts a day and has some 540,000 followers. “Media is just going to get more tribal and more niche,” he added. “This is just igniting it further.” Canada has become ground zero for Facebook’s battle with governments that have enacted or are considering laws that force internet giants – primarily the social media platform’s owner Meta and Alphabet’s Google – to pay media companies for links to news published on their platforms. Facebook has blocked news sharing in Canada rather than pay, saying news holds no economic value to its business.


Comment on FinCEN’s AML/CFT Program and SAR Filing for Registered Investment Advisers and Exempt Reporting Advisers Proposal
Commissioner Hester M. Peirce – SEC
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the Treasury bureau responsible for administering the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), once more has proposed to subject certain investment advisers to a range of anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regulations.[1] Eight and a half years have gone by since FinCEN’s last proposal, so one would assume that the case for revisiting this initiative after so many years would be strong. Because it is not, I submit this comment in opposition to this proposal.

SEC Charges Real Estate Developer JL Real Estate Development Corporation, its principal, Lixin Azarmehr, and related entities with EB-5 Financing Offering Fraud
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced fraud charges against a Los Angeles real estate developer, JL Real Estate Development Corporation, its chief executive officer, Lixin Azarmehr, and EB-5 offering and developing entities Nevada Skilled Nursing Lender, LLC (“Lender”) and Nevada Skilled Nursing Development, LLC (“Developer”) (collectively “Defendants”) for an offering fraud in which the Defendants allegedly diverted approximately $10 million of investor funds for use in an unrelated real estate venture. Lender was the EB-5 offering entity for the stated purpose of financing the construction of three skilled nursing facilities in the Las Vegas, Nevada metropolitan area (“Nevada Project”).

Changes to the Executive Leadership Team
ASIC Chair Joe Longo has accepted a request from the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions for ASIC CEO Warren Day to join the CDPP on secondment as the Director’s Executive Officer, effective 1 June 2024. The Chair said the request recognised the contribution Mr Day had made to ASIC as CEO, in particular supporting its organisational transformation since 2021.

Hedge fund accused of masterminding tax fraud in £1.4bn High Court trial; Cum-ex lawsuit brought by Danish tax authority against defendants including Sanjay Shah kicks off in London
Alistair Gray and Richard Milne – Financial Times
Denmark’s tax authority accused trader Sanjay Shah’s hedge fund of masterminding a “meticulously pre-planned” tax fraud on Monday, at the opening of a trial described by an English judge as one of the most complex to hit London’s courts. Lawyers acting for the Danish Customs and Tax Administration (Skat) told the High Court that dozens of defendants led by Shah’s hedge fund Solo Capital Partners conducted a fraud over three years that netted them a total of about £1.44bn in dividend tax refunds.

Investing and Trading

United States and United Kingdom Take Action to Reduce Russian Revenue from Metals; New Prohibitions Issued on Aluminum, Copper, and Nickel
US Department of Treasury
Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, in coordination with the United Kingdom, issued two new prohibitions to disrupt the revenue that Russia earns from its export of aluminum, copper, and nickel. This new action prohibits the import of Russian-origin aluminum, copper, and nickel into the United States, and limits the use of Russian-origin aluminum, copper, and nickel on global metal exchanges and in over-the-counter derivatives trading. This action solidifies Treasury’s follow through on the G7 Leaders’ Statement to reduce Russia’s revenues from metals.

Small-time investors in Trump’s Truth Social reckon with stock collapse
Drew Harwell – Washington Post
Jerry Dean McLain first bet on former president Donald Trump’s Truth Social two years ago, buying into the Trump company’s planned merger partner, Digital World Acquisition, at $90 a share. Over time, as the price changed, he kept buying, amassing hundreds of shares for $25,000 – pretty much his “whole nest egg,” he said. That nest egg has lost about half its value in the past two weeks as Trump Media & Technology Group’s share price dropped from $66 after its public debut last month to $32 on Friday. But McLain, 71, who owns a tree-removal service outside Oklahoma City, said he’s not worried. If anything, he wants to buy more.

Gold is back – and it has a message for us; The precious metal’s surge may herald a whole new world
Rana Foroohar – Financial Times (opinion)
It’s easy to mock gold bugs, but their moment may finally have come. The precious metal has been breaking out recently amid higher than expected inflation in the US, and general anxiety over everything from geopolitics to the November presidential elections to where monetary policy and markets go from here. All these things are predictable reasons for gold to surge. But there are deeper, longer-term messages in this rise that investors should pay very close attention to.

At a Brooklyn Pawnshop, Customers Are Flooding In to Sell Gold
Yvonne Yue Li, Jack Ryan and Sybilla Gross – Bloomberg
Investors and metals traders can’t agree on what exactly is behind gold’s recent rally. At King Gold & Pawn in Brooklyn, the customers don’t care. They just want to sell. For some, sky-high values simply mean it’s a good time to cash in; It’s hard to ignore record prices that climbed above $2,400 an ounce last week. For others, it’s a more desperate move to get money for bills and rent. Whatever the need, what’s clear is jewelers and pawn shops are seeing a flood of sellers.

Your Tax Refund Is Delayed. It Could Be Years; Many taxpayers are still waiting for last year’s refund check
Ashlea Ebeling – The Wall Street Journal
Taxpayers waiting for a refund check usually get their money within 21 days of filing a return. The unlucky ones can sometimes wait years. Refunds can be delayed when computers at the Internal Revenue Service flag a return for a variety of reasons. There might be an error, inconsistency or indication of possible identity theft that requires a human to check it. Taxpayers might not get an explanation.

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

G-20 Nations Are Giving Would-Be Climate Investors the Jitters; BloombergNEF’s ranking of rich countries’ low-carbon policies shows weakening and backtracking on regulations.
Victoria Cuming – Bloomberg
The European Union and UK have been world leaders for implementing policy to promote clean energy technologies, but their crown is starting to slip. The EU and UK have taken the top spots in BloombergNEF’s ranking of the Group of 20’s low-carbon policy regimes since the first edition in 2021, and this year was no exception. But what was unusual was that neither of them improved their score, averaging a decline of 1.1 percentage points compared with the 2023 ranking. Even the US fell back this year, in spite of the momentum it had created with its landmark Inflation Reduction Act.

Negotiators seek money for climate action at spring meetings; World Bank becomes focal point for efforts to raise up to $9tn a year to fight global warming
Aime Williams and Attracta Mooney – Financial Times
Climate ministers and UN officials will descend on Washington this week in a bid to supercharge global talks on how the world should pay to combat climate change as global temperatures soar. Officials including Germany’s climate envoy Jennifer Morgan, Denmark’s global climate policy minister Dan Jorgensen and top UN climate change official Simon Stiell arrive in Washington alongside finance ministers from around the world who are attending the annual spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank.

Climate targets oversight group backtracks after staff revolt; Science Based Targets initiative says its guidance on carbon offsets has not changed pending draft rules in July
Kenza Bryan – Financial Times
The world’s leading arbiter of corporate climate targets has taken a step back after a staff revolt over its endorsement of controversial carbon credits as a means to address greenhouse gas emissions. The Science Based Targets initiative issued a statement on Friday saying there was “no change” to its standards, after three days earlier stating that companies would be able to use carbon offsets to meet their climate goals.

The pensioners and babies behind a new era of climate lawsuits; Leading courts around the world are recognising for the first time that governments have legally binding obligations on emissions
Kenza Bryan and Alice Hancock – Financial Times
Two-year-old Heewoo does not know it yet, but later this month he will become one of the most important plaintiffs in the rapidly emerging field of climate litigation. South Korea’s Constitutional Court is expected to hear from April 23 a legal challenge to the country’s progress on climate goals which has been brought on behalf of 62 babies and small children.

Azerbaijan Seeks to Settle Climate Finance Fights at COP29; Presidency has started to lay the ground for the next round of UN-sponsored climate talks in Baku in November.
Zulfugar Agayev and Laura Millan – Bloomberg
Officials from Azerbaijan, the nation hosting the next round of United Nations climate talks in November, are already seeing disagreements between states and parties over the central focus of this year’s summit – climate finance. Azerbaijan is now trying to establish the main negotiation threads and figure out ways to achieve successful outcomes, officials said in Baku during the presidency’s first press conference. Who pays for climate change’s ever-growing bill – and how much – is set to be the main topic of discussion at COP29.

Climate verdict for Swiss women a warning for European states, oil industry
Gloria Dickie, Kate Abnett and Alison Withers – Reuters

Europe trails China and US after ‘monumental’ energy mistakes, IEA chief says; Intervention comes as EU leaders prepare to debate bloc’s economic competitiveness
Alice Hancock – Financial Times

Record debt costs mean climate spending could push nations to brink of insolvency
Libby George – Reuters

UK home insurers hit by surge in weather damage claims; Last year’s severe storms highlight growing challenge caused by climate change
Ian Smith – Financial Times

‘Crippling debt’: Calls grow for World Bank and IMF reforms to combat climate crisis
Stuart Stone – Business Green

Aldi swaps plastic for cardboard in toothbrush packaging
Cecilia Keating – BusinessGreen

Losing hope of rescue, some European solar firms head to US
Sarah Mcfarlane and Riham Alkousaa – Reuters

A Highway in Indiana Could One Day Charge Your EV While You’re Driving It; Construction of the pilot project on U.S. Highway 52 began this month. State officials hope it can help quell range anxiety and electrify long-haul trucks.
Kristoffer Tigue – Inside Climate News


US Regional Banks Dramatically Step Up Loans to Oil and Gas; Citizens Financial, Truist Securities rise in league table; And so have BOK Financial, Fifth Third and US Bancorp
Natasha White – Bloomberg
A group of US regional banks is ratcheting up lending to oil, gas and coal clients, grabbing market share as bigger European rivals back away. The list of banks includes Citizens Financial Group Inc., BOK Financial Corp. and Truist Securities Inc., according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The companies have climbed between 13 and 40 steps up the league table for fossil-fuel lenders since the end of 2021, placing them among the world’s top 35 banks by number of deals. Fifth Third Securities Inc. and US Bancorp, already in the top 30, both ascended 10 steps in the same period.

Morgan Stanley Hires Huang for China Asset Management Drive
Cathy Chan – Bloomberg
Morgan Stanley hired former Credit Suisse banker Min Huang to lead its China investment management division as the US firm recalibrates its mutual fund business and expands its product offerings in the world’s second-biggest economy. Huang, most recently China head of client coverage for UBS Asset Management, will focus on attracting funds from high net worth and institutional investors, according to an internal memo last week that was confirmed by a Hong Kong-based spokeswoman.

Charles Schwab’s profit drops on higher interest payouts
Charles Schwab’s first-quarter profit fell 15% as higher interest on clients’ deposits and its borrowings offset gains from a surge in asset management fees, the brokerage said on Thursday. Rate hikes by the U.S. Federal Reserve have compelled companies like Schwab to increase the interest they pay on deposits – a crucial source of capital that is used to invest in interest-earning assets and give out loans.

Schwab Revenue Tops Estimates Even as Net New Assets Decline
Paige Smith – Bloomberg
Charles Schwab Corp.’s first-quarter net revenue topped estimates as the retail brokerage tries to put 2023’s turbulence behind it, even as the firm’s net new assets plunged from a year earlier. The Westlake, Texas-based firm reported $4.74 billion in net revenue for the three months though March, down 7.3% from $5.12 billion a year earlier and topping analysts’ estimates of $4.71 billion.

Asset manager VanEck’s defence ETF attracts investors amid global conflicts
Sudip Kar-Gupta – Reuters
Fund manager VanEck’s defence-industry focused exchange traded fund (ETF) has reached more than $550 million in net assets in its first year, VanEck said on Monday, highlighting how current, global conflicts have driven investors to the defence sector. The New York-headquartered firm launched its VanEck Defense UCITS ETF at the end of March 2023. The ETF is up around 20% in 2024, and has reached around $560 million in net assets within a year.

Work & Management

Number 1 Reason Managers Have A Bigger Mental Health Impact Than Your Therapist
Bryan Robinson – Forbes
Can you believe it? At workplaces worldwide, managers and leaders have more power over our mental health than they ever thought possible-even more than our own doctors and psychotherapists and about the same as our spouses or partners. Those findings are according to a report from The Workforce Institute, based on a survey of 3,400 employees and managers in 10 countries (Australia, New Zealand, Canada, France, Germany, India, Mexico, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States). So what are employers doing with all that power? Unfortunately, their employees say not enough.

Wellness Exchange

The Mental-Health Benefits Linked to Going to Church; Places of worship can provide community and belonging, which are big drivers in mental well-being
Clare Ansberry – The Wall Street Journal
Active religious practice, such as going to churches, synagogues and mosques, is linked to mental well-being, according to a growing body of research. One possible explanation for the link, researchers and clergy say, is that places of worship can provide community and belonging, which are big drivers in mental well-being, and help counter isolation and loneliness. The findings come at a time of declining regular attendance at services across nearly all faith denominations and rising rates of depression and anxiety. Young people in particular have low rates of church attendance and report often feeling lonely and anxious.


Future of the Most Versatile Food Oil May Lie in Latin America
Anuradha Raghu – Bloomberg
The world is facing a growing shortage of its most versatile edible oil. The solution may lie with emerging producers half a world away from Southeast Asia’s vast palm oil plantations. In Malaysia and Indonesia, which today account for the lion’s share of output, the aging trees carpeting much of the region are becoming less productive. Meanwhile, laborers are increasingly scarce and controls on land clearing have tightened, making it harder to replant.

China’s capital markets activity falls to multi-decade lows; Mainland equity issuance is the worst on record this year in a sign of low investor confidence
Thomas Hale – Financial Times
Activity on China’s equity capital markets on the mainland and beyond has slumped to multi-decade lows, highlighting how the loss of momentum in the world’s second-largest economy has weighed on investor confidence. Chinese companies have raised just $6.4bn in mainland IPOs, follow-on and convertible share offerings this year – the lowest level on record, according to Dealogic data.

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