USDA Report Sees Dire Climate-Change Impact on U.S. Crops; China Says the U.S. Is Undermining Global Stability

Jul 24, 2019

First Read

Hits & Takes
JLN Staff

The Security Traders Association (STA) is having its 86th Annual Market Structure Conference:
“Realizing Opportunity” October 2-4 in Washington DC, including its STA Women in Finance Symposium hosted by Refinitiv. You can go here for more information and to register. ~SR

Richard Sandor‘s American Financial Exchange hit another milestone, reaching $502 billion in interbank lending and borrowing on the platform since the launch of AFX in 2015. AFX now has 153 members.~JK

Former Chinese Premier Li Peng died at the age of 90 on Monday.~SD


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U.S. to pay $15 minimum per acre to farmers hurt by China trade war
Humeyra Pamuk – Reuters
The U.S. government will pay a minimum of $15 per acre to farmers hurt by President Donald Trump’s trade war with China under an aid package to be unveiled before the end of the week, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said on Tuesday.
“We’ll have information for you before the week ends,” Perdue told reporters when asked about the aid, which is planned to total about $16 billion.


Tuesday’s Top Three
Our top read item on Tuesday was ESMA’s announcement, ESMA updates register of derivatives to be traded on-venue under MiFIR. Second was Jim Kharouf’s JLN column Big Shoes To Fill: What Can Heath Tarbert Do For This Industry? Third was the FT piece Global regulators delay ‘big bang’ derivatives rules by a year


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Lead Stories

USDA Report Sees Dire Climate-Change Impact on U.S. Crops; Computer models produce harsh forecasts based on the impact of greenhouse gases
Kirk Maltais – WSJ
Unchecked climate change could mean that the weather conditions hurting farmers this year will become increasingly common and result in higher costs for the federal government, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report.

China Says the U.S. Is Undermining Global Stability
Bloomberg News
Washington provokes competition among major powers, paper says; First strategy document released by Beijing in four years
China accused the U.S. of undermining global stability, as the country released its first defense white paper since Chinese President Xi Jinping initiated a sweeping military overhaul in 2015.

BGC aims to boost European equity options trading with new platform; New York-based interdealer broker teams up with trio of high-frequency traders
Philip Stafford – FT
BGC Partners has teamed up with three electronic market makers to create a marketplace to boost flagging liquidity in Europe’s equity options market.

The Municipal-Bond Market Is Now Controlled by Just a Few Firms; Concentration benefits firms like Nuveen and Vanguard, as well as some investors, but critics see risks if the market cools
Heather Gillers and Gunjan Banerji – WSJ
A few behemoths are increasingly dominating the municipal market, helping to lower prices for many investors but also sparking worries about concentration and influence.

EU Banks May Face Tighter Laundering Rules After Scathing Report
Alexander Weber – Bloomberg
Assessment of recent cases confirms weaknesses in EU controls; EU Commission says stronger EU-wide regulator may be needed
European Union officials called for a further tightening of the bloc’s anti-money laundering rules after identifying a host of failures that led to scandals across the financial system.

The World’s Central Banks Are Debating Whether to Change Their Strategies
Rene Vollgraaff, Craig Torres, and Tracy Withers – Bloomberg
Fed, ECB officials all researching whether to change targets; Weak inflation prompting rethink at major central banks
Struggling to hit their targets for inflation, central banks around the world are debating whether they need to alter what they’re aiming for.

Black Swan Hunter: The New York Fed Has a Department for Doubt
Craig Torres – Bloomberg
Job of McConnell’s little-known unit is to query everything; She sees danger in booms that leave policy makers complacent
Margaret McConnell often tells Federal Reserve officials that they should be a lot more confused than they let on. That’s her job.

Deutsche Bank slumps to largest quarterly loss since 2015; German lender takes large restructuring charge as part of overhaul of the group
Olaf Storbeck and Stephen Morris – FT
Deutsche Bank has slumped to its biggest quarterly loss since 2015 after the embattled lender took a hefty restructuring charge and investment banking revenues tumbled.

Star-struck: investors swarm over new Shanghai tech market; Debut has brought eye-popping valuations but overnight-success stories will worry Beijing
Hudson Lockett, Wang Xueqiao and Tom Hancock – FT
For one 26-year-old investor, the launch of Shanghai’s new technology-focused stock market has brought a huge windfall. “I was not expecting too much, but my luck was good?.?.?.?I didn’t look at the fundamentals,” said Ms Xu, who managed to snap up shares in one of the 25 companies to debut on the Star market on Monday.

Why markets need to heed the lessons from the 1970s; Extremely low real bond yields suggest a monetary system that has lost credibility
John Plender – FT
It is, by now, a familiar statistic, but one that retains its ability to shock: more than $13tn of government bonds are trading at negative yields. But while this may strike many as unnatural, it is not unprecedented. In the Great Inflation of the 1970s real interest rates were extremely low or negative across much of the developed world. A comparison between events in that earlier period with today’s seemingly freakish financial conditions contains several clues as to what may go wrong with monetary policy now.

Investors Wonder if the ECB Can Do Enough to Make a Difference; The central bank meets Thursday with expectations high that it will ease policy, or at least promise that it will do so in coming months
Paul J. Davies – WSJ
The European Central Bank has convinced financial markets that it will act. The question is, among its grab bag of possible moves, will it do more than investors expect?

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

American Financial Exchange Reaches Record Volume Levels on AMERIBOR Benchmark, Trading More Than a Half-Trillion Dollars in Value Since Inception
AFX Press Release
The American Financial Exchange (AFX), a centralized, electronic, self- regulated exchange for direct interbank lending and borrowing for American financial institutions, announced a record volume milestone, reaching $502 billion transacted since its inception in 2015.

LME Prepares Rule That Would Reveal Huge Private Metal Stockpiles
Mark Burton – Bloomberg
The London Metal Exchange is preparing a new rule designed to reveal the huge stockpiles of metal held in private storage, shining a light on one of the industry’s most opaque areas for the first time.
Owners would have to notify the LME if they hold metal in storage that they may want to transfer to the exchange in the future, according to people familiar with the plan. The LME would then make aggregated data about these stockpiles available to the wider market.

Moors & Cabot selects RBC Correspondent Services as new clearing partner
RBC Wealth Management
RBC Correspondent Services today announced that Moors & Cabot, a registered broker-dealer and investment advisor founded in 1890 and headquartered in Boston, has chosen the firm as its new clearing partner and premier service provider.

Nasdaq Private Market Sets New Transaction Record In The First Half Of 2019 – 35 Private Company-Led Transactions And $2.3 Billion In Transaction Value Completed
Press Release
The Nasdaq Private Market, LLC(NPM), a leading provider of liquidity solutions for today’s private securities, has published its Mid-Year Private Company Report, which summarizes private company liquidity activity on the NPM platform for the first six months of 2019. The NPM team facilitated 35 private company-sponsored secondary transactions – a new record high for the period – with total transaction value of $2.3 billion.

Union Investment trades first Eurex FX Futures
Union Investment, one of Europe’s leading asset managers for private and institutional clients, has started trading Eurex FX Futures after seeing growing traction in the product as part of their overall FX portfolio strategy.

Nasdaq beats quarterly profit on strength in non-trading units
U.S. exchange operator Nasdaq Inc (NDAQ.O) beat analysts’ estimates for second-quarter profit on Wednesday, as a boost in its non-trading businesses, including information services, overshadowed a softer trading environment.


Department of Justice opens review into Big Tech’s market power; US investigation looks at whether leading online platforms are smothering competition
Richard Waters – FT
The US Department of Justice announced a broad antitrust investigation into the leading online platforms, raising the stakes in Washington’s scrutiny of Big Tech’s power over growing parts of the economy.

AcadiaSoft Announces Technology Partnership with CloudMargin
Press Release
AcadiaSoft today announced a new technology partnership with CloudMargin that will provide its clients with a seamless front-to-back process for collateral and margin management. The service offers access to AcadiaSoft’s and CloudMargin’s best-in-class solutions via a single sign-on to one platform and provides real-time data and processing information that all parties can view simultaneously, enabling end-to-end workflow connectivity.

SS&C’s front-to-back platform signs up 70 clients; The combined front-to-back platform been adopted by a range of SS&C’s hedge fund clients looking to optimise operational efficiency.
Joe Parsons – The Trade
SS&C Technologies has revealed it has signed up more than 70 clients to its front-to-back office investment management platform.


Crypto Promoter Justin Sun Makes Speedy Recovery After Being Too Ill to Meet Warren Buffett; Kidney stones were cited as the reason for the delaying of Mr. Sun’s lunch meeting with the billionaire investor, for which the Chinese citizen paid $4.6 million in a charity auction
Steven Russolillo – WSJ
Cryptocurrency investor and entrepreneur Justin Sun said he is feeling better and is attempting to return to work by the end of the week, a day after he postponed a charity lunch with Warren Buffett because of a health issue.

Cryptocurrency investor’s $224 million suit against AT&T over stolen coins moves forward
Kate Rooney – CNBC
A multi-million-dollar case involving stolen cryptocurrency filed against AT&T is moving forward.
A federal judge in Los Angeles, California rejected the telecommunications giant’s request to dismiss all of the claims in a suit filed by Michael Terpin last year for enabling the theft of $24 million worth of cryptocurrency. Terpin is seeking $200 million in punitive damages and $24 million of compensatory damages from AT&T.

New NYDFS Division to Oversee Licensing for Cryptocurrency Startups
Daniel Kuhn – Coindesk
The New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS), the financial regulator for the state of New York, is moving its in-house team supervising cryptocurrency businesses to a new division.
In a statement Tuesday, Linda Lacewell, the newly appointed superintendent, announced the Research and Innovation Division at the Department of Financial Services will track emerging financial technologies and be “responsible for licensing and supervising virtual currencies.”

Bitfinex Investor Raising $21 Million for Binance-Style Exchange Cryptocurrency
Wolfie Zhao – Coindesk
RenrenBit, a China-based crypto peer-to-peer lending and wallet startup founded by well-known over-the-counter (OTC) trader Dong Zhao, has lined up commitments worth $21 million for its own token sale.
The lending platform kicked off the sale of 21 million RRB tokens on Monday, each priced at 1 USDT, the dollar-pegged cryptocurrency issued by Tether. It’s yet another example of a notable Chinese crypto startup capitalizing on the craze of exchange platform tokens following the significant growth of Binance’s BNB.


Elizabeth Warren Wants to Stop Banks From Dominating Trillions in Payments
Austin Weinstein – Bloomberg
Democrats’ bill would require Fed to build a payment system; Wall Street banks have already launched a ‘real-time’ network
Elizabeth Warren and other Democrats are vying to keep Wall Street from dominating a potentially lucrative new line of business.

EU draws up sweeping rules to curb illegal online content; Digital Services Act will force tech companies to remove material such as hate speech
Mehreen Khan and Madhumita Murgia – FT
Brussels is drawing up legislation that will force tech giants to remove illegal content or face the threat of sanctions under a comprehensive “Digital Services Act” due to be unveiled at the end of next year.

IMF Cuts Global GDP Forecast for 2019, Citing Fallout From Trade Tensions
GDP growth expected to slow to 3.2%; world trade forecast to grow 2.5%, off sharply
Josh Zumbrun – The Wall Street Journal
A sharp deceleration of global trade driven by ongoing trade tensions is slowing the global economy more than earlier projections, according to the latest forecasts of the International Monetary Fund.


SEC Awards Half-Million Dollars to Overseas Whistleblower
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced a half-million dollar award to an overseas whistleblower whose expeditious reporting helped the Commission bring a successful enforcement action.

SEC: Emily Westerberg Russell Named Chief Counsel Of Division Of Trading And Markets
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Emily Westerberg Russell has been named Chief Counsel of the Division of Trading and Markets.

KPMG fined £5m over ‘exceptional’ breach in BNY Mellon audit; FRC had called for record penalty of £12.5m over botched reports
Tabby Kinder – FT
KPMG has been handed a £5m fine for misconduct in work for BNY Mellon, the world’s largest custodian bank, over breaches that were described as “truly exceptional” by regulators.

Final phase of uncleared margin rules delayed by regulators; The final phase would have enforced thousands of asset managers, hedge funds and insurers from September 2020.
By Joe Parsons – The Trade
A potential ‘big bang’ of buy-side firms being swept into the upcoming initial margin rules for non-cleared derivatives has been given a vital delay until September 2021.

ESMA issues opinions on product intervention measures by Bulgaria, Denmark and Croatia
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has today issued four positive opinions on product intervention measures taken by the National Competent Authorities (NCAs) of Bulgaria, Denmark and Croatia.

Financial Capability Study, Part II: Tracking Shifting Currents of Financial Well-Being
How many Americans participate in the gig economy? Do you regret paying what you did for college? Would you avoid a medical service due to its cost?

Facebook to Pay $100 Million for Misleading Investors About the Risks It Faced From Misuse of User Data
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced charges against Facebook Inc. for making misleading disclosures regarding the risk of misuse of Facebook user data. For more than two years, Facebook’s public disclosures presented the risk of misuse of user data as merely hypothetical when Facebook knew that a third-party developer had actually misused Facebook user data. Public companies must identify and consider the material risks to their business and have procedures designed to make disclosures that are accurate in all material respects, including not continuing to describe a risk as hypothetical when it has in fact happened.

F.T.C. Orders Facebook to Add Oversight of Data Practices
Mike Isaac – NY Times
Facebook on Wednesday was ordered to create new layers of oversight for its collection and handling of users’ personal data by the Federal Trade Commission, as the agency detailed a privacy settlement with the social network that signals Washington’s newfound energy in reining in powerful technology companies.

FCA warns wealth managers on charges
Rachel Addison – FT Adviser
The Financial Conduct Authority has written to wealth managers warning of consumer risk in their sector and pledging to take action against firms which have a “disproportionate impact” on trust in the market.

Investing and Trading

The Old Rules for Building Wealth Are Obsolete; Young America’s path to financial security is littered with some new landmines.
Suzanne Woolley – Bloomberg
Sophia Bera wants to make something crystal clear: She is not your father’s financial planner.

FT 300 list: the top US registered investment advisers in 2019; Median assets were flat for the first time since 2015, but client numbers rose
Volatility in the stock market over the past year has been a mixed blessing for investment advisory companies in the US ó bringing clients to the door but keeping a lid on advisers’ assets under management.

The ECB must make negative interest rate policy effective; With economic indicators sagging, inaction risks turning the central bank into a paper tiger
Reza Moghadam – FT
Has outgoing European Central Bank president Mario Draghi made life easier or harder for his successor Christine Lagarde, by all but promising easier monetary policy, notably lower interest rates?

UK sells 10-year debt at close to lowest yield on record; Gilt auction garners strong demand amid growing concern of potential for no-deal Brexit
Tommy Stubbington – FT
Britain has sold 10-year bonds at close to the lowest yield in history, as investors respond to growing risks of a no-deal Brexit by gravitating towards safe assets.

Cherished fiduciary status is no guarantee of good behaviour; Advisers hold a privileged position but others say they are not scrutinised enough
Rita Raagas De Ramos – FT
In the investment advisory community, the F word ó fiduciary ó is uttered often and loudly. US registered investment advisers proudly declare that their fiduciary status means investors can trust them because they are held to the highest standard of conduct for giving investment advice.

Options Traders Wager On Smooth Sailing For Tech; Investors betting on below-average moves for Facebook, Amazon, Twitter
Gunjan Banerji – WSJ
Options traders are forecasting a relative calm for shares of some tech behemoths ahead of earnings this week. They could end up being caught off guard.


H2O Bans Trades With Cantor in Tit-for-Tat Over German Financier
Luca Casiraghi, Will Hadfield and Lucca De Paoli – Bloomberg
French firm’s ruling follows Cantor’s Windhorst blacklist; Prohibition also covers brokerages BGC, GFI and Aurel
H2O Asset Management has blacklisted Cantor Fitzgerald, backing a controversial financier in a feud with the U.S. brokerage.

Deutsche Bank’s Long Trading Slump Deepened in Run-Up to Revamp
Steven Arons, Nicholas Comfort and Matthew Miller – Bloomberg
Finance chief says worsening rate outlook could hit revenue; Bank posts bigger loss as it books more restructuring charges
Just a few weeks into Deutsche Bank AG’s biggest restructuring yet, the complications are already starting.

Deutsche Bank Probing Jeffrey Epstein Transactions After Cutting Ties
Sonali Basak – Bloomberg
Deutsche Bank AG is scrutinizing transactions that Jeffrey Epstein conducted through the firm as prosecutors try to piece together his finances.

Ex-Pimco Chief Hints at College-Scam Defense: Gifts, Not Bribes
Janelle Lawrence – Bloomberg
Douglas Hodge accused of cheating kids’ way into top schools; ‘We don’t have to talk in code. We know how this works.’
Douglas Hodge, the former Pimco chief accused of using a middleman to cheat his kids’ way into elite colleges, offered a glimpse of his defense on Monday: He made donations, not bribes.

Standard Life Aberdeen and Lloyds end long-running funds row; LBG will pay £140m after terminating fund manager’s contract to run £109bn portfolio
Philip Georgiadis – FT
Standard Life Aberdeen said it has settled its long running dispute with Lloyds Banking Group, which will pay a settlement of £140m after severing the fund manager’s contract to run its £109bn Scottish Widows portfolio.

Deutsche Bank Revamp Pushes Lender Into Big Loss; Troubled German bank books a multibillion-dollar charge related to its restructuring
Jenny Strasburg – WSJ
Deutsche Bank AG DB 1.92% reported a EUR3.15 billion ($3.51 billion) net loss in the second quarter, reflecting the pain of a global revamp and a large restructuring charge that wiped out what would have been a modest profit.

Deutsche Bank reveals over 900 equities jobs gone in transformation strategy cull; German institution details EUR3.1 billion net loss in Q2 2019 following initiation of dramatic restructuring plan.
John Brazier – The Trade
Deutsche Bank has confirmed there were over 900 jobs losses in its cash equities business as part of its business transformation and restructuring plans.


China Urges U.S. to Remove ‘Black Hand’ From Hong Kong Protests
Bloomberg News
Beijing continues to accuse Washington of interference in city; U.S. says China’s comments are a ‘ridiculous statement’
China said the U.S. should remove its “black hand” from Hong Kong’s protests, in some of its most pointed criticism yet against what it says is American interference in the city’s affairs.

Mozambique Ex-Finance Minister Paves Way for Charges at Home
Borges Nhamire – Bloomberg
Chang Resigns as lawmaker, losing immunity from prosecution; South Africa halted extradition of kingpin in $2b loan scandal
Mozambique’s former finance minister has resigned as a lawmaker, potentially paving the way for him to face charges in his home country in relation to a $2 billion hidden-debt scandal.

It’s the End of a (Very Profitable) Era for Nordic Bank Investors
Niklas Magnusson and Kati Pohjanpalo – Bloomberg
Negative rates, scandals and capital rules weigh on sector; Development marks a major shift for banks once deemed stars
For years, Nordic banks have sent their shareholders eye-popping rewards. But after half a decade of negative interest rates compounded by financial scandals, the industry can’t afford more of the same.

Turkish Banker Gets Hero Treatment After Release From U.S. Jail
Cagan Koc – Bloomberg
Turkey’s Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak gave a Turkish banker a hero’s welcome at Istanbul airport after his release from a U.S. prison.

Bank of England Is Losing Credibility With the Public, BofA Says
Olivia Konotey-Ahulu – Bloomberg
Brexit referendum has lifted household inflation expectations; BOE forecasts have been above target for 16 quarters
A city worker walks in view of the Bank of England in London.
The Bank of England’s forecasts are losing authority with the public as well as markets, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Emerging Market Crisis From Turkey – Tragedy But No Farce
Ziad Daoud and Scott Johnson – Bloomberg
Turkey’s central bank could cut rates on Thursday by more than markets expect, potentially sparking another lira crisis. The risk of spillover to other emerging markets is lower than a year ago — looser policy from major central banks could make a decisive difference, according to Bloomberg Economics. But if there is contagion, BE’s scorecard highlights Argentina, South Africa and Egypt as particularly vulnerable.


How Boris Johnson Plans to Deliver Brexit in 100 Days
Alex Morales – Bloomberg
Incoming Prime Minister Boris Johnson has 100 days to deliver on his promise of leading the U.K. out of the European Union.

What a ‘No-Deal Brexit’ Means and Why It’s a Risk Again
Emma Ross-Thomas – Bloomberg
The threat of a no-deal Brexit is back, and companies on both sides of the English Channel are gearing up once again for the scenario they consider the worst case. Incoming Prime Minister Boris Johnson has vowed to lead the country out of the European Union on Oct. 31, whether or not he secures a deal to smooth the process of untangling more than 40 years of integration.


Jeffrey Epstein Confronts Legal One-Two Punch in Bid to Get Out of Jail
Chris Dolmetsch – Bloomberg
Bail for accused sex trafficker would be strategic advantage; Getting it would be like climbing Mount Everest, lawyer says
Freeing Jeffrey Epstein on bail might be a strategic shot in the arm for the accused child sex trafficker’s defense — but it’s a long shot for his legal team.

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