What Happened When a Wall Street Investment Giant Moved to Nashville

May 12, 2022

First Read

Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

The Options Conference is concluding today. JLN shot 16 videos at the conference, 14 Industry Leader videos, one Open Outcry Traders History Project video and a John Lothian Profiles video. The latter was with Scot Warren of the OCC, who is retiring at the end of the year. The Open Outcry video was with Joe Corona of Matrix Executions, who has had a 35+ year career in the markets, trading in Chicago, London and India among venues.

Blue Ocean Technologies announced Brian Hyndman as CEO in addition to his role as president of the global after hours trading and operator of Blue Ocean ATS. The previous Chairman and CEO, Ralph Layman, was named non-executive chairman. Also, Matthew Horisk, previously chief technology officer, was named chief information officer and also assumed the role of chief operating officer previously held by Hyndman. Lastly, Co-Founder and Blue Ocean ATS Managing Director Greg Shinnick will be leaving the organization and will remain on the Blue Ocean Technologies board of directors.

Michael Bloomberg is bullish on Britain and is betting on its future, or so the headline reads from the Bloomberg story about his expanding his media operations in the UK to cover it more broadly. He is aiming to compete directly with the British press, the New York Times said.

Microsoft Co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates tested positive for the coronavirus, despite being one of the richest men in the world. The coronavirus is like marriage; for richer or poorer, it is for everyone.

Here is your first summer reading list out courtesy of Bloomberg. Bloomberg published a story titled “Ten Summer Books That Shed Light on Today’s Most Pressing Issues; Or maybe we’re just drawn to tales of corruption, greed, intoxication, deception, disaster, delusion, and war.”

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

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The Options Clearing Corporation (OCC) has an interview with David Hoag, OCC’s CIO, in Crain’s Chicago Business today, in which he talks about his career in financial technology and the transformation of the derivatives market infrastructure. You can find the interview here. ~SR

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FIA’s International Derivatives Expo is returning to The Brewery in London this coming 6-8 June. Standing still is not an option in today’s evolving cleared derivatives environment. Without adapting to new products, processes, technologies and regulations, your business won’t meet the needs of tomorrow’s industry. We’re bringing together industry leaders, vendors and policymakers to discuss what’s “now” in derivatives, and what lies ahead. Sign up here

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Just 8% of Manhattan office workers are back full time, survey shows.; The Partnership for New York City found a wider embrace of hybrid workplaces, with 78 percent of businesses adopting the model.
Emma Goldberg – NY Times
The best-laid plans for a full-time return to the office remain bedeviled by Covid-19 case rates and a work force reluctant to go back to their commutes, according to data published this week by the Partnership for New York City, a business advocacy group. Just 8 percent of Manhattan office workers are back in the office five days a week, and 28 percent are still fully remote, according to the group’s new survey of more than 160 major employers in New York. On the average weekday, 38 percent of Manhattan office workers are in the office, a figure that employers expect will rise to 49 percent by September. In the group’s January survey, many employers said they thought daily attendance would exceed 50 percent by April.
/jlne.ws/3l8oKWE

***** I am surprised and not surprised. The world has changed, but I am still getting used to it.~JJL

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Child care benefits could help ease the worker crunch, an advocacy campaign says.; A survey by McKinsey & Company and Marshall Plan for Moms found that few workers had access to child care benefits, but most mothers said such benefits would make them more likely to accept a job.
Alisha Haridasani Gupta – NY Times
Almost half of mothers with young children who left the work force cited child care as a reason for the move, according to a survey released Wednesday, and 69 percent of women looking for a job said child care benefits could sway their decision on where to work. The survey of more than 1,000 workers, by the consulting firm McKinsey & Company and Marshall Plan for Moms, a campaign focused on the economic participation of mothers, adds to research exploring how the lack of child care continues to drag on the economy and tighten an already-hot labor market.
/jlne.ws/3PjQx4G

***** If we want more workers, we need to take care of the children. That will free people to take more jobs. Seems pretty straightforward.~JJL

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CFTC Announces Voluntary Carbon Markets Convening
CFTC
Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Rostin Behnam today announced the first-ever Voluntary Carbon Convening on June 2. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss issues related to the supply and demand for high quality carbon offsets, including product standardization and the data necessary to support the integrity of carbon offsets’ greenhouse gas emissions avoidance and reduction claims. Panelists will also discuss issues related to the market structure for trading carbon offsets and carbon derivatives as well as perspectives on the challenges and opportunities in these markets.
/jlne.ws/3l487vu

****** The CFTC gave fair warning for this convening so you can get on your bicycle and get to the event. Leave the corporate jet at home.~JJL

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Elon Musk’s Belated Disclosure of Twitter Stake Triggers Regulators’ Probes; SEC is investigating Tesla CEO for tardy notification after buying 5% of Twitter’s stock; FTC has separate probe under way of purchase reporting
Dave Michaels – WSJ
Federal regulators are investigating Elon Musk’s late disclosure last month of his sizable stake in Twitter Inc., according to people familiar with the matter, a lag that allowed him to buy more stock without alerting other shareholders to his ownership. The Securities and Exchange Commission is probing Mr. Musk’s tardy submission of a public form that investors must file when they buy more than 5% of a company’s shares, the people said. The disclosure functions as an early sign to shareholders and companies that a significant investor could seek to control or influence a company.
/jlne.ws/3FBcVlw

***** My delta on this deal getting done is now less than 20%. Musk’s recklessness could destroy Twitter and the board should calculate that risk.~JJL

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Fed official says he doesn’t buy the ‘Great Resignation’ — suggests employers play up labor shortage to avoid paying higher wages
Emma Ockerman – MarketWatch
Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari said he doesn’t “really buy the Great Resignation” — the term for the Americans who have quit their jobs in droves during the pandemic. Instead, it’s more that people are leaving certain careers to seize better opportunities in others, Kashkari said during a talk Friday at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. Workers employed in long-haul trucking might be entertaining local driving jobs that keep them closer to their families, for example, while child-care workers could be considering less stressful, higher-paying jobs in retail.
/jlne.ws/3FC8sim

****** I think Neel is on to something here.~JJL

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Wednesday’s Top Three
Our top story Wednesday was Ukraine war reveals ‘black swan’ danger, by Jeremy Grant in The Financial Times. Managing risk has gotten more complicated. Second was Tuesday’s top story, CME shareholders: CEO got paid too much, from Crain’s Chicago Business. And third was a tie between our second most-read story on Tuesday, Flow Traders Executive Leaves After Swedish Ski Trip Incidents, from Bloomberg, and Coinbase trading volumes plummet as ‘crypto winter’ sets in from The Financial Times.

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MarketsWiki Stats
26,832 pages; 238,483 edits
MarketsWiki Statistics

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Lead Stories

What Happened When a Wall Street Investment Giant Moved to Nashville; AllianceBernstein relocated 1,000 jobs in an effort to save $80 million a year. While employees who made the move relish the shorter commutes and higher quality of life, some complain of career stagnation and troubles hiring.
Annie Massa – Bloomberg
Hundreds of employees are settling into AllianceBernstein’s new headquarters in downtown Nashville, exploring the tower’s spin and yoga classes, huddle rooms, and kombucha on tap. Outside, a scent of Budweiser and rib sauce wafts out of Rippy’s Bar & Grill before noon. The neighboring honky-tonks and pedal taverns—roving bars on wheels—constitute the bachelorette party mecca of the American South, where musicians sing about troubles caused by whiskey, wine, and beer, and customers order more.
/jlne.ws/38lMpjG

Crypto Billionaires’ Vast Fortunes Are Destroyed in Weeks
Scott Carpenter and Tom Maloney – Bloomberg
Coinbase Global Inc. founder Brian Armstrong had a personal fortune of $13.7 billion as recently as November and about $8 billion at the end of March. That’s now just $2.2 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, after a selloff in digital currencies from Bitcoin to Ether triggered a precipitous decline in the market value of Coinbase, the largest US cryptocurrency exchange.
/jlne.ws/3kZ7pjb

Municipal CUSIP Request Volumes Decline, Certificate of Deposit Volumes Surge; Short- and Long-Term CDs Continue Four-Month Growth Streak
CUSIP Global Services – Globe Newswire
CUSIP Global Services (CGS) today announced the release of its CUSIP Issuance Trends Report for April 2022. The report, which tracks the issuance of new security identifiers as an early indicator of debt and capital markets activity over the next quarter, found a monthly decrease in request volume for new municipal identifiers, while requests for new corporate identifiers rose on a monthly basis. North American corporate requests totaled 5,613 in April 2022, which is up 6.4% on a monthly basis. On a year-over-year basis, corporate requests were up 9.3%. The monthly increase was driven primarily by a 36.7% increase in requests for new Canadian corporate identifiers, a 23.0% increase in requests for short-term certificates of deposit and an 11.8% increase in requests for long-term certificates of deposit. This is the fourth-straight month of significant increases in short- and long-term CD request volume.
/jlne.ws/3L8b5tx

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EU Drafts $205 Billion Plan to Wean Itself Off Russian Fuels
Ewa Krukowska and Alberto Nardelli – Bloomberg
The European Union’s executive arm is set to bolster renewables and energy savings goals as part of a 195 billion-euro ($205 billion) plan to end its dependency on Russian fossil fuels by 2027. The European Commission will propose raising its clean energy target for 2030 to 45% from the current 40% when it puts forward a package to implement its RePowerEU strategy on May 18, according to people familiar with the matter. It will also boost its energy-efficiency goal, requiring member states to reduce energy consumption by at least 13% from projections made in 2020 versus the current 9%.
/jlne.ws/3PdQQOd

Russia has skirted a debt default thanks to a US payment exemption. Now the Treasury is weighing whether to let it expire, says Janet Yellen
Phil Rosen – Business Insider
A Treasury Department exemption that lets US financial firms process debt payments from Moscow is under review as its expiration date nears, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said. Despite imposing a range of crippling sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, the Treasury has allowed payments on bonds issued before March 1 to go through. But that exemption is set to expire on May 25, and Russia’s next bond payments are due May 27.
/jlne.ws/3L7hhls

TerraUSD stablecoin tumbles and luna token plunges 97% as rescue attempts fail to avert ‘death spiral’
Harry Robertson – Business Insider
TerraUSD hit a low of $0.30 Wednesday as the supposed stablecoin slid further away from its peg after confidence evaporated. Sister cryptocurrency luna tumbled more than 97% as rescue efforts from Terraform Labs appeared to fail. Analysts labeled the drops a “death spiral” and questioned whether confidence would ever return to the Terra project.
/jlne.ws/3FFaez9

Hong Kong’s Refusal to Open Border Is Crushing City’s Businesses; City’s economy contracted 4% in the first quarter of 2022; Covid restrictions, lack of travelers hurting confidence
Enda Curran – Bloomberg
Sparks cascade into the night sky as welders work on two office towers arising in Hong Kong’s waterfront banking district. Owned by companies controlled by the city’s two richest men, the high-rise construction projects radiate confidence in the future of the finance hub.
/jlne.ws/3L7CMma

Natural-Gas Prices Soar in Europe After Russia Sanctions Energy Companies; Sanctions on key Polish pipeline could limit Europe’s ability to import Russian natural gas if Ukrainian pipes go down
Joe Wallace, Georgi Kantchev – WSJ
Natural-gas prices in Europe shot higher Thursday, a day after Russia unveiled a set of sanctions on energy companies operating on the continent that could further threaten supply. Among the companies sanctioned by Moscow were former subsidiaries of Russian state gas giant Gazprom PJSC in the European Union and the Polish owner of a key stretch of pipeline. The restrictions could reduce Europe’s flexibility to import Russian gas through routes beyond Ukraine, though the full implications on gas supplies weren’t yet clear, analysts said.
/jlne.ws/3N4iyLo

Crypto Winter May Be Harsh for Coinbase; The company plans to invest even if crypto activity continues to fall, but investors may not have the same patience
Telis Demos – WSJ
The weather is getting warmer outside, but Coinbase Global is settling in for a tough winter. Even before the drop in the price of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies this month, Coinbase was recording a big decline in activity on its platform in the first quarter, the company reported on Tuesday. The number of monthly transacting users fell more than 2 million from the fourth quarter to the first, to 9.2 million. Trading volume slid by 44% over that period and total transaction revenue was 56% lower. The company said crypto volatility continued to decline into April, hitting the lowest level since mid-2020, and it expects lower monthly transacting users and trading volumes in the second quarter.
/jlne.ws/3w5fmtc

Coinbase stock is trading as if the crypto platform ‘will burn through all of its cash’
Brian Sozzi – Yahoo! Finance
A brutal quarter for Coinbase amid a sharp downturn in crypto prices and trading volumes has only emboldened the bear case on a stock already down 71% on the year. “With shares of Coinbase Global selling off sharply during today’s trading session and then plunging further following the market close in reaction to the company’s release of a weaker-than-expected 1Q22 report, the stock is trading as if COIN will burn through all of its cash and then become insolvent,” BTIG analyst Mark Palmer opined in a new note. Coinbase stock fell more than 14% in pre-market trading on Wednesday as of 7:31 A.M. ET. The stock is the number one trending ticker on the Yahoo Finance platform.
/jlne.ws/3l3dafF

Coinbase Says Users’ Crypto Assets Lack Bankruptcy Protections; Cryptocurrency trading firm warns its customers could be viewed as general unsecured creditors
Paul Kiernan – WSJ
Cryptocurrency trading platforms might look and feel like regular brokerage apps to everyday users, but regulators have long warned they lack the oversight and investor protections that are built into traditional financial services. Coinbase Global Inc. acknowledged that reality this week. In its quarterly filings, the crypto trading firm suggested that the digital tokens it holds for its users might not really belong to them if push comes to shove.
/jlne.ws/3L8cO1Z

‘It’s a Bloodbath’: The Crypto Crash Is Real; Bitcoin has shed more than half its value and a multi-billion-dollar “stablecoin” has imploded, but investors aren’t buying that crypto is dead.
Ekin Genç – VICE
Volatility is the bread and butter of the cryptocurrency market. But these days it’s in absolute shambles as Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency that the rest of crypto market tends to tailgate, keeps plummeting partly because it’s heavily correlated to the stock market—also in shambles—and partly because a long-feared crypto timebomb called Terra-Luna has just exploded.
/jlne.ws/3Lbnn4e

More Than $200 Billion Wiped Off Cryptocurrency Market in a Day
Low De Wei – Bloomberg
A massive sell-off in cryptocurrencies wiped over $200 billion of wealth from the market in just 24 hours, according to estimates from price-tracking website CoinMarketCap. The broad plunge in the crypto complex, driven by the collapse of the TerraUSD stablecoin, hit major tokens hard. Bitcoin plunged by as much as 10% in the last day to its lowest level since Dec. 2020, while Ethereum dropped as much as 16%.
/jlne.ws/3sw3f6s

Russia Allows Norilsk Nickel to Keep ADRs Traded Abroad; Miner becomes first large company to report approval; Other companies like Novatek, NLMK are also seeking allowance
Bloomberg News
Miner MMC Norilsk Nickel PJSC became the first Russian company to say it received government approval to keep its American depositary receipts traded abroad after a recent ban on international listings.
/jlne.ws/3FMjTnS

Germany Says Russia Weaponizes Energy as Gas Feud Escalates; Moscow’s move cuts deliveries by about 3% of German imports; Economy minister says Germany can cope with the disruption
Iain Rogers – Bloomberg
Germany said Russia is using its energy exports as a “weapon” after Moscow reduced natural gas supplies in retaliation for Europe’s penalties over the war in Ukraine. A unit of Gazprom PJSC that was seized by Germany has had its deliveries reduced by about 10 million cubic meters a day, according to German Economy Minister Robert Habeck, who is also the vice chancellor in the ruling coalition in Berlin.
/jlne.ws/3l1RcJW

Russia accused of industrial-scale farm plunder in Ukraine
Grain seizures and destruction of tools and buildings evoke painful memories of historic famine
Ben Hall – FT
Things have gone from bad to worse on Oleg’s farm in Kherson in southern Ukraine since Russia’s invasion 10 weeks ago. Occupying forces took away some of his grain and stole all the machinery, including trucks, low-loaders and jeeps — which his staff have seen in local towns ferrying Russian army personnel and equipment. They commandeered his house and farm buildings.
/jlne.ws/3svPrJ8

What happens in crypto may not stay in crypto this time around; Even some who have sipped the Kool-Aid accept the latest cracks may be different
Katie Martin – FT
Crypto is creaking. Unfortunately, even those fund managers in normal markets like stocks and bonds who have studiously avoided focusing on this freewheeling asset class, need to pay attention.
/jlne.ws/39cxOHu

The Pushback on E.S.G. Investing; Calls to rein in investing based on environmental and social principles are growing louder.
Andrew Ross Sorkin, Vivian Giang, Stephen Gandel, Lauren Hirsch, Ephrat Livni, Jenny Gross, David F. Gallagher and Anna Schaverien – NY Times
E.S.G. has its enemies: While speaking about energy policy in Texas yesterday, former Vice President Mike Pence, a potential 2024 Republican presidential contender, said he wanted to “rein in” E.S.G., or investing based on environmental, social and governance principles. He is not alone. Some notable names are pushing back as businesses get increasingly tangled up in cultural and political fights, and as the federal government builds E.S.G. principles into regulations. A new financial firm, Strive, started by Vivek Ramaswamy, the author of “Woke, Inc.,” and backed by the billionaire investors Peter Thiel and Bill Ackman, has a similar mission: It will urge companies not to get involved in social, political or environmental issues. Notably, even BlackRock, an outspoken leader in sustainable investing, is stepping back, saying in a memo yesterday that it is supporting fewer shareholder proposals on climate disclosures this proxy season than last because many are too “constraining” and “prescriptive.”
/jlne.ws/3l2TeJL

Dallas Fed Names Central Bank Insider Lorie Logan as New Chief
Catarina Saraiva, Olivia Rockeman and Craig Torres – Bloomberg
Logan, 49, comes to Dallas from the New York Fed, where she currently oversees implementation of monetary policy as manager of the Fed’s $9 trillion securities portfolio and serves as executive vice president. She has led market operations, monitoring and analysis there since 2012 and started at the bank in 1999. Logan succeeds Robert Kaplan, who stepped down from the Dallas Fed last year following disclosures about his personal trading activity in 2020. The appointment is effective Aug. 22. The Dallas Fed’s next turn to vote on monetary policy is in 2023.
/jlne.ws/3l2PEPP

SPAC Smart Money Jilts $27 Billion of New Blank-Check Offerings
Bailey Lipschultz – Bloomberg
Special-purpose acquisition companies backed by well-known sponsors including Paul Singer’s Elliott Management Corp. and James Murdoch are among nine pending launches that were declared abandoned last week by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Bank of America Corp. became the latest investment banks to step back from supporting SPACs and their merger efforts. With almost half the year gone, more than 30 SPACs seeking to raise over $8 billion have been abandoned by sponsors without even alerting the SEC to their change of plans. That’s on top of the 65 sponsors that formally withdrew about $18 billion of offerings for new blank checks in the same period, Bloomberg data show.
/jlne.ws/3L6qDOm

Shell agrees to sell Russia retail business to Lukoil; UK-listed group says sale of more than 400 petrol stations and lubricants plant will protect 350 jobs
Tom Wilson – FT
Shell has agreed to sell its retail and lubricants businesses in Russia to Lukoil, the first big deal in the oil and gas sector since most western companies pledged to leave the country following the invasion of Ukraine.
/jlne.ws/3FMpASM

Tether breaks $1 peg as pressure mounts on world’s biggest stablecoin; Token’s backers say they are prepared to sell US government bonds as they vow to ‘maintain peg at all costs’
Adam Samson and Scott Chipolina – FT
Tether has vowed to maintain its peg against the dollar “at all costs” after a tumble in the price of the world’s most important stablecoin heaped fresh pressure on the cryptocurrency market.
/jlne.ws/3w7A8ss

There are 99 problems and Tether ain’t $1; In fast and furious markets, a stablecoin drifts
Bryce Elder – FT
We don’t know why it’s happening, but it’s happening. Tether, the $83bn foundational liquidity mechanism for the entire cryptofinancial universe, is drifting away from its dollar peg.
/jlne.ws/3swfZtQ

Crypto addiction: A growing mental health hazard for the very online
Andrea Chang – LA Times
Sabrina Byrne bought Bitcoin for the first time in January and quickly became hooked. Soon the 26-year-old was canceling social plans and staying up until 5 a.m. to compulsively check her cryptocurrency apps, as often as 100 times a day. “It was stopping me from sleeping, impacting my work and taking over my whole life,” the data analyst from England said.
/jlne.ws/3L25IvX

Ukraine Invasion

Russia Was Behind Cyberattack in Run-Up to Ukraine War, Investigation Finds
David E. Sanger and Kate Conger – NY Times
A cyberattack that took down satellite communications in Ukraine in the hours before the Feb. 24 invasion was the work of the Russian government, the United States and European nations declared on Tuesday, officially fixing the blame for an attack that rattled Pentagon officials and private industry because it revealed new vulnerabilities in global communications systems.
/jlne.ws/3l5t1u0

Nearly a third of Ukraine’s jobs have been lost amid the war, U.N. labor agency says.
Liz Alderman – NY Times
Russia’s war has caused colossal losses in employment and income for Ukrainians, destroying nearly a third of all jobs in the country and threatening the loss of millions more if the conflict continues, the United Nations’ labor organization said on Wednesday. Economic upheaval, coupled with a huge outflow of refugees and large-scale internal displacement, has wiped out 4.8 million jobs in Ukraine since Russia’s aggression began, the agency, the International Labor Organization, said in its first report on the economic consequences of the invasion. Should the military escalation continue, over 43 percent of jobs — about seven million — could be lost, it added.
/jlne.ws/3yx5oTl

Ukraine retakes territory in the east amid more Russian attacks
Laura King, Nabih Bulos, Jenny Jarvie – Los Angeles Times
The Ukrainian military pressed its counteroffensive against Russian troops Wednesday — pushing them back from the northeastern city of Kharkiv — in a move that observers say could propel the conflict into a new phase even as U.S. intelligence officials warned that Moscow was preparing for a protracted war. Driving back Moscow’s troops to fewer than a dozen miles from the Russian border, Ukraine said it was able to claw back a constellation of settlements north of Kharkiv.
/jlne.ws/3Ndf7SR

Ukraine reports battlefield gains as Europe’s energy worries grow
Pavel Polityuk and Jonathan Landay – Reuters
Ukraine on Wednesday reported pushing back Moscow’s forces in a counterattack that could signal a shift in the momentum of the war and shut gas flows on a route through Russian-held territory, raising the spectre of an energy crisis in Europe. Ukraine’s armed forces’ general staff said it had recaptured Pytomnyk, a village on the main highway north of the second largest city of Kharkiv, about halfway to the Russian border.
/jlne.ws/3kZ7svn

‘Please don’t let them die’ wives of Azov fighters beg pope
Philip Pullella – Reuters
The wives of two of the last remaining Ukrainian fighters holed up in Mariupol’s steelworks asked Pope Francis on Wednesday to help get soldiers to a third country, with one telling him: “please don’t let them die”. Kateryna Prokopenko, 27, and Yuliya Fedosiuk, 29, spoke to the pope for about five minutes at the end of his general audience in St. Peter’s Square, also asking him to intervene directly with Russian President Vladimir Putin to let them go because “Russian captivity is not an option”.
/jlne.ws/3l1eTSv

Ukraine War’s Economic Toll Is Testing the West’s Unity Against Russia
Mark Landler – NY Times
The West united against Russia’s war on Ukraine more swiftly and solidly than almost anyone had expected. But as the war settles into a prolonged conflict, one that could rumble on for months or even years, it is testing the resolve of Western countries, with European and U.S. officials questioning whether the rising economic toll will erode their solidarity over time. So far, the fissures are mostly superficial: Hungary’s refusal to sign on to an embargo of Russian oil, thwarting the European Union’s effort to impose a continentwide ban; restiveness in Paris with the Biden administration’s aggressive goal of militarily weakening Russian President Vladimir Putin; a beleaguered President Joe Biden blaming sky-high food and gas prices on a Putin price hike.
/jlne.ws/3yqR4f0

War Is Making One of the Richest Countries Even Richer; Hosting the football World Cup is a coup for Qatar, but it’s Europe’s hunt to replace Russian natural gas that will give the Gulf state real influence.
Paul Wallace and Simone Foxman – Bloomberg
As planes begin their descent into Doha, passengers can look down at the brand new 80,000-seat stadium rising from the desert that will host the final of the World Cup in December. They may also notice another striking image: tankers lined up in the Persian Gulf to collect super-chilled natural gas. Football and an increasingly indispensable fuel may have little in common, yet they are coming together to give Qatar outsized influence on the global stage. As the World Cup showcases its ability to acquire international prestige, Qatar’s status as a much-coveted gas supplier is promising to turn the tiny peninsula into the bigger player it always aspired to be.
/jlne.ws/3L88K1I

Russian invasion in eastern Ukraine reaching stalemate, says US official; Pentagon intelligence chief suggests neither side winning despite claim by Kyiv that its forces are pushing Russian troops back
Emma Graham-Harrison and Peter Beaumont – The Guardian
Russian and Ukrainian forces appear to be settling into a gruelling and deadly stalemate in Ukraine’s east, amid warnings from a senior US military official that neither side can win in the present circumstances. Despite an announcement from Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, that Ukrainian counter-offensives around the city of Kharkiv were pushing invading Russian forces back, Ukrainian successes appeared to be confined for now to the far north-eastern and south-western flanks of the 300-mile frontline.
/jlne.ws/39VYQ6o

Ukraine’s ‘hawk and mouse’ Kharkiv counteroffensive is nearing Russia’s border, threatening supply lines
Peter Weber – The Week
A Ukrainian counteroffensive north and east of Kharkiv has pushed Russian forces mostly out of shelling range of Ukraine’s second-largest city, under near-constant attack since Moscow tried to surround it at the beginning of its invasion. Ukraine’s armed forces now regularly report recapturing towns and villages from retreating Russian troops.
/jlne.ws/39hKkFO

Russian troops ill-prepared for Ukraine war, says ex-Kremlin mercenary
Reuters
The Russian military’s failure to seize the Ukrainian capital was inevitable because in the preceding years they had never directly faced a powerful enemy, according to a former mercenary with the Kremlin-linked Wagner Group who fought alongside the Russian army.
/jlne.ws/3suJ5tk

Russian ships carrying stolen Ukrainian grain turned away from Mediterranean ports — but not all of them
Tim Lister and Sanyo Fylyppov – CNN
A Russian merchant ship loaded with grain stolen in Ukraine has been turned away from at least one Mediterranean port and is now in the Syrian port of Latakia, according to shipping sources and Ukrainian officials.
/jlne.ws/3PkSA8C

Allianz very likely to fully exit Russia, CFO says
Tom Sims and Alexander Hübner – Reuters
Allianz (ALVG.DE), which has already stopped accepting new business in Russia, will probably fully exit the country, the German insurer’s finance chief said on Thursday.
The statement by Chief Financial Officer Giulio Terzariol goes beyond the company’s announcement in March that it was putting a stop to new insurance in the country as well as new investments in Russia, after the invasion of Ukraine.
/jlne.ws/3PkSYnA

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

New Document From SUBSTRATE AI About Its Listing On BME Growth; It will become the third company to join this BME market in 2022; The company will make its debut on BME Growth from the Pre-Market Environment, with an initial valuation of 95 million euros.
BME-X
The Market’s Coordination and Admission Committee believes that Substrate AI will meet the requirements for its listing on BME MTF Equity’s BME Growth trading segment. Substrate AI will be the third company to join BME Growth so far this year and the fifth to join this SME Growth market from the Pre-Market Environment, in which it is also a partner. This BME programme accompanies enterprises on their way to the stock markets with training and help in their adaptation to make the leap to the stock exchange. Currently, this programme has 41 companies (19 companies and 22 partners) that have already joined the acceleration and growth project. The company’s Board of Directors has set a reference value for each of its shares of 4.30 euros, which brings the total value of the company to 94.9 million euros.
/jlne.ws/37GPWJe

EBS Market Integration Notice: New and Updated Content
CME Group
EBS Market Integration onto CME Globex
EBS Market’s Central Limit Order Book and eFix Matching Service will launch on CME Globex. You will receive subsequent notices with additional details and actions required to support the EBS Market integration onto CME Globex.
/bit.ly/3L66h80

Euronext launches new AEX® ESG Index
Euronext
AEX® ESG Index is live today and available to index users
New index identifies the 25 companies within the AEX® and AMX® indices demonstrating best Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) practices
4th ESG Index alternative for national blue-chip indices, following successful launch of CAC 40 ESG® Index (France), MIB® ESG Index (Italy) and OBX® ESG Index (Norway)
/bit.ly/39fbsVZ

eureKING SPAC lists on Euronext Paris
Euronext
SPAC listing raises EUR150 million
1st healthcare SPAC in France and 1st European SPAC dedicated to biomanufacturing
6th listing of a SPAC on Euronext Paris since 2020
3rd listing of a SPAC on Euronext markets in 2022
/bit.ly/3wmmPTQ

Hong Kong investor identification regime (HKIDR) – reporting form submission during end-to-end (e2e) test
HKEX
With reference to the Exchange circulars (Ref. No.: CT/021/22, CT/026/22 and CT/030/22), all Relevant Regulated Intermediaries (RRIs)2 are reminded that the E2E Test Session for HKIDR (including two new features of the Orion Central Gateway – Securities Market) will be held from 16 May 2022 to 15 July 2022. All RRIs are required to participate in the E2E Test Session and are reminded to refer to the published test packages and connectivity guide to get ready for the mandatory testing.
/bit.ly/39bEKVk

Changes of SZSE-Listed China Connect Securities List, List of Eligible SZSE Securities for Margin Trading and List of Eligible SZSE Securities for Short Selling
HKEX
With effect from 16 May 2022, 2 A shares listed on Shenzhen Stock Exchange will be added to the list of China Connect Securities and will be eligible for buy and sell in Northbound trading. 1 of the securities will also be added to the List of Eligible SZSE Securities for Margin Trading and List of Eligible SZSE Securities for Short Selling. The aforementioned change(s) is(are) available on the “Eligible Stocks” section of the Connect Scheme webpage.
/bit.ly/3M4FTfU

Amendments to the Exchange Participant Admission Appeals Procedures (the “Procedures”) of Hong Kong Futures Exchange Limited (“HKFE”)
HKEX
Holders of Futures Exchange Trading Rights and Exchange Participants are requested to note that the Securities and Futures Commission has approved amendments to the Procedures for the purpose of implementing changes to the membership composition of the Exchange Participant Admission Appeals Committee of HKFE.
/bit.ly/3l4TuYO

Amendments to the Operational Clearing Procedures (the “Procedures”) for Options Trading Exchange Participants of The SEHK Options Clearing House Limited (“SEOCH”)
HKEX
SEOCH Participants are requested to note that the Securities and Futures Commission has approved amendments to the Procedures of SEOCH for the purpose of implementing changes to the membership composition of the Participant Admission Appeals Committee of SEOCH.
/bit.ly/3l4TuYO

JPX Launch Of Real-time Calculation Of Prime, Standard, And Growth Market Indices
Mondovisione
JPX Market Innovation & Research, Inc. (JPXI) hereby announces the launch of real-time calculation for the Tokyo Stock Exchange Prime Market Index, Tokyo Stock Exchange Standard Market Index and Tokyo Stock Exchange Growth Market Index, which are currently calculated on an end-of day basis.
/jlne.ws/3wmR6BV

Publication of JPX Working Paper, Vol.38 “Analysis of Short Side Market Inefficiencies Using Artificial Market Model”
JPX
Japan Exchange Group, Inc. (JPX) today published JPX Working Paper, Vol.38 “Analysis of Short Side Market Inefficiencies Using Artificial Market Model”. This Japanese version was released on March 9, 2022. JPX Working Papers highlight research and studies on changes in the market and regulatory environment with the aim of raising competitiveness. Conducted by officers and employees of JPX, its subsidiaries, and affiliates, as well as outside researchers, JPX Working Papers are intended to draw comments widely from academia, research institutions, and other market participants and observers.
/jlne.ws/3yz72nu

Disciplinary decision — offer of settlement UBS Securities LLC
TMX
On June 14, 2021, following an investigation conducted by its Regulatory Division, Bourse de Montréal Inc. (the “Bourse”) filed a complaint against UBS Securities LLC (“UBS”), a foreign approved participant of the Bourse.
/bit.ly/39VSXGl

SGX Group reports market statistics for April 2022
SGX
– Record volume in derivatives market
– STI is world’s strongest performing developed-market benchmark
Singapore Exchange (SGX Group) today released its market statistics for April 2022. Derivatives trading volume rose to a record amid macro uncertainties, while the continuing Russia-Ukraine conflict drove hedging activity in freight.
/bit.ly/3wgsX1f

SET, BOT And OVEC Jointly Promote Financial And Entrepreneurial Knowledge To Vocational Students And Personnel
Mondovisione
The Office of the Vocational Education Commission (OVEC) today signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) to promote knowledge on the capital market and social & environmental sustainability, and signed another MoU with Bank of Thailand (BOT) to promote financial literacy. The collaboration with shared values aims to build financial immunity for the vocational students and personnel, and provide entrepreneurship practical knowledge to groom the students to become quality personnel who are ready to enter the job market and ultimately benefit the country’s economic development. This project is expected to cover the target groups of over one million people.
/jlne.ws/39ekmTj

Fintech

Comprehensive technology overhaul for the world’s largest equity derivatives clearing house
Risk.net
In 2019, the Options Clearing Corporation (OCC) launched its Renaissance Initiative to completely replace the technology for its risk management, clearing and data systems. The world’s largest equity derivatives clearing organisation has already begun to see the benefits of this work, reflected in it recently being named Clearing house of the year in the Risk Awards 2022.
/jlne.ws/3FFIryS

Musk’s Twitter Deal Is No Sure Thing; If you believe in Elon Musk, then here is a pot of free money that Wall Street is ignoring
Spencer Jakab and Dan Gallagher – WSJ
This looks like a hole you could drive a Cybertruck through, but Wall Street is rightfully wary. Elon Musk’s agreement to buy Twitter for $54.20 a share is leaving a lot of money on the table for anybody willing to ride his coattails. The social-media company’s shares are currently about 15% below the agreed-upon price. Assuming the deal closes in late October, the annualized return of owning the shares between now and then comes to about 26%. That is the sort of merger arbitrage spread one typically sees when there are serious antitrust concerns or if an uncertain shareholder vote will determine a deal’s fate.
/jlne.ws/3McgxwI

Blue Ocean Technologies Announces Executive Management Changes Brian Hyndman Named New CEO
Blue OCean Technologies, LLC – PR Newswire
Blue Ocean Technologies (BOT), a unique capital markets fintech leader in global afterhours trading and operator of Blue Ocean ATS, announced today executive management changes, effective immediately. Brian Hyndman will assume the position of Chief Executive Officer, in addition to his role as President of Blue Ocean Technologies. Previous Chairman and CEO, Ralph Layman was named Non-Executive Chairman. Matthew Horisk, previously Chief Technology Officer was named Chief Information Officer and also assumed the role of Chief Operating Officer, previously held by Brian Hyndman. Co-Founder and Blue Ocean ATS Managing Director, Greg Shinnick, will be leaving the organization and will remain on the Blue Ocean Technologies Board of Directors.
/jlne.ws/3ywCjaj

Griffin: Fintech Submits Banking Applications Amid Embedded Push
Callum Burroughs – Business Insider
Banking-as-a-service fintech Griffin has submitted its applications for a banking license to UK authorities after a yearslong process.
The London-based startup, which was founded in 2017 by ex-Airbnb software engineer David Jarvis and CircleCI founder Allen Rohner, wants to offer an API to fintechs and other financial institutions that will act as a one-stop-shop to bring new banking products to market.
/jlne.ws/3N843Gl

Payment Companies Propose Best Practices to Avoid Bank Shutouts; A group of industry associations has created a set of compliance best practices laying out how money-services businesses can protect against illicit activity
Dylan Tokar – WSJ
A set of compliance best practices standardizing how money-services businesses can protect themselves against financial crimes could have an additional knock-on effect: preventing banks from dropping them as customers.
/jlne.ws/3sunAsK

Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity has a desperate skills crisis. Rural America could have the answer
Owen Hughes – ZDNet
The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is home to 30% of the county’s landmass, but just 3% of its population.
Boasting dense technicolour forests dotted with waterfalls and surrounded by dazzling turquoise lakes, the Upper Peninsula (UP) lures explorers and lovers of the outdoors and is a world away from the noisy, kinetic streets of the Michigan capital of Detroit some 350 miles away.
/jlne.ws/3l9mzlG

6 best practices for cybersecurity programs
Security Magazine
Security leaders are bracing themselves for an increase in cyberattacks as nation-states and cybercriminals become more prolific.
Executives anticipate that these attacks will target weak spots primarily caused by software misconfigurations (49%), human error (40%), poor maintenance (40%) and unknown assets (30%).
/jlne.ws/3L9e6d5

Can Open Source In Cybersecurity Be A Game Changer?
Benny Lakunisho – Forbes
Open source is everywhere—but not as much in cyber defense. Why? Historically, open source in cybersecurity focused on the development of attack tools. Open source has been common in cyber offense security with tools like Mimikatz, BloodHound and Nmap. These tools provide offensive capabilities, designed to attack or simulate attacks. While defenders use these tools, they are used episodically and do not inherently provide a systematic defense. Worse, these tools get used and modified by cybercriminals.
/jlne.ws/3l58nKM

Cryptocurrencies

Crypto exchange Binance hires former Deputy U.S. Attorney to manage legal affairs
Reuters
Binance on Wednesday named Joshua Eaton, a former Deputy U.S. Attorney in the Northern District of California, as the deputy general counsel of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange. Eaton will be responsible for Binance’s legal affairs, leading the support for global compliance, investigations and law enforcement coordination activities, the company said in a statement. Legal troubles have plagued Binance lately, which won a dismissal on a lawsuit over digital token sales in late March. Investors had sued the company for violating U.S. securities laws by selling unregistered tokens and failing to register as an exchange or broker-dealer.
/jlne.ws/37BwEF0

Hong Kong police arrest man after cryptocurrency trader conned into making bogus HK$1.5 million transfer; Trader met a man posing as a buyer in Tsim Sha Tsui and ended up locked in a room after transferring digital money in a bogus transaction; Office set up for the meeting was fake, with empty computer cases
Clifford Lo – South China Morning Post
Hong Kong police have arrested a 24-year-old man about a week after a cryptocurrency trader was coaxed into transferring HK$1.5 million (US$191,085) in digital money in a bogus transaction in a Tsim Sha Tsui shop. According to the force, the suspect was detained on suspicion of theft – an offence punishable by up to 10 years in jail. During the arrest on Tuesday, officers seized a mobile phone, necklaces and clothes the man was allegedly wearing at the time of the bogus transaction, which took place in a Nathan Road shop in Tsim Sha Tsui on May 4.
/jlne.ws/3N3b8Ic

Cryptocurrency TerraUSD Plunges as Investors Bail; Algorithmic stablecoin nosedived, briefly pushing it to less than a quarter of its original $1 value
Caitlin Ostroff, Elaine Yu and Paul Kiernan – WSJ
A selloff in a cryptocurrency that was supposed to be pegged to $1 accelerated Wednesday, briefly sending its price to less than a quarter of that value. TerraUSD traded as low as 23 cents Wednesday, according to data from CoinDesk. As of about 5 p.m. ET, it had rebounded partially to about 67 cents in volatile trading. A stablecoin, this breed of cryptocurrencies had gained favor among traders for being the one part of the crypto universe that was known for its stability. While the most popular stablecoins maintain their levels with assets that include dollar-denominated debt and cash, TerraUSD is what is known as an algorithmic stablecoin, which relies on financial engineering to maintain its link to the dollar.
/jlne.ws/3symts3

Move along, says Coinbase’s Armstrong; Nothing to see here.
Philip Stafford – FT
Even in the midst of a tumultuous week for all things crypto, Coinbase has managed to stand out. Its shares have tanked 35 per cent in May, taking its decline this year to 77 per cent. Post-close earnings on Tuesday appeared to bear out fears about the company. First quarter results missed forecasts, the company flagged up “weaker crypto market conditions” and it reported a net quarter loss of $430m. But there are a couple of lines in its latest 10-Q filing about its responsibilities to safeguard customer assets that really caught our eye.
/jlne.ws/3yysmt8

Bitcoin Is Increasingly Acting Like Just Another Tech Stock; The cryptocurrency’s plunging value has mirrored losses in the Nasdaq, a benchmark that’s weighted toward tech stocks.
David Yaffe-Bellany – NY Times
Bitcoin was conceived more than a decade ago as “digital gold,” a long-term store of value that would resist broader economic trends and provide a hedge against inflation. But Bitcoin’s crashing price over the last month shows that vision is a long way from reality. Instead, traders are increasingly treating the cryptocurrency like just another speculative tech investment.
/jlne.ws/3sRMkvt

What’s in Store for the Future of Cryptocurrency?; Cryptocurrencies are prone to a gold-rush mentality, but there’s reason to believe in more durable growth of the asset.
Madeline Hume – Morning Star
In recent months, casual awareness of cryptocurrencies has reached an all-time high—just as valuations have dipped by 35%. Responding to the upswelling of interest that cryptocurrencies witnessed throughout 2021, Morningstar published its inaugural Cryptocurrency Landscape in April 2022. The paper focuses on the trends that have led to this inflection point in cryptocurrencies’ history, but we also spent some time taking stock of where the market may lead us next.
/jlne.ws/3NaiFoI

Crypto Companies Are Turning to Bermuda as US Eyes Crackdown
Allyson Versprille – Bloomberg
The self-governing British territory was one of the first places to establish a regulatory framework for digital assets — a puzzle that large countries like the US still haven’t solved. The island has the ability to be more nimble because it has a single regulator, compared to the many agencies that have input over crypto oversight in the US. This, plus the fact that the local officials have embraced the industry, has made it an attractive destination for businesses, especially as countries like the US are ramping up enforcement against crypto firms. The US Securities and Exchange Commission is already probing a number of companies for potentially offering unregistered securities and recently announced plans to beef up a team dedicated to policing digital assets. Lawmakers like Democratic Senators Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown are also eager to rein in the market.
/jlne.ws/3MbYEhI

Terra crisis fans regulatory concerns over $180bn stablecoin market; TerraUSD became unmoored from dollar during this week’s crypto ructions
Scott Chipolina – FT
A crisis engulfing one of the world’s biggest stablecoins has worsened, inflaming regulators’ concerns over the assets that underpin the global cryptocurrency market.
/jlne.ws/3l6xk8G

Politics

Lisa Cook Wins Senate Confirmation to Federal Reserve; Economist becomes first Black woman to serve on central bank’s board
Nick Timiraos – WSJ
The Senate voted to confirm Lisa Cook to the Federal Reserve, making her the first Black woman to sit on the central bank’s board. Ms. Cook was approved Tuesday on a party-line vote, 51-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking a tie. Ms. Cook is the second Fed nominee of President Biden to win Senate confirmation, following Fed governor Lael Brainard, who was approved as the central bank’s vice chairwoman last month.
/jlne.ws/3l5n7sS

Yellen Renews Call for Stablecoin Regulation After TerraUSD Stumble; Treasury secretary expresses hope that Congress will pass legislation this year to create regulatory framework for stablecoins
Paul Kiernan – WSJ
A decline this week in the price of a major cryptocurrency that was purportedly pegged to the dollar prompted Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Tuesday to reiterate calls for Congress to authorize regulation of so-called stablecoins. TerraUSD, the fourth-largest stablecoin and 10th-largest cryptocurrency by market value according to CoinMarketCap, saw its price fall as low as 69 cents Monday after a series of large withdrawals over the weekend. Like other stablecoins, TerraUSD is intended to be a haven of sorts for cryptocurrency investors, with its price designed to remain fixed at $1.
/jlne.ws/3w6bdp0

Lorie Logan, a Fed veteran, will lead the Dallas Fed.; Ms. Logan will lead a central bank district that encompasses Texas, northern Louisiana and southern New Mexico starting in August.
Jeanna Smialek – NY Times
Lorie K. Logan, a longtime Federal Reserve Bank of New York veteran, will be the next leader of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. Ms. Logan will start in August, filling a role that was vacated in October 2021 when Robert S. Kaplan resigned from the position amid fallout from a trading scandal. Mr. Kaplan had been actively trading stocks and other assets in 2020, when the Fed was intervening in markets.
/jlne.ws/3w5gWeE

The Senate confirms Philip Jefferson as a Fed governor.; Lawmakers have now confirmed three of Mr. Biden’s nominees to the seven-person Fed Board of Governors in Washington.
Jeanna Smialek and Emily Cochrane – NY Times
Philip N. Jefferson, a college administrator and academic economist, was confirmed to the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors on Wednesday. Senators approved him for the job in an overwhelming bipartisan 91-7 vote. He is the third of President Biden’s nominees to secure a spot on the Fed’s seven-person board: Lisa D. Cook was confirmed as a governor on Tuesday, and Lael Brainard was confirmed as vice chair last month.
/jlne.ws/3wmzG8t

Senate Bill Would Give Washington Huge Powers Over Crypto
Joe Light – Barron’s
Legislation expected to be released within the next few weeks would overhaul the way cryptocurrencies and digital assets are regulated and leave the Securities and Exchange Commission with significant oversight powers, according to a draft of the bill reviewed by Barron’s. Some industry officials are already trying to change many of the proposals within the draft.
/jlne.ws/3sykyUn

Biden says US farmers can help in inflation fight as food prices continue to soar
Alexandra Hutzler – ABC News
President Joe Biden hit the road Wednesday to talk about the role American farmers can play in alleviating global food shortages caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. At O’Connor Farms, a family-run farm in Kankakee, Illinois, Biden outlined steps his administration is taking to help farmers ramp up domestic production. “Right now America is fighting on two fronts,” Biden said. “At home, it’s inflation and rising prices. Abroad, it’s helping Ukrainians defend their democracy and feeding those who are left hungry around the world because Russian atrocities exist.”
/jlne.ws/37Bw4Hk

How Trump Caused Inflation; Trump Blocked Regulations Against Price Manipulation; Biden Has Yet to Acknowledge the Problem
Jonathan Larsen – TYT
It was just one loophole. But it was big enough to swallow the global economy. Wall Street created the loophole almost a decade ago, to escape U.S. regulation of complex financial trades related to commodities like oil and wheat. Then the Trump administration fortified the loophole. On Tuesday, gas prices hit a record high. Today, the March Consumer Price Index is expected to show overall inflation still running above eight percent.
/jlne.ws/3w2r2x0

The second American civil war is already happening; America will still be America. But it is fast becoming two versions of itself. The open question is: how will the two be civil toward each other?
Robert Reich – The Guardian
The US supreme court’s upcoming decision to reverse Roe v Wade (an early draft of which was leaked last week) doesn’t ban abortions; it leaves the issue to the states. As a result, it will put another large brick in the growing wall separating blue and red America. The second American civil war is already occurring, but it is less of a war than a kind of benign separation analogous to unhappily married people who don’t want to go through the trauma of a formal divorce.
/jlne.ws/39dNV7Q

We’re in danger of losing our democracy. Most Americans are in denial.
Max Boot – The Washington Post
It has been stirring to see so many Americans come together to support Ukraine’s fight for freedom. But it is dismaying to see that there is no similar consensus on defending democracy at home. Indeed, much of the country remains in denial about the threat. A year after the Jan. 6, 2021, storming of the Capitol, a CNN poll asked whether it’s likely “that, in the next few years, some elected officials will successfully overturn the results of an election.” Fifty-one percent of Republicans and 44 percent of Democrats said it’s not at all likely. Only 46 percent of Democrats and independents said that U.S. democracy is under attack, which helps to explain why Democratic candidates aren’t campaigning on defending democracy.
/jlne.ws/3FH3bWL

Biden Team Sees China Tilt Aided as Putin Falters in Ukraine
Peter Martin – Bloomberg
As Europe’s largest conflict since World War II rages in Ukraine, top Biden administration aides are increasingly convinced it could provide the US with an unexpected advantage — against China.
/jlne.ws/3FFAl9f

Britain and Europe Have Two Common Enemies Now; While Russia makes Brexit spats look petty, the new “shrinkflation” — slowing growth and rising inflation — poses a similar challenge to UK and EU central bankers.
Therese Raphael – Bloomberg
Inflation is soaring, which is usually the cue for central bankers to kick into high-gear. This time, they are finding it much harder to manage, thanks in part to a lack of headroom after years of overly accommodative monetary policy.
/jlne.ws/3yx26zb

Sterling’s Drop to Parity With the Dollar Is a Growing Risk; Traders fear that high inflation and weak economic growth will make it impossible to keep the UK currency from dropping further.
John Authers – Bloomberg
British politicians have a complicated relationship with the pound, which has a complicated relationship with the US dollar. Currency crises, as governments tried and failed to defend sterling against the dollar, cost Harold Wilson and John Major their premierships, and once even appeared to end the political career of Winston Churchill. Now, the notion of parity to the dollar is being openly discussed after the pound staged yet another dive, while the government of Boris Johnson struggles with a crisis in the cost of living. Can sterling’s slide be stopped, and what would be the repercussions of a pound worth less than a dollar?
/jlne.ws/3w8GQ1o

Finland’s President tells Putin to look in the mirror
Anne Kauranen – Reuters
Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said on Wednesday Russian President Vladimir Putin should look in the mirror if Finland decides to join NATO to increase its own security.
/jlne.ws/3l15n1I

EU Considers Boosting Ukraine Arms Financing to 2 Billion Euros
Alberto Nardelli, John Follain, and Natalia Drozdiak – Bloomberg
The European Union’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, is pushing member states to boost the amount of Ukrainian military aid the bloc will finance by 500 million euros ($522 million) to 2 billion euros, according to people familiar with the discussions.
/jlne.ws/3M7qcoc

Finland’s President, Prime Minister Support NATO Bid
Leo Laikola and Kati Pohjanpalo – Bloomberg
Finland and Sweden are inching closer to joining NATO in what would be another jolt to the European security landscape following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Finland’s highest-ranking policy makers President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin threw their weight behind an application and Sweden’s government is likely to do so in the coming days.
/jlne.ws/3l1STar

Hong Kong intervenes to strengthen currency for first time since 2019
Borrowing costs expected to rise in economy battered by Covid-19 restrictions
Hudson Lockett – FT
Eddie Yue, the chief executive officer of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, said a recent weakening of the city’s exchange rate was due to tighter US monetary policy
Hong Kong’s central bank has intervened to strengthen the city’s currency and defend its US dollar peg for the first time since 2019, threatening to raise borrowing costs while the financial hub’s economy is still reeling from harsh Covid-19 restrictions.
/jlne.ws/3PfLtOq

Regulation

agora Advances Its Digital Capital Markets Vision With FCA Regulatory Authorisation And ISO Certifications
Mondovisione
agora Digital Capital Markets (“agora”), today announced that the company has become authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. agora believes technology that enables the on-ledger representation of digital assets should be sound, stable, resilient and able to provide the market with accurate, useable data. These are all principles that underpin financial regulation in the UK. The company’s authorisation by the FCA (FRN: 938487) recognises these principles. Separately, agora announced a receipt of a series of global certifications that enhance its commitment to building the first secure, sustainable and truly end-to-end digital workflow for fixed income products, through the agoraPlatform.
/jlne.ws/3l0CXoG

BaFin Investigates Operator Of Trading Platform blokchains.de
Mondovisione
In accordance with section 37 (4) of the German Banking Act (Kreditwesengesetz – KWG), BaFin would like to make clear that the operator of the trading platform blokchains.de does not hold authorisation under the KWG to conduct banking business or provide financial services. The company is not supervised by BaFin. Based on the contents of the website blokchains.de, on the use of the top-level domain “de” and on information and documents available to BaFin, there are grounds to suspect that the platform is being used to conduct banking business and/or to provide financial services in Germany without the required authorisation. On blokchains.de, the operator of the website only refers to itself using the name Blokchains. The business address stated is located in London, United Kingdom. The terms and conditions, however, refer to Estonian law.
/jlne.ws/3yxbItP

BIS – It Takes Two: Fiscal And Monetary Policy In Mexico
Ana Aguilar, Carlos Cantú and Claudia Ramírez – Mondovisione
The intertwined channels of fiscal and monetary policy are a challenge for policymakers. By design, the fiscal authority and the central bank decide and implement each form of policy independently. But taking policy decisions without considering the other side can lead to policies that are in conflict with one another. It is thus important to understand how fiscal and monetary policy interact and the nature of the feedback between them.
/jlne.ws/38nWM6L

ISDA AGM Studio: AGM Preview With ISDA Chairman Eric Litvack And CEO Scott O’Malia
ISDA
ISDA CEO Scott O’Malia and ISDA chairman Eric Litvack preview the ISDA Annual General Meeting (AGM), and talk about some of the topics that will be covered at the event, including crypto assets and digitization of derivatives markets.
/jlne.ws/3yxGZwE

EBA Sees Progress In The Implementation Of The Supervisory Review And Evaluation Process And Of The Supervisory Priorities For 2021 But Flags Some Areas For Improvement
Mondovisione
The European Banking Authority (EBA) today published its annual Report on convergence of supervisory practices for 2021. Competent Authorities made progress in the implementation of the EBA Guidelines on supervisory review and evaluation process (SREP). The Report also reflects consistent implementation into their supervisory practices of the key supervisory priorities for 2021. However, the Report sets expectations for additional efforts from Competent Authorities on topics such as ICT risks, namely cyber risk and business model challenges and the respective digital transformation. In addition, the Report highlights the need for more harmonised practices in the determination of capital add-ons.
/jlne.ws/3wfq0Ot

ISDA/Linklaters/S&P Announce Intention To Enable Data Sharing Between ISDA Create And Counterparty Manager
ISDA
ISDA, Linklaters and S&P Global Market Intelligence have announced their intention to make the ISDA Create contract negotiation platform available within S&P Global Market Intelligence’s Counterparty Manager service, giving firms the ability to easily access full details of their contractual relationships in digital form from a single location. Counterparty Manager allows users to exchange information when opening a trading relationship and includes ISDA Amend, an online tool that enables market participants to modify multiple ISDA Master Agreements and share regulatory representations with counterparties. As part of the initiative, users of either platform will be able to view a complete digital record of all relationship and contractual data exchanged and/or created on either platform. Users of Counterparty Manager will also be able to access the full online negotiation and execution functionality of ISDA Create by adding an annex to their existing S&P Global Market Intelligence Counterparty Manager user agreement.
/jlne.ws/3PeCzkq

SEC Chair Calls for Comprehensive Rules to Be Applied to Digital Assets
Ana Alexandre – FX Empire
Gary Gensler, Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has underlined the need for comprehensive rules to be applied to digital assets. In a speech on reducing risk and increasing transparency of derivatives, during the International Swaps and Derivatives Association Annual Meeting on Wednesday, Gensler said most cryptocurrencies constitute securities as the current administration looks to regulate digital assets.
/jlne.ws/3Mbz3Fr

OneCoin Cryptoqueen Named Among Europe’s Most Wanted Fugitives
Ruja Ignatova – Bloomberg
The founder of the OneCoin cryptocurrency was placed on the European law enforcement agency’s most wanted list for her role in the multibillion dollar fraud. Ruja Ignatova, known as the so-called cryptoqueen, “is suspected of having prompted investors worldwide to invest in this actually worthless ‘currency’,” Europol said on its website. The agency is offering a 5,000 euro ($5,217) reward for information that will lead to the arrest of 41-year-old Ignatova.
/jlne.ws/3w8kvB5

FCA reminds consumers of the risks of investing in cryptoassets
FCA
We have seen some recent social media posts regarding cryptoassets and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). We cannot comment on individual products. However, as we have said previously, the FCA has not been given regulatory oversight over direct investments in cryptoassets and NFTs. There are no consumer protections for those who buy any cryptoassets and NFTs, and they are not FSCS protected. As a result, if you buy cryptoassets you should be prepared to lose all the money you invest.
/jlne.ws/3w5P8H5

KPMG Fined £14 Million Over Carillion Audit Scandal; UK audit watchdog recommends penalty over KPMG failures; KPMG says it is right firm faces sanction for misconduct
Katharine Gemmell and Michael Kapoor – Bloomberg
KPMG LLP will pay more than £14 million ($17.1 million) over misconduct on major work it carried out for collapsed Carillion Plc and data services company Regenersis, in the latest in a long list of audit scandals surrounding the firm.
/jlne.ws/38iAiUP

Investing and Trading

Inflation Has a Long Way to Fall to Stop Being a Problem; Even if inflation eases in the months ahead, the Federal Reserve might not offer much to investors in the way of relief
Justin Lahart – WSJ
Inflation might have peaked, but that isn’t the same thing as saying that it is under control. The Labor Department on Wednesday reported that consumer prices rose a seasonally adjusted 0.3% in April from a month earlier, putting them 8.3% above their year-earlier level. In March, they were up 8.5% on the year. Core prices, which exclude often-volatile prices for food and energy items in an effort to better reflect inflation’s underlying trend, rose 0.6% from March and were up 6.2% from a year earlier in April. That compared with a 6.5% on-year gain in March. Even though inflation eased a bit on a year-over-year basis, the monthly gain in core prices in particular was bigger than economists expected to see.
/jlne.ws/3M7jHBL

The ‘Fed Put’ Has Finally Expired. What Investors Should Do Now.
Steven M. Sears – Barron’s
Jerome Powell’s recent news conference lingers like a traumatic Zen koan. The Fed chairman said one thing, but what if it means something else and even he doesn’t realize it?
Powell affably told the reporters who follow him around that the Federal Reserve isn’t actively considering an interest-rate hike of three-quarters of a percentage point. Beginning the next day, the stock market has convulsed sharply lower as if the vast majority of investors think he cannot control inflation with only half-point rate hikes. The Cboe Volatility Index, or VIX, has surged above 30, a level that reflects widespread fear that the S&P 500 index will keep falling over the next month.
/jlne.ws/3ssvKSE

Rebuilding the broken futures commission merchant paradigm
Risk.net
The futures commission merchant (FCM) model is broken. The $5.5 billion industry is in dire straits. Once considered a low-risk activity supported by initial margin and daily mark-to-market calls, clearing today is a capital-intensive and ‘returns-challenged’ activity
/jlne.ws/3wrdkCC

China Censors WHO Chief’s Call to End Covid-19 Strategy Dubbed Unsustainable; Move to muffle global health body’s criticism shows Xi Jinping’s zero tolerance for public debate
Rachel Liang – WSJ
China’s censors blocked rare public criticism of its zero-Covid strategy by the World Health Organization from social media Wednesday, as officials in Shanghai insisted there would be no change to policies that have locked tens of millions of people in their homes for weeks. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said China’s inflexible approach to Covid-19 needs to adapt to the evolving nature of the virus.
/jlne.ws/39eiHx3

Untapped Global Vaccine Stash Raises Risks of New Covid Variants; Previous goal of vaccinating 70% of each country out of reach; Focus is now on boosting demand in lower-income countries
Josh Wingrove, James Paton, and Antony Sguazzin – Bloomberg
The world finds itself awash in Covid-19 vaccines, but governments can’t get them into arms fast enough, as hesitancy and logistical hurdles threaten to indefinitely extend the pandemic. Shots that were once rare are now piling up and even expiring, a problem on the agenda of a second global Covid-19 summit the US is co-hosting on Thursday. President Joe Biden kicked off the first summit eight months ago by announcing the US would donate another 500 million doses to the international vaccination campaign, nearly doubling its total pledge.
/jlne.ws/3l0AyKG

Pimco Warns Bond Investors Against Fleeing for Other Riskier Credit Markets
Caleb Mutua – Bloomberg
The selloff in the US investment-grade and high-yield corporate debt markets this year is leading to potentially “harmful misconceptions” about risk and reward, Pimco’s senior portfolio managers Mark Kiesel, Mohit Mittal and Christian Stracke wrote in a blog post Wednesday. Pimco said market misinterpretations persist regarding public companies’ creditworthiness and duration risk on their debt, as well as the notions that bank loans, private credit and floating-rate debt are somehow less risky. “Fear can trump discipline when markets become extremely volatile,” the Pimco managers wrote.
/jlne.ws/3w6g1L6

Meme Stock Euphoria Goes Bust as Group Drops to All-Time Low
Bailey Lipschultz – Bloomberg
The group of 37 retail trading favorites tracked by Bloomberg extended a four-day slide on Tuesday, wiping out 15% of its value in the past week as global markets fell on concern of a looming recession. The index has shed 63% of its value from a January 2021 high. Risky assets and former high-flying technology companies have been hit the hardest as investors respond to the Federal Reserve’s efforts to combat soaring inflation. The weakness across meme stocks mirrors drops among businesses that went public by merging with special-purpose acquisition companies and those favored by Cathie Wood’s ARK Innovation ETF.
/jlne.ws/3M6dLZO

Student Loans May Get Canceled, But More Limits Mean You Might Not Qualify
Zack Friedman – Forbes
President Joe Biden could be on the cusp of canceling student loans for millions of student loan borrowers. If he proceeds with student loan forgiveness, it could be life-changing for a generation of Americans. While many people are expecting student loan cancellation for most student loan borrowers, the outcome could be far different. Rather than broad-based student loan relief, Biden student loan forgiveness could look a lot more like targeted student loan forgiveness only to specific groups of borrowers.
/jlne.ws/3w7HITY

Crypto Stress Is Feeding the Wider Selloff in Global Markets; Strategists say crypto is denting risk sentiment across assets; ‘There is a new bear factor that has come into play’: Freeman
Lynn Thomasson and Anchalee Worrachate – Bloomberg
Cryptocurrencies were once touted as a risk hedge. Now they look more like a risk spreader. As markets slumped in unison on Thursday, traders pointed to the chaos in crypto as a focal point of their concern. Strategists are increasingly worried that small traders, already nursing losses from the meme stock craze, will be wiped out on their crypto holdings and sell everything else.
/jlne.ws/3FHAx8c

The Investing Party May Be Over, But Markets Might Make Sense Again
Michael Mackenzie – Bloomberg
Anyone checking their investment accounts at the moment will presumably recoil in shock—and then think about putting more money to work. After all, history reveals periods of intense Wall Street fear are ultimately good buying opportunities, a pattern that’s duly nurtured a generation of investors primed to “buy the dip” during major equity and credit market routs. One of the most memorable, short-lived dips in asset prices was the pandemic low of early 2020, and that’s a good starting point for investors trying to make sense of what ails markets today.
/jlne.ws/3w70KcT

Metal Demand Seen Surging for Decades on Strength of Energy Transition, World Bank Says; Prices for industrial metals that already are sky high probably will continue to appreciate, study finds
Elizabeth Elkin – Bloomberg
Demand for metals used in everything from wind-turbine blades to batteries will surge for decades to come, driven by efforts to decarbonize the global economy and shift away from fossil fuels, according to the World Bank.
/jlne.ws/3L9of9E

European corporate bonds hit by steepest sell-off in at least 20 years; Pressure mounts as traders crank up bets of ECB raising rates to curb inflation
Ian Johnston – FT
European corporate debt has been hit by its heaviest pullback on record as fears over persistently high inflation and the threat of a recession send traders dashing out of the market. Bonds issued by highly rated companies in the eurozone have lost investors more than 10 per cent since the peak nine months ago, marking by far the biggest decline since at least 2000 for an asset class typically expected to deliver much steadier returns than stock markets, according to an Ice Data Services index.
/jlne.ws/3Mb6Z4W

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

This Portable Wind Turbine Is the Size of a Water Bottle and Charges Devices in Under an Hour
Vanessa Bates Ramirez – SingularityHub
Five years ago, a startup called Semtive Energy took the concept of a wind turbine, shrank it down to the size of a garden shrub, and started marketing it directly to households; much like rooftop solar panels, the mini turbine is intended to help homeowners rely less on the grid and produce their own clean energy.
/jlne.ws/3L6NV6N

Climate-change-linked droughts have increased dramatically since 2000, report finds
David Knowles – Yahoo! News
Thanks in part to climate change, the number and frequency of droughts on the planet have increased by 29% in the past 22 years, according to a United Nations report released Wednesday. As a result, roughly one-third of the Earth’s population, 2.3 billion people, now face the risk of water scarcity. “The facts and figures of this publication all point in the same direction: an upward trajectory in the duration of droughts and the severity of impacts, not only affecting human societies but also the ecological systems upon which the survival of all life depends, including that of our own species,” Ibrahim Thiaw, executive secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), said in a statement.
/jlne.ws/3FCQ2xW

Offset Markets Need to Know Their Carbon—and Their Customers; There’s invention and competition in carbon markets, but they will have a high degree of uncertainty until two sets of problems are solved.
Nathaniel Bullard – Bloomberg
Last year, global carbon markets exceeded 750 billion euros ($850 billion) in transactions. Almost all of that happened in so-called compliance markets, where laws require major emitters of greenhouse gases to buy permits or credits. Europe makes up the bulk of these markets, with 760 billion euros traded in 2021, while North America (including markets in the Northeastern and Western US, as well as Canada) amounted to almost 50 billion euros, and the UK’s own market, post-Brexit, was worth about half as much.
/jlne.ws/3l9vMdK

Climate chaos certain if oil and gas mega-projects go ahead, warns IEA chief
Fiona Harvey, Matthew Taylor and Damian Carrington – The Guardian
The world’s leading energy economist has warned against investing in large new oil and gas developments, which would have little impact on the current energy crisis and soaring fuel prices but spell devastation to the planet.
Fatih Birol, the executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), was responding to an investigation in the Guardian that revealed fossil fuel companies were planning huge “carbon bomb” projects that would drive climate catastrophe.
/jlne.ws/3wkrzJK

Institutions

Lloyds Shutting Asia Arm Serving Corporate, Commodities Clients
Archie Hunter and Jacqueline Poh – Bloomberg
As part of the move, the lender will close an office in Singapore that served a variety of corporate and commodities trading clients. A spokesperson for the firm confirmed the changes were part of a strategic review concluded in February under new Chief Executive Officer Charlie Nunn. In commodities, Lloyds has been active in revolving facilities and is a provider of letters of credit: short-term loans that enable traders, smelters and refiners in Asia to purchase raw materials. The bank is the latest departure from the space, an exodus that is leaving small to medium-size players short of financing just as prices of everything from oil to zinc and wheat have soared on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
/jlne.ws/3L89NPc

BlackRock says it has more than $800 million for new impact fund
Ross Kerber – Reuters
Top asset manager BlackRock Inc said on Wednesday it has more than $800 million in commitments for a new impact fund, part of a growing investor focus on diversity and equity themes. The New York-based firm said its BlackRock Impact Opportunities Fund is meant to back businesses or projects run by or serving Black, Latino and Native Americans communities. It is among a number of steps BlackRock outlined in June 2020 to advance racial equity after the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. Pam Chan, global head of BlackRock’s alternative solutions group, said the fund aims to deliver market rates of return while promoting economic growth.
/jlne.ws/39bgUJi

As Ark’s flagship fund plunges 76% from its peak, Cathie Wood still views her stocks as residing in ‘deep value territory’
Mark DeCambre – MarketWatch
The wheels have really come off the wagon of the stock market and Cathie Wood’s ARK Invest has, arguably, seen the most dramatic fall from its parabolic rise, amid the current downdraft in markets. However, the S&P 500 SPX, -1.65% hanging on the precipice of a bear market — a decline of at least 20% from its recent peak — and the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite’s COMP, -3.18% nearly 30% crash from its peak apparently haven’t shaken Wood’s belief that her strategy of targeting super-growth tech stocks will come back into vogue.
/jlne.ws/3FGHDcJ

Schroders, BlackRock, Pimco Face Losses as Adler’s Troubles Grow; Money managers hold large stakes in debt linked to Adler; Real estate firm faces funding squeeze as easy money era ends
Laura Benitez and Luca Casiraghi – Bloomberg
A Wall Street bank and some of the world’s largest money managers stand to lose hundreds of millions of euros in the crisis that’s rocked the world of German real estate. Around 7.5 billion euros ($7.9 billion) of debt held in part by Schroders Plc, Pacific Investment Management Co LLC, Morgan Stanley, and BlackRock Inc. hangs in the balance after a series of dramatic developments ripped through the German landlord Adler Group SA and its web of interconnected real estate firms.
/jlne.ws/3w9cN9P

SoftBank’s Son Pays Price for Tech Bets With $20 Billion Loss; Vision Fund lost 2.64 trillion yen as portfolio stocks fell; Drop in tech shares has hurt Coupang, Didi and Alibaba
Min Jeong Lee and Takahiko Hyuga – Bloomberg
Masayoshi Son is paying a steep price for his outsized wagers on money-losing technology companies. Son’s SoftBank Group Corp. reported a record annual loss at its Vision Fund unit as a selloff in tech shares pummeled the value of its portfolio companies, including public holdings like Coupang Inc., Uber Technologies Inc. and Didi Global Inc. The Vision Fund swung to a loss of 2.64 trillion yen ($20.5 billion) for the year ended Mar. 31, compared with a 4.03 trillion yen profit in the previous year.
/jlne.ws/3w8HfAW

Wellness Exchange

‘Completely devastating’: US passes 1m overdose deaths since records began; 2021 was a record year for overdose deaths with an estimated 107,622, CDC says, an increase of 15% from the previous year
Melody Schreiber – The Guardian
Trevor Foster, 26, loved the Cowboys, the Yankees, fishing, animals and above all his daughter. Jarod Galloway, 21, wanted people to be the best version of themselves, and his niece was his favorite human. Taylor Miller, 27, was a nursing student and a staunch supporter of anyone in recovery. Michael Stabile, 15, was ending his freshman year with great grades and a promotion at the restaurant where he worked. Jared Tyler Olvera, 20, always befriended the new kids at school. Jordan Humphrey, 21, loved sneakers, cars and his family, who loved him “as big as the sky”. All were among US overdose deaths in 2021, a record year for such fatalities with an estimated 107,622, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Wednesday.
/jlne.ws/3Pf8W2p

Hong Kong Stands at a Covid Crossroads
Michelle Fay Cortez – Bloomberg
Once a vibrant financial hub that served as a bridge between China and the rest of the world, Hong Kong has been largely cut off from both for the past two years. Outgoing Chief Executive Carrie Lam tried unsuccessfully for months to reassure the Chinese authorities that the city took Covid seriously, and thus would pose no threat to China’s zero tolerance virus policy should they reopen the border.
And then the virus hit in January.
/jlne.ws/3l1Zj9t

Regions

Coinbase Halted India Service Due to Pressure from Central Bank
Sidhartha Shukla – Bloomberg
“So few days after launching, we ended up disabling UPI because of some informal pressure from the Reserve Bank of India,” Armstrong said at an earnings call after the company’s first-quarter results. India’s United Payments Interface in a central bank-backed system that facilitates real-time transfer between bank accounts. The RBI did not immediately reply to an email seeking comment. A finance ministry spokesman could not be reached for a comment. Last month, in a step towards expanding its operations into India, the US-based crypto exchange had integrated UPI on its platform to allow purchase of cryptocurrencies in rupees. But just three days into the launch, Coinbase disabled the service after the entity that runs UPI said it was “not aware” of any crypto exchange using the network.
/jlne.ws/3M8LbHn

War and Weather Sent Food Prices Soaring. Now, China’s Harvest Is Uncertain.; Ukraine’s wheat exports have been mostly halted since Russia’s invasion, while drought has damaged crops in India and the United States. China’s upcoming harvest is another concern.
Keith Bradsher – NY Times
From village to village, the wheat crops in China have been inconsistent this season. One field on the flat plains east of Beijing was patchy, with knee-high emerald stalks in some spots while almost bald elsewhere, damaged by the torrential rains of last autumn. The next village over, a luxurious wheat crop was thriving after this spring’s bright sunshine and slow, soaking rains.
/jlne.ws/3l13XUW

Malaysia palm oil exports surge as Indonesia embraces protectionist policies; World’s second-largest producer of commodity goes on offensive to boost exports
Oliver Telling – FT
Malaysia has significantly increased its palm oil exports after the world’s biggest producer Indonesia imposed an export ban last month, as demand for the commodity rises during a global cooking oil supply crunch.
/jlne.ws/3yxfmUw

HSBC to lend US$1 billion to women-led businesses over next 12 months
Chad Bray – South China Morning Post
HSBC said on Thursday that it plans to lend US$1 billion to women-owned businesses through its newly launched Female Entrepreneur Fund in Hong Kong and 10 other markets over the next 12 months.
The fund is part of the bank’s “HSBC Roar” initiative, which provides networking, masterclass and bespoke advisory services for women-led start-ups.
/jlne.ws/3wHharN

Europe’s Snub of Russian Oil Opens Door for OPEC’s Minor Players
Grant Smith and Julian Lee – Bloomberg
Within the cartel, West African producers are showing the biggest uptick in shipments to European ports, where refiners are snubbing Russian supplies following the invasion of Ukraine. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — two of the biggest producers in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries — have largely refrained from additional shipments to Europe, despite their abundant spare production capacity.
/jlne.ws/3stTyWf

Ukraine Reduced Russian Gas Flowing to Europe Through Key Pipeline
Joe Wallace and Jenny Strasburg – WSJ
Ukraine reduced flows of Russian natural gas through its territory to Europe, sending prices higher amid the continent’s still-precarious reliance on Russian fossil fuels. Within hours, though, enough gas was moving through an alternative route that prices fell back down again, ending essentially flat on the day. The continued flow suggested some gas had been rerouted to travel through a separate pipeline, analysts and traders said. It was unclear what actions the Russian and Ukrainian sides took in the episode, but the quick rerouting demonstrated the country’s energy-grid flexibility despite the violence of the battlefield.
/jlne.ws/3N6kF1k

To Keep Putin and His Oligarchs Afloat, It Takes a System; Out of a halting attempt at democratization grew a corrupt ecosystem that has proved very difficult for the Russian elite to resist.
Amanda Taub – NY Times
A single arrest in a Tuscan port is rarely international news. But the Italian police’s decision to seize Scheherezade last Friday in Marina de Carrara was different. For one thing, Scheherezade is not a person, but a 459-foot luxury superyacht. And for another, American officials say her true owner, through a haze of intermediaries, is likely to be President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.
/jlne.ws/39dOiPM

US Sees Green Power as Key to Bridging Africa’s Energy Gap; Gas projects may be option where alternatives aren’t available; Private investors need to play a bigger role, Fernandez says
Michael Cohen – Bloomberg
The American government’s efforts to help Africa address crippling electricity shortages will increasingly focus on bolstering the continent’s output of green energy and helping it attract the required investment, a top State Department official said. “Energy policy that warms our planet cannot continue,” US Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Jose W. Fernandez told the Investing in African Mining Indaba conference in Cape Town on Tuesday. “We also know that moving to a clean energy transition will not happen overnight. In some cases where carbon neutral options are unavailable, engagement on natural gas projects, abated to the fullest degree possible, may be necessary.”
/jlne.ws/3yt12MZ

Gazprom units in Germany finding alternatives to Russian gas – minister
Joseph Nasr and Markus Wacket – Reuters
German energy companies hit by Kremlin-imposed sanctions have been able to find alternatives to Russian gas, Economy Minister Robert Habeck said on Thursday, adding that the network regulator would provide details on the matter.
/jlne.ws/3MbbYmr

Kremlin says no supplies possible to entities on its gas sanctions list
Reuters
Russian sanctions imposed on state gas company Gazprom’s former German unit and other entities mean they cannot receive gas supplies from Russia, the Kremlin said on Thursday. “Sanctions are blocking, so there could be no any relations with these companies, nor they can take part in (gas) supplies,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said. He declined to comment further.
/jlne.ws/3Mb05g3

Putin says large Russian grain harvest to support higher exports
Reuters
Russia, one of the world’s largest wheat exporters, will increase wheat exports this year due to a potentially record harvest, President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday. Russia competes with the European Union and Ukraine for supplies of wheat to the Middle East and Africa. It continues to export despite difficulties with logistics and payments caused by Western sanctions on Moscow over what Russia terms its “special military operation” in Ukraine.
/jlne.ws/3L7iPfa

Top Abu Dhabi Wealth Fund Closes Latin America Equities Team; Eduardo Favrin led Latam team, which employed seven managers; Move is part of ADIA’s efforts to focus on higher-growth areas
Nicolas Parasie – Bloomberg
The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority has shut down a team investing in Latin American equities, as part of efforts to focus on higher-growth areas, according to people familiar with the matter.
/jlne.ws/3MbmcD9

Record Iranian Oil Flows to Venezuela Signal Production Rebound
Lucia Kassai – Bloomberg
Venezuelan oil production is set to get a boost from record inflows of Iranian crude used to improve the quality of the Latin American nation’s supplies. Iran has delivered 6.8 million barrels of oil to beleaguered Venezuela this year, a 48% increase over the full-year 2021 figure. Most of the Iranian shipments involved a lightweight type of oil known as condensate that the Venezuelans mix with the local sludgy crude to produce Merey 16, the country’s most-exported crude grade.
/jlne.ws/3FDF0Zi

Mexico’s AMLO Says Vitol Must Say Who at Pemex Took Bribes
Amy Stillman and Maya Averbuch – Bloomberg
Vitol SA, the target of a corruption probe in Mexico, must disclose who at Petroleos Mexicanos took bribes from the commodities trader, said President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. If Vitol fails to disclose the information, the trading giant will continue to be barred from doing business in Mexico, the president said Tuesday. Pemex, as the state-owned oil company is known, will give an update on its internal bribery investigation later in the day, he said.
/jlne.ws/3M7qNX5

Miscellaneous

Bloomberg Aims to Compete Directly With British Press; A new venture, Bloomberg UK, is the first inkling of a new international strategy for the business news giant.
Katie Robertson and Benjamin Mullin – NY Times
Bloomberg Media has decided to aggressively court a British audience, the first prong in a retooled global strategy for the business news giant. On Wednesday night, executives introduced a venture that they hope could generate $100 million in annual revenue: Bloomberg UK, a brand meant to compete directly with The Financial Times and The Sunday Times, staples of British business journalism.
/jlne.ws/3wj0wyp

Why I’m Bullish on Britain, and Betting on Its Future; The UK is an economic and cultural powerhouse, and needs top-notch journalism to match. That’s why I’m investing in a major expansion of our UK reporting operations.
Michael R. Bloomberg – Bloomberg
The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee is much more than a celebration of Britain’s longest-reigning monarch. It is a testament to how, for centuries, the nation has adapted its political institutions without violent revolution. That openness to change and capacity to evolve peacefully and lawfully goes a long way toward explaining how a small island plays such a large role in global affairs — and why I am such a strong believer in its future.
/jlne.ws/3Pf8ukE

A Baby Formula Shortage Leaves Desperate Parents Searching for Food; Some parents are driving hours at a time in search of supplies. Others are watering down formula or rationing it, hoping for an end to the shortage.
Edgar Sandoval, Amanda Morris and Madeleine Ngo – NY Times
Maricella Marquez looked at the last can of baby formula in her kitchen on Tuesday and handed her 3-year-old daughter, who suffers from a rare allergic esophageal disorder, a smaller-than-usual portion of the special nutrition she needs to stay healthy. Ms. Marquez has been calling suppliers all over Texas, asking about any new shipments. “Right now they are out of it, completely,” she said. “I’m desperate.”
/jlne.ws/3FL7gcI

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