Zombie Crypto Coins Beat Bitcoin During This Year’s Resurgence

Feb 12, 2020

First Read

Hits & Takes
By JLN Staff

Have you taken the Barchart futures trader survey yet? Please do.~JJL

Have you signed up for FIA Boca? Twenty-six days and counting.~JJL

U.S. President Donald Trump says “MAGA,” which stands for “Make America Great Again” also stands for Microsoft, Apple, Google and Amazon. Who wants to list the MAGA index?~JJL

Can someone who has read the Trump budget proposal please explain the proposed fees charged to those firms the CFTC regulates?~JJL

There are three days left for early bird pricing for the Dubai Precious Metals Conference taking place April 19-20 this year, hosted by the DMCC. You can go here for more info and to register. ~SR

The U.S. Justice Department won the approval of the merger of T-Mobile US Inc. and Sprint Corp., meaning the U.S. will go from four large wireless carriers down to three. Now would be the time with this administration for that big exchange merger taking us to one U.S. champion.~JJL



CME Group Inc. Reports Fourth-Quarter and Full-Year 2019 Financial Results
CME Group
CME Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CME) today reported financial results for the fourth quarter and full year of 2019. The company reported revenue of $1.1 billion and operating income of $573 million for the fourth quarter of 2019. Net income was $469 million and diluted earnings per share were $1.31. On an adjusted basis, net income was $544 million and diluted earnings per share were $1.52. Financial results presented on an adjusted basis for the fourth quarter of 2019 and 2018 exclude certain items, which are detailed in the reconciliation of non-GAAP results.

*****Nice margins if you can get them.~JJL


Five Hedge Fund Heads Made More Than $1 Billion Each Last Year; TCI’s Chris Hohn, RenTech’s Jim Simons lead the list of best paid managers
Tom Maloney and Hema Parma – Bloomberg
Twelve billion dollars. It’s more than JPMorgan Chase & Co. paid all 56,000 of its investment bank employees, and almost twice as much as gamblers lost in Las Vegas last year. It’s also what 15 hedge fund managers collectively earned in 2019.

***** I remember when it was big news when Exxon made $1 billion in a year, the first time a publicly traded company had announced that.~JJL


‘Super-swampy’: Kelly Loeffler faces tricky ethical dilemma as senator
Alan Judd The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The images sketch the life of a small-town girl in Middle America. She rides a tractor. She shows her prize cow. Wearing a pink-and-white striped waitress’ apron, she takes orders at the local diner.

*****Interesting factoid from this story: “Loeffler’s Senate financial disclosure — due in May — is likely to show that the couple’s holdings make her the wealthiest member of Congress.”~JJL
*****Stories like this will test the mettle of Loeffler.~[[JJL]]


Tuesday’s Top Three
Our top story Tuesday was CME takes more control over board, from Crain’s, about the CME Group changing its bylaws so that legacy traders’ can no longer nominate directors. A pretty big change for the CME. Second was Bloomberg’s High-Frequency Firm Allston Cuts Employees Amid Low Volatility. Third was the WSJ opinion piece from Doug Hodge, the former CEO of Pimco, I Wish I’d Never Met Rick Singer, in which Hodge blames Rick Singer for his crimes while at the same time claiming he takes full responsibility.


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Lead Stories

Zombie Crypto Coins Beat Bitcoin During This Year’s Resurgence
Olga Kharif – Bloomberg
Einsteinium, Kick more than doubled so far this year; Coins ‘zombify’ rather than dying quickly, Nic Carter says
The bursting of the crypto bubble was supposed to be the end for thousands of coins that sprung up in the wake of Bitcoin’s staggering success. But guess what digital tokens are outperforming the original as it surges more than 40% to $10,000 this year — coins like Einsteinium and Kick that were written off long ago. Those coins, along with dozens more, have more than doubled since December.

Exchange Operator CME Group posts 22% rise in quarterly profit
Exchange operator CME Group Inc on Wednesday posted a 22% rise in fourth-quarter profit, benefiting from lower taxes and cost-cutting measures to counter a hit from lower trading volumes.

CCP12 Publishes Progress And Initiatives In OTC Derivatives – A CCP12
Today CCP12 – The Global Association of Central Counterparties – publishes ‘Progress and Initiatives in OTC Derivatives – A CCP12 Report’, a second instalment in a series of reports exploring the current and future ecosystem of OTC derivatives. Following the G20 Leaders’ pledge in 2009 to change the process by which non-standardised Over-The-Counter (“OTC”) derivatives are traded, CCP12 explores this year three exclusive case studies across Collateral, Foreign Exchange (“FX”), and Interest Rate Derivatives in order to research the market dynamics and build critical insights across the OTC derivatives markets.

Bloomberg and MSCI Expand ESG Fixed Income Index Suite, Launch New ESG High Yield Indices
Bloomberg and MSCI Inc. (NYSE: MSCI), a leading provider of critical decision support tools and services for the global investment community, today announced the expansion of the Bloomberg Barclays MSCI ESG Fixed Income Index suite with the global launch of nine environmental, social and governance (ESG) high yield indices.

A Bunch of Merger Arbs Is Playing the Long Game; Capgemini got control of Altran but holders of 46% of the shares rebuffed its bid. Altran’s latest results only reinforce the stasis.
Chris Hughes – Bloomberg
Capgemini SE picked up some fellow travelers with its 3.7 billion euros ($4 billion) bid for Altran Technologies SA: a large cohort of minority shareholders who refused to accept the French IT group’s offer, including activist-in-chief Elliott Management Corp. Tuesday’s decent results from Altran diminished the prospect of these holdouts selling when the tender process reopens briefly next month. 1 That leaves Capgemini with the most basic form of control over Altran and a big thorn in its side.

Sovereign Debt Funds Be Warned: Climate Activists Are Coming; Investors worried about global warming need to deal with sovereign debt, and it will be far more difficult than tackling corporate issuers.
Kate Mackenzie – Bloomberg
Investors are saving the world! Look at them out there: filing shareholder resolutions, threatening to divest from fossil fuel companies—sometimes actually doing so! Even the investment managers and pension funds that don’t do these things are often at pains to point out that they instead “engage” with companies on their concerns about climate change.

Credit Suisse’s Giant Repair Job Is Only Just Beginning; Thiam’s ousting isn’t enough by itself. Gottstein needs to restore sanity to the top of the bank and placate shareholders gunning for the chairman.
Elisa Martinuzzi – Bloomberg
In ousting Chief Executive Officer Tidjane Thiam, Credit Suisse Group AG is taking only a first step in rehabilitating its battered reputation. A spying scandal, embarrassing revelations on how the bank is run and a public spat at the top of the company have seriously tarnished a 163-year-old Swiss banking franchise whose clients depend on its discretion. The exit of the firm’s first black CEO — despite the objections of several leading shareholders — leaves a huge amount for his successor to repair.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

Europe’s Top 3 Stock Exchanges valued at $10.8trn
2019 was an active year for European stock markets, with some of them reaching record highs. Although almost every country in Europe has a stock exchange, only five are considered significant with assets of more than one trillion dollars. The market capital of the three largest stock exchanges in Europe amounted to $10.8trn worth at the end of 2019, according to data gathered by LearnBonds.com. Europe’s biggest stock exchange Euronext accounted for nearly 45% of that total, followed by London Stock Exchange and Deutsche Börse respectively.

Citadel Securities, Virtu, JP Morgan and Bank of America first to join ICE ETF Hub; Four major institutions are the first authorised participants to use the ICE ETF ecosystem, according to chief executive Jeff Sprecher.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) has confirmed that Citadel Securities, Virtu Financial, JP Morgan and Bank of America are the first four authorised participants (APs) actively using its ecosystem for exchange traded funds (ETFs).

DerivSource: Derivatives Workflow in 2020; How to Balance Capital Efficiency and Uncertainty
UMR and best execution among other drivers, are forcing buy-side firms to reassess their derivatives workflow. In this DerivSource Q&A, Phil Simons, Global Head Fixed Income Sales – Derivatives, Funding & Financing and Ricky Maloney, Head of Buy-Side Sales at Eurex, discuss what a more capital and cost-efficient structure for derivatives looks like in 2020. They explore some of the common challenges, key considerations, and unknowns that buy-side firms must take into account when establishing a new foundation for derivatives pre- and post-trade workflow that is efficient, regulatory compliant and future-proof.

Eurex Exchange Readiness Newsflash | Updated ETI Version (8.0.1) in production and publication of updated T7 Release 8.0 EMDI and EOBI documentation
Eurex Exchange Readiness Newsflash |

Capital Markets Leadership
London Stock Exchange Group
London Stock Exchange Group (“LSEG”, “the Group”) today announces that Murray Roos will join as Group Director, Capital Markets and a member of the LSEG Executive Committee. He will report to David Schwimmer, CEO, LSEG and starts his position on 1 April 2020. In this role, Murray will be responsible for LSEG’s global capital markets business across primary and secondary markets. As LSEG announced in April 2019, Raffaele Jerusalmi will continue as Group Director, Capital Markets until Murray joins the Group.

SGX RegCo uses AI to enhance surveillance activities
Singapore Exchange Regulation (SGX RegCo) is making its surveillance and regulation of the securities market more targeted and effective with the application of artificial intelligence (AI) enhancements to its real-time monitoring system.= The introduction of AI can help to better isolate unusual activity, by learning from historical trading patterns and filtering out noise caused by developments across intricate relationships between multiple markets. This allows regulatory attention to be more sharply focused on a smaller set of potentially unusual trading signals identified through the surveillance system, which are then further analysed and reviewed by the surveillance team.

Euronext announces volumes for January 2020
Euronext, the leading pan-European exchange in the Eurozone, today announced trading volumes for January 2020.

NCDEX files papers for Rs 500 crore IPO
Economic Times
India’s largest agri derivatives exchange, National Commodity & Derivatives Exchange (NCDEX) plans to go public to raise about Rs 500 crore. The exchange filed the draft red herring prospectus with market regulator Sebi on Tuesday. The IPO will offer an exit to some of the existing investors in the bourse, and will also entail fresh issuance of Rs 100 crore.


Mr Blockhead wants to school us all on blockchain
Jemima Kelly – Financial Times
It’s always difficult finding pictures for stories about blockchain and crypto. Does one use one of those quite frankly terrible stock images that show crypto tokens as actual coins and thereby feed the fallacy that these are in fact currencies? Does one use a picture of a crypto mine, which essentially just looks like any other data centre — ie, a room full of computers — and can therefore be a little dull?

Distributed Ledger Technology Implementations Require Refreshed Approach To Security, According To New DTCC Paper
DTCC Press Release
With the adoption of distributed ledger technology (DLT) expected to grow in financial services, The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC), the premier market infrastructure for the global financial services industry, today published a white paper, Security of DLT Networks, that recommends establishing a comprehensive industry-wide DLT Security Framework to review existing security guidelines, gaps in the approach to DLT security, and the need for increased standards.
(no link at press time)

Cybersecurity firm Deep Instinct raises $43 million
U.S.-Israeli cybersecurity firm Deep Instinct has raised $43 million in late-stage funding to help expand its business globally, the company said on Wednesday.

Fenergo raises $80M at an $800M valuation for compliance and other fintech services aimed at banks
Ingrid Lunden – Tech Crunch
Europe has emerged as a key region for hatching and scaling fintech companies, and today one of the bigger hopefuls is announcing a large round of funding, from a mix of strategic investors, to keep growing its business. Fenergo, a startup from Dublin that builds solutions for banks and other financial management companies to help with regulatory compliance, customer onboarding and other “lifecycle management” requirements, has raised $80 million in funding, at a post-money valuation of around $800 million, in one of the bigger rounds for an Irish fintech company to date. (I’m not counting Stripe, which was founded by Irish brothers but is based out of San Francisco.)

Nium opens innovation lab for fintech entrepreneurs
Finextra (press release)
NIUM, one of world’s largest Global Financial Infrastructure Platform provider today announced the launch of “BOLT”, its unique platform to boost innovation in the global Fintech space, and help entrepreneurs speed their products / services to market.
The platform has been engineered to act as a regional hub for budding Fintech entrepreneurs as well as seed stage start-ups. They can now build on NIUM’s success and benefit from its core infrastructure.

Government passes laws extending fintech regulatory sandbox — finally
Stephanie Palmer-Derrien – Smart Company
The government has passed new laws to finally bring its much-discussed fintech regulatory sandbox into reality. The Treasury Laws Amendment (2018 Measures No. 2) Bill 2019, passed on Monday evening, builds on the existing sandbox, expanding the time period fintechs can spend in it, as well as the scope of those that are allowed in.


Cryptocurrency Proponent Andrew Yang Ends Presidential Bid
Nikhilesh De – Coindesk
Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang has withdrawn from the election following a dismal showing in the New Hampshire primary Tuesday. Yang entered the race in November 2017, centering his campaign around his signature “universal basic income” proposal, which would provide a $1,000 per month income to every American adult. However, as a candidate, he also created policy positions around the crypto and broader technology spaces.

Fed chair Powell says Facebook’s Libra ‘really lit a fire’ on the question of a digital dollar
Mike McSweeney – The Block
“We’re working hard on it, we have a lot of projects going on, lot of efforts going on on that right now.” That’s according to Jerome Powell, the current chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve when asked by Rep. Bill Foster of Illinois about the progress being made on the topic of central bank digital currencies, or CBDC. The back and forth between Foster and Powell focused on the viability of a so-called digital dollar, the competitive pressures the Fed would face from China’s central banks as well as private companies like Facebook, and how such a roll-out might take place.

Cryptocurrency crime losses more than double to $4.5 billion in 2019, report finds
Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss – Reuters
Losses from cryptocurrency crime surged to $4.52 billion last year, as insider theft soared even as hacking losses declined, according to a report from blockchain forensics company CipherTrace seen by Reuters. Last year’s losses were up nearly 160% from 2018’s total of $1.74 billion. Blockchain, which first emerged as the system powering bitcoin, is a shared database maintained by a network of computers. Cryptocurrency user and investor losses due to fraud and misappropriation in 2019 increased by more than five times, while hacks and thefts fell by 66%, the report showed.

LabCFTC Wants to Meet FinTech Startups in New York
Nikhilesh De – Coindesk
LabCFTC, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) financial technology experimentation branch, is holding office hours on April 1, asking local companies to ask questions, discuss issues or present their projects. The CFTC announced Tuesday that participants can register for the office hours by emailing LabCFTC@cftc.gov (email subject line should say “NYC Office Hours”)

North Korea appears to have expanded its crypto-mining operation
MITTechnology Review
North Korea’s top leaders appear to be intensifying efforts to mine cryptocurrency as a way to evade international sanctions, according to a new report State-sponsored crypto-crime: The report by Recorded Future, a US company that analyzes cybersecurity threats, details the efforts of Kim Jong-un’s regime to use cybercrime and cryptocurrency to get around sanctions meant to curb the nation’s nuclear weapons program.

Deribit’s crypto options market share still dwarfs competitors amid ecosystem growth
Frank Chaparro – The Block
The market for cryptocurrency options has been heating up since the beginning of the year, but a first mover in the market continues to maintain its dominance. Over the course of the last two months, a number of market participants have rolled out their own options tied to bitcoin, including traditional exchanges like Intercontinental Exchange’s Bakkt as well as crypto-native exchanges like OKEx and FTX.

JP Morgan, Citi and BNP Paribas go live with CLS blockchain netting platform; FX settlement provider CLS has added three major investment banks to its blockchain-based netting platform, with nine institutions now live on the service.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
Investment banks JP Morgan, Citi and BNP Paribas have been onboarded to the CLSNet platform for automated bilateral payment netting calculations based on distributed ledger technology (DLT).

Tether Stablecoin Taps Chainalysis for Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Tools
Nikhilesh De – Coindesk
Stablecoin issuer Tether is partnering with blockchain forensics firm Chainalysis to bolster its anti-money laundering tools. The companies announced Wednesday that Tether would apply Chainalysis’ “Know Your Transaction” tool for token issuers, allowing the stablecoin firm to monitor activity and “quickly understand the risk profile of each token holder,” according to a press release. USDT, the dollar-pegged stablecoin issued by Tether, is currently live on the omni, ethereum, EOS, liquid, tron and algorand blockchains.

OKEx rolls out its non-custodial exchange in test mode
Yogita Khatri – The Block
Crypto exchange OKEx has today launched its non-custodial or decentralized exchange (DEX) – OKEx DEX – in test mode. The DEX runs on OKEx’s native blockchain network, OKChain, a testnet of which went live today, according to a statement shared with The Block. The testnet has been delayed by over six months – it was scheduled to get launched last June. “OKChain is [a] huge milestone for us, meaning that we are now able to provide an open, low-cost, and autonomous ecosystem for everyone to enjoy the benefits blockchain and decentralization brings,” said Jay Hao, CEO of OKEx.

Egypt’s largest bank joins RippleNet for remittances
Yogita Khatri – The Block
The National Bank of Egypt (NBE), the country’s biggest bank by total assets, has joined Ripple’s blockchain-based payments network RippleNet. NBE has signed a co-operation agreement with Ripple and is claiming to be the first bank in Egypt to use blockchain technology, local newspaper Youm7 reported Tuesday. The bank is seeking to facilitate faster and cheaper cross-border payments via RippleNet.

Poloniex Crypto Exchange Forced to Roll Back Trades After Update Error
Daniel Palmer – Coindesk
Cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex, which was recently acquired by an investment group including Tron founder Justin Sun, has been forced to roll back trading activity after it introduced an error in its system. The firm said in a tweet on Tuesday it had rolled out a change that accidentally included a bug that “briefly caused trades to be executed erroneously.” Poloniex said its automated audits spotted the error and put the site into maintenance mode. “We have identified the bug and deployed a fix,” according to the message.

US Authorities Charge Crypto ‘Trading Club’ Operators With Defrauding 150 Investors
Nikhilesh De – Coindesk
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the U.S Attorney for the Southern District of New York have charged Ohio resident Michael Ackerman and two unnamed business partners with defrauding some 150 investors by claiming to offer “extraordinary profits” from a cryptocurrency trading scheme.

Childhood Friends Battle Over Ownership of North America’s Largest Bitcoin Mine
Bradley Keoun – Coindesk
Childhood Friends Battle Over Ownership of North America’s Largest Bitcoin Mine
Just four years ago, two lifelong friends from New Orleans turned a small initial investment into the largest crypto miner in North America.


GOP Fight Over Georgia Senate Seat Intensifies; Campaign vendors are pressured not to work with Rep. Doug Collins, who plans to challenge Sen. Kelly Loeffler in November
Cameron McWhirter and Lindsay Wise – WSJ
An intraparty Republican fight over a Georgia Senate seat is intensifying, as campaign vendors face pressure not to work with a congressman trying to unseat the state’s newly appointed senator. The battle pits 53-year-old Rep. Doug Collins, a four-term conservative congressman and staunch defender of President Trump, against Sen. Kelly Loeffler, 49, a business executive with no political experience who has tens of millions of dollars of personal funds to spend on a campaign.

Prosecutors Quit Roger Stone Case After Justice Department Seeks Less Prison Time; Moves come after Trump criticized the initial sentence recommendation; Democrats see improper influence by president
Aruna Viswanatha and Byron Tau – WSJ
Four federal prosecutors withdrew from the case against Roger Stone on Tuesday, with one resigning as an assistant U.S. attorney, as the Justice Department reversed itself and recommended less prison time for President Trump’s longtime confidant.

Sanders secures narrow victory in New Hampshire primary; Moderate Buttigieg finishes second and Klobuchar vaults to third place as Warren and Biden trail
Lauren Fedor, Courtney Weaver and Demetri Sevastopulo – FT
Bernie Sanders, the self-declared democratic socialist, secured a narrow victory in the New Hampshire Democratic presidential primary, fending off a strong challenge from moderate Pete Buttigieg, while Amy Klobuchar vaulted to a surprise third-place finish.

Bernie Sanders Could Be the Stock Market’s Best Friend; If elected president, he would most likely expand the deficits that have buoyed corporate earnings and equities.
Nir Kaissar – Bloomberg
Of all the candidates in the 2020 presidential field, including Donald Trump, the U.S. stock market’s biggest booster might just be Bernie Sanders.

The Biggest Fan of Trump’s Steel Tariffs Is Suing Over Them; JSW Steel’s billion-dollar plan for Making American Steel Great Again depended on tariff exemptions. Two years later, they haven’t materialized.
Bryan Gruley and Joe Deaux – Bloomberg
John Hritz, president and chief executive officer of JSW Steel USA Inc., put on a big smile and a Texas flag pin for his television spot on Fox Business in March 2018. “It’s a special day,” he told his host, then told her again: “It’s a special day.” JSW Steel’s India-based parent company, JSW Group, had announced it would invest $500 million and create 500 jobs at its steel mill in Baytown, Texas. “We’re going to make history,” Hritz said.

Bernie Sanders’s Rise Sparks Re-Evaluation by Detractors on Wall Street
Emily Barrett and Katherine Greifeld – Bloomberg
Senator climbing in Democratic race gets second look; Health-care reform could unleash positives for investors
Wall Street has little use for Bernie Sanders. The Vermont Senator and self-described democratic socialist boasts about his antagonistic relationship with the moneyed class and plans to tax the rich and hamstring banks.

Trust in Putin Drops as Russian Economy Stagnates, Pollster Says
Stepan Kravchenko – Bloomberg
Rating falls to 35% from 59% in November 2017, Levada says; Putin changed government in January, urged focus on economy
Trust in President Vladimir Putin has fallen to its lowest in two years as Russians continue to experience a lack of economic improvement, a survey by the Moscow-based Levada Center shows.

Paging Michael Bloomberg; Democrats need to nominate the right person to prevent Trump from winning a second term.
Thomas L. Friedman – NY Times
My fellow Americans, we face a national emergency. Never before have we had a president so utterly lacking in personal integrity, so able to lie and abuse his powers with such impunity and so blindly backed by an amoral party, an unscrupulous attorney general and a media-fund-raising juggernaut. It is an engine of raw power that will cram anything the president says or does right down your throat.

Trump’s re-election would be dangerous for the world; The notion of the west as an alliance with moral foundations would evaporate if the president wins
Martin Wolf – FT
With one bound, US President Donald Trump was free. With the expected display of naked partisanship, Senate Republicans (with the exception of Mitt Romney) abandoned their constitutionally mandated role as judges of his alleged abuse of power. They have deferred the decision to the voters in November’s presidential election. Mr Trump will possess many advantages: passionate supporters; a united party; the electoral college; and a healthy economy. His re-election seems likely.

Trump Takes On Bloomberg and Once Again Hijacks a News Cycle; Like an assignment editor at a tabloid newspaper, the president poured accelerant on a negative story and got it trending on Twitter and cable news.
Michael D. Shear and Maggie Haberman – NY Times
Tuesday was shaping up to be the kind of news day that makes President Trump unhappy: one in which he saw himself losing control of the narrative in the face of wall-to-wall coverage of his Democratic rivals in the presidential primary in New Hampshire. Mr. Trump had other ideas.

Andrew Yang, Michael Bennet drop out of 2020 presidential race
Ebony Bowden – NY Post
Businessman Andrew Yang and Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet both ended their long-shot presidential bids on Tuesday night as the results for the New Hampshire primary started coming in.

Trump tweets quote calling him the “second coming of God” to Jews in Israel
Sophie Lewis – CBS News
Less than a day after President Donald Trump outraged many members of the Jewish community for his comments about their loyalty, he tweeted out the claim that Israeli Jews view him as the “second coming of God.”


SEC Charges Orchestrator of Cryptocurrency Scheme Ensnaring Physicians
The Securities and Exchange Commission today filed charges against an Ohio-based businessman who allegedly orchestrated a digital asset scheme that defrauded approximately 150 investors, including many physicians.

CFTC Charges Company and its Principal in $33 Million Fraudulent Digital Asset Scheme
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission announced the filing of a civil enforcement action in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against defendants Q3 Holdings, LLC and Q3 I, LP and their principal, Michael Ackerman. The complaint charges the defendants with fraudulently soliciting over $33 million to purportedly trade digital assets and misappropriating a substantial portion of that total.

Commissioner Berkovitz to Participate in D.C. Bar Fireside Chat

Investing and Trading

Coronavirus Spurs Demand for Niche Raw Materials; Drop-off in Chinese production boosts prices for thermal coal, vanadium and manganese as consumers scramble to secure supplies
Joe Wallace – WSJ
The coronavirus outbreak originating in China that has weighed on demand for crude oil, copper and soybeans is prompting a rally in some niche commodity markets. For raw materials including thermal coal, which is burned to generate electricity, or alloys of vanadium and molybdenum, used to toughen up steel, the drop in Chinese output has outweighed any decline in demand. The same goes for manganese, a specialty metal used by steelmakers as well as producers of fertilizer.

BP Will Erase Its Own CO2 Emissions by 2050, New CEO Says
Laura Hurst – Bloomberg
Pledges net-zero carbon from its own operations and production; Company also aims to reduce carbon intensity of fuel it sells
BP Plc pledged to achieve net-zero emissions from its own oil and gas operations and production by 2050, while halving the carbon intensity of all the products it sells, as its new boss sets out his vision for the future.

Hedging Strategy Likely Exacerbated Oil’s Fall; In January, crude prices plunged 20% over 19 days as the coronavirus outbreak fueled fears of a global slowdown
Sarah Toy – WSJ
A scramble by Wall Street to reduce exposure to falling oil prices may have hastened crude’s recent descent. In just 19 days during January, crude prices tumbled 20% from their recent peak. That was the fastest slide into a so-called bear market since early 2016, according to Dow Jones Market Data.

Celebrities under fire for promoting risky, unregulated investments on Instagram as MP calls for ban; Celebrities from Love Island and Geordie Shore are among the social influencers promoting unregulated foreign exchange day traders
Jonathan Jones – Telegraph
Celebrities promoting unregulated day traders have been branded “unethical” as calls grow for these types of advertisements to be banned.


Charles Scharf Puts Stamp on Wells Fargo With Overhaul of Reporting Lines; Move marks the chief executive’s first major structural change since the bank’s fake-account scandal
Ben Eisen – WSJ
Wells Fargo WFC 0.46% & Co. is overhauling its reporting lines, Chief Executive Charles Scharf’s first move to stamp out the corporate structure implicated in its fake-account scandal. The bank said on Tuesday that it plans to split its three business units into five. What had been known as the wholesale bank will be split into a commercial bank that provides back-end services for companies, as well as a separate investment bank that focuses on capital markets.

Hargreaves claims Woodford-invested funds offered ‘value’; UK’s largest fund supermarket accused of a ‘whitewash’ by campaigners
Siobhan Riding – FT
Hargreaves Lansdown has claimed its range of funds that invested heavily in Neil Woodford’s now-defunct investment vehicle delivered value to investors, despite their woeful performance and high fees.

Hedge fund co-founder returns to London from New York; Glen Point Capital has suffered tough period with losing bets in Argentina
Laurence Fletcher – FT
The co-founder of Glen Point Capital, a hedge fund that raised money from billionaire investor George Soros, has relocated back to London from New York in the wake of a tough period for the emerging markets-focused manager.

UBS property fund faces redemption backlog; US pension funds demand money back as exposure to shopping malls causes performance woe
Robert Armstrong and Alistair Gray – FT
US pension funds are lining up to withdraw billions of dollars from one of UBS’s largest real estate investment funds, even as the Swiss group cuts fees and reshuffles the management of its real estate unit to try to assuage their concerns.

ABN Amro Weighed Down by Costs, Writedowns
Ruben Munsterman – Bloomberg
Robert Swaak to take charge in April with legal cases looming; There are also questions about dividends, loan quality
Robert Swaak will have his work cut out for him when he takes over as chief executive officer of ABN Amro Bank NV in April. The state-owned lender on Wednesday pushed back an expected decision to change its dividend policy, after fourth-quarter earnings significantly missed estimates amid impairments at its corporate and investment bank. As if that wasn’t enough, the bank warned of uncertain liabilities as a German tax evasion probe adds to a Dutch investigation of its alledged failures to check on clients.

Paul Singer looms over Goldman Sachs meeting
Josh Kosman – NY Post
Goldman Sachs has invited its large trading clients, including hedge funds, to a meeting with SoftBank Chairman and Chief Executive Masayoshi Son in the coming weeks, which is raising eyebrows, The Post has learned.

Former Citi Thai equities head joins outsourced trading firm Tourmaline; On a mission to hire industry veterans, Tourmaline has confirmed the appointment of Joe Hodgkins as senior trader for its Asia-Pacific business based in Sydney.
Kiays Khalil – The Trade
The former head of Thai equities at Citigroup, Joe Hodgkins, has joined outsourced trading services provider Tourmaline Partners as a senior trader.


World’s Best Carry Trade Thrives With Egypt’s Rate Cuts on Pause
Paul Abelsky – Bloomberg
Egyptian pound is one of the world’s best performers this year; Inflation remains well below mid-point of central bank target
The world’s best carry trade is proving resilient, especially now that a pause in Egypt’s easing cycle keeps its interest rates elevated. The Egyptian pound is delivering another strong performance this year following a record appreciation in 2019. That’s enticing traders who borrow in currencies where rates are low and invest in the assets of countries where they are high to turn to Egypt.

Greek Bonds Breach 1% Milestone as Rally Confounds Junk Status
John Ainger – Bloomberg
Yields drop to fresh record low on improving economy, ECB hope; During financial crisis 10-year yields rocketed to nearly 45%
Greek bonds have breached a threshold that would once have been scoffed at during the financial crisis: benchmark yields below 1%. It marks a rapid turnaround from less than a decade ago, when yields soared to nearly 45% amid fears the country would crash out of the euro area. The fact that the debt is still deemed junk seems not to have put off investors scrambling to find the last remaining pockets of yield in the government bond market.

Swedish Riksbank’s Zero-Rate Policy Faces a Credibility ‘Battle’
Niclas Rolander and Rafaela Lindeberg – Bloomberg
The Riksbank’s determination to consign negative interest rates to history encountered its first test on Wednesday after board members united behind the policy but admitted that inflation will be lower than previously expected.

Banks should ‘deeply involve’ those brought into financial system: Kovind; “The challenge before us is to deeply involve those included. I would urge all of you to think of financial products that meet the needs of those at the bottom of the ladder,” Kovind said.
Press Trust of India
Applauding banks for their efforts to bring in large unbanked population of the country into the formal financial system, President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday said the challenge now is to “deeply involve” those who have been brought into the fold.


Can the UK and EU reach a compromise on financial services? Both sides risk losing out as each seeks autonomy over ‘equivalence’ arrangements
Sam Fleming and Philip Stafford, Matthew Vincent and George Parker – FT
The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, on Tuesday shot down UK hopes of securing a permanent access arrangement for its financial services sector, warning the British not to “kid themselves”.

City of London’s Post-Brexit Outlook Dimmed by Political Spat
James Hertling, Silla Brush, and Viren Vaghela – Bloomberg
Barnier rejects U.K. opening gambit on finance ‘equivalence’; The EU is already moving toward a tougher regulatory regime
Talks on the post-Brexit future of European capital markets have largely avoided the toxic haggling of the broader negotiations — until now. U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid and chief European Union negotiator Michel Barnier traded blows Tuesday as the two sides approach a self-imposed June deadline to make progress. The flashpoint is the very foundation of the future relationship: A policy called “equivalence” that would give U.K. firms continued access to the single market.

These three post-Brexit bills bulldoze a hole through environmental protections
Fiona Harvey – The Guardian
Hedgehogs, yellowhammers and dormice did not figure highly in the EU referendum campaign, but they may turn out to be some of the first losers from Brexit. Rules on farmers cutting hedgerows and field margins that have protected the habitats of a variety of at-risk species are being lost amid the biggest shake-up of nature regulations in four decades.

Japan’s MUFG, Mizuho in London rehiring spree despite Brexit
Lawrence White and Sinead Cruise – Reuters
Japan’s MUFG <8306.T> and Mizuho <8411.T> have hired a total of nearly 100 staff in London in the last 6 months, bolstering their trading and investment banking teams despite industry concerns over Brexit’s impact on financial services in Britain.


Fear of MeToo Hasn’t Stopped Bosses from Dating Their Underlings
Jeff Green – Bloomberg
Quarter of workers say they’ve had relationship with colleague; Top McDonald’s, BlackRock execs ousted for consensual affairs
The office romance is alive and well, according to a new survey by the Society for Human Resource Management. Despite increased scrutiny on workplace relationships in the #MeToo era, a quarter of the 696 workers surveyed in a report released Wednesday say they’ve had at least one dalliance with a coworker. Of people who’ve had affairs with colleagues, roughly one in four say they dated a boss; one in five said they dated a subordinate.

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