Have you been up to date with major Crypto news from this week?
Coinbase talked to US regulators about the possibility of obtaining banking licenses.
Coinbase has invested in a cryptocurrency startup that lets users earn interest on cryptocurrencies.
Switzerland is considering the possibility of a state-backed cryptocurrency according to a Reuters report.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reviewed documents on 1,450 digital coin offerings and found that 271 of the coins had red flags that include: plagiarized investor documents, promises of guaranteed returns and missing or fake executive teams.
Bitcoin’s lightning network (LN) is approaching 2000 functional nodes as users are now highlighting the cost savings that come with the technology.
New York just granted its 5th BitLicense to Genesis Global Trading. The platform supports Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ether (ETH) Ethereum Classic (ETC), Ripple (XRP), Litecoin (LTC), and Zcash (ZEC).
Canaan, a Bitcoin mining company is filing for an IPO in Hong Kong. The firm creates Avalon hardware equipment, produces ASIC mining chips and rigs.
Germany’s Stuttgart Borse, its second largest stock exchange, has announced it is launching a zero-fee cryptocurrency app.
Former JPMorgan executive Blythe Masters discussed Digital Asset’s (DA) efforts to integrate blockchain technology into capital market functions at Consensus 2018. DA is a startup that is working with the Australian Securities Exchanges’ clearing system and intends to integrate blockchain clearing on the ASX by late 2020 or early 2021.
The first commercial bond transaction using blockchain has reportedly been completed between Russian Bank Sberbank CIB and telecom firm MTS. MTS placed USD$12.11mm worth of bonds with Sberbank being the primary buyer using delivery versus payment method of settlement.
The Chinese government has been working on a rating system for roughly 28 cryptocurrencies and Ethereum (ETH) was ranked number one. The government ranked cryptocurrencies on technology, application and innovation.
Spanish bank Santander has become the first company to use blockchain technology for investor voting.
Nomura, Ledger and Global Advisors are planning on building a secure digital asset custody solution. The firms are creating Komainu, a project aimed at asset custody for institutional investors.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) launched a fake ICO today called HoweyCoin.
Coinigy is launching a subscription-based cryptocurrency trading mobile application via Coinigy Mobile.
CNBC’s Brian Kelly is launching a Blockchain ETF. The ETF will be actively managed and consist of a portfolio of 30 companies actively using blockchain technology
Telecom firm Nokia and Software company OSIsoft is partnering with Blockchain data platform Steamr to allow mobile customers to monetize their user data and make purchases.
FuzeX has created a smart eCard that enables shoppers to store up to 15 cryptocurrency accounts, 10 debit or credit cards and five reward accounts in one place.
Coinbase said that it will be upgrading its services to cater to ultrafast traders. This upgrade will make Coinbase one of the first bitcoin exchanges to welcome high frequency trading.
Social cryptocurrency trading and brokerage firm eToro is expanding to the United States in an announcement made at Consensus 2018.
HTC is selling a blockchain phone that will be dedicated to decentralized applications and security.
Cryptocurrency firm Circle, which bought cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex in February, has raised USD$110mm in Series E funding. The funding round was led by Chinese firm Bitmain Technologies and Blockchain Capital, Pantera, Digital Currency Group were other notable investors.
IBM and Veridium will be joining forces to bring carbon credits onto blockchain with the goal of making it easier for companies to offset their environmental footprints.
Thomson Reuters (TRI) is launching a cryptocurrency real-time rates data feed. The firm will be providing an API interface giving users data from various cryptocurrency exchanges such as Bitflyer and Bitpoint.
The banking unit of Japan’s Mitsbuishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) plans to trial its own cryptocurrency as early as 2019 according to Cointelegraph
Bitbond, an online Germany bank is now allowing customers to transfer loans using Bitcoin
S&P Futures Slide, Europe Jumps As Traders Beg For End To Turbulent Week
There is a sense of almost detached resignation amid trading desks as we enter the last trading day of a chaotic, volatile week that has whipsawed and stopped out virtually everyone after the Nasdaq saw the biggest intraday reversal since Thursday and pattern and momentum trading has become impossible amid one headline tape-bomb after another. After yesterday furious tumble and sharp, last hour rebound, US equity futures are once again lower expecting fresh developments in the Huawei CFO arrest and trade war saga while today's payroll report may redirect the Fed's tightening focus in wage growth comes in hotter than the 3.1% expected; at the same time European stocks have rebounded from their worst day in more than two years while Asian shares posted modest gains as investors sought to end a bruising week on a more upbeat note. While stock trading was far calmer than Thursday, signs of stress remained just below the surface as the dollar jumped, Treasuries rose and oil whipsawed amid fears Iran could scuttle today's OPEC deal. The MSCI All-Country World Index, which tracks shares in 47 countries, was up 0.3% on the day, on track to end the week down 2%. After Europe's Stoxx 600 Index sharp drop on Thursday, which tumbled the most since the U.K. voted to leave the EU in 2016, Friday saw Europe's broadest index jump 1.2% as every sector rallied following the cautious trade in the Asia-Pac session and the rebound seen on Wall Street where the Dow clawed back nearly 700 points from intraday lows. European sectors are experiencing broad-based gains with marginal outperformance in the tech sector as IT names bounce back from yesterday’s Huawei-driven slump. Technology stocks lead gains on Stoxx 600 Index, with the SX8P Index up as much as 2.3%, outperforming the 1.1% gain in the wider index; Nokia topped the sector index with a 5.9% advance in Helsinki after Thursday’s public holiday, having missed out on initial gains from rival Huawei’s troubles that earlier boosted Ericsson. Inderes said the arrest of Huawei CFO over potential violations of American sanctions on Iran will benefit Nokia and Ericsson, who are the main rivals of Huawei and ZTE. Similarly, Jefferies wrote in a note on Chinese networks that China may have to offer significant concessions to buy Huawei an “out of jail” card and reach a trade deal, with China’s tech subsidies and “buy local” policies potentially under attack. "For example, why would Nokia and Ericsson have only 20% share in China’s 4G market," analysts wrote. Meanwhile, energy names were volatile as the complex awaits further hints from the key OPEC+ meeting today. In terms of individual movers, Fresenius SE (-15.0%) fell to the foot of the Stoxx 600 after the company cut medium-term guidance, citing lower profit expectations at its clinics unit Helios and medical arm Fresenius Medical Care (-7.8%). The news sent Fresenius BBB- rated bonds tumbling, renewing fears of a deluge of "fallen angels." On the flip side, Bpost (+7.5%) and Tesco (+4.8%) are hovering near the top of the pan-Europe index amid broker upgrades. Earlier in the session, Japanese equities outperformed as most Asian gauges nudged higher. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan nudged up 0.2%, though that followed a 1.8 percent drubbing on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei added 0.8 percent. Chinese shares, which were up earlier in the day, slipped into negative territory with the blue chips off 0.1 percent.
E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 also started firmer but were last down 0.4 percent. Markets face a test from U.S. payrolls data later in the session amid speculation that the U.S. economy is heading for a tough patch after years of solid growth. Will the last employment report released this year (the December report comes out in early January) help markets to continue to form a base? The consensus for nonfarm payrolls today is for a 198k print, following the stronger-thanexpected 250k reading last month. Average hourly earnings are expected to rise +0.3% mom which should be enough to keep the annual reading at +3.1% yoy while the unemployment rate is expected to hold steady at 3.7%. DB's economists are more or less in line with the consensus with a 200k forecast and also expect earnings to climb +0.3% mom, however that would be consistent with a small tick up in the annual rate to +3.17% and the fastest pace since April 2009. They also expect the current pace of job growth to push the unemployment rate down to 3.6% which would be the lowest since December 1969. Meanwhile, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell confused traders when late on Thursday, he emphasized the strength of the labor market, throwing a wrench into trader expectations the Fed is poised to pause tightening - arguably the catalyst for Thursday's market-closing ramp following a WSJ article which reported Fed officials were considering whether to signal a new wait-and-see mentality after a likely rate increase at their meeting in December. While Friday's market has stabilized, for many the recent gyrations are just too much. For Dennis Debusschere, head of portfolio strategy at Evercore ISI, there’s still far too much risk to wade back into a market this riven by volatility. “Overall still untradeable in our opinion, until we get more clarity on trade and we think it will pay to wait this out,” he wrote in a note to clients Thursday. “That being said, our desk is open for business if you’re feeling up to trading this backdrop.” Meanwhile, the big question is what happens next year: “The big question mark still is what’s going to happen in 2019” with the Fed, Omar Aguilar, CIO of equities and multi-asset strategies at Charles Schwab, told Bloomberg TV. “The jobs report could easily be the catalyst that will tell us a little more about what the path may be.” Expecting that a big slowdown is coming, interest rate futures rallied hard in massive volumes with the market now pricing in less than half a hike next year, compared to just a month ago when they had been betting on more than two increases. Treasuries extended their blistering rally, driving 10-year yields down to a three-month trough at 2.8260 percent, before last trading at 2.8863 percent. Yields on two-year notes fell a huge 10 basis points at one stage on Thursday and were last at 2.75 percent. Investors also steamrolled the yield curve to its flattest in over a decade, a trend that has historically presaged economic slowdowns and even recessions. The seismic shock spread far and wide. Yields on 10-year paper sank to the lowest in six months in Germany, almost 12 months in Canada and 16 months in Australia. Italian debt climbed as European bonds largely drifted. The greenback advanced against most of its Group-of-10 peers ahead of U.S. jobs data that are expected to show hiring slowed last month. The pound fell as U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May was said to be weighing a plan to postpone the vote on her Brexit deal. In commodity markets, gold firmed to near a five-month peak as the dollar eased and the threat of higher interest rates waned. Spot gold stood 0.1 percent higher at $1,239.49 per ounce. Oil was less favored, however, falling further as OPEC delayed a decision on output cuts while awaiting support from non-OPEC heavyweight Russia. Brent futures fell 0.5 percent to $59.77 a barrel, while U.S. crude also lost half a percent to $51.19. Cryptocurrencies continued their collapse with fresh losses after U.S. regulators dashed hopes that a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund would appear before the end of this year. Market Snapshot
S&P500 futures down 0.4% to 2,680.00
STOXX Europe 600 up 1.3% to 347.69
MXAP up 0.2% to 151.21
MXAPJ up 0.2% to 485.67
Nikkei up 0.8% to 21,678.68
Topix up 0.6% to 1,620.45
Hang Seng Index down 0.4% to 26,063.76
Shanghai Composite up 0.03% to 2,605.89
Sensex up 0.9% to 35,631.53
Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.4% to 5,681.49
Kospi up 0.3% to 2,075.76
German 10Y yield rose 0.8 bps to 0.244%
Euro down 0.05% to $1.1368
Italian 10Y yield rose 13.9 bps to 2.835%
Spanish 10Y yield unchanged at 1.46%
Brent futures up 0.2% to $60.16/bbl
Gold spot up 0.2% to $1,239.70
U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 96.88
Top Overnight News from Bloomberg
The arrest of Huawei Technologies Co. Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou in Canada over potential violations of American sanctions on Iran has triggered a debate in China over whether to carry on with trade talks with the U.S. or link the two issues and retaliate; Meng will have a bail hearing Friday to determine whether she is a flight risk and should remain in detention during proceedings on extradition to the U.S.
Oil extended losses near $51 a barrel after OPEC entered a second day of talks in an attempt to draw up a deal to cut output. Iran sees no possibility of agreeing to reduce its output, Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said Friday
Theresa May met with her top ministers in London on Thursday to discuss options of delaying the Dec. 11 Parliamentary vote on her Brexit deal to avoid a landslide defeat that would risk a major U.K. political crisis, according to a person familiar with the matter
EU leaders are poised to turn their next summit into a Brexit crisis meeting, but so far, it doesn’t look like they’re willing to offer her anything that could help to break the deadlock in the U.K. Parliament
Angela Merkel’s long exit from politics begins Friday when her party gathers in Hamburg to decide whether to appoint her chosen successor as its new leader or break with the legacy of her 13 years in charge of Germany
Italian Finance Minister Giovanni Tria has complained that he is the victim of one ambush after another as his future is called into question amid tensions with populist leaders over a spending spree to fund election policies, according to newspaper Il Giornale
Asian stocks saw cautious gains with the region getting an early tailwind after the sharp rebound on Wall St, where most majors inished lower albeit off worse levels as tech recovered and the DJIA clawed back nearly 700 points from intraday lows. ASX 200 (+0.4%) and Nikkei 225 (+0.8%) were both higher at the open but gradually pared some of the gains as the risk tone began to turn cautious heading into today’s key-risk NFP jobs data. Hang Seng (-0.3%) and Shanghai Comp (U/C) were indecisive amid further PBoC inaction in which it remained net neutral for a 5th consecutive week and with the upcoming Chinese trade data over the weekend adding to tentativeness, while pharmaceuticals were the worst hit due to concerns of price declines from the government’s centralized procurement program. Finally, 10yr JGBs were flat amid a similar picture in T-note futures and although early selling pressure was seen in Japanese bonds alongside the strong open in stocks, prices later recovered as the risk appetite somewhat dissipated. Top Asian News - China’s FX Reserves Rose Despite Intervention, Outflow Signs - Hong Kong May Slip Into Recession in 2019, Deutsche Bank Warns - SoftBank Seeks to Assuage Investors on Pre-IPO Mobile Outage - Southeast Asia Reserves Recover a Bit in November as Rout Eases European equities extended on gains from the cash open (Eurostoxx 50 +1.2%) following the cautious trade in the Asia-Pac session and the rebound seen on Wall St where the Dow clawed back nearly 700 points from intraday lows. European sectors are experiencing broad-based gains with marginal outperformance in the tech sector as IT names bounce back from yesterday’s Huawei-driven slump. Meanwhile, energy names are volatile (currently marginally underperforming) as the complex awaits further hints from the key OPEC+ meeting today. In terms of individual movers, Fresenius SE (-15.0%) fell to the foot of the Stoxx 600 after the company cut medium-term guidance, citing lower profit expectations at its clinics unit Helios and medical arm Fresenius Medical Care (-7.8%). On the flip side, Bpost (+7.5%) and Tesco (+4.8%) are hovering near the top of the pan-Europe index amid broker upgrades. Top European News
LandSec, Undeterred by Brexit, Makes New Bet on London Offices
Danske Says It’s Looking Into Selling Its Swedish Pension Assets
Chinese Group Agrees to Buy Amer Sports in $5.2 Billion Deal
Bad Air Warnings in London And Paris Peak With Fish And Chips
DXY- Typically rangebound trade in the run up to US labour data, and with markets also monitoring OPEC+ headlines as a decision on whether to cut output and if so by how much remains highly uncertain. The index is hovering just under the 97.000 handle within a 96.767-96.931 band, and well within nearest technical support and resistance levels at 96.300 and 97.311 respectively.
GBP- A marginal G10 underperformer as Cable retreats back below 1.2750 from just above 1.2800 at one stage, but this could be more flow-related rather than anything fundamental as EuGbp rallied towards 0.8930 peaks from just under the big figure into the Frankfurt fixing before drifting back again. However, Halifax house prices were much weaker than expected and latest Brexit news is hardly Sterling supportive given more speculation about delaying the meaningful vote to try and avoid a resounding rejection, even though the Government appears to be resolute and standing firm on December 11.
NZD/AUD- The Kiwi is at the opposite end of a relatively narrow Usd/Major spectrum, and like the Pound also impacted by indirect factors to a degree, if not in the main. Indeed, Nzd/Usd remains capped ahead of 0.6900, but Aud/Nzd is pivoting 1.0500 as the Aussie unit continues to feel the adverse effects of recent bearish impulses, namely softer than forecast Q3 GDP and a more dovish RBA via Debelle. Hence, Aud/Usd is softer between 0.7210-40 parameters and bound to be wary of huge option expiries from 0.7250-60 in 6.6 bn that form a formidable barrier ahead of circa 1.2 bn up at 0.7300.
EUJPY- In the pre-NFP ‘hiatus’ and awaiting anything further on the Italian budget front, option expiries may also exert directional impetus on EuUsd and Usd/Jpy, as the former faces 2+ bn at the 1.1400 strike and latter is flanked by 1+ bn at 112.50 and 113.00.
CAD- The Loonie has pared a bit more lost ground from recent lows, albeit partly due to a broad Usd retracement, eyeing OPEC and also Canada’s jobs report given latest BoC guidance indicating even greater data dependency. Usd/Cad currently just shy of the 1.3400 mark vs 1.3440+ at one stage yesterday.
In commodities, WTI (+0.2%) and Brent (+0.9%) are choppy in what was a volatile session thus far as comments from energy ministers emerged ahead of the key OPEC+ meeting, after yesterday’s OPEC talks ended with no deal for the first time in almost five years. Brent rose after source reports noted that Moscow are ready to cut output by 200k BPD (below OPEC’s desire of 250k-300k but above Russia’s prior “maximum” of 150k) if OPEC are willing to curb production by over 1mln BPD. Prices then fell to session lows following a less constructive tone from Saudi Energy Minister who reiterated that he is not confident there will be a deal today, which came after delegates noted that OPEC talks are focused on a combined OPEC+ cut of 1mln BPD (650k from OPEC and 350k from Non-OPEC). Markets are awaiting the start of the OPEC+ meeting after delegates stated that talks are at deadlocked as Iran appears to be the main sticking point to an OPEC deal, though sources emerged stating that Iran, Venezuela and Libya are set to get exemptions from cuts, adding that OPEC and Russia are looking for a symbolic production commitment from Iran as fears arise that Iran may not be able to follow-through on curb pledges due to US sanctions. In terms of metals, gold hovers around session highs and is set for the best week since August with the USD trading in a tight range ahead of the key US jobs data later today, while London copper rose over a percent is underpinned by the positive risk tone. US Event Calendar
8:30am: Change in Nonfarm Payrolls, est. 198,000, prior 250,000
Unemployment Rate, est. 3.7%, prior 3.7%; Underemployment Rate, prior 7.4%
Average Hourly Earnings MoM, est. 0.3%, prior 0.2%; YoY, est. 3.1%, prior 3.1%
8:30am: Average Weekly Hours All Employees, est. 34.5, prior 34.5
10am: U. of Mich. Sentiment, est. 97, prior 97.5; Current Conditions, prior 112.3; Expectations, prior 88.1
3pm: Consumer Credit, est. $15.0b, prior $10.9b
DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap The age of innocence has truly gone in financial markets after a turbulent 24 hours but one that saw a spectacular rally after Europe closed last night and one that has steadily carried on in Asia overnight (more on this below). Before we get to that I’m on an intense client marketing roadshow at the moment on the 2019 Credit outlook and there are a litany of worries out there from investors. Maybe I’m trying to be too cute here but I think the problems we’re seeing in credit at the moment are more of a “ghost of Xmas future” rather than a sign of an imminent disaster scenario. However my overall confidence that credit will blow up around the end of this cycle has only intensified in the last couple of weeks. Liquidity is awful in credit and it’s been a broken two way market for several years (probably as long as I’ve worked in it - 24 years). However this has got worse this cycle as the size of the market has grown rapidly but dealer balance sheets have reduced. As such you can buy massive size at new issue but your ability to sell in secondary is constrained to a small percentage of this. This didn’t matter much when inflows dominated - as they mostly did in this cycle pre-2018 - but in a year of outflows across the board the lack of a proper two way market is increasingly being felt. As discussed I don’t think this is the start of the crisis yet but be warned that when this economic cycle does roll over or even starts to operate at stall speed the credit market will be very messy and will influence other markets again. On the positive side and despite a very steep mid-session selloff, US markets ultimately closed well off the lows. The DOW, S&P 500 and NASDAQ finished -0.32%, -0.15% and +0.42% respectively, though they traded as low as -3.14%, -2.91%, and -2.43% respectively, around noon in New York. At its lows, the S&P 500 was on course for its worst two-session stretch since February, and before that you’d have to go back to August 2015 or 2011 to find the last episode with as steep a two-day drop. The DOW and S&P 500 dipped into negative territory for the year again, but clawed back and are now +0.92% and +0.84% YTD (+3.16% and +2.69% on a total return basis). The NASDAQ has clung to its outperformance, as it is now up +4.13% this year, or +5.20% on a total return basis, though of course the difference is narrower in the low-dividend paying, high-growth tech index. Unsurprisingly, the moves yesterday coincided with higher volatility with the VIX climbing as much as +5.2pts to 25.94 and pretty much back to the October highs, though it too rallied alongside the equity market to end close to flat at 21.15. Meanwhile, the price action was even uglier in Europe as the US lows were around the close. The STOXX 600 plunged -3.09% and is down -4.22% in two days – the most in two days since June 2016. Nowhere was safe. The DAX (-3.48%), CAC (-3.32%), FTSE MIB (-3.54%) and IBEX (-2.75%) all saw huge moves lower. The DAX has now joined the Italy’s FSTEMIB in bear market territory, as it is now -20.49% off its highs earlier this year. The FTSEMIB is down -24.04% from its highs. European Banks – which were already down nearly -27% YTD going into yesterday – tumbled -4.29% for the biggest daily fall since May and the third biggest since immediately after Brexit. The index is now at the lowest since October 2016 and within 17% of the June 2016 lows all of a sudden. US Banks fell -1.87%, though they had dipped -4.3% at their troughs to touch the lowest level since September 2017. As for credit, HY cash spreads in Europe and the US were +8.5bps and +14.8bps wider respectively. For context, US spreads are now at the widest since December 2016 and this is the best performing broad credit market over the last couple of years. In bond markets, 10y Treasuries rallied-2.4bps but was as much as 9bps lower intra-day. Thanks to an outperformance at the front end (two-year fell -3.7bps), the 2s10s curve actually ended a shade steeper at 13.0bps (+1.3bps on the day). However that move for the 10y now puts it at the lowest since September at 2.89%, and only +48.6bps above where we started the year. The spread on the Dec 19 to Dec 18 eurodollar contract – indicative for what is priced into Fed hikes for next year - is down to just 16bps. It was at 60bps in October. This certainly appears to be too low, though a Wall Street Journal article yesterday seemed to signal a willingness by the Fed to moderate its pace of rate hikes. Finally, in Europe, Bunds closed -4.1bps lower at 0.236%. Quite amazing moves with Bunds continuing to defy all fundamental logic and trading instead as a risk-off lightning rod. There was some talk that the sharp moves lower at the open yesterday were exaggerated by the unexpected midweek close for markets in the US which resulted in futures systems failing to be programmed to adjust and orders backing up. However the combination of a -2.25% drop for WTI (-5.2% at the lows) post the OPEC meeting (more below) and the Huawei story that we mentioned yesterday certainly aided to the initial malaise. There was some talk that both the Chinese and US authorities would have been aware of the arrest before last weekend’s talks and as such this story shouldn’t be necessarily a threat to the truce, though Reuters reported last night that President Trump did not know about the planned arrest. The implications of this are unclear, since it could mean that Trump has less direct control over the arresting agency, but it could also indicate that the move is not part of trade policy. Either way, how this development will be key for the market moving forward, especially any response from Chinese officials. This morning in Asia markets are largely trading higher with the Nikkei (+0.60%), Hang Seng (+0.21%), Shanghai Comp (+0.08%) and Kospi (+0.51%) all up. Elsewhere, futures on the S&P 500 (-0.11%) are pointing towards a flattish start. Meantime crude oil (WTI -0.39% and Brent -0.60%) prices are continuing to trade lower this morning. It wouldn’t be an EMR worth it’s place in the daily schedule without an Italy and Brexit update. As we go to print Italian daily La Stampa has reported that the Italian Premier Conte and Deputy Premier Di Maio are in favour of the resignation of Finance Minister Tria while Deputy Premier Salvini is against his resignation. So signs of tension. In the U.K. a few press articles (like Bloomberg) are suggesting that PM May is considering postponing Tuesday’s big vote. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of substance to the story at the moment but it mentions going back to the EU for concessions on the Irish backstop as one possibility. How the EU will feel would be the obvious question. As mentioned earlier, oil had a difficult session yesterday, falling back to its recent lows with WTI touching a $50 handle and Brent trading back below $60 per barrel. The first day of the OPEC summit did not appear promising for the odds of a new production deal, as the ministers apparently discussed a 1 million barrel per day cut, below the 1.5 million needed to balance the market.The Libyan oil minister abruptly left before the day’s meetings concluded, and the organization canceled their scheduled press conference. The Russian delegation will join the OPEC contingent today in an effort to finalize a deal, but Saudi Energy Minister al-Falih said that “Russia is not ready for a substantial cut.” Watch this space today. Overnight, the Fed Chair Powell delivered an upbeat message on the US economy and the Job market ahead of today’s payrolls release. He said, “our economy is currently performing very well overall, with strong job creation and gradually rising wages,’’ while adding, “in fact, by many national-level measures, our labour market is very strong.’’ Elsewhere, the Fed’s John Williams said yesterday that the biggest challenge which the policy makers are facing is achieving a soft landing. He said, “we have a pretty strong economy -- unemployment pretty low, inflation near our goal -- it’s just managing a soft landing, keeping this expansion going for the next few years.” So will the last employment report released this year (the December report comes out in early January) help markets to continue to form a base? The consensus for nonfarm payrolls today is for a 198k print, following the stronger-thanexpected 250k reading last month. Average hourly earnings are expected to rise +0.3% mom which should be enough to keep the annual reading at +3.1% yoy while the unemployment rate is expected to hold steady at 3.7%. Our US economists are more or less in line with the consensus with a 200k forecast and also expect earnings to climb +0.3% mom, however that would be consistent with a small tick up in the annual rate to +3.17% and the fastest pace since April 2009. They also expect the current pace of job growth to push the unemployment rate down to 3.6% which would be the lowest since December 1969. Going into that, yesterday’s ADP employment change report for November was a tad disappointing at 179k (vs. 195k expected) while more interestingly the recent tick up in initial jobless claims held with the print coming in at 231k. The four-week moving average is now 228k and the highest since April having gotten as low as 206k in September. So the climb, while not yet at concerning levels, is certainly notable and worth watching now on a week to week basis. As for the other interesting data points yesterday, the October trade deficit was confirmed as reaching a new cyclical wide. The ISM non-manufacturing print for November was a relative positive after coming in at 60.7, up 0.4pts from October and ahead of expectations for a decline to 59.0. Worth noting is that the three-month moving average of non-manufacturing ISM is now the highest on record which is a fairly reliable lead indicator for private nonfarm payrolls. US durable goods orders for October were revised slightly higher to -4.3% mom from -4.4%, though the core measures stayed at 0.0% mom. Factory orders declined -2.1% mom, though both were nevertheless higher year-on-year. As for the day ahead, the aforementioned November employment in the US will no doubt be front and centre, however, prior to that, we’ve October industrial production prints in Germany and France, along with Q3 labour costs in the former, and the final Q3 GDP revisions for the Euro Area (no change from +0.2% qoq second reading expected). We’ll also get the monthly inflation reporting for November in the UK. Also due out in the US is October wholesale inventories and trade sales, the preliminary December University of Michigan survey and October consumer credit. November foreign reserves data in China is also expected out at some point. Away from that the OPEC/OPEC+ meeting moves into the final day while the ECB’s Coeure and Fed’s Brainard are scheduled to speak. Today is also the day that Germany’s ruling CDU party elects a new chair to succeed Merkel. Our FX strategists noted yesterday that according to polls, the result should be a close call between general secretary Annegret Kramp-Karranbauer (AKK) and Friedrich Merz. Broadly speaking, AKK stands for a continuation of the Merkel-era strategy of positioning the CDU at the centre of the political spectrum, whereas Merz stands for a sharpening of the party's traditional profile as a centre-right party. Last night our German economics team put out a piece explaining the event and suggesting that Merz would be good for the DAX and AKK good for the Euro.
US Equity Futures Slide After Euro PMIs Stumble; China, Crude Plunge
Returning from Thanksgiving holiday, US traders who braved record cold temperatures on their office commute are in a sour mood, with S&P futures sharply lower, following the latest sharp drop in Chinese stocks, where as noted earlier the Shanghai composite lost the 2,600 level, tumbling 2.5% to one month lows after the WSJ reported Trump asked allies to boycott China's telecom giant Huawei. The news dragged Asian shares lower, while Europe was mixed after the latest disappointing PMI which saw German Manufacturing and Services miss expectations, dragging the Eurozone Manufacturing PMI to 51.5, missing expectations of a 52.0 print, a 30 month low and the weakest since print since May 2016, while the composite index tumbled to the lowest level in 4 years in November. Contracts on the Dow, S&P and Nasdaq all pointed lower, after Chinese equities led regional declines in Asia, with the technology sector weak on concern the U.S. is ratcheting up a campaign against Huawei Technologies. The result was a sharp drop in the Shanghai Composite, which slumped to levels last seen in late October, wiping out the recent rally. In European trading, the preliminary PMI data dented hopes of an economic rebound into year end, sparking a rally in bunds and gilts, while 10Y TSY yields dropped to session lows of 3.04% after Thursday’s Thanksgiving holiday. Euribor contracts pushed higher after officials flagged downside risks and data added to nerves ahead of the ECB’s December meeting. Meanwhile in Italy, BTPs printed fresh highs for the week on signs of a budget compromise. European equities were mixed, printing small gains after a steady open, largely ignoring trade war concerns, which weighed on Chinese stocks. Italy's FTSE MIB outperformed peers on renewed deficit discussion optimism and helping local banks rise over 1.5%. Technology and telecommunications stocks pared initial gains as equity gains are tempered by oil oversupply concerns, acting as a drag on energy/basic resources sectors The dollar climbed and the euro reversed earlier gains as data showed German’s growth outlook weakened; the Euro slumped on renewed fears the slowing economy may delay any ECB balance sheet normalization while the pound handed back most of Thursday’s gains. In the latest Brexit news, Tory Brexiteer Iain Duncan Smith stated that the Brexit deal will be killed off by him and his Brexiteer colleagues in Parliament, while he is said to dismiss PM May’s efforts to adopt a tech solution to the Irish border problem and implied it is meaningless, according to ITV’s Peston. Elsewhere, emerging market currencies and shares fell on renewed China trade concerns. Bitcoin declined and is on course to lose more than 20% this week. Meanwhile, in commodities, WTI saw another sharp decline through $53, after energy minister Khalid Al-Falih said Saudi Arabia is producing oil in excess of 10.7 million barrels a day, more than in recent years, giving the strongest indication yet that the kingdom has boosted output to record levels. “We were at 10.7-something in October, and we are above that. We will know exactly when the month is over,” Al-Falih said. That said, he added that “we will not flood the market. We will not send oil that customers don’t need. And we’ve started doing that in December, and I expect we’ll continue doing that into the new year.” The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and allied producers warned earlier this month that oil markets will probably be oversupplied in 2019. Concerns that slower economic growth and a trade war could erode demand for oil are outweighing fears of potential shortages caused by U.S. sanctions on Iranian exports and supply disruptions elsewhere. As a result, WTI has wiped out all modest gains observed in recent days, and was trading back at 1 year lows headed for its 7th weekly drop. Falling energy prices are just one of several indicators that concern investors about the strength of global economic growth. Meanwhile, political turmoil in Europe, lingering uncertainty over a Brexit agreement and a trade war that’s engulfed the world’s biggest economies add to nervousness according to Bloomberg. Slowing growth is one of several prospects in the U.S. that may lead Federal Reserve to more caution in 2019 should they raise rates next month. Elsewhere, base metals decline with LME copper 1% lower. EUR offered after PMIs to trade weakest levels this week, cable declines on broad USD strength. In overnight geopolitical news, North Korea appeared to be expanding operations at its main nuclear site, according to the IAEA, while there were also reports that atomic agency inspectors are said to be demanding North Korea allow nuclear inspectors back into the country amid reactor activity concerns. China is to reportedly resume the purchase of Iranian oil in November after their waiver. Expected data include PMIs. No major companies are scheduled to report earnings. Market Snapshot
S&P500 futures down 0.5% to 2,636.75
STOXX Europe 600 up 0.4% to 353.88
MXAP down 0.05% to 150.61
MXAPJ down 0.2% to 481.05
Nikkei up 0.7% to 21,646.55
Topix up 0.8% to 1,628.96
Hang Seng Index down 0.4% to 25,927.68
Shanghai Composite down 2.5% to 2,579.48
Sensex down 0.6% to 34,981.02
Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.4% to 5,716.21
Kospi down 0.6% to 2,057.48
German 10Y yield fell 1.6 bps to 0.354%
Euro down 0.2% to $1.1376
Italian 10Y yield fell 1.6 bps to 3.082%
Spanish 10Y yield fell 1.6 bps to 1.621%
Brent futures down 1.2% to $61.84/bbl
Gold spot down 0.5% to $1,223.00
U.S. Dollar Index down 0.04% to 96.67
Top Overnight News from Bloomberg
Following the weak German PMI figures, the euro-area composite index fell to the lowest in four years in November, denting expectations for an economic pickup after a summer slowdown. Adding to worries, the data also showed that employment and orders growth slowed and companies’ expectations dropped
A Spanish official criticized the inclusion of an article in the Brexit text that his government believes has unacceptably blurred the issue of future talks over Gibraltar
Some countries are frustrated that PM Theresa May is coming to Brussels on Saturday to see European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. The last pre-summit meeting of member-state officials is Friday -- and they don’t want anything to change after that
U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping have indicated they’re both ready for a highly anticipated meeting at the Group-of-20 summit next week. Trump told reporters that China wants to make a deal “very badly” after his administration placed tariffs on on about $200 billion worth of Chinese goods
The Bank of England may need to increase interest rates at a quicker pace than currently envisaged by markets, according to policy maker Michael Saunders. Spare capacity in the economy has been used up, and, assuming Brexit reaches a smooth conclusion, inflationary pressures will probably build somewhat faster than officials predicted in their latest projections, Saunders said Thursday
The Chinese consulate in Karachi was assaulted by militants on Friday in an attack that killed at least seven people in Pakistan’s largest city and financial hub. The incident is the second major attack this year on Chinese officials in Karachi, in a country that is one of the key partners in China’s Belt and Road initiative
With Brexit in sight, Paris should become the next center for the clearing of interest-rate derivatives, said Bank of France Governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau
Shoppers across the U.S. poured into stores for Black Friday at the traditional kickoff of the holiday gift-giving season
A way out of Sweden’s political crisis is closing for the speaker of parliament. After his third pick to form a government threw in the towel on Thursday, speaker Andreas Norlen will need to get creative to break the gridlock caused by Sweden’s inconclusive election more than two months ago. He will hold a press conference at 10 a.m. in Stockholm on Friday
It may take until February or even later for some of Iran’s biggest oil buyers to resume purchases after winning waivers from the U.S. as they seek to resolve complications over insurance, shipping and payments.
Asian stocks traded mostly lower with sentiment in the region subdued by trade concerns and holiday-thinned conditions in the US, while Japan and India also observed public holidays. ASX 200 (+0.4%) was positive with the index supported by strength in its top-weighted financials sector amid gains in Australia’s largest banks after Macquarie pulled-off a rarity at the banking royal commission in which it emerged unscathed and with its reputation enhanced. Elsewhere, Shanghai Comp. (-2.5%) and Hang Seng (-0.4%) were negative amid ongoing trade uncertainty as China responded to the recent trade report by the US, in which it dismissed the accusations of unfair trade practices as groundless and totally unacceptable. In addition, the US called for its allies to stop using Huawei equipment and weak earnings results from Meituan Dianping in which the online service provider’s losses ballooned, further added to the glum. China responded to the recent US report in which it labelled the accusation by the US of China continuing with unfair trade practices as groundless and totally unacceptable, while it added that it hopes US drops rhetoric and behaviour that are damaging to relations. Top Asian News - China’s Capital Controls Keep a Bad Year From Getting Worse - The World’s Best and Worst Markets Are Both in China This Year - China Railway Unit Said to Be Planning 30 Billion Yuan IPO - Apple to Offer Japan Carriers Subsidy to Up iPhone XR Sales: WSJ After opening with little in the way of firm direction amid holiday thinned markets (US, Japan and India), European equities have posted modest gains with the EuroStoxx 50 higher by 0.2%. Leading the charge in Europe is the FTSE MIB (+0.6%) with Italian assets underpinned by optimism that the populist government could reign in some of their budgetary demands with reports suggesting that the EU Affairs Minister Savona could step down from his position (later denied) due to dissent over Italy’s intentions to violate EU budget laws. This also comes amidst a backdrop of increasing pressure from President Mattarella who wants the technocratic PM Conte to get a deal done with the EC, whilst other Italian press report highlight the need for Italy to increase the sincerity of Italy’s concessions to Europe. In terms of sector specifics, upside in Italian banking names has helped spur gains in European financials with the telecoms sector outperforming. To the downside, energy names lag, in-fitting with price action in the complex with crude seemingly unable to stem recent losses. Individual movers include Renault (+4.2%), who have been granted some reprieve from recent losses following a broker upgrade at Jefferies and as Nissan continue to reorganise their corporate leadership. Elsewhere, GEA Group (-14.3%) are lower after cutting guidance whilst Altice (-9.8%) continue to face selling pressure following yesterday’s disappointing market update Top European News
EU, U.K. See Free-Trade Area, Deep Regulatory Cooperation:Draft
German Growth Slows More Than Expected to Four- Year Low
Denmark Wants Danske Whistle-Blower to Explain His Testimony
Ericsson Rises as Goldman Sees ‘Strong Competitive Position’
In currencies, the Dollar has benefited from the aforementioned relative weakness elsewhere, and the index is holding nearer the upper end of 96.394-751 parameters as a result, and on course to end the holiday-shortened week with a net gain, albeit modest having traded up to 96.898 and down to 96.037 at the other extreme. the Euro was not the most discounted major currency on offer, but cut price in wake of considerably weaker than forecast preliminary PMIs from France, Germany and the Eurozone overall. The single currency is now under 1.1400 vs the Usd and has broken the 10DMA to the downside at 1.1356, with fibs now being eyed ahead of 1.1300, while pivoting 0.8850 against the Gbp even though Sterling is also suffering in sympathy and jittery on Brexit issues following initial euphoria due to the UK-EU Political Declaration. CAD/NZD/AUD - Also going relatively cheap and underperforming against their US peer, with the Loonie back below 1.3200 amidst an even steeper slide in crude prices ahead of Canadian CPI and retail sales data. Meanwhile, the Aud has retreated through 0.7250 again and hardly helped by overnight developments as ANZ revised its RBA outlook to unchanged until August 2020, and the ASIC launched a probe of CBA for the alleged mis-selling of insurance products. Similarly, the Kiwi has lost grip of 0.6800 amidst speculation that the RBNZ could loosen mortgage restrictions as part of its FSR due next week. GBP - As noted above, the Pound has lost a bit more positivity after Thursday’s rally on the draft PD reached by Brexit negotiators given a mixed reaction to the details in UK political circles and ongoing doubt about approval by EU leaders. Cable is back below 1.2850 vs circa 1.2900 at best yesterday, albeit ‘comfortably’ above the recent 1.2785 low with decent bids noted at 1.2800. EM - Some consolidation at the end of a solid week for the likes of the Zar and Try that have both made potentially significant breaks of key levels at 14.0000 and 5.3000 vs the Usd respectively due to a combination of bullish technical and fundamental factors, ie the SARB ¼ point hike yesterday. In commodities, WTI (-4.3%) and Brent (-2.6%) are on track for their seventh weekly loss with WTI prices briefly breaching the USD 52.00/bbl level to the downside while Brent lingers just above USD 61/bbl. Some traders are citing the recent decline to technical factors, while Saudi Arabia signalled that its output may have reached a record high of above 10.7mln BPD, and the kingdom’s Energy Minister Al-Falih noted that demand for oil will be lower in January 2019 compared to December 2018. This comes amidst the backdrop of this week’s EIA data which showed that US production remained at a record high of 11.7mln barrels, the most since at least 1983; according to government data. Therefore, the complex is suffering from a double whammy with supply glut concerns and weaker demand concerns weighing on traders’ minds. Oil fell into bear market territory this month after the US granted temporary waivers to eight countries in regard to Iranian oil, in turn pouring cold water on some supply concerns, while sources emerged this morning noting that China are to resume the purchase of Iranian oil in November after their waiver. Some analysts highlighted that due to complications over insurance, shipping and payments, it may take until February or later until some of Iran’s largest buyers such as South Korean and Japan resume purchases. Elsewhere, gold (-0.4%) prices saw some downside after the yellow metal felt pressure from the firmer USD and copper weakened amid underperformance in China alongside a decline in Chinese commodity prices. Furthermore, China’s Dalian Exchange are to relax their risk management restrictions on some futures in an attempt to attract more investors to boost liquidity given the recent slump in iron ore prices. US Event Calendar
9:45am: Markit US Manufacturing PMI, est. 55.7, prior 55.7
9:45am: Markit US Services PMI, est. 55, prior 54.8
The Federal Open Market Committee is expected to lift the federal funds rate by a quarter point to 2.25% when the central bank finishes its two-day meeting today. The central bank is looking to guide the U.S. economy in for a soft landing, with an eye on the gap between the inflation rate and the fed funds rate. The so-called "neutral" federal funds rate (tossed around as R* by some economists) is either quite low or somewhat elevated by historical standards, depending upon which Fed governor you ask. Updated dot plot rate forecasts will be released after the meeting to give interest rate watchers plenty to chew on. Heading into the meeting, the 2-year Treasury is showing a 2.83% yield and the 10-year is at 3.08%. Economy In Asia, most markets registered gains today ahead of the FOMC meeting. Japan's Nikkei increased 0.4% and closed over 24K for the first time since January. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 1.2% on the day and the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.9%. Australia's ASX 200 Index poked out a gain of 0.1%, while South Korean markets took a breather for a holiday. Meanwhile, the European Stoxx 600 Index is flat on the day and U.S. stock futures are pointing higher in early action, led by a 0.3% uptick in the Nasdaq 100. Canada appears to be calling the bluff of the Trump Administration, saying it will not make the concessions required to reach a deal with the U.S. for a trilateral NAFTA pact. The U.S. has warned that it will move ahead with a trade deal involving only Mexico if the Canadian government didn't bend on certain issues such as access to the nation's dairy market. The Trump team wants Canada to conclude the deal by Sunday. "The relationship between Canada and the United States is far deeper than between the Canadian government and the U.S. administration," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said about the trade squabbles. Crude oil prices are on watch after the U.S. said it would ensure crude markets are well supplied before sanctions are slapped back on Iran. The U.S. is due to apply sanctions on Iran oil exports on November 4. Traders have oil data to digest today when the EIA posts its weekly report on crude oil inventories for the previous week. With just a few trading days left in the quarter, Brent prices are poised to record five straight quarterly increases to mark the longest stretch of gains since early in 2007. WTI crude oil futures +0.06% to $72.32/bbl at last check. Brent crude +0.29% to $82.11/bbl. The Census Bureau is due to release data on new home sales for August. Economists expect a mark of 630K to top the 627K new home sales for July. The housing market has been in a cooling trend amid higher mortgage rates. Today's report could be key for Floor & Decor (NYSE:FND), Lumber Liquidators (NYSE:LL) and Tile Shop (NASDAQ:TTS) - which all fell sharply yesterday in reaction to some soft reads on U.S. house prices. Stocks All eyes in the Canadian cannabis market will be on Ontario on expectations that a new legalization law will be unveiled today. Ontario is the only province that hasn't created guidelines for how cannabis will be sold in brick-and-mortar retail shops, despite the province accounting for more than 40% of all cannabis usage in the nation last year. An announcement isn't anticipated until after the market closes today, which could lead to more speculative trading on Aurora Cannabis (OTCQX:ACBFF), Canopy Growth (NYSE:CGC), Cronos Group (NASDAQ:CRON) and Tilray (NASDAQ:TLRY). Merger strategies are part of the strategic planning going on at Deutsche Bank (NYSE:DB), according to German media reports. Sources said the bank simulated a merger with UBS Group (NYSE:UBS) and Commerzbank (OTCPK:CRZBF, OTCPK:CRZBY) to see what the shakeout would look like. UBS is said to have been the clear winner in the test. Shares of Deutsche Bank are down 27% over the last 52 weeks. There could be some spillover from Nike's (NYSE:NKE) FQ2 earnings today for a variety of stocks. While Nike topped quarterly consensus estimates, analysts think Nike's miss on the gross margin line and lower-than-anticipated sales growth in China could impact the broad athletic apparel sector. For the full year, Nike said it expects full-year revenue growth to be up in the high single digits and margins to improve, but investors may have expected just a bit more. Shares of Nike are down 2.8% in premarket action. Keep an eye on Under Armour (UA, UAA), Adidas (OTCQX:ADDYY), Columbia Sportswear (NASDAQ:COLM), Hibbett Sports (NASDAQ:HIBB) Foot Locker (NYSE:FL), Dick's Sporting Goods (NYSE:DKS) and Finish Line (NASDAQ:FINL) to name a few. In the wake of Les Moonves' departure under a cloud of accusations, CBS has tapped Richard Parsons to serve as interim chairman. Parsons, the former CEO of Time Warner, has also been considered to be on the shortlist of external execs who might take over Moonves' CEO post at CBS. Adding to heavy board turnover, longtime members Bruce Gordon and William Cohen are exiting. IPO heat check: SurveyMonkey (NASDAQ:SVMK) priced its initial public offering above range at $12 per share after citing strong demand from investors. The online survey specialist will raise $162M through the issuance of shares. Companies that have seen impressive IPO debuts recently include Farfetch (NYSE:FTCH), Y-mAbs Therapeutics (NASDAQ:YMAB), Elanco (NYSE:ELAN) and Eventbrite (NYSE:EB). Then there is the most talked about IPO of the bunch, Chinese EV player NIO (NYSE:NIO), which closed yesterday about 21% above where the IPO was priced ten days ago. Delta Air Lines had to ground all flights in the U.S. due to a technology issue last night. The company's IT teams were able to restore the systems and the airline is working to help customers affected by the groundstop. It's not a surprise that Delta (NYSE:DAL) was a trending topic on Twitter for quite a while last night. M&A chatter: Nielsen Holdings is up 2.3% in premarket trading on a report of interest from Blackstone (NYSE:BX) and the Carlyle Group (NASDAQ:CG). The company has just recently opened up to the idea of selling itself in its entirety, not just the "Buy" segment part of the business. The latest development follows a push by activist investor Elliott Management for Nielsen (NYSE:NLSN) on strategic considerations. Electrify America says it will include a subscription plan for Lucid electric vehicle owners as part of its network of 500 charging stations in the U.S. By comparison, Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) has around 1,344 fast-charging stations globally with 11,041 Superchargers. The coast-to-coast Electrify America network is expected to be built or under construction by next summer, well ahead of the planned 2020 launches of the Lucid Air and Audi (OTCPK:AUDVF) e-tron SUV. Volkswagen (OTCPK:VWAGY) created Electrify America as a subsidiary in connection to the settlement with the U.S. government in the diesel emissions case. It might an ultra-bad day for Ultra Petroleum (NASDAQ:UPL) after shares fell 25% in after-hours trading following the company's disclosure that it was unable to reach an agreement with lenders on terms of a senior secured first lien term loan. Without any further talks planned, Ultra Petroleum said it moved forward the semi-annual redetermination of its borrowing base under its reserve-based credit facility. A number of companies host meetings with analysts today in the form of road shows, group lunches, and conferences. Keep an eye out for news from Cars.com (NYSE:CARS), Blucora (NASDAQ:BCOR), Boyd Gaming (NYSE:BYD), Conn's (NASDAQ:CONN), Jack In The Box (NASDAQ:JACK), Cooper-Standard (NYSE:CPS), NovoCure (NASDAQ:NVCR) and Liberty Global (NASDAQ:LBTYA) as analysts pick away at business updates and earnings projections. Tuesday's Key Earnings Nike (NKE) -2.8% PM despite Q1 earnings beat. KB Home (NYSE:KBH) +8.1% PM on Q3 earnings beat. Cintas (NASDAQ:CTAS) -2.8% AH despite Q1 earnings beat. AAR Corporation (NYSE:AIR) +3.2% AH on Q1 earnings beat. Today's Markets In Asia, Japan +0.39%. Hong Kong +1.73%. China +0.92%. India -0.03%. In Europe, at midday, London +0.04%. Paris +0.23%. Frankfurt -0.12%. Futures at 6:20, Dow +0.17%. S&P +0.19%. Nasdaq +0.34%. Crude -0.26% to $72.09. Gold -0.18% to $1,202.90. Bitcoin +0.30% to $6,453. Ten-year Treasury Yield -1.3bps to 3.089% Today's Economic Calendar 7:00 MBA Mortgage Applications 10:00 New Home Sales 10:00 State Street Investor Confidence Index 10:30 EIA Petroleum Inventories 2:00 PM FOMC Announcement 2:00 PM FOMC Forecast 2:00 PM Chairman Press Conference
Cryptocurrencies on pace to close volatile trading week positive following Ethereum Classic addition to Coinbase Index Fund and the launch of the BOLT privacy overlay for Zcash on the lightning network
Developments in Financial Services
Binance is launching a JV with Liechtenstein Cryptoassets Exchange (LCX) to launch a fiat to cryptocurrency exchange, Binnace LCX. The exchange/platforming will be based in Liechtenstein and offer trading between Swiss Francs (CHF) and euros (EUR) against major digital currencies pairs with the potential for new trading pairs in the future.
bloXroute Labs, along with a partnership with a team of student at Northwestern University, are experimenting with a trustless scheme to address the scalability limitations of Bitcoin’s P2P platform. At the moment, with the Lightning Network, Bitcoin transactions capacity is capped at 82 BTC. According to Sarit Markovich, professor of strategy at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, the bloXroute solution is scaling at 100x better and are targeting 1,000x.
BOLT, a privacy overlay for the lighting network that will be applied to zcash, was formally launched on Github today. BOLT will obscure transaction, balances and sendereceiver identities. The BOLT upgrade to the zcash protocol is considered a soft fork.
Coinbase, according to CEO and co-Founder Brian Armstrong in an interview with Bloomberg, is adding 50k new users a day. Assuming this run-rate, it implies Coinbase will add 350k new users a year.
DGE, a South Korean blockchain developer, who launched its native cryptocurrency TMTG a few weeks ago that is linked to value of gold is attempting to partner with global gold exchanges (after agreements with the Korea Gold Exchange and Vau Diamond Exchange) to create a stable ecosystem for TMTG. In the opinion of DGE, many cryptocurrency developers do not consider the stability of their coins and its impact to the ecosystem these cryptocurrencies support.
Ethereum Classic is +18% this morning after crypto’s inclusion into the Coinbase index fund after being added to the Coinbase Pro trading platform. At the moment, Ethereum Classic has a 0.91% allocation in the fund.
Huobi, the Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange (and third largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world), has announced partnerships with Yatai International Holding Group, Vnesheconombank, Chi Fu Group, Asia International Finance Holdings, and Dbank Group to create cryptocurrency trading exchanges/platforms in the Philippines, Taiwan, Indonesia, and Canada. The five companies will use Huobi’s Cloud service which will provide the different platforms with the tools they need to open their exchanges on a proven framework.
LINE, a Japanese social messaging app, announced that is forming a USD$10mm blockchain venture capital fund. The company believes the decision to create a blockchain venture fund will make LINE one of the first publicly traded companies to formalize token investments through a corporate fund structure.
Pantera Capital announces it has raised USD$71mm for a third cryptocurrency fund. Calling it Venture Fund III, Pantera has already begun to make investments following an allocation to cryptocurrency trading platform Bakkt (that has a JV with ICE).
Ripple Labs continues to focus on expansion plans, even in the face of recent lawsuits from the District Court of California. The lawsuits content that Ripple’s native cryptocurrency, XRP, should be considered a security which the company flatly rejects. In spite of these issues, Ripple Labs remains focused on its overseas expansions plans in Asia and the Middle East.
Ripple Labs has endorsed three cryptocurrency exchanges, Bittrex, Bitso, and Coins.ph as its preferred partners for transactions with Ripple’s xRapid payments system. Management at Ripple Labs is encouraging users in the US, Mexico and the Philippines to use these exchanges while transacting with xRapid. XRapid is a solution for Ripple’s blockchain-based real-time gross settlement system and is meant to facilitate international fiat transfers between financial institutions.
Square announces that customers will be able to buy/sell Bitcoin via its Cash App across all 50 states in the United States.
The Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) is publicly expressing concerns about the acquisition of Beat Holdings, listed on the TSE, by Noah Ark Technologies, a Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency frim. The TSE concerns are related to management’s bias to stay away from the cryptocurrency sector.
The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) is exploring using a distributed ledger technology (DLT) in place of its current clearing house electronic sub-register system. According to Dominic Steves, Managing Director and CEO of the ASX, shifting to a DLT system would save the exchange as much as USD$23bn. A DLT would permit customers to use nodes instead of sending messages and connect to the whole database instead of having to communicate with several different databases and should help eliminate errors.
Bitmain’s upcoming IPO is coming under scrutiny as investors continue to worry about its long-term viability. Specifically, there seem to be concerns about Bitmain’s reserve of Bitcoin Cash which is considered an illiquid position given the daily turnover in current Bitcoin Cash markets. Bitmain’s IPO is currently being valued at USD$18bn.
Bloomberg is reporting that a Bitcoin-based ETN that is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm will begin targeting US investors. The ETN, Bitcoin Tracker One, is listed and traded in Sweden but is now being quoted in USD$. Traders will buy the ETN in a similar way that they buy ADRs where transactions are in USD$ but settlement, clearing and custody will be done in SEK.
Alexander Petersons, product director of cloud mining service Hashtoro.com and self-proclaimed crypto-enthusiast, believes the cryptocoin industry will begin shifting to cleaner and smart mining by taking advantage of local climates to help reduce electricity consumption. While cryptocurrency critics cite costs of crypto mining as an impediment that will limit widescale adoption of digital currencies, Petersons and the team at Hashtoro.com believe the use of clean energy will help address the challenges of scalability.
Bitcoin.com CEO Roger Ver has hinted the online cryptocurrency news publisher may consider an ICO in the future. The topic was brought up during a conversation with one of Bitcoin.com’s lead developers about developing tokens on the Bitcoin Cash blockchain - - Bitcoin.com published a new tool helping aspiring developers to build tokens on the Bitcoin Cash protocol.
A group of researchers/hackers have claimed to have hacked John Mcafee-backed hardware wallet Bitfi. According to its advertising, Bitfi claims to be unhackable. The researchers/hackers claim to have had complete access to a Bitfi wallet for the past two weeks, tracking data being sent out of the wallet while still being connected to the Bitfi servers.
According to a research report by Citrix, 59% of UK companies have been affected by cryptojacking malware. Cryptojacking malware employs its victim’s computational resources without their permission in order to mine cryptocurrencies for the attacker and leads to a wasteful increase in electric power consumption and the slowing down of affected devices. According to Citrix’s research, 80% of the cryptojacking cases took place in the last six months.
Deviant coin releases its whitepaper ahead of the launch of its hybrid decentralized exchange and its open-source hardware wallet. The novelty of Deviant is that it proposed to create rewards within its ecosystems without the typical centralized control of node operators. The Deviant network offers improved speed with stealth addresses for complete anonymity, encrypted messaging for secure communication, low transaction fees, lower confirmation time, and a limited total supply.
The Ethereum community continues to struggle with DApps topping the number of downloads on the blockchain network that are promising investments with high returns that turn out to be fraudulent. As an example, Team JUST, the anonymous development team behind the gambling DApp FOMO 3D is warning that an indentical version of its game is eating up 1/3 of the Ethereum network’s total computational power and raising USD$7mm over the past week.
Genesis Mining, an Iceland-basd hashpower hosting service, is forcing customers to upgrade their Bitcoin mining contracts following this year’s drop in cryptocurrency valuations. The company is discounting the upgrade price of its Radiant service per 1 TH/s to USD$180 from USD$285. In 60 days, Genesis announced it will terminate open-ended contracts that mine less than the daily maintenance fee.
Hash House, a crypto-themed café and workshare space in the city of Xi’an, the capital of Shaanxi Province in China, has recently launched. Among its many features, Hash House will provide visitors with learnings materials on cryptocurrencies and will hose seminars and meetups on different crypto topics.
China News reports that the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) Business School has received a USD$20mm research grant to investigate the security capabilities of electronic payment systems. Partnering with University of Hong Kong (HKU), the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), and the City University of Hong Kong (CityU), the HKUST-led research initiative will focus on artificial intelligence, network security and blockchain technologies.
During an unofficial discussion with Quartz India, unnamed state official in the Indian government, which is examining the impact of the virtual currency ecosystem.
IBM files updates to a pending patent for managing a databases management system (DBMS) using a blockchain database. The patent was initially filed in December 2017 and covers the idea of connecting a blockchain databases with a traditional central database.
Joe Lubin, the co-founder of Ethereum and ConsenSys, does not see the recent sell-off in cryptocurrencies constraining growth of the crypto ecosystem. In an interview with Bloomberg, Lubin suggested the recent run-up in cryptocurrency valuations is similar the previous six bubbles with each bubble more pronounced than the previous.
Joe Lubin, the co-founder of the Ethereum Foundation, during an interview with Bloomberg, claims Ripple is not a blockchain technology and is not a competitor for Ethereum. In Lubin’s mind, Ripple is a payment system, not a blockchain technology. In the case of EOS, Lubin cautions against its decision-making framework and doesn’t believe it is should be treated as layer-one technology yet.
Users can now be paid to participate on the lightning network nodes. The average fee on the lightning network currently is about 1 satoshi. In comparison, the montly income of using the lightning network has been estimated to be closer to USD$2 for a prominent application developer.
Microsoft recent patent applications suggests the company is looking to use trusted execution environments (TEEs) within its blockchain technology. TEEs are pre-determined types of blockchain or other security protocols in validation nodes. TEEs will help assist in the implementation of consortium blockchain networks and will also assist in verifying blockchain transactions on networks where multiple pre-authorized entities must interact.
Saudi Arabia officials warn citizens in a formal joint statement from the Ministry of Trade & Investment, Ministry of Information and Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency that trading Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are illegal in The Kingdom. This press release is in contrast to The Kingdom’s positive disposition to blockchain technology.
Taproot, a protocol overlay for Bitcoin pushed by one of Bitcoin’s most well-known developers Greg Maxwell, will offer a privacy layer which will address Bitcoin critics who believe the benchmark cryptocurrency’s privacy is awful. Taproot, supported by other popular Bitcoin developers, will require the Schnorr upgrade which is still not ready to be implemented. The power of Taproot will be the ability to make smart contract transactions look like any regular Bitcoin transaction, offering anonymity for senders and receivers.
The national government of Vietnam has decided to ban imports of cryptocurrency mining equipment. According to the Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department, 3,664 ASIC devices were imported into the city in C1H2018. The ban of cryptocurrency mining equipment is related to a government investigation into a ICO-fraud that scammed USD$660mm from 32,000 domestic investors. At the moment, cryptocurrencies are outlawed as payments in Vietnam after the Vietnamese Central Bank refused to accept cryptocurrencies as a recognizable form of non-cash payments.
During an interview with Crypto Congressman Jason Hsu, Vitalik Buterin, the co-Founder of the Ethereum Foundation, highlighted his worries about the lack of sustainable applications on the Ethereum blockchain. Buterin is working on a proof-of-stake and charting protocols to help address the current bottlenecks that are preventing widescale adoption of Ethereum. In his opion, privacy concerns remain the biggest hurdle for widespread adoption of Ethereum in the financial sector.
World’s first bitcoin mining IPO falls short The world's first fundraising for an initial public offering (IPO) of a company that "mines" bitcoins has raised 5.9 million Australian dollars ($4.2 million) — far off its target of 20 million Australian dollars. The Bitcoin Group, based in Melbourne, Australia, announced on Tuesday that it had raised 5,927,168.40 Australian dollars in a bookbuild for its listing on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX). Although the amount raised was less than a third of the target, Bitcoin Group CEO Sam Lee said it was a "solid result." "It is sufficient for the company to execute its current strategy of expanding our footprint through acquiring new mining equipment," he told CNBC on Tuesday.
Bitcoin Mining IPO on Australian Stock Exchange (ASX)
I sometimes browse the ASX website to see what companies have upcoming floats on the exchange. I was very surprised to see "Bitcoin Group Limited" listed. Is this the first bitcoin IPO on a "real" stock exchange? Anyone know anything about this group? From a skim of the prospectus, they seem to be asking for $AU20Mil to expand their chinese mining operations, and claim they will have 15% of hashing power by March 2016. Is it a scam? Prospectus is here: http://www.bitcoingroup.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Prospectus_v2.pdf
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