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Craig Steven Wright is Satoshi Nakamoto
A couple of years ago in the early months of the 2017, I published a piece called Abundance Via Cryptocurrencies (https://www.reddit.com/C\_S\_T/comments/69d12a/abundance\_via\_cryptocurrencies/) in which I kind of foresaw the crypto boom that had bitcoin go from $1k to $21k and the alt-coin economy swell up to have more than 60% of the bitcoin market capitalisation. At the time, I spoke of coming out from “the Pit” of conspiracy research and that I was a bit suss on bitcoin’s inception story. At the time I really didn’t see the scaling solution being put forward as being satisfactory and the progress on bitcoin seemed stifled by the politics of the social consensus on an open source protocol so I was looking into alt coins that I thought could perhaps improve upon the shortcomings of bitcoin. In the thread I made someone recommended to have a look at 4chan’s business and finance board. I did end up taking a look at it just as the bull market started to really surge. I found myself in a sea of anonymous posters who threw out all kinds of info and memes about the hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of different shitcoins and why they’re all going to have lambos on the moon. I got right in to it, I loved the idea of filtering through all the shitposts and finding the nuggest of truth amongst it all and was deeply immersed in it all as the price of bitcoin surged 20x and alt coins surged 5-10 times against bitcoin themselves. This meant there were many people who chucked in a few grand and bought a stash of alt coins that they thought were gonna be the next big thing and some people ended up with “portfolios” 100-1000x times their initial investment. To explain what it’s like to be on an anonymous business and finance board populated with incel neets, nazis, capitalist shit posters, autistic geniuses and whoever the hell else was using the board for shilling their coins during a 100x run up is impossible. It’s hilarious, dark, absurd, exciting and ultimately addictive as fuck. You have this app called blockfolio that you check every couple of minutes to see the little green percentages and the neat graphs of your value in dollars or bitcoin over day, week, month or year. Despite my years in the pit researching conspiracy, and my being suss on bitcoin in general I wasn’t anywhere near as distrustful as I should have been of an anonymous business and finance board and although I do genuinely think there are good people out there who are sharing information with one another in good faith and feel very grateful to the anons that have taken their time to write up quality content to educate people they don’t know, I wasn’t really prepared for the level of organisation and sophistication of the efforts groups would go to to deceive in this space. Over the course of my time in there I watched my portfolio grow to ridiculous numbers relative to what I put in but I could never really bring myself to sell at the top of a pump as I always felt I had done my research on a coin and wanted to hold it for a long time so why would I sell? After some time though I would read about something new or I would find out of dodgy relationships of a coin I had and would want to exit my position and then I would rebalance my portfolio in to a coin I thought was either technologically superior or didn’t have the nefarious connections to people I had come across doing conspiracy research. Because I had been right in to the conspiracy and the decentralisation tropes I guess I always carried a bit of an antiauthoritarian/anarchist bias and despite participating in a ridiculously capitalistic market, was kind of against capitalism and looking to a blockchain protocol to support something along the lines of an open source anarchosyndicalist cryptocommune. I told myself I was investing in the tech and believed in the collective endeavour of the open source project and ultimately had faith some mysterious “they” would develop a protocol that would emancipate us from this debt slavery complex. As I became more and more aware of how to spot artificial discussion on the chans, I began to seek out further some of the radical projects like vtorrent and skycoin and I guess became a bit carried away from being amidst such ridiculous overt shilling as on the boards so that if you look in my post history you can even see me promoting some of these coins to communities I thought might be sympathetic to their use case. I didn’t see it at the time because I always thought I was holding the coins with the best tech and wanted to ride them up as an investor who believed in them, but this kind of promotion is ultimately just part of a mentality that’s pervasive to the cryptocurrency “community” that insists because it is a decentralised project you have to in a way volunteer to inform people about the coin since the more decentralised ones without premines or DAO structures don’t have marketing budgets, or don’t have marketing teams. In the guise of cultivating a community, groups form together on social media platforms like slack, discord, telegram, twitter and ‘vote’ for different proposals, donate funds to various boards/foundations that are set up to give a “roadmap” for the coins path to greatness and organise marketing efforts on places like reddit, the chans, twitter. That’s for the more grass roots ones at least, there are many that were started as a fork of another coin, or a ICO, airdrop or all these different ways of disseminating a new cryptocurrency or raising funding for promising to develop one. Imagine the operations that can be run by a team that raised millions, hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars on their ICOs, especially if they are working in conjunction with a new niche of cryptocurrency media that’s all nepotistic and incestuous. About a year and a half ago I published another piece called “Bitcoin is about to be dethroned” (https://www.reddit.com/C\_S\_T/comments/7ewmuu/bitcoin\_is\_about\_to\_be\_dethroned/) where I felt I had come to realise the scaling debate had been corrupted by a company called Blockstream and they had been paying for social media operations in a fashion not to dissimilar to correct the record or such to control the narrative around the scaling debate and then through deceit and manipulation curated an apparent consensus around their narrative and hijacked the bitcoin name and ticker (BTC). I read the post again just before posting this and decided to refer to it to to add some kind of continuity to my story and hopefully save me writing so much out. Looking back on something you wrote is always a bit cringey especially because I can see that although I had made it a premise post, I was acting pretty confident that I was right and my tongue was acidic because of so much combating of shills on /biz/ but despite the fact I was wrong about the timing I stand by much of what I wrote then and want to expand upon it a bit more now. The fork of the bitcoin protocol in to bitcoin core (BTC) and bitcoin cash (BCH) is the biggest value fork of the many that have occurred. There were a few others that forked off from the core chain that haven’t had any kind of attention put on them, positive or negative and I guess just keep chugging away as their own implementation. The bitcoin cash chain was supposed to be the camp that backed on chain scaling in the debate, but it turned out not everyone was entirely on board with that and some players/hashpower felt it was better to do a layer two type solution themselves although with bigger blocks servicing the second layer. Throughout what was now emerging as a debate within the BCH camp, Craig Wright and Calvin Ayre of Coin Geek said they were going to support massive on chain scaling, do a node implementation that would aim to restore bitcoin back to the 0.1.0 release which had all kinds of functionality included in it that had later been stripped by Core developers over the years and plan to bankrupt the people from Core who changed their mind on agreeing with on-chain scaling. This lead to a fork off the BCH chain in to bitcoin satoshis vision (BSV) and bitcoin cash ABC. https://bitstagram.bitdb.network/m/raw/cbb50c322a2a89f3c627e1680a3f40d4ad3cee5a3fb153e5d6d001bdf85de404 The premise for this post is that Craig S Wright was Satoshi Nakamoto. It’s an interesting premise because depending upon your frame of reference the premise may either be a fact or to some too outrageous to even believe as a premise. Yesterday it was announced via CoinGeek that Craig Steven Wright has been granted the copyright claim for both the bitcoin white-paper under the pen name Satoshi Nakamoto and the original 0.1.0 bitcoin software (both of which were marked (c) copyright of satoshi nakamoto. The reactions to the news can kind of be classified in to four different reactions. Those who heard it and rejected it, those who heard it but remained undecided, those who heard it and accepted it, and those who already believed he was. Apparently to many the price was unexpected and such a revelation wasn’t exactly priced in to the market with the price immediately pumping nearly 100% upon the news breaking. However, to some others it was a vindication of something they already believed. This is an interesting phenomena to observe. For many years now I have always occupied a somewhat positively contrarian position to the default narrative put forward to things so it’s not entirely surprising that I find myself in a camp that holds the minority opinion. As you can see in the bitcoin dethroned piece I called Craig fake satoshi, but over the last year and bit I investigated the story around Craig and came to my conclusion that I believed him to be at least a major part of a team of people who worked on the protocol I have to admit that through reading his articles, I have kind of been brought full circle to where my contrarian opinion has me becoming somewhat of an advocate for “the system’. https://coingeek.com/bitcoin-creator-craig-s-wright-satoshi-nakamoto-granted-us-copyright-registrations-for-bitcoin-white-paper-and-code/ When the news dropped, many took to social media to see what everyone was saying about it. On /biz/ a barrage of threads popped up discussing it with many celebrating and many rejecting the significance of such a copyright claim being granted. Immediately in nearly every thread there was a posting of an image of a person from twitter claiming that registering for copyright is an easy process that’s granted automatically unless challenged and so it doesn’t mean anything. This was enough for many to convince them of the insignificance of the revelation because of the comment from a person who claimed to have authority on twitter. Others chimed in to add that in fact there was a review of the copyright registration especially in high profile instances and these reviewers were satisfied with the evidence provided by Craig for the claim. At the moment Craig is being sued by Ira Kleiman for an amount of bitcoin that he believes he is entitled to because of Craig and Ira’s brother Dave working together on bitcoin. He is also engaged in suing a number of people from the cryptocurrency community for libel and defamation after they continued to use their social media/influencer positions to call him a fraud and a liar. He also has a number of patents lodged through his company nChain that are related to blockchain technologies. This has many people up in arms because in their mind Satoshi was part of a cypherpunk movement, wanted anonymity, endorsed what they believed to be an anti state and open source technologies and would use cryptography rather than court to prove his identity and would have no interest in patents. https://bitstagram.bitdb.network/m/raw/1fce34a7004759f8db16b2ae9678e9c6db434ff2e399f59b5a537f72eff2c1a1 https://imgur.com/a/aANAsL3) If you listen to Craig with an open mind, what cannot be denied is the man is bloody smart. Whether he is honest or not is up to you to decide, but personally I try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt and then cut them off if i find them to be dishonest. What I haven’t really been able to do with my investigation of craig is cut him off. There have been many moments where I disagree with what he has had to say but I don’t think people having an opinion about something that I believe to be incorrect is the same as being a dishonest person. It’s very important to distinguish the two and if you are unable to do so there is a very real risk of you projecting expectations or ideals upon someone based off your ideas of who they are. Many times if someone is telling the truth but you don’t understand it, instead of acknowledging you don’t understand it, you label them as being stupid or dishonest. I think that has happened to an extreme extent with Craig. Let’s take for example the moment when someone in the slack channel asked Craig if he had had his IQ tested and what it was. Craig replied with 179. The vast majority of people on the internet have heard someone quote their IQ before in an argument or the IQ of others and to hear someone say such a score that is actually 6 standard deviations away from the mean score (so probably something like 1/100 000) immediately makes them reject it on the grounds of probability. Craig admits that he’s not the best with people and having worked with/taught many high functioning people (sometimes on the spectrum perhaps) on complex anatomical and physiological systems I have seen some that also share the same difficulties in relating to people and reconciling their genius and understandings with more average intelligences. Before rejecting his claim outright because we don’t understand much of what he says, it would be prudent to first check is there any evidence that may lend support to his claim of a one in a million intelligence quotient. Craig has mentioned on a number of occasions that he holds a number of different degrees and certifications in relation to law, cryptography, statistics, mathematics, economics, theology, computer science, information technology/security. I guess that does sound like something someone with an extremely high intelligence could achieve. Now I haven’t validated all of them but from a simple check on Charles Sturt’s alumni portal using his birthday of 23rd of October 1970 we can see that he does in fact have 3 Masters and a PhD from Charles Sturt. Other pictures I have seen from his office at nChain have degrees in frames on the wall and a developer published a video titled Craig Wright is a Genius with 17 degrees where he went and validated at least 8 of them I believe. He is recently publishing his Doctorate of Theology through an on-chain social media page that you have to pay a little bit for access to sections of his thesis. It’s titled the gnarled roots of creation. He has also mentioned on a number of occasions his vast industry experience as both a security contractor and business owner. An archive from his LinkedIn can be seen below as well. LinkedIn - https://archive.is/Q66Gl https://youtu.be/nXdkczX5mR0 - Craig Wright is a Genius with 17 Degrees https://www.yours.org/content/gnarled-roots-of-a-creation-mythos-45e69558fae0 - Gnarled Roots of Creation. In fact here is an on chain collection of articles and videos relating to Craig called the library of craig - https://www.bitpaste.app/tx/94b361b205196560d1bd09e4e3b3ec7ad6bea478af204cabfe243efd8fc944dd So there is a guy with 17 degrees, a self professed one in a hundred thousand IQ, who’s worked for Australian Federal Police, ASIO, NSA, NASA, ASX. He’s been in Royal Australian Air Force, operated a number of businesses in Australia, published half a dozen academic papers on networks, cryptography, security, taught machine learning and digital forensics at a number of universities and then another few hundred short articles on medium about his work in these various domains, has filed allegedly 700 patents on blockchain related technology that he is going to release on bitcoin sv, copyrighted the name so that he may prevent other competing protocols from using the brand name, that is telling you he is the guy that invented the technology that he has a whole host of other circumstantial evidence to support that, but people won’t believe that because they saw something that a talking head on twitter posted or that a Core Developer said, or a random document that appears online with a C S Wright signature on it that lists access to an address that is actually related to Roger Ver, that’s enough to write him off as a scam. Even then when he publishes a photo of the paper copy which appears to supersede the scanned one, people still don’t readjust their positions on the matter and resort back to “all he has to do is move the coins or sign a tx”. https://imgur.com/urJbe10 Yes Craig was on the Cypherpunk mailing list back in the day, but that doesn’t mean that he was or is an anarchist. Or that he shares the same ideas that Code Is Law that many from the crypto community like to espouse. I myself have definitely been someone to parrot the phrase myself before reading lots of Craig’s articles and trying to understand where he is coming from. What I have come to learn from listening and reading the man, is that although I might be fed up with the systems we have in place, they still exist to perform important functions within society and because of that the tools we develop to serve us have to exist within that preexisting legal and social framework in order for them to have any chance at achieving global success in replacing fiat money with the first mathematically provably scarce commodity. He says he designed bitcoin to be an immutable data ledger where everyone is forced to be honest, and economically disincentivised to perform attacks within the network because of the logs kept in a Write Once Read Many (WORM) ledger with hierarchical cryptographic keys. In doing so you eliminate 99% of cyber crime, create transparent DAO type organisations that can be audited and fully compliant with legislature that’s developed by policy that comes from direct democratic voting software. Everyone who wants anonymous coins wants to have them so they can do dishonest things, illegal things, buy drugs, launder money, avoid taxes. Now this triggers me a fair bit as someone who has bought drugs online, who probably hasn’t paid enough tax, who has done illegal things contemplating what it means to have that kind of an evidence ledger, and contemplate a reality where there are anonymous cryptocurrencies, where massive corporations continue to be able to avoid taxes, or where methamphetamine can be sold by the tonne, or where people can be bought and sold. This is the reality of creating technologies that can enable and empower criminals. I know some criminals and regard them as very good friends, but I know there are some criminals that I do not wish to know at all. I know there are people that do horrific things in the world and I know that something that makes it easier for them is having access to funds or the ability to move money around without being detected. I know arms, drugs and people are some of the biggest markets in the world, I know there is more than $50 trillion dollars siphoned in to off shore tax havens from the value generated as the product of human creativity in the economy and how much human charity is squandered through the NGO apparatus. I could go on and on about the crappy things happening in the world but I can also imagine them getting a lot worse with an anonymous cryptocurrency. Not to say that I don’t think there shouldn’t be an anonymous cryptocurrency. If someone makes one that works, they make one that works. Maybe they get to exist for a little while as a honeypot or if they can operate outside the law successfully longer, but bitcoin itself shouldn’t be one. There should be something a level playing field for honest people to interact with sound money. And if they operate within the law, then they will have more than adequate privacy, just they will leave immutable evidence for every transaction that can be used as evidence to build a case against you committing a crime. His claim is that all the people that are protesting the loudest about him being Satoshi are all the people that are engaged in dishonest business or that have a vested interest in there not being one singular global ledger but rather a whole myriad of alternative currencies that can be pumped and dumped against one another, have all kinds of financial instruments applied to them like futures and then have these exchanges and custodial services not doing any Know Your Customer (KYC) or Anti Money Laundering (AML) processes. Bitcoin SV was delisted by a number of exchanges recently after Craig launched legal action at some twitter crypto influencetalking heads who had continued to call him a fraud and then didn’t back down when the CEO of one of the biggest crypto exchanges told him to drop the case or he would delist his coin. The trolls of twitter all chimed in in support of those who have now been served with papers for defamation and libel and Craig even put out a bitcoin reward for a DOX on one of the people who had been particularly abusive to him on twitter. A big european exchange then conducted a twitter poll to determine whether or not BSV should be delisted as either (yes, it’s toxic or no) and when a few hundred votes were in favour of delisting it (which can be bought for a couple of bucks/100 votes). Shortly after Craig was delisted, news began to break of a US dollar stable coin called USDT potentially not being fully solvent for it’s apparent 1:1 backing of the token to dollars in the bank. Binance suffered an alleged exchange hack with 7000 BTC “stolen” and the site suspending withdrawals and deposits for a week. Binance holds 800m USDT for their US dollar markets and immediately once the deposits and withdrawals were suspended there was a massive pump for BTC in the USDT markets as people sought to exit their potentially not 1:1 backed token for bitcoin. The CEO of this exchange has the business registered out of Malta, no physical premises, the CEO stays hotel room to hotel room around the world, has all kind of trading competitions and the binance launchpad, uses an unregistered security to collect fees ($450m during the bear market) from the trading of the hundreds of coins that it lists on its exchange and has no regard for AML and KYC laws. Craig said he himself was able to create 100 gmail accounts in a day and create binance accounts with each of those gmail accounts and from the same wallet, deposit and withdraw 1 bitcoin into each of those in one day ($8000 x 100) without facing any restrictions or triggering any alerts or such. This post could ramble on for ever and ever exposing the complexities of the rabbit hole but I wanted to offer some perspective on what’s been happening in the space. What is being built on the bitcoin SV blockchain is something that I can only partially comprehend but even from my limited understanding of what it is to become, I can see that the entirety of the crypto community is extremely threatened as it renders all the various alt coins and alt coin exchanges obsolete. It makes criminals play by the rules, it removes any power from the developer groups and turns the blockchain and the miners in to economies of scale where the blockchain acts as a serverless database, the miners provide computational resources/storage/RAM and you interact with a virtual machine through a monitor and keyboard plugged in to an ethernet port. It will be like something that takes us from a type 0 to a type 1 civilisation. There are many that like to keep us in the quagmire of corruption and criminality as it lines their pockets. Much much more can be read about the Cartel in crypto in the archive below. Is it possible this cartel has the resources to mount such a successful psychological operation on the cryptocurrency community that they manage to convince everyone that Craig is the bad guy, when he’s the only one calling for regulation, the application of the law, the storage of immutable records onchain to comply with banking secrecy laws, for Global Sound Money? https://archive.fo/lk1lH#selection-3671.46-3671.55 Please note, where possible, images were uploaded onto the bitcoin sv blockchain through bitstagram paying about 10c a pop. If I wished I could then use an application etch and archive this post to the chain to be immutably stored. If this publishing forum was on chain too it would mean that when I do the archive the images that are in the bitstragram links (but stored in the bitcoin blockchain/database already) could be referenced in the archive by their txid so that they don’t have to be stored again and thus bringing the cost of the archive down to only the html and css.
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
Large Enterprises Are Betting On Blockchain In 2019
https://preview.redd.it/gvz6pxjqmcg31.png?width=830&format=png&auto=webp&s=463af3ae3946931dab7e9e8bda08a192429bf259 Article by Forbes: Biser Dimitrov 2019 is the year when the blockchain ecosystem and the crypto industry as a whole had to get sober. After a wild 2017 and a bear 2018, the blockchain space is back on an upwards trajectory with new developments. There are no more Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) to distract the crypto ecosystem and the building mentality is back on. This post-ICO and post-useless-PR-partnerships age urges the blockchain community to be less focused on the current price of bitcoin and more focused on producing meaningful services and advancements. Big projects from established enterprises like Facebook Libra are taking all the media space now and this is net positive for the enterprise blockchain space as well. The first half of this year was full of blockchain developments led by large enterprises in almost all important sectors, including insurance, financial services, supply chain, healthcare and trade finance. 📷 Credit: Getty GETTY There is a huge benefit in joining a specialized industry-focused blockchain consortium because you sit at the same table with your main competitors but at the same time you work toward the same goal. You are not alone in figuring out the benefits, implementations and roll-out of distributed ledger technologies. There is also a financial benefit when commonly building applications as sometimes the membership fee is lower than the cost of hiring and training blockchain developers. Some of the big names in leading blockchain consortia networks that have made significant progress so far in 2019 are:
B3i, a blockchain consortium focused on the insurance industry, recently launched its first live product on R3’s Corda platform. Their members include big insurance and reinsurers companies like Allianz, Munich Re, Swiss Re, Tokio Marine, XL Catlin and Zurich.
Energy Web Foundation (EWF) launched their enterprise-grade public blockchain with 17 applications already on it. That network consists of 100 affiliate members like Total, Shell, GE, Siemens, Duke Energy and PG&E.
Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN) was created by five of the ten largest container carriers: CMA CGM, COSCO SHIPPING Lines, Evergreen Marine, OOCL, and Yang Ming.
Two of the largest health insurance companies in the United States, Humana and UnitedHealth Group, have teamed up to tackle the massive datasets of provider demographic data from hospitals and medical partners.
Health Utility Network was formed by Aetna, Anthem, Health Care Service Corporation, PNC Bank and IBM to drive digital transformation and blockchain enabled-solutions within the healthcare industry.
In the space of trade finance, the biggest names are project Voltron, focusing on letters of credit; Marco Polo, implemented on R3’s Corda; and we.trade, which runs on IBM Blockchain and consists of 12 of the biggest European banks, including CaixaBank, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Santander, Société Générale, UBS and UniCredit. They are all moving forward with pilots and we have seen live results, like the completed transaction between the European Union and Asia on Marco Polo.
The owners of the famous Louis Vuitton label, LMVH, launched a special blockchain that will help prove the authenticity of expensive goods. It is built on Ethereum with the help of Microsoft.
Samsung launched a consortium including six major South Korean companies, focused on launching a blockchain-based mobile ID system. The company is already pretty advanced in their blockchain and crypto developments with the release of the Galaxy S10 phone with designated crypto wallet and Blockchain Keystore online app marketplace. Moreover, Samsung released a developer-friendly Blockchain SDK.
The IBM Food Trust network launched. Built on Hyperledger Fabric, the network aims to create a traceable audit log for time-sensitive foods and when an issue occurs, the network participants will be able to pinpoint exactly where the damaged items shipped and won’t have to empty all their shelves. The consortium consists of companies like the European giant Carrefour, Walmart, Nestle, Dole Food, Tyson Foods, Kroger and Unilever.
Walmart, similarly to Samsung, is involved on several different tracks with blockchain. They have joined MediLedger, a private consortium that aims to create a drug supply chain. Apart from that they are also partnering with KPMG, Merck and IBM as part of the FDA’s program to evaluate the use of blockchain to protect pharmaceutical product integrity. Recently it become public that Walmart also filed a patent for issuing a digital currency on a blockchain, or stablecoin, as they are known in the industry.
The whole private consortia ecosystem is still in early development but the right mentality is there. We will see how the technology develops over time to support those formations. A popular approach might be a hybrid infrastructure, where consortium members interact with each other in a permissioned environment or a shard but eventually anchor to some public blockchain for audit and reference purposes. From the enterprise blockchain technology perspective, this first half of 2019 was pretty interesting and the major blockchain platforms made progress in not only improving and maturing their services but releasing new products. The general sentiment has been to focus on privacy, consensus options and digital asset standardization in anticipation of the tokenization revolution.
Digital Asset is another of the big names that made great progress in 2019. While work with the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) is still going as planned, they have completely open-sourced their modeling language, called DAML. That move was very well accepted by the blockchain developer community as DAML is a great language to code smart contracts with.
The Hyperledger family got bigger with a new tool called Transact, which should provide advanced transaction execution and state management. The long-awaited version of Fabric 2.0 is still in the shop but once released it will provide performance improvements in many areas, such as data storage, privacy and consensus layer, over the current 1.4.2 version.
Pantheon, the open source enterprise Ethereum client from PegaSys, launched version 1.2 with extensive privacy features like on-chain smart contract node and account rules, whitelisting nodes and others.
Microsoft was very active during H1 2019 and launched a decentralized online identity platform on top of the bitcoin blockchain called ION. More than that, they continued to expand on their Azure Blockchain development kit, which is very helpful from a developer perspective.
R3 achieved a large milestone this year by releasing version 4 of their Enterprise Corda protocol. Now their well-rounded team is perfectly capable of publishing regular releases on both the open source and the enterprise versions of Corda. Another great achievement was releasing the Token SDK; now it is easier to implement and work with tokens on the Corda network. Recently also R3 announced a large expansion of their London office and growing of IT team.
Ernst & Young released their project Nightfall, which uses zero-knowledge proof (ZKP) technology to enable transfers of Ethereum-based tokens with complete privacy. There are a few things that E&Y are doing here that deserve acknowledgment. They are using the permissionless public Ethereum network, which is the complete opposite of the permissioned and siloed approach adopted by similar enterprises. Then they rely on privacy and implement ZKP to achieve that. It remains to be seen what they will decide to support when Ethereum 2.0 becomes a thing and the current chain might split as not nodes will migrate.
2019 has proven to be a year when blockchain technology has gotten down to business. Going further from the wild early days of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, blockchain is making large steps in nearly every industry, from insurance to pharmaceuticals to luxury goods. Backed by large enterprises, we saw the maturing of the underlying protocols and improvements in security and privacy aspects. There is still a lot to be done as the core blockchain infrastructure needs to mature enough to be prime-time ready, and like Q1 and Q2, the second half of 2019 is certain to be filled with new developments.
Hello! My name is Daria Volkova and I am the Head of Platinum Legal Department. Our team believes that these are exciting times for the crypto market. We supported more than 100 clients, created and promoted their STO and ICO campaigns, got from an idea to funding in a matter of 2.5 months! See the full list of our services: Platinum.fund We are more than proud to present our education project. The UBAI can help you to learn specifics about cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies. Learn all about ICO avenues and opportunities, plug into the world of trading cryptocurrency markets, become an expert in scam projects, promoting ICOs and STOs, launching your own campaigns and many more! What are the different cryptocurrency regulations in major countries? Find the answer after reading this article. Cryptocurrency Regulations across Major Countries Cryptocurrency and the blockchain industry may seem sufficiently exciting and attractive to you now. After all, you are taking the time and effort to study this course. You may be planning to work in cryptocurrency and the blockchain industry. Of course, we want to encourage you and help you proceed toward your goal. But it is also important you understand the regulations guiding the blockchain industry to help keep yourself out of trouble. This year, in particular, seems to be the year in which a lot of countries are looking to finally coalesce the regulations relating to the blockchain industry into a workable legal framework. Some countries are more accommodating to cryptocurrency and blockchain technological innovations while others are still more cautious. We will examine how each major country is forming their own regulatory framework for the blockchain industry. Canada Cryptocurrencies are not considered legal tender in Canada. This was clearly expressed by the country’s Financial Consumer Agency (FCA). Canada, like the US, has yet to clearly define or legislate a framework surrounding cryptocurrencies. But Canada still appears to be among the most transparent of countries for the nation’s interpretation and enforcement of the law surrounding cryptocurrencies (aside from Switzerland). For the time being, Canada has clearly stated its reluctance to adopt cryptocurrency as a legal tender, due to its high volatility. “ “The United States of America (USA) There are certain laws regarding transactions in virtual currency in the US today but there is still no comprehensive legal framework. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission currently regulates virtual currencies as commodities. The CFTC is the first US regulator to allow for public cryptocurrency trading. The Securities and Exchange Commission requires registration of any virtual currency traded in the US if it is classified as a security (e.g. by the Howey test). The regulatory authorities have not yet formulated or offered a coherent framework for regulations regarding cryptocurrencies. Typical of most legislators and regulatory agencies in the US, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has intensified its focus on the pressing need for comprehensive regulation. And it seems everyone is waiting for the right catalyst to coalesce into a usable set of legal guidelines that can protect the investing public and also allow for blockchain and cryptocurrency innovation as well. If cryptocurrency becomes a form of legal tender in the US, there will likely be stringent laws on its use. However, if cryptocurrency is treated like a security, cryptocurrencies would be regulated under securities law as interpreted by the SEC. Present securities laws place a large number of limitations on who is able to buy securities, how they are traded, and how to ensure transparency in the flow of information relevant to investors. Also note that non-US investors may experience their own difficulties getting a license to trade cryptocurrencies in the country. “ “Japan Japan has always been one of the most positive and forward-thinking nations regarding cryptocurrencies and the blockchain. Of course, they were cautious at first, and they knew no more than anyone else in government, which means they literally knew nothing. But they took time to research, learn, and develop an approach to regulate the industry without killing it. The official policy is clear: Protect the public interest, but also encourage the growth of the industry with a legal framework that allows for innovation in blockchain and cryptocurrencies. China The situation in China is a sad one. The country has been taking increasingly strict actions to discourage and outlaw any activity related to the blockchain industry. China has banned ICOs, frozen all accounts associated with cryptocurrency, stopped bitcoin miners and even ordered a nationwide ban on all forms of cryptocurrency trading. China has the strictest laws against cryptocurrency. Yet, despite that fact, as of 2017, 50% of the world’s mining population was from China! If you are involved with the cryptocurrency industry it is strongly advised to stay away from China, and avoid transactions with Chinese business because of the unpredictable and negative legal framework. “ “The United Kingdom & European Union Brexit is scheduled to take place in March 2019, yet the UK and the EU still remain united in their regulatory attitude toward cryptocurrencies. There are also reports that the UK and EU are planning to end anonymity for cryptocurrency traders. The UK and EU are both trying to control all the scams and frauds. They are working with cryptocurrency platforms to stop or at least report all suspicious transactions. This adds a degree of regulatory burden on the exchanges as well as increasing the associated compliance costs. Cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile. They are a high-risk investment. Governments across Europe are greatly concerned about the possibility of both retail and sophisticated investors losing a lot of money. This has led to a situation similar to that in the US. The regulatory authorities have not yet formulated or offered a coherent framework for regulations regarding cryptocurrencies. There is an intense focus on the pressing need for comprehensive regulation. And everyone is waiting for the right catalyst to coalesce into a usable set of legal guidelines that can protect the investing public and allow for blockchain and cryptocurrency innovation as well. We certainly hope for intelligent and effective legislation from all the major countries. “ “Accommodating & Unaccommodating Countries Below is a list of countries we have not specifically covered, but they have each taken an active position on a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies. The following countries are either supportive or at least neutral toward cryptocurrencies: -Switzerland. -Australia. -Nigeria. -Ghana. -South Africa. -Singapore. Countries with the most stringent and negative cryptocurrency regulation: -Venezuela. -South Korea. -India. -Russia. Did you know? It is not uncommon to see Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency ATMs throughout Japan. Exchange robberies and hacks like MtGox, and the recent loss of $530 million NEM coins have led to serious debate in the Japanese government. The industry needs to provide a secure and manageable solution to these problems. Voluntary self-regulation and close cooperation with regulatory authorities is the most favored solution. It seems the regulators are working hard behind the scenes right now leading the industry in the desired direction in typical Japanese fashion. “ “Blockchain Industry Regulations in the USA Based on the information received from the Columbia Science and Technology Law Review, there was a variety of responses from different government bodies about blockchain regulations. The regulators responses ranged from indifference to suspicion, and to positive expectation and excitement. The US government has tremendous constitutional power to regulate business and industry, including of course the blockchain industry if it so desires. But basically, the federal government has been relatively indifferent and has even refused to speak on blockchain regulations despite the interest of various federal agencies. As of 2017, eight states in the US were working on bills promoting the use of cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies. It is even reported that a few states have actually begun the final steps before voting and passing legislation into law. On April 3, 2018 Arizona introduced a law allowing corporations to hold and share data on the blockchain. The governor, Doug Ducey, put forward the legislation after the state began accepting signatures and smart contracts recorded on the blockchain as legally valid documentation. In 2017, Delaware was the first state to pass legislation allowing for shares of stocks to be legally traded on the blockchain. Other notable developments have occurred in the US at the state or local level. Vermont makes use of blockchain as evidence in trials. Chicago uses blockchain to maintain real estate records. New York is currently evaluating four bills for the application of data storage on the blockchain. “ ” Blockchain Regulations in Europe The entire European Union has approached blockchain with a positive and welcoming attitude. The EU has taken the position that they want to actively encourage innovation. This philosophy could support the development of cryptocurrencies in two ways: -Encouraging the exploration of uses testing the impact and effect of the laws in a way that allows for a more finely-tuned and sophisticated understanding for all parties involved. -Giving entrepreneurs the confidence that their target markets will be more trusting of their solution since they are operating with the explicit legal support of the state. This approach, along with the EU’s scope as the regulator of 28 different countries, will encourage growth across the entire crypto ecosystem, and may end up transforming Europe into one of the most desirable destinations for blockchain development. Entrepreneurs are likely to move to the EU bloc to access the rich vein of available talent, as well as the positive and supportive laws. The EU has actually disclosed through its executive arm that it is working on the use of blockchain for distributed ledger based projects. EU officials have constantly stated they are looking for ways to support more innovation with distributed ledger technology. The European Commission said it was “”actively monitoring Blockchain and DLT developments”” and has work in progress to explore “”DLT benefits and challenges as well as fields for application in financial services””. The official press release stated that the commission clearly wants to “”pilot projects to foster decentralized innovation ecosystems and help reshape interactions between consumers, producers, creators and among citizens, businesses and administrations to the end benefit of society””. “ “Blockchain Regulations in Europe §2 Switzerland has gradually become the favored hub for cryptocurrency and blockchain development in Europe. This position has been enhanced through a Swiss non-profit blockchain and cryptographic technology ecosystem known as the Crypto Valley Association. The Crypto Valley Association has begun working on the development of an ICO Code of Conduct to take advantage of the ban imposed by China on token crowd sales. They are hoping to capture the Chinese and Asian entrepreneurs searching for a new home. Other countries are not as accepting of this new DLT technology and have even gone as far as classifying it as illegal and immoral behavior. There have been hyperbolic concerns most notably from China that cryptocurrencies will destabilize world financial markets. There are various pilot projects and efforts to prove the benefits of cryptocurrencies and the blockchain industry currently being tested all across Europe. Yet even now they are barely scratching the surface of the full potential of the blockchain. Country-by-Country Cryptocurrency Adoption Citizens of countries all over the world have varying attitudes about cryptocurrency. These attitudes and sentiments can be very significant to the future adoption of cryptocurrencies because politicians and regulators tend to act in consideration of the collective opinion of the public. Some countries were more accommodating at first but then became stricter, despite positive public interest, basically saying they are still not sure about the possible consequences and benefits of the technology. “ “Country-by-Country Cryptocurrency Adoption Estonia Surprisingly enough this small Baltic nation has gained a reputation for being quick to accept technological innovation. Estonia has a tech-friendly government eager to accommodate the innovative use of cryptocurrency in fields ranging from blockchain technology for healthcare and banking services; and even granting citizens the right to become what is known as “e-Residents”. As e-Residents, Estonian citizens and businesses are provided with digital business authentication. It is also one of the first countries to employ the use of a blockchain-based e-voting service that enabled people to become shareholders of NASDAQ’s Tallinn Stock Exchange. This fascinating and highly innovative country is now host to a number of Bitcoin ATMs and startups, like Paxful. They are cryptocurrency friendly, and cryptocurrency user friendly as well. Estonia also has highest internet penetration rates in the world. Estonia may be a fine place to consider basing your ICO due to the friendly legal and regulatory environment. This and a lot more you can learn on our website: www.ubai.co! “ “Country-by-Country Cryptocurrency Adoption The United States of America The USA is the world’s dominant superpower, and it should come as no surprise that it has the highest number of cryptocurrency users in the world. It also has the highest bitcoin trading volume and the highest number of bitcoin ATMs. Powered by Silicon Valley, which is home to a lot of cryptocurrency and blockchain startups, the US stands at the forefront of all things relating to cryptocurrency worldwide. Many other nations are planning to follow the US lead concerning cryptocurrency regulations. This means the USA will serve as the testing ground for cryptocurrency and crypto-regulation in the years to come. This is likely where the future regulatory framework will take shape. Bitcoin in particular has shown massive growth in the US. This can only be interpreted as a strong tailwind for a positive regulatory environment because the population at large supports blockchain technology. For the moment, due to regulatory paralysis and the resultant legal vacuum, ICOs are strongly advised against raising funds or basing operations in the US. The SEC has been particularly strict in its enforcement of securities and investment law which require an ICO to do an oppressive amount of compliance work. “ “Country-by-Country Cryptocurrency Adoption Denmark When it comes to technological advancements and the standard of living of its citizens, Denmark is among the world leaders. It is considered one of the most developed countries in the world. It is also at the forefront of countries looking to reduce the use of cash money and advance to the use of 100% digital currency. As such, sentiment among the general public and political sphere actively supports the adoption of cryptocurrencies as a means of payment. The only question left is which particular cryptocurrency system to adopt. It is still unclear whether bitcoin is the one, or BTC will mainly just be accepted as a means of exchange. There are also discussions in Denmark about when to redesign its national financial system; this would be a “world first”, and a radical leap forward for cryptocurrencies. Another fascinating thing is that the Danish Central Bank has declared BTC as a non-currency; meaning its use is not subject to the country’s currency regulations. Some of the top bitcoin startups and exchanges such as CCDEK have their foundations in Denmark. With its open market and encouraging regulatory framework, Denmark might very well rival Switzerland in Western Europe for the position of the continent’s preeminent ICO and blockchain industry hub. “ “Country-by-Country Cryptocurrency Adoption Sweden Sweden is quite similar to Denmark, for its social and demographic climate, and also for the government’s desire to eliminate cash. The Swedish Riksbank recently introduced negative interest rates. This can cause a spike in the demand for coins in the near future as citizens look for the best way to preserve their wealth. Negative interest rates like we have seen in Europe and Japan also, actively corrode savers’ wealth because people are actually paying a percentage of their savings to the central bank to hold their cash, in addition to losing out to inflation at the same time. Sweden has taken the boldest step yet in all of continental Europe to legalize cryptocurrency. The country legalized the use of BTC and other cryptocurrencies as a means of payment by official public declaration. It is however expected that exchanges should file for a license in accordance with AML/CTF and KYC regulations. Sweden is also home to a number of cryptocurrency startups such as the Safello Bitcoin exchange, and Stockholm-based KnCMiner. The gradually increasing trading volume of cryptocurrency has been a good indicator of the country’s appreciating demand for cryptocurrencies. “ “Country-by-Country Cryptocurrency Adoption The Netherlands The Netherlands is quite fascinating in its own right. How can a country not be referred to as Bitcoin-friendly when it can boast about having its own “Bitcoin City”? There are over 100 merchants that sell goods that can be purchased with cryptocurrency in Bitcoin City. There are no regulations restricting the use of BTC in the Netherlands under the Act on Financial Supervision of the Netherlands. This explains why a lot of startups, BTC ATMs, and even a Bitcoin Embassy can be found in the heart of Amsterdam (the capital of Netherlands). The friendly climate for cryptocurrency has led to a lot of very active bitcoin communities across the nation hosting regular meetups and other events. The country’s banking sector has been looking to incorporate BTC and blockchain to reduce costs and improve banking technology. The Netherlands is also a popular location for many important bitcoin conferences and bitcoin companies such as BitPay. The Netherlands is increasingly becoming a prominent place for ICOs and blockchain related businesses to base their operations. “ “Country-by-Country Cryptocurrency Adoption Finland Well-known as the home of Nokia, Finland has constantly been at the forefront of technological innovation, just like its other Scandinavian neighbors. The Finnish Central Board of Taxes (CBT) has even gone as far as classifying bitcoin as a financial service, exempting it and cryptocurrency purchases from the VAT. What more could be better for Bitcoin? Finland also boasts a significant number of BTC ATMs despite its small population. The capital of Helsinki alone is reported to have 10 ATMs for BTC. The country is also home to top exchanges such as FinCCX and Bittiraha.fi. As of January 2016, the most expensive bitcoin sale took place in Finland. It involved the sale of a Tesla Model S worth over €140,000 at Auto-Outlet Helsinki Oy. Canada Canada is home to a variety of bitcoin startups and ATMs. It is considered to be more favorable toward cryptocurrencies than the USA. The country has two cities on its eastern and western coasts, Toronto and Vancouver, that are recognized as “Bitcoin hubs”. Canada has a vibrant cryptocurrency community and is home to startups such as Decentral, the Vanbex Group and a large number of merchants who accept cryptocurrencies as payment. Vancouver is known to have over 20 ATMs while Toronto is well-known for holding large cryptocurrency conferences. There has been constant growth in cryptocurrency trading volume in the country. Canada might be the best location in North America to base an ICO or operate a blockchain business due to its supportive regulatory environment and a rich ecosystem for cryptocurrency, with human talent, ATMs and other tools, etc. “ “Country-by-Country Cryptocurrency Adoption United Kingdom The UK is one of the absolute top financial hubs in the world. It is also a center of innovation. There are a large number of bitcoin and blockchain related startups, BTMs and active communities. All of the previously listed crypto-friendly features make the UK a very desirable environment for bitcoin. The UK has identified the inevitable need for a new payment solution and is gradually bracing itself for a widespread adoption of cryptocurrency in the future. There are even a few local pubs that accept BTC as a means of payment. It is also interesting to note that the Bank of England has been closely monitoring bitcoin technology and has requested ideas from citizens on the improvement of its monetary system. Bitcoin is presently seen as “private money” where VAT is imposed from suppliers of goods and services that accept cryptocurrency as payment. Profits and losses incurred from cryptocurrency trading are also subject to capital gains tax, just as in the US. In the UK, it has become increasingly clear that BTC can be part of a bigger story, and the trading volume indicates steady growth. There are not clear laws against cryptocurrencies at the present time. But the lack of regulatory momentum suggests we may see more positive developments soon. One thing to keep in mind, while the Brexit is still in progress, the British government may be more likely to legislate on non-core issues. “ “Country-by-Country Cryptocurrency Adoption Australia The major banks in Australia have been quite hostile toward bitcoin, but at least the country has removed the burden of “double taxation” on cryptocurrency. This was good news to the local business community because blockchain startups had begun to leave the country as a direct result of unfavorable taxation and closure of bank accounts. The use of BTC still remains unregulated, there is no law or regulation restricting the use of cryptocurrencies by Australian citizens. Cryptocurrencies are regarded as a form of property in Australia, and purchases with BTC, for example, are referred to as “barter”. The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), you will remember, is transitioning its CHESS verification system to a blockchain solution that should go live at the beginning of 2019. Cryptocurrencies in Australia are seen a lot like they are in the US. Topics like the imposition of capital gains tax, concern about securities law, the legal debate about using cryptocurrency as payment for goods and services, etc., are all problematic for regulators. While the general population is quite comfortable and supportive of cryptocurrencies and blockchain solutions, at the present it is not a high priority for the government to legislate or regulate. “ “Taxation and Cryptocurrency Tax is of course one of the most important factors in financial matters on both a personal and corporate level. Taxes greatly influence investment decisions and returns, regardless of industry or size. It is one of the first things every individual or group considers before investing. Notably, in Australia and the USA, cryptocurrency gains are treated as capital gains and taxed at up to 50% of the return. Some countries have low cryptocurrency taxes specifically to encourage the blockchain industry. By offering a more competitive tax rate, countries are implicitly supporting cryptocurrency and actively trying to offer a better return profile than other countries. We will discuss the different taxation regimes in a wide range of countries so you can ascertain the financial advantages and disadvantages of a variety of locations. Belarus Belarus charges 0% in taxation until 2023. That exemption is specifically for cryptocurrency exchanges and transactions. This has been done to help Belarus build a special economic zone, referred to as ‘HTP Belarus’. Their goal is to have an economic zone strong enough to compete with the likes of Silicon Valley. The government of Belarus has also declared smart contracts as legal documents. Anyone looking to set up a blockchain company or a cryptocurrency startup should seriously consider Belarus. It has a supportive regulatory and legal environment which actively encourages the blockchain industry and does not impose punitive taxes upon those inside the industry. “ “Taxation and Cryptocurrency Portugal Any and all personal income received from cryptocurrency transactions is tax-free in Portugal at the present moment. Income from cryptocurrency trading is categorized as something legally different from traditional income or capital gains. The Portuguese government stated clearly that any kind of sale of cryptocurrency does not fall under capital income or capital gain. If an individual is however found to be carrying out professional activity, or any business activity related to cryptocurrencies, that is a different matter and such income will be subject to taxation. From a personal perspective, Portugal is one of the leading countries where an individual can carry out their cryptocurrency transactions and enjoy a decent standard of living in the same country too. However, for ICO and Blockchain businesses it is not recommended to base your operations in Portugal. China China is famous the world over for being home to some of the largest cryptocurrency mines and many active cryptocurrency investors; yet at the same time China makes it illegal to conduct any cryptocurrency related business or investment. But China still has an especially attractive environment for investors. Hong Kong runs on a policy of zero VAT or capital gains tax so it is easy to recommend you base your business there. Hong Kong also stands out as a major financial hub in the heart of Asia. “ “Taxation and Cryptocurrency Netherlands Actually, Netherlands was the first country to make use of a non-zero tax rate policy for cryptocurrencies. So, it may seem reasonable to expect a discouraging tax situation. But the fact is, Netherland’s tax policy is rather advantageous for cryptocurrency. They have a very simple, low-tax regime. Cryptocurrency assets need to be declared with the total assets owned by an individual at the beginning of the year to assess their value. Cryptocurrency gains will be taxed at the highest tax bracket for capital income of just around 5%. The Netherlands is strongly recommended as a good country to work and live in, from both a personal and corporate perspective. Germany Germany is the economic center of the EU. This makes it a great place to start a cryptocurrency or blockchain company. Financial technology has been thriving there for more than ten years, and Germany has favorable cryptocurrency laws too. Bitcoin and cryptocurrency assets have a 0% tax when used in making payments due to no VAT levied for making payments with BTC, because there is no “value added” through cryptocurrency as a fiscal product. Germany offers a moderately compelling case for both blockchain business and individuals. While the tax rate on income at the company level is not competitive, the ability to pay for services in crypto as well as hold cryptocurrency assets and sell them at zero percent taxation rate is compelling. “ “Where to Base Your ICO Let’s talk about the countries that are most accommodating with regard ICOs. Start-up ICO companies, like any company, essentially require three key principles for operation. The first is a sound legal and regulatory framework wherein the rule of law is preserved and business encouraged. The second is the ability to hire or acquire talented individuals to work at the firm. The third and final is the tax system and access to associated financial systems in order to allow the enterprise to succeed. Estonia This country is, perhaps surprisingly, widely referred to as the most digital society in the world. Estonians are known to be pathfinders deeply involved in setting up an efficient, secure, and transparent internet ecosystem. The country ranks first when it comes to the number of ICOs per inhabitant. It has an incredibly supportive tax regime, actually among the most competitive in the world, as well as a deep pool of talent across all areas of the digital spectrum. Estonia offers possibly the most supportive and friendly regulatory and legal framework in the world for an ICO. This, in combination with a zero percent tax rate at both a personal and corporate level, combine to make Estonia one of the single most appealing locations from which you can launch and operate your ICO. “ “Where to Base Your ICO Singapore Singapore is another important regional hub in Asia for its strong rule of law as well as low taxation. The country offers one of the highest standards of living in the world. It is centrally located in the heart of Asia, so it easy to travel and recruit talent from surrounding countries. At the present there are not any specific regulations targeting the blockchain industry, but it is one of the world’s largest countries by funds raised for ICOs. It has a competitive tax regime in combination with strict AML and KYC. All of these factors make Singapore Asia’s leading location to launch and base an ICO. The regulatory situation around the world may seem rather complicated. That is because it is. Laws and regulations are changing rapidly all over the world. And the regulatory framework is the most significant point of concern for a startup ICO. You should carefully study not only the current regulations surrounding your particular venture and how its tokenomics affects its classification, but you also need a reasonable sense of where the country is likely to be six months or a year later. Ideally you would base your ICO in a country that is supportive now, and all timeframes into the future with a competitive and legally sound tax system. Where to Base Your ICO Slovenia Slovenia has recently transformed itself into the leading destination for blockchain technology in Europe. The government of Slovenia has placed a strong emphasis on the study of blockchain technology in public administration, and there has been an amazing success rate for ICOs in Slovenia. While the Slovenian government is a leader in terms of adopting cryptocurrencies, its rate of taxation is still considered quite high at 19%, even though that is still lower than other European countries. ICOs are considered to be normal business activities where you are taxed based on the funds received from an ICO less the expenses of doing business. Switzerland Switzerland is trying to remain relevant for the blockchain industry and for ICOs. The Swiss finance ministry is actively trying to attract investors to the country. Switzerland is considered a very important crypto location due to fact it was home to four of the largest ICOs in the world. The country is also very attractive to investors because of its friendly regulations and digital expertise. The taxation and regulatory environment is extremely secure and positive towards the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry in general. Are there successful ICOs that have originated from the specific countries considered? Read the full article to get the answer! UBAI.co Learn more about our STO and ICO marketing services right now! Contact me via LinkedIn: LinkedIn
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 Futures Jump On Fresh Hopes For China Trade Deal, Dovish Powell Speech
In a generally quiet overnight session, renewed hopes for a thaw in U.S.-China trade relations at the upcoming G20 summit helped global shares rise to a one-week high on Wednesday, though lingering fears of a no-deal outcome weighed on European bourses. U.S. futures rose, extending on Tuesday's rebound and tracking gains in Asia as investors rekindled their risk appetite before a key speech by Fed chair Powell who many hope will reverse yesterday's hawkish rhetoric by Clarida, and come off as dovish, especially after this morning's report that Steve Mnuchin has been pushing for a shift from hiking rates to balance sheet reduction. The dollar and Treasuries were steady. While President Donald Trump talked tough on the trade tariffs issue ahead of a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday, markets focused on comments by White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, who held open the possibility that the two countries would reach a trade deal. Kudlow’s comments helped Wall Street close higher and allowed Chinese and Japanese shares to rally 1% as the MSCI index of Asian shares ex-Japan gained 0.7%. The mood however fizzled into the European session, with the pan-European index giving up opening gains to trade flat and Germany’s DAX trading unchanged. Technology companies and retailers were the best performers in the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, which struggled to maintain early gains as a Tuesday report that Trump may soon decide about new taxes on imported cars, still weighed on sentiment, keeping Europe’s auto sector shares 0.6 percent in the red. "An expectation is being priced into markets ahead of the G20 meeting that we will see some deal or at least a framework for a deal between Trump and (Chinese President) Xi Jinping,” said Bernd Berg, global macro strategist at Switzerland-based Woodman Asset Management. “But if they come out with nothing this weekend, it’s going to be very bad." Traders are also focusing on a speech at 12pm ET by Fed Chair Jerome Powell to see if he offers clues on how many more times the Fed could raise interest rates, following yesterday's modestly hawkish if cautious take from vice chair Clarida. While Fed Vice Chair Richard Clarida took a less dovish stance on Tuesday than some had expected and backed more rate rises, Powell and his colleagues have in recent weeks alluded to global volatility, leading many to speculate the bank’s three-year-long rate rise campaign could pause in 2019. Continued uncertainty over global trade as well as Brexit and Italy’s ongoing conflict with the European Union, have supported the U.S. dollar, which rose to a two-week high and approached the highest level hit in 2018. While the main driver for the greenback is the U.S. interest rate path, Rodrigo Catril, senior strategist at National Australia Bank, said it was also benefiting from the uncertain mood. “Markets seem to be jumping at shadows at the moment and against this backdrop of uncertainty, the dollar remains the preferred option for weathering the storm,” Catril said. Investors are also monitoring developments in Italy’s row with the EU over its budget spending, with Germany’s Handelsblatt and Italy’s La Stampa quoting EU commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis as saying the draft budget needed “substantial correction”. The 10-year Treasury yield drifted ahead of Jerome Powell’s speech as European bonds nudged higher and the Euro was range bound. Italian bond yields flatlined after sharp rallies that were triggered by what appeared to be a more conciliatory stance from the government over the issue. The dollar was mixed versus its Group-of-10 peers, trading in narrow ranges ahead of key events this week and EUUSD hovered below 1.1300; Treasuries were little changed with the 10-year yield at 3.05%. Sweden’s krona gained even after retail sales and an economic tendency survey missed estimates. The pound trimmed some of the previous session’s losses as U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May appeared to back down in a key Brexit battle with Parliament. Brent crude handed back earlier gains to trade little changed. Brent (-0.4%) and WTI (-0.1%) are lower heading into the US open after initially trading positive. A larger than expected build in API crude stockpiles of +3.453mln compared to the expected build of +0.8mln had little impact on the price rebound at the time which instead focused on the larger than expected gasoline draw. Additionally, three North Sea forties crude cargoes which were scheduled to load in December have been cancelled due to the temporary closure of the 150,000 BPD capacity Buzzard oilfield. Saudi Energy minister Al Falih stated this morning that Saudi will not and cannot reduce output on their own, and is hopeful that upcoming meetings will result in agreement to stabilise the market. Gold is slightly lower as the dollar continues to firm, although the yellow metal has rebounded from lows of USD 1211.3/oz in the previous session. Separately, copper is higher following a 3-session decline although, gains for the metal have been restricted by ongoing US-China tensions, with the most recent comments coming from White House Economic Advisor Kudlow saying that US President Trump is prepared to raise tariffs if G20 talks are not constructive. On other markets, cryptocurrency bitcoin jumped 6 percent to above $4,000, its biggest one day jump since the summer, and extending its rebound from a low of $3,475 touched on Sunday. Today's expected data include mortgage applications, wholesale inventories, and new home sales. Burlington Stores, Royal Bank of Canada, Tiffany, and Weibo are among companies reporting earnings. Market Snapshot
S&P500 futures up 0.1% to 2,686.75
STOXX Europe 600 up 0.06% to 357.60
MXAP up 0.7% to 152.77
MXAPJ up 0.7% to 490.34
Nikkei up 1% to 22,177.02
Topix up 0.6% to 1,653.66
Hang Seng Index up 1.3% to 26,682.56
Shanghai Composite up 1.1% to 2,601.74
Sensex up 0.8% to 35,785.59
Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.06% to 5,725.08
Kospi up 0.4% to 2,108.22
German 10Y yield fell 1.3 bps to 0.337%
Euro down 0.05% to $1.1283
Italian 10Y yield rose 2.0 bps to 2.92%
Spanish 10Y yield rose 0.2 bps to 1.556%
Brent futures down 0.3% to $60.05/bbl
Gold spot down 0.2% to $1,213.28
U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 97.38
Top Overnight News from Bloomberg
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin privately asked bond dealers and investors in October whether they want the Federal Reserve to tighten monetary policy by raising interest rates or through faster cuts in its securities portfolio, six people familiar with the matter said; Mnuchin’s question could be seen as suggesting a way for the central bank to accomplish its goal of preventing a strong economy from overheating without triggering the ire of President Donald Trump
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May has backed down in a key Brexit battle with Parliament, ditching moves to stop lawmakers trying to re-write her plans, according to an official. Risk of no-deal Brexit choking ports rising, U.K. lawmakers say
President Donald Trump and China’s Xi Jinping will meet over dinner Saturday evening in Buenos Aires marking a pivotal moment in the escalating trade war between the world’s two largest economies. Trump-Xi meeting puts emerging markets on pain-or-pleasure watch
President Donald Trump renewed his attack on Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, telling the Washington Post he’s “not even a little bit happy” with his choice to head the central bank
Federal Reserve officials on Tuesday sprinkled small doses of concern into otherwise upbeat assessments of the U.S. economy. Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Clarida backs Fed’s gradual hikes with neutral rate uncertain
The U.K.’s effort to rejoin a key World Trade Organization agreement that governs public procurement opportunities worth $1.7t a year gained provisional backing on Tuesday
Credit Suisse Group AG is set to make Madrid its post-Brexit trading hub in the European Union after initially planning to move only some investment banking positions to the Spanish capital from London, according to people with knowledge of the matter
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said the budget negotiations with the European Union “won’t be easy,” as the government sticks to its spending plans, according to an interview published by Corriere della Sera
Asian equity markets traded mostly positive following a similar lead from Wall St. but with the session initially mired by lingering uncertainty regarding US-China trade relations. Nikkei 225 (+1.0%) outperformed as the index coat-tailed on the recent advances in USD/JPY, while ASX 200 (-0.1%) was subdued by weakness in miners after the metals complex felt the brunt of the recent USD strength and with financials subdued by AMP Capital amid risk of further mischarging cases and provisions. Elsewhere, Hang Seng (+1.3%) and Shanghai Comp. (+1.0%) were higher but with price action choppy in early trade amid tentativeness heading into the Trump-Xi showdown at this week’s G20 and as participants mulled over various comments from officials including White House Economic Adviser Kudlow who affirmed that Trump could hike tariffs if no constructive talks occur at G20 and that the White House is disappointed in China's response to the trade issue. However, Kudlow also noted that Trump is open to a deal with China and there were recent comments from China’s Vice Premier Liu that China wants a negotiated solution on trade based on mutual respect. Finally, 10yr JGBs weakened amid a lacklustre tone in T-note futures and with the BoJ’s presence in the bond market overshadowed by the outperformance of Japanese stocks. China's US envoy said selling or reducing purchases of US Treasuries would be very dangerous like playing with fire, while the envoy doesn't think anybody in Beijing is seriously thinking about pulling back from US Treasury debt market should tensions worsen. Furthermore, there were reports that China’s Ambassador to the US warned of dire consequences if the trade war leads to economic separation and that China prefers a negotiated solution, while the Ambassador warned that China will retaliate in proportion to any US sanctions regarding Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang. Top Asian News - Bank of Thailand Minutes Signal an Interest-Rate Hike Is Coming - Furor Over Gene-Altered Babies Deepens With China Project Halted - Pakistan’s Umar Says No Hurry for IMF Deal as Talks Resume - Turkey Sinks to Last on Emerging-Market Scorecard; Malaysia Tops - Brookfield Is Said to Be in Talks to Invest in Dubai’s Meraas In a slightly choppy session thus far, European equities (Eurostoxx 50 +0.3%) have held on to opening gains seen in the wake of the upbeat US and Asia-Pac sessions, despite lingering trade concerns. The most recent interjection came from White House Economic Adviser Kudlow who commented that Trump is open to a deal with China and that the raising of tariffs to 25% is not a "certainty" but will be implemented if no constructive talks occur at the G20. In terms of sector specifics, IT names are the clear outperformers at this stage of the session with Wirecard (+1.3%) and Dialog Semiconductor (+3.1%) notable gainers in the tech-space after trying to recoup recent losses with not much else in the way of key newsflow. Noteworthy individual movers include EDF (+3.1%) with shares buoyed by reports that that a potential increase in the French government’s stake in the Co. would take place next year. To the downside, Tenaris (-8.2%), sit at the foot of the Stoxx 600 after the Co.’s chairman was indicted in a graft case, whilst Continental shares (-5.4%) have been weighed on by negative comments from Redburn who have warned over the group’s EBIT prospects in 2019. Top European News
Continental AG Falls After CFO Sees Margin Pressure Persisting
Italy Premier Says Social Stability Takes Priority Over Finances
LafargeHolcim Says Cost-Cutting Drive Will Lift 2019 Profit
Commerzbank, Helaba Are Said to Drop Out of NordLB Bidding
In FX, the DXY was off bet levels but retaining an underlying bid with supportive month end flows alongside HIA and SOMA redemption (24.9bln comes due on Friday) all impacting, while market participants keep a close eye on Fed Chair Powell’s speech scheduled for later today where he may stop the USD in its tracks or exacerbate the rally. The index has gained more ground above 97.000 to just over 97.500 before losing some momentum but still on the course to challenge the YTD high at 97.693, technically if not fundamentally. EUR: more choppy trade for the single currency with EUUSD trading around the middle of a 1.1267-1.1304 range having taken out stops at 1.1275. Italian politics keep weighing on the currency with the European Commission unimpressed as it will begin disciplinary actions on Italy regarding debt before Christmas. EU Commissioner Dombrovskis also added that a cut of 0.2% of the 2019 budget target is not enough. EUUSD is being drawn towards a large amount of option expiries between 1.1275 – 1.1300 (1.5bln). Looking ahead, markets will be keeping a close eye on the budget discussion between the Italian PM, two Deputy PM and Finance Minister for any hints of a budge towards EC’s direction. CAD – Another victim of the USD strength and global trade jitters as Trump’s economic advisor Kudlow said the USMCA agreement is to be signed on Friday at the G20 summit, but sticking points remain in regards to dairy. Note, choppy oil prices have hardly helped the Loonie slide to fresh multi-month lows around 1.3330. JPY - Edging closer to 114.00 vs. the buck with heavy option expiries around 113.50-55 (1.47bln) and 114.00 (1.9bln). EM – Mostly weaker as the greenback hold firm with RUB as the standout underperformer amid the ongoing escalation between Russia and Ukraine, though Germany and France stated they are against stricter Russian sanctions for now, while there were witness reports of a Russian minesweeper ship heading towards the Sea of Azov share by Russia and Ukraine. On the flip side, the Russian Central Bank governor emerged earlier with a hawkish tilt whilst keeping options open for the next meeting. Note, USD/RUB is at 67.4000. In commodities, Brent (-0.4%) and WTI (-0.1%) are lower heading into the US open after initially trading positive. A larger than expected build in API crude stockpiles of +3.453mln compared to the expected build of +0.8mln had little impact on the price rebound at the time. Additionally, three North Sea forties crude cargoes which were scheduled to load in December have been cancelled due to the temporary closure of the 150,000 BPD capacity Buzzard oilfield. Saudi Energy minister Al Falih stated this morning that Saudi will not and cannot reduce output on their own, and is hopeful that upcoming meetings will result in agreement to stabilise the market. Gold is slightly lower as the dollar continues to firm, although the yellow metal has rebounded from lows of USD 1211.3/oz in the previous session. Separately, copper is higher following a 3-session decline although, gains for the metal have been restricted by ongoing US-China tensions, with the most recent comments coming from White House Economic Advisor Kudlow saying that US President Trump is prepared to raise tariffs if G20 talks are not constructive. Looking at the day ahead, the focus for the market is likely to be squarely with Fed Chair Powell’s speech. Away from that we also have the second revision of Q3 GDP in the US where no change from the +3.5% qoq saar estimate is expected. The October advance goods trade balance reading should also be closely watched with the consensus expecting a widening in the deficit to $77bn from $76bn last month. Also due out in the US will be October new home sales and the Richmond Fed manufacturing index print. It is another busy day for ECB speakers however with Coeure, Guindos and Praet all due to speak. The BoE’s Carney will also speak at the Financial Stability Report press conference this afternoon when we will also get the latest annual bank stress test results. US Event Calendar
7am: MBA Mortgage Applications, prior -0.1%
8:30am: Wholesale Inventories MoM, est. 0.4%, prior 0.4%, Retail Inventories MoM, est. 0.5%, prior 0.1%
8:30am: GDP Annualized QoQ, est. 3.5%, prior 3.5%; Personal Consumption, est. 3.9%, prior 4.0%
8:30am: Core PCE QoQ, est. 1.6%, prior 1.6%
10am: New Home Sales, est. 575,000, prior 553,000
10am: Richmond Fed Manufact. Index, est. 15, prior 15
12pm: Fed’s Powell Speaks to Economic Club of New York
DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap One thing I haven’t heard much about this year is a Santa Claus rally but the US has now had two up days in a row for the first time since mid month so maybe Santa is trying to get some momentum going. In fact given the conviction with which markets have moved in recent weeks, yesterday was a actually a rare calmer day with US equities opening lower but floating upward into their close. The S&P 500 ended +0.33% despite opening down -0.66%, while the DOW gained +0.44% and the NASDAQ closed flat. Attention continues to focus on this weekend’s meeting between Presidents Trump and Xi. The White House’s top economic advisor Larry Kudlow confirmed today that the two leaders will have dinner on Saturday night at the G-20 in Buenos Aires. He said that “there is a good possibility that we can make a deal” and “I don’t want to go overboard, but he [Trump] has indicated some optimism.” So hopes are continuing to build, and emerging market equities, which would benefit from a benign trade outcome, outperformed yesterday gaining +0.70%. Apple continues to struggle and traded -0.22% lower yesterday as concerns continue regarding the company’s demand outlook and possible tariffs on components for their goods. Notably, Microsoft overtook it to become the world’s largest company by market cap again for the first time since October 2003! The last time Microsoft was larger than Apple was back in May 2010 (though at that time, Exxon Mobile was larger than either of the tech giants). Since Apple peaked in early October, it has shed around $300 billion of market cap, while Microsoft has shed ‘only’ $60 billion, or the equivalent of Pakistan’s GDP to the equivalent of Panama’s respectively. So in 7 weeks Apple has lost the entire annual GDP of a country with 197 million people in terms of market cap. Europe struggled after an early positive open to close slightly lower across the board with the STOXX 600 ending -0.26%. Part of the reason for the dip in Europe seemed to lie with a story in the German business magazine WirtschaftsWoche (WiWo) which reported that President Trump may, as soon as next week, impose tariffs on cars imported into the US. However the details of the story appeared vague with the source also referencing “EU circles,” while the EU later rebutted the story. That said, autos lagged the wider market in the STOXX 600 yesterday with the sector down -2.52% with EU Trade Commissioner Malmstrom also repeating the warning of the risk of US tariffs on cars. Making much less of impact on markets yesterday than his speech from two weeks ago were the comments from Fed Vice-Chair Clarida. It’s hard to argue that there was much new information for the market with many of his points a rehash from the October speech. Interestingly, there was no mention of financial conditions, global growth, or recent market volatility which is perhaps a touch hawkish at the margin, as it potentially signals the Fed isn’t hugely concerned about recent developments. Also, Clarida had previously outlined both upside and downside risks to the inflation outlook, but yesterday he dropped his reference to the downside scenario. The flip side however was Clarida’s mention that market- and survey-based measures of inflation expectations had slipped and also that, with an uncertain r-star, the Fed should infer its level from incoming market and economic data. Treasuries appeared fairly nonfussed though with 10-year yields moving as much as +1.8bps higher but quickly snapping back before ending the session close to flat at 3.055%. The USD index gained +0.31%. Later in the session, Chicago Fed President Evans highlighted that inflation is at target and said he favours getting policy back to neutral. The market did not react, but his comments are significant as he will be a voting member of the FOMC in 2019. His most recent vote was a dissent against the rate hike in December 2017. Staying with the Fed, today the baton passes to Fed Chair Powell when he speaks at the Economic Club of New York at 5pm GMT on “The Federal Reserve’s framework for monitoring financial stability.” Our US economists previously highlighted that they expect Powell to reiterate the Fed’s plan to get back to neutral. However, since Powell has previously emphasized that neutral is highly uncertain, they are also watching for any hints that Powell sees recent market developments and/or slower activity in rate sensitive sectors like housing and capex as evidence that neutral could be lower than previously thought. This morning in Asia markets are following Wall Street’s lead with Nikkei (+0.96%), Hang Seng (+0.91%), Shanghai Comp (+0.86%) and Kospi (+0.30%) all up with a rally largely driven by technology shares. Elsewhere, futures on S&P 500 (+0.03%) are pointing towards a flat start. Moving on. Yesterday’s slew of data in the US was unlikely to move the dial for policy makers much at the Fed. The S&P CoreLogic National Home Price Index rose 0.33% mom and 5.15% yoy on a seasonally adjusted basis, roughly in line with expectations. The FHFA purchase only house price index rose +0.2%, the third weakest month since January 2015. Higher interest rates and tax changes continue to weigh on the housing sector. On the other hand, consumer confidence and the labour market continue to look strong, with the Conference Board Consumer Confidence index printing at 135.7 as expected, down 2.2pts but near its multi-decade high. The labour market subindex rose to 34.4, a new cycle high. In other news, the daily Italy update consisted of another comment from the League suggesting that the deficit could be lowered to the 2.2% to 2.3% range, this time from Armando Siri. Reuters also reported that EU government delegates are today expected to back the EC’s disciplinary move against Italy, however a formal disciplinary proceeding may not begin until February. Also out yesterday was an MNI article suggesting that the ECB might be willing to consider OMT as an option for Italy should spreads come under further pressure. The story did appear to be rightly ignored by the market however, especially considering that OMT is conditional on an ESM programme. We are not close to being there yet, even if our head of research David Folkerts-Landau believes that the ESM and structural reforms will need to eventually be negotiated together in a grand bargain to deal with the Italian problem (see the op-ed here from David). After a good run, BTPs were slightly weaker yesterday with two-year yields closing +3.3bps higher and 10-year yields +2.0bps. As we go to print Italian daily Corriere Della Sera reported PM Conte as saying that dealing with the EU over the budget wont be easy while adding that Italy will push ahead with reforms as social stability is more important for Italy. Elsewhere, the EC VP Dombrovskis said in an interview with La Stampa that Italy needs a “significant correction” of its budget. Indeed as we’re pressing the send button HB is reporting that the EU will open deficit procedures before Christmas. So the pressure is still high even if the news flow has improved of late. Over to Brexit, where Prime Minister May continues to try to sell her Brexit Withdrawal Agreement to the public and to lawmakers. The leader of the DUP, Arlene Foster, said yesterday that “as far as I can see, this [deal] is not going through parliament” and the pound dropped -0.73% versus the dollar, as passage looks less and less likely and a hangover from the Trump comments the previous night on it being a better deal for the EU and that it precludes a UK/US free trade deal percolated. Nevertheless, a reminder that we turned bullish on the pound on Monday due to two key factors: first, the Government will allow amendments during the legislation process, and second, Labour has signaled their willingness to work through the amendment channel rather than try to topple the government. Together, these ingredients should enable the ‘soft Brexit’ majority in Parliament to coalesce around a non-disruptive exit plan. Voting on the motion to accept or reject the Brexit deal will start in the House of Commons at 7 p.m. on December 11 but the “Meaningful Vote” debate will start on December 4. There will be five days of 8hrs debate, each led by a different cabinet minister. So we may get an idea of potential amendments from next week. As far as the day ahead is concerned, as noted earlier the focus for the market is likely to be squarely with Fed Chair Powell’s speech. Away from that we also have the second revision of Q3 GDP in the US where no change from the +3.5% qoq saar estimate is expected. The October advance goods trade balance reading should also be closely watched with the consensus expecting a widening in the deficit to $77bn from $76bn last month. Also due out in the US will be October new home sales and the Richmond Fed manufacturing index print. This morning in Europe it’s quiet with December consumer confidence in Germany and the October M3 money supply reading for the Euro Area the only data due. It is another busy day for ECB speakers however with Coeure, Guindos and Praet all due to speak. The BoE’s Carney will also speak at the Financial Stability Report press conference this afternoon when we will also get the latest annual bank stress test results.
Cryptocurrencies plunge for the week with Bitcoin still below USD$6,550, forecasters project 54% per annum growth in the Cryptocurrency ATM industry over 5 years and Coinbase explores launching a Bitcoin ETF with BlackRock
Developments in Financial Services
Apex Clearing, a digital financial clearing and execution company, announced Wednesday of plans to launch a new cryptocurrency brokerage subsidiary. As a result, Apex’s clients, who are primarily wealth management and financial advisory firms, will have access to investment opportunities in cryptocurrencies. Initially in its brokerage service, Apex will include Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, and Ethereum before expanding to other coins.
The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) has announced a six-month delay in the rollout of a specialized blockchain to facilitate equity transactions. ASX has been working to implement the blockchain since December 2017 and had plans to launch in late 2020. However, with the six-month setback, ASX will not launch the blockchain until March or April of 2021. ASX cited plans to devote more time to user development and testing in explaining its decision to delay the blockchain’s launch.
Abra, the cryptocurrency wallet startup, is now permitting deposits to come from European bank accounts. Users in Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) can now transfer Euros (or other national currencies) directly into Abra.
The ASX is delaying the roll-out of a blockchain settlement system until 2021. After receiving 41 written submissions form various stakeholders in the process (clearing & settlement, payment providers, market operators, etc), ASX management decided it makes sense to delay implementation and extend the development testing period.
Bittrex announced it is partnering with Cryptrofacil to launch a cryptocurrency trading exchange for Latin America. The new exchange will be based out of Uruguay.
Coinbase announced Thursday of plans to roll out new crypto trading pairs for the British pound. David Farmer, general manager of Coinbase Pro, said in a blog that Coinbase Pro will begin offering trading services for the pound against Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum Classic, and Litecoin. Coinbase Pro already offers trading services for the pound against bitcoin.
Crypto.com is launching its first cryptocurrency debit card in Singapore. The company raised USD$25mm this past June in its an ICO. Crypto.com will be partnering with payment provider Visa to deliver its debit card.
Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, the largest bank in China, has announced it will focus on investing in “intelligent banking” and the deployment of new financial technologies. The goal of the bank is to introduce “smart banking” to the financial ecosystem in China.
ResearchandMarkets.com forecasts that the crypto ATM industry will grow to USD$114.5mm by CY2023 and implies a per annum growth rate of ~54.7%. The company suggests the majority of the growth will come from two-way ATMs which let customer change digital currency into fiat and vice-versa. Furthermore, the reported by ResearchandMarkets.com posits that that the majority of the crypto ATMs will be based in North America. At the moment, crypto ATM industry is forecasted to be ~USD$16.3mm.
Robinhood, the mobile zero-fee investment app, revealed Thursday that the firm is actively looking for a CFO while citing ‘definite’ plans for the firm to go public. Robinhood CEO Baiju Bhatt expanded, saying, “it’s definitely on the horizon, not in the immediate term, but that’s something we are thinking about.”
After making a controversial move to hold themselves to know-your-customer (KYC) regulations, ShapeShift exchange is facing criticism from users across the crypto industry. In explaining their decision, CEO Erik Voorhees explained that the idea of requiring customers to hand over private information is something the exchange has struggled with for a long time, but they believe this is the best decision to help the firm navigate the regulatory environment.
Breugel, a Belgium-based think tank, argues that the EU should create a single standard for regulating cryptocurrencies for the Euro-bloc. The group believes there should be common regulations for crypto exchanges and ICOs.
Global crypto wallet Abra will begin enabling the direct purchase and sale of cryptocurrencies with European bank accounts, the company announced Tuesday in a press release. Users will now be able to transfer euros and other national currencies into their wallet, which can then be used to purchase any of 28 cryptocurrencies offered by the crypto wallet.
The Iranian government has accepted the mining of cryptocurrencies as a formal industry. The Supreme Cyberspace Council is now focusing on developing a framework for regulation of the crypto mining industry.
Members of the European Parliament met Tuesday to review a proposal of regulatory framework that would surround initial coin offerings (ICO). If passed, the proposal would cap token sales of an ICO at EUR 8 million and hold offerings to know-your-customeanti-money-laundering regulations. The framework would allow projects to raise funds in any of the 28 EU member nations.
The Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said Tuesday that it plans to release trading rules for cryptocurrency exchanges to follow, according to local news outlets. The Philippines has been an early mover in crypto regulation, having already published regulatory framework for initial coin offerings and requiring actual registration of crypto exchanges.
A high-ranking official of Ukraine's Finance Ministry, Sergey Verlanov, explained in an interview that Ukrainians are expected to pay the regular 19.5% income tax on profits from crypto related activities. Verlanov went on to add that while cryptocurrencies have no official legal status in Ukraine, they are common items deemed intangible assets.
An order issued by Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoev on Sunday states that Uzbekistan will no longer charge tax on cryptocurrency related income and that licensed cryptocurrency exchanges will not be held to the country’s securities and exchanges regulations. This announcement comes as Uzbekistan is attempting to attract cryptocurrency related businesses to the country.
Andreas Antonopoulos, Bitcoin evangelist, believes Bitcoin ETFs will be negative for Bitcoin long-term as it will let investor speculate about its price more easily. Antonopoulos believes a Bitcoin ETF will permit market makers to manipulate Bitcoin markets and that individual investors would move away from playing an important part in the decision-making process of the cryptocurrency ecosystem (since they would inevitably shy away from the responsibilities of owning Bitcoin key).
Bill Barhydt, CEIO of cryptocurrency payment startup Abra, during an interview on CNBC’s Coin Rush, suggests the SEC is rejecting Bitcoin ETFs because the applicants don’t “fit the mold of who the SEC is used to approving.” Barhydty suggests a trusted financial organization has better probability of getting a Bitcoin ETF approved than a startup.
Bitcoin Depot has launched 20 crypto ATMS in California to bring its total global installed base to 160. The company expects to reach 200 installed ATMs globally by year-end. With an install rate of 7 ATM/months, Bitcoin Depot may not reach its management goal of 1,000 installed Bitcoin ATMs by CY2020.
Bitcoin’s market capitalization is back to 55% of total digital currency market capitalization, the highest level since December 2017.
Bitmain’s AntPool has activated AsicBoost, a controversial method of mining Bitcoin more efficiently. AsicBoost exploits a previously known weakness in Bitcoin’s proof-of-work algorithm that allows for faster mining. Bitmain notably holds a patent in China for a system that exploits the Bitcoin network’s weakness in order to increase mining productivity.
Bitfi, previously advertised as an unhackable Bitcoin wallet, has withdrawn its claim that it is not hackable after cybersecurity researchers were able to discover serious security flaws in Bitfi’s technology.
Bittrex has decided to delist Bitcoin Gold following failure by the cryptocurrency to pay Bittrex the monthly listing fee of USD$262,907.
Blockchain identity startup Civic has decided to use 333 million of its 1 billion supply of CVC token (~USD$43mm) to pay for the costs of identity checks of users on its platform as well as stress-testing the protocol.
Blockstream VP Warren Togami warned investors on Tuesday of a possible ‘51 percent’ attack on Bitcoin Cash’s blockchain. With a hashrate below 8% of Bitcoin’s , Togami warned that a ‘51 percent attack’ could render the cryptocurrency useless. In his rantings on Twitter, Togami cited Bitcoin Cash’s similarity to Feathercoin, a cryptocurrency who’s ‘51 percent’ attack left the coin obsolete.
Cannabis publication, High Times, reported Wednesday that they would be accepting cryptocurrency for its ongoing initial public offering (IPO). High Times initially announced that it would accept bitcoin and Ethereum in the beginning of August; however, it rolled back on its announcement citing regulation issues. Despite the rollback, it appears that bitcoin has remained a payment option in the publication’s IPO.
Cryptocurrencies underwent a harsh selloff Wednesday morning with the top 100 coins losing $12 billion of market cap in just one hour. Most notably, Bitcoin’s price dipped below the $7,000 level and Ethereum lost more than 11% in the last 24 hours. CNBC crypto analyst Ran NeuNer cited that a possible reasoning for this price move could be a large sell-off of digital assets from a crypto wallet that may be associated with the infamous Silk Road.
Google is rolling out an update to its Big Data service that will help investors “visualize” the Ethereum blockchain. The platform, BigQuery, will permit users to visualize behavior and clustering on the Ethereum blockchain.
IBM announced today of a partnership with Hu-manity.co to develop a ‘health data application that utilizes blockchain technology. This is not the first time the tech giant has partnered on a blockchain related projects, announcing partnerships earlier in the year with SecureKey and Sovrin.
According to iPR Daily, Alibaba and IBM have filed the largest number of blockchain-related patents to date. Alibaba has filed for 90 different blockchain-related patents while IBM has filed 89. Mastercard is 3rd on the list at 80.
Japanese city Tsukuba has officially become the first Japanese city to test a voting system that leverages blockchain technology. The blockchain voting system allows citizens to vote on different social contribution project proposals, such as the construction of a cheap sporting facility and the creation of a new cancer diagnostics center.
A malware that targets Bitcoin ATMs is on sale in underground markets for approximately US$25,000 according to Trend Micro. The malware exploits a service vulnerability and utilizes Near-Field Communication or pre-written cards that are provided to the buyers of the malware.
The Mega Chrome extension for the Chrome internet browser has been compromised. Hackers can now steal a user’s Monero as well as sensitive information according to chatrooms on Reddit and posts on Twitter.
The People’s Bank of China announced Tuesday that it has officially launched the testing phase of its blockchain trade finance platform, according to the Shanghai Securities News. The new blockchain aims to provide an “open financial and trade ecosystem based on the Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macau Bay are.” The new blockchain should help banks conduct business authenticity audits, slash business costs, and improve efficiencies while helping regulators monitor various financial activities and improve interdepartmental information sharing.
Ripio, an Argentinian startup that ICO’d last year, has launched its full service, offering microloans to some 200,000 bitcoin wallet users in Argentina. Ripio’s blockchain connects lenders with borrowers from across the globe by leveraging Ethereum smart contracts. Ripio said its microloans can be issued for as much as US$730 and its average loan size is around $146.
Rising RAM costs are making the costs of EOS dapps cost prohibitive for developers. RAM, according to analysis by CoinDesk.com, has to be bought at market prices using EOS, with trades taking place on the Bancor algorithm. Each EOS dapp user takes 4 kilobytes of RAM to onboard for developers. According to the current RAM price, that's around $3.12 per user.
The South Korean government continues to make a push to invest and trial blockchain technologies in the public sector. According to CoinDesk.com, The Korea Internet & Security Agency (KISA) is looking to increasing the number of blockchain starter projects in the public sector from 6 to 12 by CY2019.
Southeast Asia’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Coins, reported that it tripled its user count over the last fiscal year, going from 1.5 million users to over 5 million users. Coins is located in the Philippines and has grown by aggressively targeting foreign markets, specifically Malaysia and Thailand.
A survey by YouGov Omnibus finds that half of American Millennials are interested in using cryptocurrencies. The survey covered 1,202 persons and according to the results, 79% of the respondents knew of at least one cryptocurrency and 71% knew of Bitcoin.
Wal-Mart plans to begin testing the effectiveness of automated delivery drones based on blockchain protocol. The blockchain technology is meant to replace the elements of the delivery process that is dependent on “trust”.
While testifying in front of a US Congressional committee Wednesday, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said the social media giant believes blockchain may be a potential solution to the lack of trust between social media companies and their users. Dorsey cited that a decentralized blockchain would help to establish digital trust between the company and users, and that a blockchain may help to solve problems introduced in social media within the last two years.
The Winklevoss twins have won a patent for a cold storage method of protecting crypto keys that involves air-gapped computers, geographically remote vaults, plastic cards, and papyrus. The patent, awarded on Tuesday, was awarded to the brothers’ firm, Winklevoss IP, LLC by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Wyre, a crypto payments startup, has acquired Hedgy, a venture capitalist backed bitcoin smart contract development firm. Wyre hopes to leverage the acquisition of Hedgy in order to wider their crypt financial ecosystem, specifically by offering more financial instruments, such as forwards, swaps, and more.
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
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