It was about two years ago when we summarized all the known and confirmed rigged markets. Since then things have gone from bad to worse for believers in fair and efficient markets, with not only countless more banks now admitting they rigged Libor and FX. It all culminated with yesterday's settlement in which five of the world's biggest banks, including JPM, Citi and Barclays, agreed to plead guilty in a currency-rigging probe. And, to Bloomberg's dismay, the public yawned.
One Barclays FX trader, when he became the main Euro trader for Barclays in 2011, was desperate to be invited to join the Cartel because of the trading advantages from sharing information with the other main traders of the Euro.After extensive discussion of whether or not this trader “would add value” to the Cartel, he was invited to join for a “1 month trial,” but was advised “mess this up and sleep with one eye open at night.”
As the live webcast from US AG Loretta Lynch indicates, moments ago the DOJ announced five global banks including Citi, J.P. Morgan, Barclays, RBS would plead guilty to criminal charges to conspiring to manipulate FX Prices, and would pay some $5.6 billion in combined penalties to resolve a long running U.S. investigation into whether traders at the banks colluded to move foreign currency rates in directions to benefit their own positions.
UBS will pay $545 million, plead guilty to one count of wire fraud, and go on DoJ "probation" for three years for its role in forex manipulation. The market's assessment of how things turned out for the bank: "It couldn't have been better."
"Banks want assurances from U.S. regulators that they will not be barred from certain businesses before agreeing to plead guilty to criminal charges over the manipulation of foreign exchange rates, causing a delay in multibillion-dollar settlements," Reuters reports, reinforcing the idea that 'guilty' pleas from Wall Street on FX rigging will ultimately mean absolutely nothing because once the fine print is inserted into the settlements and once the SEC grants every bank's request for a waiver, it will back to business as usual.
"UBS officials are confounded by the outcome, some of the people familiar with the negotiations said. The bank believes it provided early cooperation which helped prosecutors break open the foreign-exchange investigations and, as a result, was promised immunity by the antitrust division of the Justice Department."
- Bonds Extend Global Rout as Europe Stocks Slide, Dollar Weakens (BBG)
- Verizon Communications to Buy AOL for $4.4 Billion (BBG)
- Fresh Nepal earthquake kills dozens, triggers panic (Reuters)
- Sen. Shelby to Unveil Legislation Heightening Fed Scrutiny (WSJ)
- Bill Gross: The Amount of Money I'll Give Away 'Is Staggering, Even to Me' (BBG)
- U.S. rejects notion that Gulf rulers snubbing Obama summit (Reuters)... what about AIIB?
- In Asia, Debt Market Gets Tougher (WSJ)
- Iran’s Mahan airline defies sanctions in shadowy aircraft deal (FT)
- Full picture of Clinton charities' foreign government funding remains elusive (Reuters)
- Greece Readies for Another Week of Deadlines (BBG)
- Greece says deal will be 'difficult' at Eurogroup meeting (Reuters)
- Saudi Arabia’s Rulers Snub Arab Summit, Clouding U.S. Bid for Iran Deal (WSJ)
- Saudi Aramco Said to Plan Spending $80 Billion Overseas (BBG)
- The $900 Billion Influx That’s Wreaking Havoc in U.S. Bills (BBG)
- Cameron rules out another Scottish independence vote (Reuters)
- Banks Prep Defense for Anti-Wall Street Campaigns (WSJ)
- Fed's Yellen says met firm at heart of leak probes (Reuters)
- EU Raises Growth Outlook as ECB Counters Greek Threat (BBG)
- Hillary Clinton Takes Hit in WSJ Poll, but Holds Edge Over GOP Rivals (WSJ)
- China stocks slump on tighter margin rules, IPOs; Hong Kong down (Reuters)
- McDonald’s Chief Promises Turnaround in a Restructuring (NYT)
- German Bond Market Selloff Continues (WSJ)
- Vanguard overtakes Pimco’s Total Return following outflows in wake of Bill Gross’s departure (WSJ)
- EU Demands Concessions as Greece Hurtles Toward Deadlines (BBG)
- Junk Bonds Are The New Haven Assets (BBG)
- Win or lose, Cameron's political career hangs by a thread (Reuters)
- Greece aims for deal with lenders, IMF hard on reforms: minister (Reuters)
- Greek Jobless Legacy Adds Danger for Tsipras as Funds Dry Up (BBG)
- U.S. Will Change Stance on Secret Phone Tracking (WSJ)
- China April HSBC PMI shows biggest drop in factory activity in a year (Reuters)
- Goldman Sachs in Talks to Sell Its Coal Mines (WSJ)
- Takeover Fuel Begins to Flow as S&P 500 Bull Run Makes History (BBG)
- Record month ends in pain as biotech, small-caps, Apple tumble (BBG)
- Japan inflation rises for first time in nearly a year (WSJ)
- US Navy starts to accompany ships in strait where Iran seized cargo carrier (WSJ)
- Russia may be readying for new Ukraine offensive: NATO commander (Reuters)
- Big banks use loophole to avoid ban (WSJ)
- China April official PMI shows factories struggling to grow (Reuters)
- CME suspends traders for alleged Sarao-like manipulation (BBG)
As Bloomberg summarizes the various opinions suggested by Wall Street analysts, the rout in German debt and other European sovereign bonds was caused by market-technical factors such as investor positioning and supply glut rather than shift in views on economic outlook, analysts say, with profit-taking on successful QE trades, thin market liquidity and position-squaring before month-end are cited among main bearish catalysts.
The biggest overnight story was neither out of China, where despite the ridiculous surge in new account openings and margin debt the SHCOMP dipped 08%, or out of Japan, where the Nikkei dropped 2.7%, the biggest drop in months, after the BOJ disappointed some by not monetizing more than 100% of net issuance and keeping QE unchanged, but Europe where for the second day in a row there was a furious selloff of Bunds at the open of trading, which briefly sent the yield on the 10Y to 0.38% (it was 0.6% two weeks ago), in turn sending the EURUSD soaring by almost 200 pips to a two month high of 1.1250, and weighing on US equity futures, before retracing some of the losses.
Today, China remains central to the notion that the world is in recovery. It is believed to be growing at 7%: not as rapid as the 9% growth we’re used to seeing, but still dramatically higher than any of large country... Only the whole thing is bogus.
Everyone was shocked by yesterday's Chinese March trade update which showed that while imports slid largely as expected, it was the 15% drop in exports, the largest in over a year, that prompted many to wonder just how big the global trade slump really is, masked by what has now become pervasive, global QE. This was the worst performance, exports and imports combined, since late 2009. Below is a selection of responses by Wall Street analysts trying to justify how - with global equities, if only in local currency terms, at all time highs - China can be doing so badly.