Barclays

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A Glimpse Inside The FX "Cartel's" Chat Rooms





First it was Libor, then gold, then dark pools, now for those who want a glimpse into just how for years bank FX traders, whether belonging to "The Cartel" or "The Bandits Club" or otherwise, colluded on trades around the daily fix, breached fiduciary duty, and generally engaged in illegal rigging of the world's largest market by volume, Bloomberg News had received a transcript of the instant-messages by various FX traders currently being investgated for FX rigging. Here are some excerpts.

 
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Frontrunning: October 30





  • "Soaring consumer confidence" - How the Economy Is Stoking Voter Anger at Incumbent Governors (WSJ)
  • Euro zone deflation worries shield German Bunds from upbeat Fed (Reuters)
  • Greece’s Euro Dilemma Is Back as Minister Sees Volatility (BBG)
  • Ukraine gas supplies in doubt as Russia seeks EU payment deal (Reuters)
  • Sterling Lads Chats Show FX Traders Matching Fix Orders (BBG)
  • NATO Tracks Large-Scale Russia Air Activity in Europe (WSJ)
  • U.K. SFO Charges Ex-Tullett Prebon Broker in Libor-Rigging Probe (BBG)
  • Jerusalem on edge after shooting of rabbi (FT)
  • Israeli police kill Palestinian suspected of shooting far-right activist (Reuters)
  • Samsung seeks smartphone revamp to arrest profit slide (Reuters)
 
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Sudden Bout Of Risk-Offness Sends European Shares Sharply Lower, US Futures Not Happy





To summarize (even though with liquidity as non-existant as it is, this may be completely stale by the time we go to print in a minute or so), European shares erase gains, fall close to intraday lows following the Fed’s decision to end QE. Banks, basic resources sectors underperform, while health care, tech outperform. Companies including Shell, Barclays, Aviva, Volkswagen, Alcatel-Lucent, ASMI, Bayer released earnings. German unemployment unexpectedly declines. The Italian and U.K. markets are the worst-performing larger bourses, the Swiss the best. The euro is weaker against the dollar. Greek 10yr bond yields rise; German yields decline. Commodities decline, with nickel, silver underperforming and wheat outperforming. U.S. jobless claims, GDP, personal consumption, core PCE due later.

 
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Frontrunning: October 29





  • Fed set to end one crisis chapter even as global risks rise (Reuters)... you mean, for the third time?
  • Insider-Trading Probe Focuses on Medicare Agency (WSJ)
  • He's sorry: Rajoy Apologizes as New Wave of Graft Allegations Hits Spain (BBG)
  • China could 'punish' Hong Kong over protests, says ex-HK central bank chief (Reuters)
  • Dubai Insists the Boom is Not a Bubble This Time Around (BBG)
  • Bank-Data Sharing Accord Expands Push to Find Tax Cheats (BBG)
  • Deutsche Bank Sinks to Third-Quarter Loss on Legal Costs (BBG)
  • Kim Jong Un Executes 10 Officials for Watching Soap Operas (BBG)
  • French drugmaker Sanofi sacks CEO Viehbacher (Reuters)
 
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Frontrunning: October 28





  • CDC says returning Ebola medical workers should not be quarantined (Reuters)
  • Sweden’s central bank cuts rates to zero (FT)
  • Hacking Trail Leads to Russia, Experts Say (WSJ)
  • Discount-Hunting Shoppers Threaten Stores’ Holiday Cheer (BBG)
  • Apple CEO fires back as retailers block Pay (Reuters)
  • Repeat after us: all China data is fake - China Fake Invoice Evidence Mounts as HK Figures Diverge (BBG)
  • FX Traders’ Facebook Chats Said to Be Sought in EU Probe (BBG)
  • Euro Outflows at Record Pace as ECB Promotes Exodus (BBG)
  • Apple boosts R&D spending in new product hunt (FT)
 
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Futures Levitate On Back Of Yen Carry As Fed Two-Day Meeting Begins





If yesterday's markets closed broadly unchanged following all the excitement from the latest "buy the rumor, sell the news" European stress test coupled with a quadruple whammy of macroeconomic misses across the globe, then today's overnight trading session has been far more muted with no major reports, and if the highlight was Kuroda's broken, and erroneous, record then the catalyst that pushed the Nikkei lower by 0.4% was a Bloomberg article this morning mentioning that lower oil prices could mean the BoJ is forced to "tone down or abandon its outlook for inflation." This comes before the Bank of Japan meeting on Friday where the focus will likely be on whether Kuroda says he is fully committed to keeping current monetary policy open ended and whether or not he outlines a target for the BoJ’s asset balance by the end of 2015; some such as Morgan Stanely even believe the BOJ may announce an expansion of its QE program even if most don't, considering the soaring import cost inflation that is ravaging the nation and is pushing Abe's rating dangerously low. Ironically it was the USDJPY levitation after the Japanese session, which launched just as Europe opened, moving the USDJPY from 107.80 to 108.10, that has managed to push equity futures up 0.5% on the usual: nothing.

 
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Frontrunning: October 27





  • White House questions new Ebola rules, nurse plans to sue (Reuters)
  • States stand firm on Ebola quarantines despite White House pressure (Reuters)
  • Rousseff Naming Brazil Finance Minister Key to Regain Trust (BBG)
  • Ukraine leader wins pro-West mandate but wary of Russia (Reuters)
  • Single Firm Holds More Than 50% of Copper in LME Warehouses (WSJ)
  • Treasury Liquidity Squeeze Seen as Dealer Shut Off Machine (BBG)
  • CVS follows Rite-Aid, shuts off Apple Pay (USAToday)
  • Oil Speculators Bet Wrong as Rebound Proves Fleeting (BBG)
  • Draghi Sets Stimulus Pace as ECB Reveals Covered-Bond Purchases (BBG)
  • German Ifo Business Confidence Drops for Sixth Month (BBG)
 
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ECB Stress Test Fails To Inspire Confidence Again As Euro Stocks Slide After Early Rally; Monte Paschi Crashes





It started off so well: the day after the ECB said that despite a gargantuan €879 billion in bad loans, of which €136 billion were previously undisclosed, only 25 European banks had failed its stress test and had to raised capital, 17 of which had already remedied their capital deficiency confirming that absolutely nothing would change, Europe started off with a bang as stocks across the Atlantic jumped, which in turn pushed US equity futures to fresh multi-week highs putting the early October market drubbing well into the rear view mirror. Then things turned sour. Whether as a result of the re-election of incumbent Brazilian president Dilma Russeff, which is expected to lead to a greater than 10% plunge in the Bovespa when it opens later, or the latest disappointment out of Germany, when the October IFO confidence declined again from 104.5 to 103.2, or because "failing" Italian bank Monte Paschi was not only repeatedly halted after crashing 20% but which saw yet another "transitory" short-selling ban by the Italian regulator, and the mood in Europe suddenly turned quite sour, which in turn dragged both the EURUSD and the USDJPY lower, and with it US equity futures which at last check were red.

 
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Frontrunning: October 24





  • Doctor with Ebola in New York hospital after return from Guinea (Reuters)
  • Ebola Puts Spotlight on Bellevue, Key NYC Trauma Center (WSJ)
  • Uber Driver Transported Ebola-Positive Doctor in New York (BBG)
  • GOP Gains in Key Senate Races as Gender Gap Narrows (WSJ)
  • ECB Tries for Third Time Lucky in European Stress Tests (BBG)
  • Security tight in Canada as police probe Parliament gunman's ties (Reuters)
  • Why Madrid's poor fear Goldman Sachs and Blackstone (Reuters)
  • Fed’s $4 Trillion Holdings Keep Boosting Growth Beyond End of QE (BBG)
 
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Frontrunning: October 23





  • Canada PM vows crackdown after capital shocked by fatal attacks (Reuters)
  • Canada Gunman Was Convert to Islam With Criminal Record (BBG)
  • Some U.S. hospitals weigh withholding care to Ebola patients (Reuters)
  • But... Great rotation... Bond funds stock up on Treasuries in prep for market shock (Reuters)
  • Saudis at War With Islamic State Confront Echo of Kingdom’s Past (BBG)
  • EU’s Top Banker Warns of Rule Fixation ‘Going Beyond Reason (BBG)
  • U.S.-led air strikes killed 521 fighters, 32 civilians in Syria (Reuters)
  • Growing Kurdish Unity Helps West, Worries Turkey (WSJ)
  • Don’t Be Distracted by the Pass Rate in ECB’s Bank Exams (BBG)
  • Hedge Funds Add to Venture-Capital Bounty (WSJ)
  • Speed-of-Light Trading Grows in Europe With McKay Network (BBG)
 
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Futures Bounce On Stronger Europe Headline PMIs Despite Markit's Warning Of "Darker Picture" In "Anaemic" Internals





Perhaps the most interesting question from late yesterday is just how did the Chinese PMI rebound from 50.4 to 50.2, when the bulk of its most important forward-looking components, New Orders, Output, New Export Orders, posted a material deterioration? When asked, not even Markit could provide an explanation that seemed remotely reasonable so we can only assume the headline was goalseeked purely for the kneejerk reaction benefit of various algos that only focus on the headline and nothing else. Luckily, we didn't have much time to ponder this quandary as a few hours later we got the latest batch of Eurozone PMI numbers.

 
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Someone Didn't Do The Math On The ECB's Corporate Bond Purchasing "Trial Balloon"





Because after doing the math, we find that the biggest stock market surge in 2014 was over what boils down to be a central bank injection of... $5 billion per month?

 
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Frontrunning: October 22





  • Russia Loses Oil Ally in De Margerie After Moscow Crash (BBG)
  • Austria's Erste denies report it has failed stress tests (Reuters)
  • Sweden gets two new sightings, as hunt for undersea intruder goes on (Reuters)
  • Companies Try to Escape Health Law’s Penalties (WSJ)
  • Mud and Loathing on Russia-Ukraine Border (BBG)
  • NOAA employee charged with stealing U.S. dam information (Reuters)
  • Lower Oil Prices Seen Easing Japan’s Trade Pain (WSJ)
  • Michigan becomes 5th U.S. state to thwart direct Tesla car sales (Reuters)
  • Maglev Train Seen Making Washington-to-Baltimore Trip at 311 MPH (BBG)
 
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Equity Levitation Stumbles After Second ECB Denial Of Corporate Bond Buying, Report Of 11 Stress Test Failures





If the ultimate goal of yesterday's leak was to push the EUR lower (and stocks higher of course), then the reason why today's second rejection did little to rebound the Euro is because once again, just after Europe's open, Spanish Efe newswire reported that 11 banks from 6 European countries had failed the ECB stress test. Specifically, Efe said Erste, along with banks from Italy, Belgium, Cyprus, Portugal and Greece, had failed the ECB review based on preliminary data, but gave no details of the size of the capital holes at the banks.

 
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