Top Headlines

Bruising and Unpredictable: The Year in Markets – Financial Times

From a melt-up in stocks to a near meltdown, few will have fond memories of 2018.

Predictions for 2019: Brexit and Geopolitics – The Trade

Experts from across the industry provide their predictions on what will be the biggest trends of the coming year.

The Euro Turns 20: Here’s a Look Back at its Turbulent History – Financial News (subscription)

The euro celebrated its 20th anniversary on New Year’s Day. Here is a look at its history and what the future could hold.

Strategists and Speculators at Odds Over Dollar Outlook – Financial Times

Wall Street’s foreign exchange strategists are at odds with speculators over the outlook for the dollar, underlining the uncertainty over the direction the world’s reserve currency will take next year.

Investor Confidence Falls In December – Profit & Loss

State Street Global Exchange has released the results of the State Street Investor Confidence Index (ICI) for December 2018, showing that confidence fell 2.8 points to 79.8. This compares to November’s revised reading of 82.6.

FX: Drawing a Line Under Market Movements – Euromoney
Stop-loss orders have proved their worth again in 2018, protecting retail FX traders in particular from increased volatility in emerging market currencies.

Regulatory News

US Banks to Cut London-EU Commuting Support for Staff after Brexit – Financial Times

Four big US banks have warned staff that commuting from London to European cities is “not a long-term option” after Brexit and that financial support for travel and accommodation costs will be withdrawn within months of their jobs being transferred. 

Mifid II Has Thrown Up Several Unintended Consequences – Financial Times

Some fund managers have been charged recently for receiving unsolicited voicemails from bank analysts – who this year have found themselves desperately trying to fulfil quotas for the number of interactions they have with clients.

UK Financial Regulator to Overhaul its Treatment of Whistleblowers – Financial Times

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority is overhauling how it deals with whistleblowers after complaints from people who have tried to report wrongdoing at banks and other companies in the financial services sector.

ESMA Renews CFD Restrictions – Profit & Loss

The European Securities and Markets Authority has agreed to renew the restriction on the marketing, distribution or sale of contracts for differences to retail clients.

Isda Seeks Consensus on CDS Clean-Up – (subscription)

An industry working group seeking to stamp out deliberately engineered payouts on credit default swaps is under pressure to reach a consensus on the appropriate fix, after a US regulator stepped up its call for action.

BIS Slams Nasdaq Clearing for Risk Management Failures – (subscription)

The Bank for International Settlements has issued a stern rebuke to Nasdaq, blasting the clearing house for risk management failures that led to a €114 million loss for clearing members earlier this year.

Crypto News

Crypto’s 2019 Goal: Technology People Can Use – The Wall Street Journal (subscription)

After bitcoin slumps 70% in 2018, the digital currency’s fans look for a rebound.

FCA Probes 18 Businesses Involved in Cryptocurrency Transactions – Financial Times

The UK financial regulator is probing more than a dozen companies in connection with cryptocurrency transactions amid concerns about growing market risks.

The Fed Should Seize Blockchain’s Potential – Financial Times

The plunging prices of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are validating sceptics who deride them as pure speculative bubbles, enabling a global cesspool of illegal commerce. 

Once a Rebel, Bitcoin Is Conforming to Mainstream Markets – The Wall Street Journal (subscription)

Not too long ago, bitcoin and its universe of cryptocurrency peers seemed light years away from traditional markets, a distant point where assets traded under their own laws of physics.

Company News

LCH Shakes Up Compression Vendor Fee Structure – (subscription)

LCH is set to offer refunds to smaller compression providers if they tear up 1 million trades in a given year, amid accusations from members that its current fee structure cossets TriOptima, the reigning provider.

Sedergreen Exits BGC – Profit & Loss

Keith Sedergreen stepped down as managing director of BGC Partners in Australia at the end of 2018 – he had been with the firm for two years having joined from a seven-year career at rival inter-dealer broker Tullett Prebon.

Market Savvy

Sterling Slips as Brexit Concerns Weigh – Reuters

Sterling slipped on Wednesday, partially reversing some of the gains notched up earlier this week, as strong factory surveys failed to dispel the growing concerns over Brexit negotiations.

Unease Spills into European Currencies – Financial Times

Anxiety in global markets spilled over to European currencies in Wednesday morning trading, with investors selling sterling and euros while snapping up yen.

Yen Gains as Growth Concerns Dampen Risk Appetite; Aussie Stumbles – Reuters

Safe-haven currencies such as the yen rose against the dollar on Wednesday, as a cautious mood prevailed on the first trading day of the year on concerns over global growth, the US government shutdown and a slower pace of Federal Reserve rate hikes.

These Are the Big Risks for Emerging Markets in 2019 – Bloomberg

Emerging markets are tentatively picking themselves up from the floor after a rout that’s wiped about $5 trillion off the value of stocks since a high in January 2018. But the reprieve may not last long.