Top Headlines

Dollar Slips But Investors Seek Safe Havens in Equity Rout – Reuters

The US dollar slipped after earlier gaining when investors had dumped riskier assets for the relative safety of the greenback, but currency markets were generally calm compared with the rout in equity markets.

Sterling Recovers from Two-Week Lows Before Central Bank Meeting – Reuters

Sterling recovered after falling to a two-week low during Asian trading, as investors looked to a central bank meeting on Thursday where policymakers may signal an increase in interest rates as early as May.

Bitcoin Breaks Below $6,000 as Cryptocurrency Exodus Accelerates – Bloomberg

The rout in cryptocurrencies intensified, sending Bitcoin to its lowest level since October, as worries over tighter regulation by US authorities and central bankers elsewhere gave traders fresh reasons to sell after a brutal start to 2018.

Head of BIS Calls for Clampdown on Bitcoin – Financial Times (subscription)

Central banks must clamp down on bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to stop them “piggybacking” on mainstream institutions and becoming a “threat to financial stability”, the head of the Bank for International Settlements has warned.

CFTC Rethinks de Minimis Swaps Threshold for Non-US Firms – Risk (subscription)

The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission is considering whether to change the treatment of non-US swaps market participants to make it easier for European market participants to benefit from a trading venue equivalence deal signed with the European Commission in November 2017.

Bank of England Signs Up to Code Aimed at Keeping Forex Markets Clean – Reuters

The Bank of England has signed up to a new global code of conduct designed to avoid more currency manipulation scandals, putting pressure on UK banks to follow suit.

Regulatory Arbitrage Not an Issue – Markets Media

Over-the-counter derivative market participants have not seen the advent of any regulatory arbitrage between Europe and the US.

Africa’s Currency Manipulators Haven’t Finished Reforms Yet – Bloomberg

Angola and Morocco last month became the latest African nations to loosen long-held currency pegs, following the lead of Nigeria and Egypt as they sought to revive struggling economies. The question is whether they’ve done enough.

Regulatory News

Jerome Powell Sworn In as Federal Reserve Chairman – Wall Street Journal (subscription)

Jerome Powell took the oath of office as chairman of the Federal Reserve’s board of governors, succeeding Janet Yellen, the central bank said.

US Regulators to Back More Oversight of Virtual Currencies – Reuters

Digital currencies such as bitcoin demand increased oversight and may require a new federal regulatory framework, the top US markets regulators will tell lawmakers at a congressional hearing.

ECB Looking at Risk to Banks from Digital Currencies – Reuters

The European Central Bank is working to identify any financial stability risk from digital currencies but banks so far seem to be showing little appetite to invest in Bitcoin, ECB President Mario Draghi said.

China Will Fend Off Cross Border Capital Flow Risks: FX Regulator – Reuters

China will promote capital account convertibility this year and pay attention to exchange rate risk management, the foreign exchange regulator said.

Company News

Deutsche Börse Makes Ground in UK Derivatives Push – Financial Times (subscription)

Incentive scheme introduced by German clearing house wins business from London.

South Korean Intelligence Says North Korean Hackers Possibly Behind Coincheck Heist: Sources – Reuters

South Korea’s intelligence agency told lawmakers North Korean hackers could have been behind the $530 million theft of virtual coins from a Japanese cryptocurrency exchange last month, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Market Savvy

The RBA Doesn’t Look Like It’s in a Rush to Lift Interest Rates – Business Insider

Despite recent strength in the Australian dollar – something that puts downward pressure on import prices – the RBA refrained from talking down the currency, noting that the Aussie “remains within the range that it has been in over the past two years”.

Hedge Fund That Gained 40% Sees Emerging-Market Rally Persisting – Bloomberg

Haidar Capital Management’s global macro hedge fund returned about 12.5 percent last month by betting on emerging markets, commodities and a weaker dollar, a wager that’s unlikely to change unless short-term interest rates spike, said Chief Executive Officer Said Haidar.

Venezuela Devalues Bolivar More Than 80% in Currency Auction – Bloomberg

Venezuela’s bolivar plunged more than 80 percent as the central bank restarted currency auctions for the first time since August as part of its efforts to ease a severe shortage of dollars and clamp down on hyperinflation.