Top Headlines

EM Currency Index Hits Record High – Financial Times (subscription)

A major index of emerging market currencies has hit its strongest level on record, as the dollar’s recent weakness magnifies the positive impact of wider optimism about global growth prospects.

Dollar Slips from Highs Struck During Trump-Induced Rally – Financial Times (subscription)

The dollar is once again on its back foot with traders mulling differing statements from Donald Trump and other senior US officials on America’s stance on the dollar.

Draghi Takes Swipe at US for Talking Down Dollar – Financial Times (subscription)

Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank, took aim at the Trump administration for talking down the dollar, accusing it of flouting international rules to prevent currency wars.

Sterling Builds on Rally After GDP Stronger-Than-Expected – Reuters

The pound rose after Britain’s economy unexpectedly picked up speed in the last three months of 2017, adding to the view that the hit from the Brexit vote was not as bad as expected.

Mega Funds Bet Big on Sterling Turning a Corner – Reuters

Some of the world’s biggest investors are betting on a sustained recovery in the pound, confident that Britain will avoid a disorderly crash out of the European Union and that the Bank of England will hike interest rates more than previously expected.

Euro Gains as Dollar Bounce Runs Out of Steam – Reuters

The euro jumped more than half a percent higher as comments by senior US officials this week advocating their support for a weak dollar reverberated through currency markets.

UBS Wealth Management Upgrades Six-Month Forecasts for Euro, Sterling – Reuters

UBS Wealth Management upgraded its six-month forecasts for the euro and sterling after upgrading its short-term forecasts earlier this week, citing protracted dollar weakness.

FIA Data Highlights Stagnant FX Futures Volumes – Profit & Loss

New data from the Futures Industry Association (FIA) highlights the lack of significant growth in the volume of FX futures trading over the past several years.

FX Volumes Rebound in London and New York – FX Week (subscription)

Semi-annual surveys of seven major central banks show FX activity in the US and UK rising by 7%.

Barclays Chief Told May to Sacrifice Single Market Access – Bloomberg

Barclays Chief Executive Officer Jes Staley told British Prime Minister Theresa May to be prepared to sacrifice access to the single European market after Brexit if it means gaining control of its own financial rules, people with knowledge of the discussions said.

UBS Is Seeking to Keep as Much as Possible in UK Amid Brexit – Bloomberg

UBS Group said it’s planning to keep the maximum amount of jobs and business in the UK as the country works towards a solution with European authorities on its exit from the trading block.

The Global Economy Is Doing Great. Be Afraid – Wall Street Journal (subscription)

At Davos, financial chiefs are upbeat about the markets, and that is what has them worried.

Regulatory News

Will Dodd-Frank Reform Get Entangled in Shutdown Politics? – American Banker (subscription)

In the current political environment, the idea that a dozen senators from the minority would join Republicans to support a limited bill to ease certain Dodd-Frank Act restrictions seems unusual.

May Says She’ll Look ‘Very Seriously’ at Action on Bitcoin – Bloomberg

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has promised to consider clamping down on bitcoin as she raised concerns that cryptocurrencies are being used by criminals.

Bank Bans ‘Not Surprising’ Given Bitcoin Risks, Sweden Says – Bloomberg

As Nordea Bank’s bitcoin ban for staff has unions questioning the legality of the move, Sweden’s minister in charge of financial legislation says it’s understandable that the industry is resorting to such measures.

Company News

FCMs Begin NDF Clearing for Clients at CME – Profit & Loss

CME Group announces that three of the larger FCMs in the market – Citi, Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley – have started to clear NDFs for their clients at CME.

State Street Eyes a Move Into Bitcoin Custody – Financial News

State Street, the world’s second-largest custody bank, is considering safeguarding clients’ digital assets in a move that would see it become the first major global bank to provide services for bitcoin-related investments.

Global Spending on Blockchain Solutions to Reach $2.1 Billion in 2018: IDC Report – VC Circle

Global spending on blockchain solutions is expected to reach $2.1 billion in 2018, more than double of the $945 million spent in 2017, a new report from market research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) shows.

Market Savvy

Most Currencies Climb as Investors Shrug Off Dollar Recovery – Reuters

Most emerging Asian currencies edged up, with the dollar reviving after US President Donald Trump said he wanted a “strong dollar”, but market participants were sceptical it would be enough to change the currency’s recent weak trend.

Chinese Yuan Swings Versus Dollar, With Possible Intervention – Wall Street Journal (subscription)

The yuan touched its strongest level against the US dollar since a surprise devaluation in August 2015, before reversing some in late Asian trading hours as the dollar rebounded broadly.

Weak Dollar and Court Ruling Boost Brazilian Real – Financial Times (subscription)

Brazil’s real is basking in a 16-week high, boosted by the weak dollar environment and a court ruling that looks fatal for the chances of a political comeback by ex-president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in the October elections.