UK’s Johnson Now Less Certain of Election Victory: YouGov – Reuters

Britain’s election race has tightened markedly over the past two weeks and Prime Minister Boris Johnson is now likely to win only a modest majority in Thursday’s vote, according to a closely watched forecast.

Focus Squarely on Trump as December 15 Tariffs Loom in US-China Trade War – Reuters

US President Donald Trump has days to decide whether to impose tariffs on nearly $160 billion in Chinese consumer goods just weeks before Christmas, a move that could be unwelcome in both the United States and China.

Lagarde Faces Investor Scrutiny in First ECB Meeting – Financial Times

Christine Lagarde will on Thursday face her biggest test so far as president of the European Central Bank when she holds her first monetary policy meeting as the chair of its governing council and speaks to the media afterwards.

Volatility Becalmed, Trade in Forex Options Plummets – Risk

With central banks in tandem on policy, market churn has lessened considerably, and trading as well.

Argentina’s New President Faces Economic Crisis – The Economist

It will be hard to revive growth without busting the budget.

US, Canada and Mexico Sign Agreement – Again – to Replace NAFTA – Reuters

Top officials from Canada, Mexico and the United States signed a fresh overhaul of a quarter-century-old trade pact that aims to improve enforcement of worker rights and hold down prices for biologic drugs by eliminating a patent provision.

China’s Yuan Punches Below Its Weight – Wall Street Journal

China’s yuan is on the rise: a future challenger to the global supremacy of the dollar, or at the very least, the herald of a new multipolar currency system – or so we’re told.

Where Do the Asian Tiger Economies Go from Here? – The Economist

Most of all they want to avoid Japan’s elegant stagnation.

The Legacy and Lessons of Paul Volcker – Financial Times

Do the right thing, do not put your trust in unbridled finance, and have courage.

EU Derivative Markets Highly Concentrated – Risk

Five financial institutions accounted for almost half of notional credit and currency derivatives amounts in the European Union in 2018. Data from the European Securities and Markets Authority (Esma) shows that 47% of outstanding credit derivatives notionals in the EU were held by the top five largest market participants, excluding central counterparties (CCPs). The top five held 44% of all currency amounts, 41% of commodities amounts and 40% of equity amounts.

Regulatory News

Programmer for Flash Crash Spoofer Renews Motion to Dismiss CFTC Enforcement Action – Lexology

Jitesh Thakkar, a programmer for flash-crash spoofer Navinder Sarao, and his software development firm, Edge Financial Technologies, Inc., renewed their motion for summary judgment to end the Commodity Futures Trading Commission enforcement action against them charging them with aiding and abetting Mr. Sarao’s illicit conduct.

CFTC Approves One Final, Two Proposed Rules

At an open meeting, the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission approved one final rule and two proposed rules on amendments to its existing regulations and the reopening of the comment period for proposed swap dealer rules.

Germany Scrambles to Shut the Door on Mifid Open Access – Risk

Finance ministry will face fine timing to reverse clearing rule during its EC presidency next year.

Global Trade Needs an Independent Referee – Financial Times

The World Trade Organization looks set to suspend its arrangements to settle disputes between member states, the biggest threat to the trade body in its 25-year history.

Crypto News

Digital Gamma Develops Repo Protocol for Cryptocurrency – Profit & Loss

Digital Gamma announced today its newest offering, Tri-Party Repo. 

Three Men Are Charged in $722 Million Cryptocurrency Fraud – Bloomberg

Three men were charged by US prosecutors with helping run a $722 million cryptocurrency fraud that amounted to a “high-tech Ponzi scheme.”

Blockchain Faces Big Challenges but the Opportunity is Enormous – CoinDesk

In 2019 the blockchain revolution ground to a halt. At least that’s the word from those who should know. 

FinCEN Sees Jump in Crypto-Related Suspicious Activity Reports – CoinDesk

Crypto companies have filed 7,100 Suspicious Activity Reports since May, America’s anti-money-laundering chief said at a banking conference.

Company News

US Banks Set the Stage for Rebound in Fourth Quarter – Financial Times

The US’s biggest banks have buoyed hopes of a big rebound in fourth-quarter earnings, with senior executives from Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs all describing strong trends in the last few months.

State Street Names Chief Information Officer – FOW

The custodian has appointed Brian Franz as chief information officer taking over for Antoine Shagoury.

Citi Promotes 137 to Managing Director – Financial News

Citigroup has named 137 staff to the rank of managing director – one of the most senior positions on Wall Street – in its annual promotion round.

CBOE Europe to Acquire Dutch Clearing House EuroCCP – Financial Times

CBOE Europe, the region’s largest equities exchange, has agreed to purchase the 80 per cent of EuroCCP it does not own for about €36m in a move that secures the future of the Dutch clearing house.

Market Savvy

Powell’s ‘Half-Full’ US Glass Sturdy but Still at Risk for Spills as Fed Meets – Reuters

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has taken a glass-half-full view of the US economy but the trouble may be that the glass has gotten smaller and has a few cracks.

Repo Rupture at Year-End Could Lead to ‘QE4’: Credit Suisse Analyst – Reuters

The Federal Reserve’s efforts to calm money markets could fall short at the end of the year, potentially leading to a spike in Treasury yields and forcing the central bank to resort to launch a round of quantitative easing, a Credit Suisse analyst warned this week.

Traders Buy Hedges ‘Like World is About to End’ – Bloomberg

Faced with a loaded calendar that bring central bank decisions, trade deadlines, a UK general election and possibly an impeachment vote, traders are piling into protection.

Goldman Sachs Sees a ‘Pretty Big Opportunity’ for the Indonesian Rupiah in 2020 – CNBC

Goldman Sachs sees a “pretty big opportunity” for the Indonesian rupiah in 2020, according to one strategist at the investment bank.

BlackRock Favours US Government Debt Over Other Nations’ Amid Policy Pause – Wall Street Journal

The world’s largest money manager is favouring US Treasurys over other sovereign bonds because it expects yields outside the US to linger near recent lows.