Hammond Will Leave BOE's Inflation Target Index Unchanged

U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond doesn’t plan to change the inflation gauge that the Bank of England targets in the Budget next week, according to two officials familiar with the matter.

While there has been speculation of a switch from CPI after the Office for National Statistics changed its preferred price measure to CPIH this year, no related alteration by the Treasury is imminent, said the people, speaking on condition of anonymity because the plans haven’t been published. The index is relatively new and needs time to build credibility, one of the people said.

The ONS moved to CPIH -- the consumer prices index including owner-occupiers’ housing costs -- because it believes that provides a more accurate gauge of the prices people actually face. The decision raised the possibility that the Treasury could switch the BOE’s goal, which is to keep inflation at 2 percent, from CPI to CPIH.


Airbus A380 Deal Requires Pledge to Build Jet for Further Decade

Airbus SE might yet win a long-anticipated A380 superjumbo order from Gulf carrier Emirates before the end of the year, but must pledge to extend the ailing program for a further decade in order to secure the deal.

The European planemaker had planned to announce the sale at this week’s Dubai Air Show, Chief Operating Officer Fabrice Bregier confirmed in an interview Thursday, only for the purchase to fall through at the last minute.

“We expected to sign a memorandum of understanding with Emirates, who I think were very close to doing that,” Bregier told Bloomberg TV. “We will need a few more weeks. If we finalize it we will be committed to producing this aircraft, I believe, for at least for the next 10 years.”


Saudi Aramco's IPO Just Lost World's Largest Equity Investor

Selling the world’s largest initial public offering wasn’t going to be easy. For Saudi Arabia, the mission just got a lot more complicated: the Aramco IPO won’t have the support of the biggest equity investor.

Norway’s $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund has proposed dumping all its oil and gas stocks -- roughly $35 billion -- to diversify away from energy. The Nordic nation is one of the world’s top oil producers and its fund invests heavily in energy, owning large chunks of Big Oil as well as stakes in major state-controlled companies including Petrobras of Brazil and Sinopec of China.

The exit, if backed by the government, will create two problems for the Saudis. First, it eliminates a potential cornerstone investor either ahead of the IPO or during its book-building. With Riyadh hoping for a valuation of $2 trillion -- and raising $100 billion selling a 5 percent stake -- Aramco will need every investor it can get. Second, it’s likely to embolden those who view oil companies as potentially stranded assets that should be avoided. That, in turn, could reduce the appetite among Western pension funds to buy into the IPO.


Bitcoin Hits Record Just Days After a 29% Plunge

Bitcoin has picked up right where it left off, hitting another record high to close in on $8,000 just days after a plunge of as much as 29 percent tested the confidence of advocates of the cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin climbed as much as 1.3 percent to touch a high of $7,994.56 for a fourth day of gains, bouncing back after erasing as much as $38 billion in market capitalization Monday following the cancellation of a technology upgrade known as SegWit2X on Nov. 8.

While multiple reasons have been cited for the price volatility, one of the more viable is that some investors were switching to alternative coins. Bitcoin cash, an offshoot of bitcoin that includes many of the technical upgrades being debated by developers, had more than doubled in the same period.


Kuwait Needs $100 Billion of Financing Over Five Years, IMF Says

Oil-rich Kuwait will need $100 billion of additional financing over the next five years as mandated contributions to its Future Generations Fund leave a fiscal deficit, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Contributions to the fund, excluding investment income, will mean an annual deficit of about 15 percent of gross domestic product, the IMF said in a statement concluding its 2017 Article IV consultation. Excluding FGF contributions and income, the lender expects Kuwait’s overall budget to remain “nearly balanced” through 2019, assuming a baseline oil price of $49 a barrel.

Kuwait has cut subsidies and plans to introduce value-added taxation to plug a budget shortfall triggered by lower crude prices and production. It tapped international debt markets for the first time -- raising $8 billion in March -- and is also considering raising the debt ceiling, introducing an annual spending cap and changing the law to allow the sale of 30-year bonds.


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7.8092 -0.0007 -0.01%
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1.1713 +0.0012 +0.11%

Deutsche Bank Deal Speculation Revived With Cerberus in Picture

A year ago, executives at Deutsche Bank AG and Commerzbank AG held talks about a potential combination, only to abandon them shortly after to try and go it alone. Now investors are asking if a U.S. buyout firm could make Germany’s largest banks change their minds.

The shares of both lenders rose Wednesday after billionaire Stephen Feinberg’s Cerberus Capital Management disclosed owning 3 percent in Deutsche Bank, just months after taking a slightly bigger stake in Commerzbank. The new stake, first reported by Bloomberg, makes Cerberus a top shareholder of both banks.

While the firm probably wouldn’t be able to force a deal on its own, it’s entering the fray at a time when both lenders struggle to revive revenue growth after scaling back risk in their investment banks and focusing more on their home market. Banks in Italy and France have reached out to the German government, the biggest shareholder in Commerzbank after bailing it out in 2009, to signal interest.


SoftBank Plans Up to $25 Billion in Saudi Investments

SoftBank Group Corp. plans to invest as much as $25 billion in Saudi Arabia over the next three to four years as the Japanese company run by Masayoshi Son deepens investment ties with the kingdom, according to people familiar with the matter.

SoftBank aims to deploy up to $15 billion in a new city called Neom that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman plans to build on the Red Sea coast, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. The Japanese company’s Vision Fund also plans investments of as much as $10 billion in state-controlled Saudi Electricity Co. as part of efforts to diversify the utility into renewables and solar energy, the people said. SoftBank also will have some of its portfolio companies open offices in Neom, they said.

The plans by SoftBank would bolster the crown prince as he cracks down on alleged corruption via a purge that has rattled investors. The infusion of cash also would aid the country as it seeks to diversify its economy away from oil. To put the magnitude of SoftBank’s plans into context, all foreign direct investment in Saudi Arabia totaled $7.45 billion last year, according to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.


Mugabe’s Era Comes to an End as Zimbabwe’s Military Seizes Power

Zimbabwe’s military seized power and detained 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe in a struggle over the succession of the only leader the African nation has ever known.

Mugabe was confined at his home, while Zimbabwe Defense Forces spokesman Major-General Sibusiso Moyo said in a televised address that the military action was “targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes.” Ministers in Mugabe’s administration have been accused of corruption.

Troops took control of the state-owned broadcaster and sealed off parliament and the central bank’s offices, while armored vehicles were stationed in the center of the capital, Harare.


World's Best Macro Fund Surges 47% This Year

As macro hedge funds worldwide are shaping up as the industry’s worst performers this year, Singapore’s PruLev Global Macro Fund is crushing rivals with a 47 percent gain.

The fund’s 2017 surge through October has made it the world’s best performer among macro rivals with assets of more than $100 million, according to data provider Eurekahedge Pte. The return was driven by stock bets after U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2016 victory prompted the $128 million PruLev Global Macro to add to holdings in the U.S. and its major trading partners, deputy fund manager August Li told Bloomberg News in an interview.

This year’s return is “dominated by equities, which benefited from a host of Goldilocks conditions,” Li said, citing “more widespread, robust and sustainable global economic growth, in particular boosting equities in U.S., China, Japan, Switzerland and Eurozone.”


Trump Insists Asia Trip That Lacked Breakthroughs Was a Success

President Donald Trump pushed back on Wednesday against observations that his nearly two-week trip to Asia had produced no breakthroughs on trade or on North Korea, delivering a 24-minute statement at the White House in defense of his nationalist agenda.

Speaking from a teleprompter, Trump twice paused awkwardly to drink from a water bottle as he recounted both the trip to five Asian countries -- in a nearly day-by-day, travelogue style -- and previous trips to the Mideast and Europe. He declared that the U.S. has never been more respected across the globe and that Americans are again “optimistic about the future, confident in our values and proud of our history and role in the world.” “My message has resonated,” he said.

He took no questions and ignored reporters’ shouted questions about Roy Moore, the Republican Senate candidate in Alabama plagued by allegations he sexually assaulted a woman when she was a child and inappropriately pursued romantic relationships with other underage girls.


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0.8947 -0.0005 -0.05%
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7.8068 +0.0005 +0.01%
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1.1655 +0.0001 +0.01%

The EU Is Looking to 2018 for a Brexit Breakthrough

European officials have identified summits early next year where they could seek a breakthrough in Brexit talks, as the European side is bracing for a crunch meeting in December to end in failure, three people familiar with the negotiations said.

The view in Brussels is that it’s up to the U.K. to make concessions before the EU will agree to move talks on to the trade deal that Britain wants. If it hasn’t done that by December, the EU will wait rather than force the issue or move to a Plan B, the people said. A summit in January or February could provide a second chance, they said.

Negotiations are deadlocked, with the British government so far refusing to meet the bloc’s demand that it commit to meeting financial liabilities of about 60 billion euros ($71 billion) and spell out how it proposes to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland. The U.K.’s Conservative government -- constrained by divisions in its party and Parliament -- says it has made concessions already and it’s now up to the EU to show some flexibility.


Citigroup, UBS Are Among the Banks Most Exposed to Wealthy Saudi

Citigroup Inc. and UBS Group AG are among international banks managing the largest share of assets for wealthy Saudis, some of whom are being investigated as part of a government probe into alleged corruption, according to people familiar with the matter.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Credit Suisse Group AG also manage billions of dollars for some of the kingdom’s richest individuals, the people said, asking not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter. Citigroup’s private bank counts Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the world’s 58th-richest person, and Khalid al-Tuwaijri, former chief of the Royal Court, as clients, two of the people said. Both are among those who were detained in the probe, the people said.

Saudi Arabia has long been the target of wealth managers such as UBS, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank AG, as well as other global banks seeking to advise the country’s ultra-rich. The kingdom was the 16th most populous country for high-net-worth individuals last year with 176,000, according to Capgemini’s 2017 World Wealth Report.


Egypt in Talks to Import Saudi Aramco Crude for Local Refining

Egypt is in talks with Saudi Arabian Oil Co. to import crude oil and refine it domestically, giving the North African country more control over its own gasoline and diesel supplies.

A deal could be made early next year, Egypt’s Oil Minister Tarek El-Molla said Tuesday in an interview in Abu Dhabi. Saudi Arabia has been shipping about 700,000 metric tons a month of refined products to Egypt in one of the region’s largest bilateral trade deals for the supply of fuels. The amount of crude Egypt would import from Aramco hasn’t been decided yet, El-Molla said.

“Instead of shipping the products from Aramco, we could get the crude from Aramco and process it in our refineries in Egypt,” El-Molla said. “With the good business relationship that we have, we can develop new horizons and new types of contracts and deals” with Aramco.


Trump's Trade Barbs Push Asian Nations Closer to China's Orbit

For years, smaller nations in Asia have looked to the U.S. to provide a counterweight to an increasingly powerful China. Under President Donald Trump, they are learning to fend for themselves.

Trump declared his 11-day swing through Asia a success before heading home on Tuesday, saying that “all Countries dealing with us on TRADE know that the rules have changed.” On each stop, he devoted most of his time to trade deficits, moving away from a U.S. strategy since World War II to enhance economic linkages in Asia as a way of boosting security ties and deterring conflict.

The approach is a sharp contrast with former U.S. President Barack Obama, who announced a pivot to Asia backed up by an increased military presence and the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. Trump subsequently called for U.S. allies to pay more for security, and immediately withdrew from the TPP.


China Throws Lifeline to Developers Hitting Record Wall of Debt

The nation reported the deepest slowdown in new home sales in almost three years on Tuesday, as local authorities have rolled out curbs to cool runaway prices and President Xi Jinping urges citizens to end their speculation on housing.

Amid the slowdown, developers still face restrictions on borrowing in the local bond market, rising costs for domestic financing -- including shadow loans -- and a record $30 billion in onshore and offshore bonds coming due in 2018. That figure balloons to $71 billion if put options are exercised, according to Bloomberg-compiled data.

“Cooling measures will slow down sales and cash receipts,” said Clement Chong, senior credit analyst in Singapore at NN Investment Partners. “The government is unlikely to loosen these restrictions in the near term.”


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AUD-USD
0.7585 -0.0046 -0.60%
USD-CAD
1.2747 +0.0016 +0.13%
USD-CHF
0.9897 +0.0004 +0.04%
EUR-GBP
0.8967 +0.0006 +0.06%
USD-HKD
7.8033 +0.0007 +0.01%
EUR-CHF
1.1668 -0.0005 -0.04%

Pound Panic Looks Overblown to Analysts Keeping Brexit Optimism

Even with Theresa May’s political troubles driving pound volatility up the most since mid-September, analysts are optimistic the U.K. and the European Union will agree next month to move Brexit talks on to trade.

A Bloomberg survey of seven banks pegged the odds of a Britain-EU accord in December at 68 percent. That’s above the estimate of Brexit Secretary David Davis, who put the chances of a breakthrough in divorce talks by December at 50-50, according to Emma Marcegaglia, head of the BusinessEurope lobby group. Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s Peter Kinsella sees the probability of a deal at 80 percent, the highest in the survey, with the lowest estimated by Mizuho Bank Ltd.’s Neil Jones at 35 percent.

The most bullish sterling forecast is from Nomura International Plc, which sees it rising 7 percent to $1.40 by year-end on the back of deal, while Commerzbank AG’s call for the currency to weaken as much as 10 percent in the absence of an agreement is the most bearish.


Hedge Funds Add Bullish Oil Bets With Mideast Tension Heating Up

he Middle East is kicking things up a notch in the oil market.

Hedge-fund bets on rising Brent crude hit a fresh record as tension in the oil-rich region escalated, sending prices to their highest in more than two years. Bets on rising West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark, reached the highest level since March. Disruptions in exporters Libya, Nigeria and Venezuela in past months hadn’t fazed investors enough to trigger strong rallies, but Saudi Arabia and Iran? That’s another story.

“Most of the political risk has been smaller-scale,” Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research in Winchester, Massachusetts, said by telephone. “But when you start talking Saudi Arabia and Iran, that gets people’s animal spirits flowing.”


Abu Dhabi Beats Aramco With IPO of Adnoc Fuel Stations Unit

Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. kick-started a round of privatizations in the Middle Eastern oil industry, saying it will sell shares in its retail fuel stations unit and list them on the local stock exchange.

The government-owned crude producer may sell more than 10 percent in the unit, Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. for Distribution PJSC, Adnoc Chief Executive Officer Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber said Monday in an interview in Abu Dhabi. Adnoc, which sold its first bond last month, is close to closing a loan as it raises funds to expand and will seek partners to help develop businesses like oil production and refining, he said.

“What we’re trying to achieve here are numbers that would show an unprecedented commitment from the international market as well as other local investors to work alongside Adnoc in one of its very important subsidiary companies,” Al Jaber said.


Singapore's Property Market Is Set to Sizzle

A series of blockbuster land deals in Singapore this year signal the city-state’s property market is set to break out of its prolonged slump in 2018.

A Chinese group lobbed a winning record bid for a residential plot, while Guocoland Ltd. paid a record per-square foot price for an office development site in the central business district. Office rents last quarter rose for the first time in 2 1/2 years and home prices ended a four-year slide.

The spending spree may not be over, with more than S$3.3 billion ($2.5 billion) of land deals set to be completed by the end of the year, pushing the annual total to S$14 billion, the highest since 2011, according to Cushman & Wakefield Inc.


Even China's Debt Market Can't Escape Alibaba Singles' Day Mania

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s Singles’ Day shopping extravaganza, which generated a record $25.3 billion in sales this year, is even affecting an obscure part of China’s debt market.

The company’s financial affiliate got regulatory approval last month to sell up to 3 billion yuan ($452 million) of what it called “shopping festival” asset-backed securities. That came before the Nov. 11 Singles’ Day -- when customers stock up on shoes, cosmetics, electronics and even cars in nominal celebration of singlehood, with most buying through Alibaba’s main shopping sites.

The underlying assets of the ABS are consumer loans online shoppers borrowed from Ant Financial, controlled by Alibaba’s billionaire founder Jack Ma, during the festival, according to a prospectus seen by Bloomberg News. The company issued similar securities in 2016.


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AUD-USD
0.7629 +0.0006 +0.08%
USD-CAD
1.2737 +0.0004 +0.03%
USD-CHF
0.9962 -0.0001 -0.01%
EUR-GBP
0.8897 +0.0001 +0.01%
USD-HKD
7.8011 -0.0004 -0.01%
EUR-CHF
1.1628 +0.0004 +0.04%

U.K.'s May Pressured as Times Says 40 MPs Signal No Confidence

Embattled U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May faced a fresh challenge as the Sunday Times said 40 Conservative members of Parliament, nearly enough to trigger action, have agreed to sign a letter of no confidence in her.

May’s opponents are now eight lawmakers short of what’s needed for a leadership challenge, the newspaper said, citing people with knowledge of the matter it didn’t identify. May is struggling to maintain her grip on power after the resignation of two cabinet ministers, mounting calls to sack Foreign Minister Boris Johnson and as the European Union raises the prospect of Brexit talks failing to reach a breakthrough by year-end.

U.K. opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn added to the pressure, telling the same newspaper that May should “govern or go” as she “shows every sign of being in office but not in power.”


BP Sends in Big Guns as Majors Jostle for Abu Dhabi Oil Riches

When BP Plc goes to Abu Dhabi this week, where big oil companies will be jostling for access to the Emirate’s offshore riches, the British behemoth won’t be leaving anything up to chance.

An all-star cast is slated to attend the annual Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition & Conference, including BP Chief Executive Officer Bob Dudley and Chief Financial Officer Brian Gilvary. The company is sending more speakers than any of the other majors -- almost twice as many as its nearest rival Total SA and seven times as many as Exxon Mobil Corp., according to the conference website.

BP’s attendance underscores the importance of the state, which is already the fifth-biggest contributor to the company’s global crude oil output and has been in “advanced discussions with potential partners” for an additional offshore oil concession. In December, BP cemented a seven-decade relationship by swapping about $2.2 billion of its own shares for a stake in one of the emirate’s largest onshore oil concessions.


Saudi Arabia Boosts Oil Security as Iran Denies Pipeline Attack

Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest crude exporter, will raise security at its oil facilities after Bahrain blamed Iran for a fire at a pipeline that connects the two Arab allies. Iran denied that it was involved.

The plan to step up security was reported by Al-Arabiya television Saturday, citing the Saudi energy ministry. Bahrain’s Interior Ministry said recent terrorist activities in Bahrain were directed by Iran, and security forces determined that the fire was intentional. The pipeline later in the day resumed pumping oil after a brief halt, the state-run Bahrain News Agency reported, citing a statement by Bahrain Petroleum Co.

The "attempt to bomb the Saudi-Bahraini oil pipeline is a dangerous Iranian escalation that aims to scare citizens and hurt the global oil industry," Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Khalid Al-Khalifa said on Twitter. Iran responded by saying the Bahrainis “need to know that the era for lies and childish finger-pointing is over," official Islamic Republic News Agency reported on Sunday, citing Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi.


Hong Kong Picks a Fight With Singapore Over Iron Ore

Call it the iron ore wars. Two of Asia’s financial heavyweights are about to go head-to-head as Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. starts futures for a commodity that’s seen extraordinary volatility and been a popular way to bet on China, challenging Singapore Exchange Ltd.’s leading position.

HKEX will start trading the futures on Monday, pitting the new dollar-denominated contract against those offered by SGX, which introduced its first swap contracts in 2009 and has become the world’s largest clearer of the derivatives. To add firepower to the opening salvo, HKEX has promised newcomers all trading fees for the new product will be waived for six months.

Iron ore sits at the heart of the global economy, especially in largest user China, and the commodity has attracted growing investor interest in recent years. The derivatives are used by miners and mills for hedging as well as traders and funds, and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. found in an 2016 study that it was SGX’s product that probably swayed the global market, rather than the more restricted offering on the mainland’s Dalian Commodity Exchange. Given the lead, the HKEX may find it a hard task to break out of its beachhead.


Xi Is Edging Ahead of Trump in Race for Southeast Asia Clout

As the world’s two largest economies jockey for influence in Southeast Asia, one appears to be making more headway than the other.

China’s presence is looming large in the region as President Xi Jinping pushes ahead with negotiating a free trade agreement and makes inroads for massive infrastructure projects as part of his ambitious Belt and Road Initiative.

In the other corner: Donald Trump. The U.S. president’s Asian tour through mid-November will mark the longest by any U.S. leader to the region in 25 years. But governments are scrambling to re-jig the trade framework after Trump’s withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership in favor of an “America First” approach via bilateral deals.


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GBP-USD
1.3162 -0.0034 -0.26%
AUD-USD
0.7648 -0.0013 -0.17%
USD-CAD
1.2693 +0.0011 +0.09%
USD-CHF
0.9965 +0.0004 +0.04%
EUR-GBP
0.8858 +0.0017 +0.19%
USD-HKD
7.8020 -0.0004 -0.01%
EUR-CHF
1.1619 0.0000 0.00%

Spanish Government Pushes for Catalans to Be Released

Spain’s central government is pushing for the release of eight former officials from the Catalan government and expects to see them freed in time to campaign in next month’s election, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy also wants to see ousted Catalan President Carles Puigdemont released if he is returned to Spain from his self-imposed exile by a court in Belgium, the person said, asking not to be identified discussing government strategy.

Puigdemont this week labeled the Spanish government “fascist” and accused it of violating his human rights after Rajoy seized control of the Catalan administration in response to an illegal declaration of independence. On Thursday, National Court Judge Carmen Lamela denied a request from the officials’ lawyers that they be freed, El Pais reported.


Saudi Arabia to Cut Oil Exports to All Regions Next Month

Saudi Arabia said it plans to cut oil exports to all the regions it ships to next month as the kingdom and fellow OPEC nations press on with their effort to clear a global glut.

Shipments will fall by 120,000 barrels a day in December from November, a spokesman for the Energy Ministry said, without specifying what those levels would be. Bloomberg calculations from vessel-tracking data estimated flows in October at 6.989 million a day. It’s unusual for the ministry to comment publicly on exports.

Shipments to the U.S. will decrease month-on-month by 10 percent in December, the Saudi Energy Ministry said. The U.S. imported 816,000 barrels a day from Saudi Arabia in the week to Nov. 3, according to the U.S. government’s Energy Information Administration. Imports averaged 506,000 barrels a day in October, the data show.


NYC's One Vanderbilt, Manhattan West Towers Snared by $76 Million Union Spat

Two of New York’s most significant construction projects -- Manhattan West, where Amazon.com Inc. will have offices, and One Vanderbilt, destined to be among the city’s tallest buildings -- are both ensnared by a $76 million labor dispute.

Both projects, managed by AECOM-Tishman, have “numerous issues” due to a union problem, according to a Wednesday bankruptcy filing by one of their contractors. One Vanderbilt, currently a steel skeleton hulking over Grand Central Terminal at the corner of 42nd Street, developed with SL Green Realty, is estimated to have total construction costs of $3.17 billion.

Manhattan West, developed by Brookfield Property Partners LP and the Qatar Investment Authority, where Amazon.com has signed a new lease for its local headquarters, has been valued at $8.6 billion.


Singapore’s Stocks Haven’t Lured This Much Cash in a Decade

Singapore’s stock market is finally getting some love again. With almost two months of the year to run, the Straits Times Index has already notched up its best annual performance since 2012 amid an economic recovery and a stronger currency.

The city-state’s equity funds received some $2 billion in 10 straight months of inflows, the most annually since 2007, according to data from asset allocation tracking company EPFR Global. That’s more than the combined inflows of the past five years and the longest monthly rally since mid-2013, the data show.

The city-state has posted solid growth in the past two quarters as global trade continues to rebound, supporting its export-oriented economy. The central bank said last month the country’s economic growth will probably come in at the upper half of the 2 percent to 3 percent forecast range, its fastest rate since 2014. The property market has shown signs of a turnaround, while banks have benefited from stronger lending and improved interest margins.


Still No Deal for Nations Looking to Save TPP After Trump’s Exit

Pacific nations are yet to agree on how to salvage a blockbuster trade pact after days of talks in Vietnam, with Australia confident of an outcome but Canada warning it wants a good deal over a fast one.

Trade ministers meeting on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit are due to present their proposal on the future of the Trans-Pacific Partnership to leaders on Friday. At this stage, though, they still don’t have a deal.

The pact, which would have covered 40 percent of the global economy, was thrown into disarray when Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. in one of his first acts as president, leaving the remaining 11 countries scrambling to keep the deal alive. The discussions in Vietnam have centered around suspending some parts of the agreement in a bid to move forward without America’s involvement.


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0.7680 0.0000 0.00%
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0.9945 +0.0005 +0.05%
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0.8863 +0.0007 +0.08%
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7.8013 +0.0019 +0.02%
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1.1584 +0.0013 +0.11%

Brexit Talks Resume With EU Striking Cautious Tone on Progress

Brexit talks resume Thursday with no indication that a breakthrough is in reach: While both sides are hoping for an agreement by the end of the year, the Europeans are striking a cautious tone.

Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit advisor Oliver Robbins has been in Brussels this week and speaking to the EU team in private before the official start of talks, according to people familiar with the situation. Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar told lawmakers in Dublin on Wednesday he expects a breakthrough in December, which would allow negotiations at last to move on to trade.

But EU envoys in Brussels were more cautious Wednesday, as diplomats reiterated their concerns about the risks posed by the U.K.’s political crisis at home, according to a person familiar with the discussion. Countries including Germany asked negotiators not to rush into preparing documents for trade talks, to avoid sending the wrong signals to the U.K.


The World’s Richest Oil Moguls Gain After Saudi Crackdown

Market reaction to Saudi Arabia’s stunning anti-corruption raid has been a boon to some billionaires and a curse to others. On the winning side are the world’s wealthiest oil tycoons. Crude prices rallied to a two-year high on Nov. 6 in the aftermath of the Saudi arrests, boosting the combined net worth of 21 oil moguls on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index by $1.4 billion.


The group ceded some of those gains Tuesday as oil retreated. The 21 tycoons, led by India’s Mukesh Ambani and American George Kaiser, are worth a combined $188.7 billion.

Meanwhile, the net worth of detained Saudi investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal sank to its lowest level in 5 1/2 years as fallout from the purge roiled shares of his biggest public asset, Kingdom Holding Co.


Israel Wants to Start Exporting Its Cannabis Around the World

When Asi Naim, a severely autistic Israeli boy, started smacking his head against the wall and hurting himself in other ways, his parents tried every kind of psychiatric drug to calm him. Nothing worked. “He was so totally out of it,” said his mother, Ricky Naim Blumenfeld. “It was scary.”

Then Asi entered a cannabis-based research program at Jerusalem’s Shaarei Zedek hospital. After a period of trial and error, he started getting a dosage of cannabinoid drops that worked. Four years later, Asi loves music, being at parties, going to the movies and traveling abroad.

The same medication has helped many of the 60 autistic children enrolled in neuro-pediatrian Adi Aran’s program. Aran is now in the middle of a second, controlled study with 100 children. The end goal: approval by the U.S. Federal Drug Administration as an experimental treatment.


China’s CEOs View Trump as a Dealmaker

Having listened to President Donald Trump’s ‘America First’ rhetoric and his hammering of the need to reduce U.S. trade deficits, what many Chinese executives say they hear is not the threat of a trade war, but the words of a dealmaker who’ll be good for business.

In interviews with more than a dozen executives in Shanghai, Guangzhou and other Chinese cities over the past week, the sentiment expressed repeatedly was a confidence in strong economic ties between the world’s largest economies -- not despite of Trump but because of him.

Trump lands in Beijing on Nov. 8.Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg
“He looks at managing a country as similar to doing business, and this is a good thing," said Hu Huazhi, founder and chairman of EHang Inc., a drone maker based in southern China. “If America does well, it will pull along other countries more rapidly.”


Bitcoin Surges on Hopes That Upcoming Split May Be Avoided

Bitcoin soared to a record after a technology upgrade that was threatening to disrupt the biggest cryptocurrency was called off, removing another concern for mainstream investors captivated by this year’s more-than-sevenfold gains.

The virtual currency jumped as much as 11 percent to $7,882 after the main architects behind a change to its underlying software, known as SegWit2x, canceled their controversial plans, saying they wanted to avoid deepening divides in the developer community.

Bitcoin developers, users and miners -- those running computers that crunch the complex math required to verify transactions -- have been trying to agree on ways to make transactions faster, as the network’s growing popularity has led to congestion. After an initial upgrade in August known as SegWit, short for Segregated Witness, a group in the bitcoin community was calling for SegWit2x. The second upgrade hadn’t gained as much support and was only a week away from confronting bitcoin with one of its hardest tests ever.


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AUD-USD
0.7674 -0.0004 -0.05%
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1.2734 +0.0005 +0.04%
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0.9999 -0.0002 -0.02%
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0.8842 +0.0002 +0.02%
USD-HKD
7.7984 +0.0006 +0.01%
EUR-CHF
1.1591 -0.0005 -0.05%

Advantage Spain as Split Hurts Separatists' Fight for Catalonia

Catalan separatists failed to heal their divisions in time to establish a common front for December’s election, boosting Spain’s chances of restoring some normality to the rebel region. The main parties in favor of independence are set to run on separate platforms Dec. 21 after Esquerra Republicana ruled out an alliance less than two hours before the midnight Tuesday deadline for registration.

“We have pushed for a list including all the sovereign forces because we believe that would be a powerful response to the challenge of the state,” Esquerra spokesman Sergi Sabria said in an emailed statement. “Given the impossibility of forming a really unified list, we will have to seek coordination between different platforms.”

While the three separatist groups agree they want to break away from Spain, they have very different views on how hard to push for it and what the new republic should look like.


Saudi Fund Is Working With Klein, Evercore on Strategy

Saudi Arabia’s wealth fund, which aims to control more than $2 trillion by 2030, is working with rainmaker Michael Klein and boutique Evercore Inc. to advise on its global investment strategy and financing plans, according to people familiar with the matter.

Klein, the former Citigroup Inc. investment banker who runs his own boutique, is advising Public Investment Fund on its partnerships with international companies and working closely with Managing Director Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the people said, asking not to be identified because the details aren’t public. Evercore is providing advice on strategic and funding options, the people said.

The roles will cement the two boutique independent banks’ position in the transformation of the Saudi Arabian economy as both are already working on the blockbuster initial public offering of the kingdom’s state-owned oil company Saudi Arabian Oil Co. Klein is said to be providing strategic advice to the government for the IPO of Aramco, as it’s known, while Evercore is working alongside rival Moelis & Co. as a financial adviser on the offering, people familiar with the matter said in March. The boutiques will help the oil giant pick underwriting banks, make decisions on potential listing venues and ensure the IPO goes smoothly, they said.


Qatar Air Set for Annual Loss Amid Saudi Blockade, Al Baker Says

Qatar Airways Ltd. is likely to post an annual loss after a Saudi-led blockade of its home nation forced the airline to cancel some routes and divert others, Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said.

The second-biggest Persian Gulf carrier is working on substituting the 20 or so lost flights for roughly the same number of viable new routes and should then return to profitability, Al Baker said in an interview Tuesday, adding it’s too early to predict how big the loss will be. Net income at the Doha-based group rose 22 percent to 1.97 billion riyals ($525 million) in the year through March.

“It is painful because there are many routes that slide as much as 2 1/2 hours longer, and there are routes that are narrow-body routes where we had to convert to wide-body in order to carry enough fuel to go the longer distance,” the CEO said in Singapore. All told, Qatar Air has lost almost 11 percent of its network and 20 percent of revenue, he added.


Trump Calls on World to Isolate North Korea’s Brutal Regime

President Donald Trump issued a call to all nations to deny aid and assistance to North Korea as a way to choke off the rogue regime, saying it was a matter of conscience for the world to stand together against the nuclear threat.

Calling out by name Russia and China -- where Trump visits next -- he said that all responsible nations must join forces to isolate the brutal regime of North Korea -- to deny it any form of support, supply, or acceptance. He offered a stinging attack on leader Kim Jong Un, calling North Korea “a hell that no person deserves.”

"The longer we wait, the greater the danger grows, and the fewer the options become. And to those nations that choose to ignore this threat -- or, worse still, to enable it -- the weight of this crisis is on your conscience," Trump said at South Korea’s National Assembly, in the first address to the legislature by an American president in nearly a quarter-century.


China's Raging Fintech Boom on Verge of Minting Two Billionaires

China’s booming fintech industry is on the verge of adding two new billionaires to the world’s most powerful wealth engine.

Online consumer finance platform PPDAI Group Inc. is planning an initial public offering in the U.S. this month, giving co-founder Shaofeng Gu, who owns more than 25 percent of the business, a net worth of at least $1.3 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Ning Tang owns 36 percent of U.S. listed peer-to-peer lending platform Yirendai Ltd., giving the founder and chief executive officer a net worth of about $930 million.

“In China, one billionaire is created every three weeks,” Qiong Zhang, head of wealth management for UBS Securities in China, said in an interview. Three Chinese fintechs have gone public in 2017, raising $2.45 billion, while two other companies -- PPDAI and online lender Jianpu Technology Inc. -- have filed prospectuses.


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Currencies

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1.1597 +0.0010 +0.09%
USD-JPY
113.8000 -0.2100 -0.18%
GBP-USD
1.3170 +0.0004 +0.03%
AUD-USD
0.7654 +0.0009 +0.12%
USD-CAD
1.2766 -0.0011 -0.09%
USD-CHF
0.9987 -0.0011 -0.11%
EUR-GBP
0.8806 +0.0006 +0.07%
USD-HKD
7.8037 -0.0009 -0.01%
EUR-CHF
1.1582 -0.0003 -0.03%

U.K. Rewrites Customs Laws in Bid to Deliver ‘Successful' Brexit

Theresa May’s ministers took the first steps to delivering their promise to make the U.K a global trading nation after Brexit, setting out customs and trade laws that will come into force when the country quits the European Union. A key priority will be new powers to help the U.K. keep hold of 40 existing trade deals that the EU has with other countries when it ceases to be a member of the club.

“For the first time in over 40 years the U.K. will be able to shape our own trade and investment agenda,” International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said. “We are determined that businesses and consumers can take advantage of this opportunity from the day we leave the EU.”

The U.K. is set to leave the EU single market and customs union in 2019 but wants a customs agreement with no tariffs on trade with the bloc of 27 remaining member states.


Saudi Corruption Purge Snares $33 Billion of Net Worth in Riyadh

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s crackdown on some of Saudi Arabia’s richest and most powerful men has put $33 billion of personal wealth at risk.

The stunning series of arrests has implicated three of the country’s richest people, including Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who’s No. 50 on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index ranking of the world’s 500 richest people, with $19 billion. Also being held are the kingdom’s second- and fifth-wealthiest people, as well as a travel-agency mogul and Bakr Binladin, a scion of a one of the country’s biggest construction empires.

The arrests, which the crown prince said are part of a fight against corruption, reportedly have led the government to freeze the accounts of the more than three dozen men detained and believed to be held at the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton.


South African Airways Seeks Investor to Revive Its Fortunes

South African Airways will revive a plan to seek an equity partner that’s able to provide cash and operational savings to help turn around the state airline, according to its new chief executive officer.

A strategic investor would ideally come from within the aviation industry, CEO Vuyani Jarana, 47, said in an interview at Bloomberg’s Johannesburg office on Monday. That will enable unprofitable SAA to share costs, improve customer service and gain a capital injection, he said.

“You don’t just want a pure investor such as private equity,” said Jarana. “With a strong equity partner that has operations elsewhere, you are able to leverage from each other’s capabilities.”


Trump Heads to Seoul, Bringing Him Near to Kim Jong Un’s Doorstep

President Donald Trump departed Tokyo on Tuesday morning for a two-day visit to South Korea, bringing him near North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on a stop that will also feature talks on a trade deal he says hurts U.S. workers.

The second leg of his five-nation Asia trip includes a visit with U.S. troops, a joint press briefing with President Moon Jae-in and an address to South Korea’s parliament. In contrast to Trump’s warm relationship with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, his dealings with Moon got off to rocky start due to differences over trade and dialogue with North Korea.

“Getting ready to leave for South Korea and meetings with President Moon, a fine gentleman,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday morning. “We will figure it all out!” Trump and Moon are likely to show a united front against Kim, even while underlying tensions remain. South Korea hosts more than 28,000 U.S. troops and relies on the alliance to deter a North Korean attack.


Singapore’s Central Bank Chief Has a Warning for Fintech Investors

Be selective. That’s the message Monetary Authority of Singapore Managing Director Ravi Menon has for pundits and investors trying to navigate the wave of technology euphoria sweeping the financial services industry.

While technological innovations such as blockchain and the area of big data analytics can result in powerful applications, people should be wary of some peer-to-peer lending platforms and the rapidly rising values of cryptocurrencies, Menon said in an interview with Bloomberg News late last month.

"I do see some collapse of the bubble in the fintech space," the central bank chief said. "Some business models, some applications of technology are clearly overstretched," he said, citing some similarities with the dot-com boom at the turn of the century. That bubble popped in the early 2000s, erasing billions of dollars in market value from technology stocks.


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13,468.80 -10.07 -0.07%
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28,862.20 +265.38 +0.93%

Currencies

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1.1609 -0.0001 -0.01%
USD-JPY
113.8900 +0.1800 +0.16%
GBP-USD
1.3168 -0.0003 -0.02%
AUD-USD
0.7685 -0.0006 -0.08%
USD-CAD
1.2718 +0.0014 +0.11%
USD-CHF
0.9984 +0.0010 +0.10%
EUR-GBP
0.8816 +0.0002 +0.02%
USD-HKD
7.8027 +0.0010 +0.01%
EUR-CHF
1.1590 +0.0009 +0.08%

May to Say Brexit Transition Phase ‘Crucial’ for U.K. Business

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May will tell one of the nation’s biggest business groups that she backs a Brexit transition period to give companies more certainty, while urging executives to be more optimistic about the process.

“A strictly time-limited implementation period will be crucial to our future success,” May said in prepared remarks for a Monday speech at the Confederation of British Industry. “I know how important it is for business and industry not to face a cliff-edge and to have the time it needs to plan and prepare for the new arrangement.”

Talks with the European Union over the U.K.’s exit from the bloc are set to resume this week after a rocky start marked by a dispute over Britain’s bill for the divorce. The EU has been reluctant to let negotiators discuss post-Brexit trade arrangements until an agreement is reached on the bill, while the U.K. is reluctant to show its hand, partly because the issue is a divisive domestic issue.


Crackdown on Billionaires and Other Top Officials Shakes Up Saudi Arabia

Even by the standards of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whose meteoric ascent has put him on the cusp of the Saudi throne at the age of 32, the Saturday night crackdown was stunning.

In just a few hours, security forces arrested princes, billionaires, ministers and former top officials as soon as King Salman announced a sweeping anti-corruption drive. Those detained included billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who was picked up at his desert camp outside Riyadh, according to a senior Saudi official. Before midnight, the suspects’ names were already being leaked to local media, first as initials and later in full.

The king also relieved Prince Miteb bin Abdullah from his post as head of the powerful National Guard. The decision removed one of the last senior royals to have survived a series of cabinet shuffles that promoted allies of his son.


Weakened Trump Looks to the ‘King of China’ to Give Him a Boost

Shortly after Donald Trump’s surprise election win, Barack Obama gave some advice to President Xi Jinping in the final minutes of their last meeting as leaders of the world’s biggest economies.

Obama explained the factors that led to Trump’s victory following a campaign that featured regular China-bashing, and suggested that Xi take steps to put relations with the U.S. on a sustainable path, according to a person familiar with the meeting, which took place on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Lima, Peru.

After carefully listening to Obama, the person said, Xi replied that he wouldn’t throw the first punch at Trump -- but he also wouldn’t sit back and take one.


Qatar Airways Buys Cathay Pacific Stake for $662 Million

Qatar Airways Ltd. agreed to acquire a stake in Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd., a deal that would help it gain a foothold in the world’s second-biggest aviation market.

The Middle Eastern carrier will buy 9.6 percent of Cathay from Hong Kong-based Kingboard Chemical Holdings Ltd. and related companies for HK$5.16 billion ($662 million), according to a filing to the city’s stock exchange Monday. Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker, confirming the deal, said the investment "further supports Qatar Airways investment strategy.”

Shares of Cathay fell as much as 4.9 percent to HK$12.56 on Monday, the biggest intraday drop in more than five months.


China's Central Bank Chief Warns of ‘Sudden, Contagious and Hazardous’ Financial Risks

China’s financial system is becoming significantly more vulnerable due to high leverage, according to central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan, who has made a series of blunt warnings in recent weeks about debt levels in the world’s second-largest economy.

Latent risks are accumulating, including some that are “hidden, complex, sudden, contagious and hazardous,” even as the overall health of the financial system remains good, Zhou wrote in a lengthy article published on the People’s Bank of China’s website late Saturday. The nation should toughen regulation and let markets serve the real economy better, according to Zhou. The government should also open up financial by relaxing capital controls and reducing restrictions on non-Chinese financial institutions that want to operate on the mainland, he wrote.

“High leverage is the ultimate origin of macro financial vulnerability,” wrote Zhou, 69, who is widely expected to retire soon after a record 15-year tenure. “In sectors of the real economy, this is reflected as excessive debt, and in the financial system, this is reflected as credit that has been expanding too quickly.”


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2,587.84 +7.99 +0.31%
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28,309.70 -293.96 -1.03%

Currencies

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1.1611 +0.0003 +0.03%
USD-JPY
114.5900 +0.5200 +0.46%
GBP-USD
1.3067 -0.0010 -0.08%
AUD-USD
0.7646 -0.0004 -0.05%
USD-CAD
1.2769 +0.0005 +0.04%
USD-CHF
1.0011 +0.0004 +0.04%
EUR-GBP
0.8886 +0.0009 +0.10%
USD-HKD
7.8029 0.0000 0.00%
EUR-CHF
1.1624 +0.0007 +0.06%

Europe Stock Rally Finds Fresh Fuel as CEOs Most Upbeat in Years

European stock investors riding the region’s economic and profit momentum are betting the 2017 rally has further to run.

Company chiefs and money managers alike are shifting their focus from the perils posed by a stronger euro to the tailwinds from the economic rebound. Even as European equities trade near a 2015 high, investors have been increasing exposure this year on bets the region’s growth will ignite earnings. Analysts haven’t been this optimistic about the outlook for European profits in the coming year since 2011.

Even with sentiment that upbeat, JPMorgan Chase & Co. finds next year’s consensus estimates of 8.5 percent earnings growth conservative and projects double-digit increases. Lenders from UBS Group AG to Swedbank AB are among European companies expecting the economic recovery to strengthen, boosting profits. Orange SA said in October the French mobile market is improving “in a very significant way.” Europe’s biggest chemical maker, BASF SE, expects stepped-up economic activity to drive higher second-half earnings.


Even the Smallest Gulf Economy Is Too Big to Fail

Its economy is 5 percent the size of Saudi Arabia’s, but analysts are betting the kingdom won’t let its neighbor’s financial woes morph into a Gulf crisis.

Bahrain, one of the most vulnerable economies in the Gulf Cooperation Council to political instability and oil-price swings, sought financial support from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to replenish its foreign reserves and avert a currency devaluation, according to two people with knowledge of the issue. A third person said Kuwait was also approached.

The three countries responded by asking Bahrain for more efforts to control its public finances in return for the money, the people said on condition of anonymity. Bahrain 12-month forward contracts jumped on Wednesday by the most in more than a year, while its dollar bonds fell for a second day.


Iraq’s Oil Export Talks With Turkey Complicated by $4 Billion Debt

Baghdad’s talks with Turkey about ramping up oil exports from northern Iraq, including the semi-autonomous Kurdish region, is complicated by a $4 billion debt that the Kurds owe to Turkey, according to Iraq’s oil minister.

Iraq is seeking an agreement with Turkey for all exports from the north, including the Kurdish region and the disputed province of Kirkuk, through a pipeline currently operated by the Kurds, Jabbar al-Luaibi told reporters in Baghdad. Iraq’s state-run Oil Marketing Co., known as SOMO, would control all exports under the agreement, he said.

“The problem is that Turkey said they have debts with the Kurdish region amounting to $4 billion and Turkey is demanding their payment,” al-Luaibi said Thursday at a news conference. Iraq’s central government takes no responsibility for the Kurdish debt, he said.


Singapore Police Examine Goldman’s Role in 1MDB Deals

Singaporean prosecutors and police are examining Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s relationship with the Malaysian state investment fund at the center of global money laundering probes, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The Commercial Affairs Department, the police’s economic crime unit, and city prosecutors have interviewed current and former Goldman Sachs executives who worked on bond offerings from 1Malaysia Development Bhd., said the people, who asked not to be named because the queries are confidential. Investigators are also looking into the firm’s links with Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, who the U.S. has alleged controlled a plot to siphon billions of dollars from the bond proceeds, the people said.

Investigators’ meetings with current and former Goldman Sachs employees are part of a criminal probe into fund flows related to 1MDB, the people said. The bank itself isn’t the focus of the investigation, they said. Neither Goldman Sachs nor its current or former employees have been publicly accused of criminal offenses or charged in relation to the fund, whose dealings have sparked probes in Singapore, Switzerland and the U.S.


Trump Says Broadcom Is Moving Headquarters to U.S. From Singapore

President Donald Trump said semiconductor company Broadcom Ltd. is returning its headquarters to the U.S. from Singapore.

Broadcom Chief Executive Officer Hock Tan joined Trump Thursday in the Oval Office for the announcement. Tan said the move to domicile the company in the U.S. would bring $20 billion in revenue into the country.

The two men didn’t specify the site of the new main location. Broadcom’s website lists San Jose, California, as an existing corporate co-headquarters and has done so since the present company was created in 2016 in one of the semiconductor industry’s largest acquisitions when Avago Technologies Ltd. acquired then-Broadcom Corp. The company’s shares declined as much as 4 percent to $248.87 after the announcement. The stock had gained 47 percent this year through Wednesday’s close.


Markets

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23,516.30 +81.25 +0.35%
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2,579.85 +0.49 +0.02%
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6,714.94 -1.59 -0.02%
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13,440.90 -24.58 -0.18%
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28,603.10 +84.48 +0.30%

Currencies

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1.1658 0.0000 0.00%
USD-JPY
113.9900 -0.0900 -0.08%
GBP-USD
1.3068 +0.0009 +0.07%
AUD-USD
0.7684 -0.0029 -0.38%
USD-CAD
1.2812 +0.0003 +0.02%
USD-CHF
0.9989 -0.0005 -0.05%
EUR-GBP
0.8921 -0.0007 -0.08%
USD-HKD
7.8020 +0.0009 +0.01%
EUR-CHF
1.1645 -0.0006 -0.05%

U.K. Parliament Pushes May to Release Brexit Impact Studies

The U.K. Parliament passed a motion calling on the government to release Brexit impact studies into 58 sectors of the British economy, in a victory over Prime Minister Theresa May by the opposition Labour Party, which has sought the studies for months.

The unanimous vote in the House of Commons came Wednesday evening after the ruling Conservatives decided not to oppose the motion brought by Labour’s Brexit spokesman, Keir Starmer. Brexit Minister Robin Walker told lawmakers that unlike Labour, he didn’t consider the motion to be binding, while his fellow Brexit minister, Steve Baker, said the government would "reflect” on the matter.

"The government recognizes that Parliament has rights relating to the publication of documents," Baker said, adding that ministers also have a duty to keep information confidential in the national interest."We would need to reflect on these conflicting responsibilities. We have not indicated any intention to publish redacted docs.”


One of the Most High-Profile Initial Coin Offerings Has Crashed 50%

Bancor, one of the most successful initial coin offerings in the short history of digital tokens, is proving to be a dud for investors.

After raising $153 million in a matter of hours in June, the Tel Aviv, Israel-based startup -- whose market maker-like application aims to facilitate trading in other digital coins -- has seen the price of its token decline 56 percent, one of the worst performances among the 10 largest crowd-funding sales.

Around the time of the ICO, some of the burgeoning sector’s better known developers such as Cornell University’s Emin Gun Sirer started raising questions about the application. Bancor’s formula is less efficient than simply making the market manually, Sirer says. And they say the technology could also be vulnerable to front running, where people make money off of the visibility of others’ transactions


Boris Johnson Urges Saudi Arabia to Emulate Liberal Britain

U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has delivered a lecture on liberal values to Saudi Arabia, telling the Gulf kingdom it must modernize and build a tolerant society if it wants an “economic miracle.”

Johnson said plans to return Saudi Arabia to moderate Islam are potentially hugely important for the world, describing it as “a great thing” that women will be allowed to drive a car from next year. “Great,” he told lawmakers in London. “How much further is that going to go? It sounds pathetic to put it like that but we want to encourage Saudi Arabia down the path of reform and modernization.”

Johnson listed a set of values that he said make Britain an economic success - human rights, gender equality and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights. “What I would say to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman -- who is a remarkable young man -- what I would say is, if you want to make an economic miracle in your country then look at those qualities that we have in this country.”


Li Ka-Shing Sells Hong Kong Tower for Record $5.2 Billion

Li Ka-Shing’s CK Asset Holdings Ltd. agreed to sell its stake in The Center for HK$40.2 billion ($5.2 billion), setting a record for a Hong Kong office tower and showing that the city’s commercial property market remains red hot.

CK Asset’s gain will be about HK$14.5 billion, the company told Hong Kong’s stock exchange late Wednesday. State-owned China Energy Reserve and Chemicals Group owns 55 percent of the purchaser, with Hong Kong individuals accounting for the rest, local media reported.

The deal bodes well for the potential sale of the Langham Place Office Tower in Mongkok by Champion REIT, Morgan Stanley said. A mainland Chinese company, LVGEM (China) Real Estate Investment Co., last month announced the HK$9 billion purchase of a building from Wheelock & Co. Earlier this year, Henderson Land Development Co. paid HK$23.3 billion for the first commercial land sold by the government in the Central district in more than 20 years.


Xi Tells Kim He's Seeking Stable China-North Korea Ties

President Xi Jinping called for stable China-North Korea ties in a message to Kim Jong Un shortly before Donald Trump makes his first visit to Asia as U.S. president.

Xi sent the note after Kim congratulated him last week on a second term as general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, the state-run Korean Central News Agency reported. The friendly tone contrasts with the recent war of words between Trump and Kim over North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs.

“I wish that under the new situation the Chinese side would make efforts with the DPRK side to promote the relations between the two parties and the two countries to sustainable soundness and stable development,” Xi wrote, according to KCNA, referring to North Korea by its formal name. He added that the two countries should make a “positive contribution” to “defending regional peace and stability and common prosperity.”


Markets

DOW JONES INDUS. AVG
23,435.00 +57.77 +0.25%
S&P 500 INDEX
2,579.36 +4.10 +0.16%
NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX
6,716.54 -11.13 -0.17%
FTSE 100 INDEX
7,487.96 -5.12 -0.07%
DAX INDEX
13,465.50 +235.94 +1.78%
CAC 40 INDEX
5,514.29 +11.00 +0.20%
IBEX 35 INDEX
10,506.70 -16.80 -0.16%
NIKKEI 225
22,461.80 +41.69 +0.19%
HANG SENG INDEX
28,552.50 -41.59 -0.15%

Currencies

EUR-USD
1.1655 +0.0036 +0.31%
USD-JPY
113.9200 -0.2600 -0.23%
GBP-USD
1.3279 +0.0034 +0.26%
AUD-USD
0.7719 +0.0043 +0.56%
USD-CAD
1.2836 -0.0029 -0.23%
USD-CHF
0.9994 -0.0039 -0.39%
EUR-GBP
0.8777 +0.0005 +0.05%
USD-HKD
7.8015 +0.0013 +0.02%
EUR-CHF
1.1648 -0.0008 -0.07%

Ousted Catalan Leader Summoned to Court From Brussels Exile

Ousted Catalan President Carles Puigdemont was summoned to a Spanish court on suspicion of sedition, forcing the rebel leader to choose between a possible 30-year jail term and life as a leader in exile.

Puigdemont fled to Brussels after Spain seized control of his semi-autonomous government in response to Catalonia’s declaration of independence. While members of his team who are also due in court returned to Barcelona airport late Tuesday, Puigdemont wasn’t with them.

Earlier in the day, the rebel leader, who had long said he would risk jail for his cause, told reporters in Brussels he wouldn’t go back to Spain without “guarantees” of a fair trial. The politicized Spanish courts are bent on revenge, he said, as he depicted himself as a leader in exile.


Saudi Arabia Leads Gulf Nations in Cutting Break-Even Oil Price

Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s biggest oil producer, is also a leader when it comes to slashing the crude price the country needs to balance its budget.

The kingdom will need oil to trade at $70 a barrel next year to break even, the Washington-based International Monetary Fund said Tuesday in its Regional Economic Outlook for the Middle East and Central Asia. That’s down from a break-even of $96.60 a barrel in 2016, the biggest drop of eight crude producers in the Persian Gulf. The break-even is a measure of the crude price needed to meet spending plans and balance the budget.

Gulf oil producers are cutting spending and eliminating subsidies after crude plunged from more than $100 a barrel in 2014 to average just over half that this year. The need to curb spending is more urgent with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries cutting output to reduce a global glut. Oil will trade at $50 to $60 a barrel for the “medium term,” the IMF said. Benchmark Brent crude was on track Tuesday for a second consecutive monthly gain and traded at $61.01 a barrel at 7:20 p.m. in Dubai.


Kushner Partner Says Teardown of Fifth Avenue Tower Unlikely

A Kushner Cos. plan to salvage its indebted marquee Manhattan office tower by replacing it with one twice as tall doesn’t make sense, the building’s co-owner said, dealing a likely death blow to the idea.

“There have been rumors in the marketplace -- more than rumors -- that have been published in the marketplace about tearing the building down and doing all manner of fairly grand development schemes,” Steve Roth, chairman and chief executive officer of Vornado Realty Trust, said on the company’s earnings call Tuesday. “It’s likely that those are not feasible. So it’s likely the building will revert to an office building.”

The family of presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner bought the aluminum-sided building at 666 Fifth Ave. a decade ago for a record $1.8 billion when he was running the company and it has spent years seeking a way to prevent it from hemorrhaging cash after the financial crash saw real estate prices plummet.


Razer CEO to Become a Billionaire With Backing From Li Ka-shing

After raising funds from Asia’s biggest investors, including Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing and Singapore’s Temasek Holdings Pte, Razer Inc. is turning to the market for an initial public offering that will make its co-founder Tan Min-Liang a billionaire.

Tan, a Singapore entrepreneur who’s also Razer’s chief executive officer, owns about 42 percent of the San Francisco-based maker of video gaming accessories such as mice and headsets, together with his family. Razer is offering more than a tenth of the company to raise at least $400 million in a Hong Kong IPO, giving Tan a net worth of more than $1.2 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Razer’s plan to list shares comes amid robust growth in the global gaming market, which is expected to reach $160 billion by 2021, a 52 percent jump from last year, according data from Euromonitor. Tan said in an interview earlier this year Razer has sold $1 billion of products in the past three years and now has 35 million users for a software platform that launches games and connects gamers.


Bitcoin Growing Up as Futures Open Floodgates to Wall Street

Bitcoin is going legit, for better or worse. The digital currency that JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Jamie Dimon called a fraud is set to step into the mainstream of finance now that CME Group Inc. has announced it will introduce trading in bitcoin futures by the end of the year. The move by the world’s largest exchange owner will up the game for the software-created asset and finally bring it some regulatory cover.

Just a month ago, a top CME Group executive said he didn’t foresee listing bitcoin futures any time soon. Chief Executive Officer Terrence Duffy cited pent-up client demand as a key reason for the reversal. Bitcoin climbed to a record high after the news went out Tuesday -- and is up more than 550 percent this year.

“A fully regulated derivatives market is opening the floodgates of institutional demand,” said Spencer Bogart, head of research at Blockchain Capital, a San Francisco-based venture capital firm. And for Wall Street, bitcoin is attractive. “It’s volatile, it trades 24/7 and the markets are inefficient so they provide nice arbitrage opportunities.”


Markets

DOW JONES INDUS. AVG
23,377.20 +28.50 +0.12%
S&P 500 INDEX
2,575.26 +2.43 +0.09%
NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX
6,727.67 +28.71 +0.43%
FTSE 100 INDEX
7,493.08 +5.27 +0.07%
DAX INDEX
13,229.60 +12.03 +0.09%
CAC 40 INDEX
5,503.29 +9.66 +0.18%
IBEX 35 INDEX
10,523.50 +77.50 +0.74%
NIKKEI 225
22,287.80 +276.15 +1.25%
HANG SENG INDEX
28,364.20 +118.71 +0.42%

Currencies

EUR-USD
1.1636 -0.0010 -0.09%
USD-JPY
113.8900 +0.2500 +0.22%
GBP-USD
1.3277 -0.0006 -0.05%
AUD-USD
0.7657 +0.0001 +0.01%
USD-CAD
1.2903 +0.0015 +0.12%
USD-CHF
0.9991 +0.0015 +0.15%
EUR-GBP
0.8763 -0.0004 -0.05%
USD-HKD
7.8015 +0.0004 +0.01%
EUR-CHF
1.1626 +0.0008 +0.07%