EU Fines Big Banks Over Forex Spot Trading Cartels

Financial Daily Dose 12.2.2021

December 02, 2021

The European Union has fined four banks nearly $400 million over their alleged roles in “a cartel in the foreign-exchange spot trading market.” Bankers at Barclays, RBS, HSBC, and Credit Suisse (along with UBS, which avoided fines for “revealing the existence of the cartels) “exchanged sensitive information and trading plans” and “occasionally coordinated their trading strategies through an online professional chatroom” – Law360 and MarketWatch and CNBC and Bloomberg

CEO Jack Dorsey’s love of cryptos appears to be a major factor in his Square payments company changing its name to Block, just days after Dorsey stepped down as Twitter CEO and focused his attention solely on Square - NYTimes and WSJ and Bloomberg and TechCrunch

The OPEC+ nations meet later today by teleconference, and agenda item #1 will be “put[ting] some sort of floor under prices” so that last week’s Omicron-driven 10% price drop doesn’t lead to the sustained decreases that marked the first year of the pandemic. Oh, and for fun, a handful of the world’s biggest oil consumers are planning  to release “tens of millions of barrels of oil from their stockpiles in what “amounts to a kind of rebellion against OPEC Plus by its customers” - NYTimes and Bloomberg and MarketWatch

Disney’s Board of Directors has named longtime board member and Carlyle Group and P&G alum Susan Arnold as its new chair, effective December 31. Arnold will replace Bob Iger, “the longtime chief executive who is set to depart from the company later this month” - WSJ

More central bank inside baseball, this time from the NY Fed’s John C. Williams, who considers how Omicron “could prolong the bottlenecks and shortages that have caused inflation to run hotter than expected” and what it all means for a quicker-than-planned tapering of Fed bond-buying - NYTimes

Markets are still trying to sort out the impact of the new variant, and early trading optimism gave way to lower closes across the board for major U.S. indices, as volatility is again the name of the game - NYTimes and WSJ and Bloomberg and MarketWatch

We’ve been so busy covering a spate of recent big-time IPOs that we’ve neglected the start-up scene, where venture capitalists have made crypto companies (from infrastructure builders to financial products to metaverse-focused digital currencies) the hot spots of 2021—to the tune of $27 billion globally so far this year - NYTimes

Also blazing hot at the moment: nuclear fusion, as investors are dropping major cash on companies like Commonwealth Fusion Systems, which is racing with its peers “to be the first to generate carbon-free energy like the sun” - WSJ

Capital One is ending its longstanding practice of charging customers overdraft fees, “making it one of the largest banks to do so.” Though the bank gave no reason for its move, consumer advocates and politicians have been after banks to eliminate such fees for years, citing their disproportionate effect on “Black families and those with low and moderate incomes” - WSJ

Some staggering visual and scientific work from the Times that helps explain how the shape and electric charge of coronavirus variants like Delta (and probably Omicron) make them more transmissible - NYTimes

Stay safe, and get boosted,