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TikTok deal remains elusive as Biden administration works to solve data concerns

The Biden administration and TikTok are working on an agreement that would let the video-sharing site keep operating in the US, but negotiations have stalled over concerns that the company’s Chinese ownership poses a national security threat, people with knowledge of the matter said.
Once reached, the agreement would allow the platform to continue operating in the US, though it would place additional restrictions on how data from US users is stored, said the people, who asked not to be named discussing a national security matter.
The app has been under scrutiny by US officials since 2019, when the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US – or Cfius – began reviewing a merger between the app’s parent company ByteDance and
The deal still needs to be cleared by some agencies that make up the committee, including the Justice Department, the people said. The department’s No 2 official, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, is concerned the agreement doesn’t go far enough to keep the data of US users safe from Chinese actors, one of the people said.
The news about the pending agreement was reported earlier by the New York Times.
A spokesperson for the Treasury Department said Cfius is committed to taking all actions within its authority to safeguard national security, but doesn’t comment on transactions it may be reviewing.
“We will not comment on the specifics of confidential discussions with the US government, but we are confident that we are on a path to fully satisfy all reasonable US national security concerns,” a TikTok spokesperson said.
Regulators and lawmakers have long feared that Chinese authorities could access US user data via TikTok. These anxieties were revived after a report by BuzzFeed in June that US user data had been repeatedly accessed from China.
The same day as the BuzzFeed story, TikTok said it was routing all US user traffic through Oracle Corp’s cloud, and that the database giant is auditing its algorithms. TikTok and Oracle are expected to continue working together on a storage setup that satisfies US national security concerns, according to a person familiar with the process.
While TikTok’s one billion active users makes it smaller than some of its social media peers, it’s growing quickly – particularly among young people. In June, the app was the second-most-likely used app among Gen Z users, trailing behind Instagram in the top spot, according to analysis from It’s also swiftly building its ad business, with ...

Dollar rally pauses, stocks mixed in relative calm: markets wrap

Asian markets traded on a cautious note on Tuesday after another selloff in US stocks, soaring bond yields and volatile currency markets as investors brace for a heightened risk of global recession.
A gauge of the region’s equities held a slight gain as shares edged higher in Japan and Australia and were mixed in Hong Kong and China. US equity contracts rose after the S&P 500 closed at its lowest since 2020 and the Cboe Volatility Index spiked past 30, a level it hasn’t closed above since June.
Bonds remained under pressure in Australia and Japan, while the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield held near 3.9% – a level last seen in 2010.
The Bank of Japan announced an unscheduled bond buying operation across a wide range of maturities after the country’s 20-year bond yields rose to the highest level since 2015 as global debt markets come under pressure from expectations for further monetary tightening.
The dollar gauge inched back from a record high on Monday, when Federal Reserve officials repeated hawkish comments on policy. Asian currencies including the yen and yuan strengthened slightly while staying around levels that have caused concern from authorities in Japan and China.
BOJ governor Haruhiko Kuroda said on Monday that Japan’s intervention in the currency market was appropriate given recent volatility in the yen. Japan spent about 3 trillion yen ($21 billion) on its action, Nikkei reported.
Traders are also looking for more pushback from China’s central bank as the yuan approaches the lowest level in 14 years.
“The yuan I think is getting close to its bottom,” Daniel Gerard, senior multi-asset strategist at State Street Global Markets, said on Bloomberg Television. “They’ve got to manage the trading basket.”
The pound made a small advance following its drop to a record low Monday. The Bank of England said it may not act before November to stem a rout, leaving traders wary of the risk that the currency could drop to parity with the dollar.
The turmoil in markets shows little sign of turning Fed officials away from hawkish rhetoric. Boston Fed president Susan Collins and her Cleveland counterpart Loretta Mester said additional tightening is needed to rein in stubbornly high inflation and Atlanta Fed president Raphael Bostic also said the central bank still has a ways to go to control inflation.
“The market is pricing in some Fed increases, but we’re a bit worried that it might not be pricing in everything,” Laila Pence, president ...

Stocks Fall; Pound Drops as BOE Fails to Reassure: Markets Wrap

US stocks dropped, cutting short a cautious rebound led by technology shares, as hawkish central banks across the globe continued to subdue sentiment. The pound extended its drop after the Bank of England says it may not act before November to stem a rout that took the sterling to a record low.
The S&P 500 fell and the Nasdaq 100 pared gains after both equity gauges plunged last week. US Treasury yields continued to rise, with the 10-year rate hovering around 3.77%. The pound was near $1.07.
Markets are on the edge after a selloff of risk assets deepened last week as the UK’s plan to lift its economy fueled fears that heightened inflation would push rates higher and ignite a global recession. UK markets were in focus on Monday as the pound remained volatile after crashing to an all-time low, with the Bank of England’s hawkish comments doing little to reassure traders.
“From a contrarian perspective, such widespread pessimism is creating buying opportunities,” Ed Yardeni, president of Yardeni Research, wrote in a note. “Admittedly, though, it is getting harder to be optimistic about the economy. It is also getting harder to be bullish on stocks when the Fed is turning more hawkish on monetary policy.”
On Monday, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston President Susan Collins said additional tightening is needed to rein in stubbornly high inflation and cautioned the process will require some job losses.
US markets will continue to remain challenged by uncertainty until companies start to report their third-quarter earnings next month, which will provide greater detail on the health of corporate revenues and profit, wrote John Stoltzfus, chief investment strategist at Oppenheimer.
Investors will also be keeping an eye on the economic data stream for hints of prices cooling, Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley, wrote in a note.
“What the market will need to see now to get out of the current conundrum is for inflation inputs to start coming down noticeably,” said Hogan. “We will get a read on the Fed’s preferred inflation indicator this Thursday when the second quarter core PCE is reported. Along with that investors will keep a close eye on the economic data stream for hints of prices paid coming down.”
Trading this week will be punctuated by a number of economic reports including US initial jobless claims and gross-domestic-product data, along with PMI figures from China. Choppiness in price moves is likely with a steady ...

Traders Who ‘Just Want to Survive’ Sit on $5 Trillion Cash Pile

From stocks to bonds, credit to crypto, money managers looking for somewhere to hide from the Federal Reserve induced storm battering virtually every asset class are finding solace in a long reviled corner of the market: cash.
Investors have $4.6 trillion stashed in US money-market mutual funds, while ultra-short bond funds currently hold about $150 billion. And the pile is growing. Cash saw inflows of $30 billion in the week through Sept. 21, according to figures from EPFR Global. Where once that stash yielded practically nothing, the vast bulk now earns upwards of 2%, with pockets paying 3%, 4% or more.
The suddenly respectable payout is one of the reasons traders have been in little rush to deploy their capital into riskier assets, even with prices at multiyear lows. The other is that as the Fed continues to push interest rates higher to tame inflation, market participants are finally coming to the realization that the central bank is unlikely to abandon its hawkish policy tilt anytime soon, leaving cash as the asset of choice to ride out the turmoil.
“I don’t think it’s time to be a hero,” said Barbara Ann Bernard, founder of hedge fund Wincrest Capital. “The reason I have as much cash as I do is because I just want to survive and end the year up. This is going to be a tricky environment for a while.”
Two to four percent may not seem like much at first glance, especially with inflation running north of 8%.
But in a world where bonds are in a bear market, global stocks are at the lowest since 2020, and the Fed has made clear it’s willing to slam the brakes on the US economy to get rising prices under control, those few percentage points of positive return are becoming increasingly appealing.
Read more: UK Market Selloff Slams Gilts, Pound, Piling Pressure on BOE
That’s especially true given that only a year ago, the seven-day yield on taxable money funds tracked by Crane Data averaged just 0.02%.
“Most market participants see for now that hey, cash is yielding 4%, why not just sit in cash while the macro environment clarifies a little bit,” said Anwiti Bahuguna, head of multi-asset strategy at Columbia Threadneedle Investments. “What’s not known is how long the Fed will keep at it. Until we have that clarity, folks don’t want to stick their neck out.”
Bahuguna said she’s gradually adding stocks and bonds after the ...

Falling Pound Puts More Pressure on Squeezed British Businesses

The tumbling pound is forcing British businesses to raise prices, amplifying pressure from surging energy bills, higher raw material costs and a tight labor market.
Importers are among the worst-hit. Almost half of the food on supermarket shelves comes from abroad, according to the British Retail Consortium, and it could become more expensive to source because of the currency’s decline. It’s even worse for non-food sectors, where imported goods sometimes make up an even greater portion of sales.
“Any rapid drop in the pound, while helping exporters, will be alarming for all businesses because of the sense of instability it creates,” said Kitty Ussher, chief economist at the Institute of Directors.
The pound’s plunge to an all-time low came in the wake of the new government’s tax-cutting budget, which is intended to drive growth. Yet further price increases could pressure households and businesses already squeezed by high inflation and spiking borrowing costs.
For UK-based companies, the effects are mixed. Travel and tourism businesses could get a boost from a weaker pound, with Americans flocking to Britain after two years of Covid-related restrictions.
Higher Rates
For multinational firms based in the UK, a weaker pound also means earnings from overseas operations translate into more of the British currency.
Yet any positive effect may be offset by higher lending costs if the Bank of England raises interest rates further to try to stem the slide. The BOE said Monday that it’ll assess sterling’s drop at its next scheduled meeting and won’t hesitate to change rates as much as needed.
The risk of debt defaults for British supermarkets surged as investors reacted to the market swings, with insurance on bonds of Asda Group Ltd. and Iceland Foods Ltd. — used to protect investors against non-payment — jumped to signal a 52% and 76% chance of a default within five years respectively.
EasyJet Plc said the weaker pound will inflate its costs, though the UK airline’s hedging positions on jet fuel and currency fluctuations should provide some protection.
For smaller businesses based in the UK that rely on imports, the currency’s plunge could be more problematic.
“It’s a nightmare,” said Roy Kendall, managing director at Top of the Range, a Yorkshire-based distributor of sportswear, including to the military, speaking about spiking import costs across the board.
His business is partly insulated from the sharp devaluation thanks to a years-long strategy of securing more of the stock in advance. Still, Kendall sees the falling pound affecting cash ...

Dollar rallies, stocks drop in rocky start to week: markets wrap

The dollar rallied, bond yields climbed and Asian shares slid amid unrelenting pressure on risk-sensitive assets as fears of faster inflation and global recession continued to rise.
The pound led declines among major currencies on Monday, slumping to a record low as the UK Chancellor vowed to press on with tax cuts that threaten to stoke inflation. The euro fell as investors weighed the prospects of Italy under the most right-wing government since World War 2.
Shares dropped in Japan and Australia while an index of global stocks plumbed new lows for the year. US and European stock futures fell. Hong Kong equities fluctuated.
“We’re in a period of global gloom, with pessimism blanketing different countries for different reasons,” said Ed Yardeni, president of his eponymous research firm, who warned of growing storm clouds for the US economy. “The latest data jibe with our growth recession scenario, but the risks of a full-blown recession are obviously increasing,” he wrote in a note Monday.
A dollar gauge rose to a record high. The yen slid, while remaining short of the point last week that drew intervention from Japanese authorities.
The yuan slid as China set its reference for the currency weaker than 7 per dollar for the first time in two years, while increasing the risk reserve requirement on foreign exchange sales.
The depreciation of the Korean won also continued, prompting the central bank to warn of its impact in exacerbating inflationary pressures.
“It’s a king US dollar – we’ve been seeing currencies across Asia come under pressure,” Sian Fenner, senior Asia economist for Oxford Economics, said on Bloomberg TV. “It’s adding to inflationary pressures and more central banks raising rates more than we have historically seen.”
Treasury yields remain elevated, with the two-year US rate climbing for 13 consecutive days through Friday in the longest such streak since at least 1976. Australia’s sovereign bond yields advanced, led by the policy-sensitive three-year note.
The Bank of Japan boosted its bond purchase amounts at its regular operation as the benchmark 10-year yield rebounded toward the upper end of the central bank’s tolerated trading range.
Trading this week will be punctuated by a number of economic reports including US initial jobless claims and gross-domestic-product data, along with PMI figures from China. Choppiness in price moves is likely with a steady stream of Federal Reserve officials speaking through the week.
Underscoring the concern in markets, the Cboe Volatility Index, which serves as a “fear gauge” ...

Saudi Arabia faces challenges to tap its vast copper reserves

The Arab kingdom says it has the potential to unlock enough copper to ease a looming shortage as the world makes an epic shift to clean energy, but it faces challenges that established mining countries already have solved.
Key among those challenges as the world’s largest oil producer seeks to unlock an estimated $1.3-trillion in mineral wealth are logistics and water supplies, according to Bandar bin Ibrahim Al-Khorayef, Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources.
“One of the things that the mining sector needs is really a lot of infrastructure,” Al-Khorayef said on Friday in an interview at Bloomberg’s global headquarters in New York. “It could be road, could be railway and port” to bring the resources in the north of the country to the east to be processed and then shipped, he said.
Perhaps the biggest hurdle – especially for a country covered in large part by desert – is water, which is essential in churning out the mineral from open-pit or underground mines. “Water is key. If we were to compromise certain technologies, but that would save us water, that would be something very interesting to us,” Al-Khorayef said.
Another challenge may be attracting giant miners with global expertise and deep pocketbooks, who are competing with smaller firms in auctions for exploration rights. This month a licence was awarded to the UK’s Moxico Resources Plc, a closely held company with a copper project in Zambia, and Saudi Arabia’s Ajlan & Bros. The potential rewards are huge, with the estimated supply of copper worth $222-billion, at current prices equal to 1.4 times the global mine supply in 2021.
Saudi Arabia is going to award the second tender soon and may start a third, Al-Khorayef said, and is fast-tracking locations that have great reserves ready to go commercially viable. According to Al-Khorayef, Saudi Arabia is putting processes into place that would allow mining permits to be processed within 30 days. That is in sharp contrast to about seven to 10 years in the US, where there are multiple layers of regulation with extensive environmental and land-rights reviews. BM

Pound drops to record low as UK signals more tax cuts

The pound plunged 4.7% to a record low after the new Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng vowed to press on with more tax cuts, despite the markets delivering a damning verdict on his fiscal policies.
The bulk of the currency’s slide on Monday took place in a frantic 20-minute selloff, evoking cries of a flash crash by traders. The beleaguered currency fell to as low as $1.0350, as investors punished the chancellor for his unapologetic dash for growth. It was at $1.0558 at noon in Tokyo.
The decline followed the release on Friday of the government’s “Growth Plan”, a budget in all but name and the biggest tax giveaway in half a century. If the rout continues and widens into broader markets, there’s a risk Prime Minister Liz Truss’s days-old administration may be pushed into a crisis that could force a rapid policy response.
“The pound’s crash is showing markets have a lack of confidence in the UK and that its financial strength is under siege,” said Jessica Amir, a strategist at Saxo Capital Markets in Sydney. “The pound is a whisker away from parity and the situation is going to only worsen from here.”
Hedge funds had ramped up bullish bets on sterling just days before, with leveraged investors adding 13,488 net long contracts during the week to 20 September, the biggest increase since March, data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission show.
The size of the pound’s intra-day decline on Monday was the biggest since March 2020. Option markets show the odds of the currency falling to parity with the dollar has now risen to 54% this year.
Truss will face a rebellion from Tory backbenchers against her tax cuts if the pound falls to parity with the dollar, the Telegraph reported on Saturday. Meanwhile, some in the markets are already calling for emergency BOE action to stem the tide, an unprecedented action in modern times that would risk adding to the sense of panic.
“The scale of the move today means the BOE will be forced into action, at the very least to try and jawbone some stability,” said John Bromhead, currency strategist at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group in Sydney. An “inter-meeting hike is incoming”, with traders already pricing in a 100 basis-point increase by the central bank in November, he said.
Kwarteng scrapped the top level of income tax and cut the basic rate by a percentage point, while also reversing ...

World Bank’s Malpass Says He Won’t Resign Over Climate Comments

World Bank President David Malpass said he hasn’t considered resigning and isn’t under pressure from member countries to do so, after critics slammed him for dodging questions on whether he accepted the scientific consensus that the burning of fossil fuels is driving global warming.
Malpass, speaking Friday at an event hosted by Politico, said he “really wasn’t prepared” for the line of questioning Tuesday when former Vice President Al Gore labeled Malpass a “climate denier” and Malpass said he was “not a scientist.”
Read more: World Bank Head Hits Back at Gore, Saying He’s No Climate Denier
“It was a poorly chosen line,” the World Bank chief said Friday. “I regret that because we as an organization are using the science every day in terms of finding the most impactful projects.” Malpass said he’d be happy to meet with climate scientists to receive training on the issue.
Asked about his meetings with representatives of World Bank member countries since the Tuesday event, Malpass said “none” asked him to quit.
Malpass, 66, who was nominated to the post in 2019 by then-President Donald Trump, has been in damage-control mode since that event. His remarks raised eyebrows within the Biden administration and sparked renewed criticism of both the bank and its chief. Environmental activists had already been calling on the World Bank and other multilateral lenders, including the International Monetary Fund, to do more to accelerate clean-energy ventures and halt funding for fossil-fuel projects.
In an interview Thursday with CNN International, Malpass said, “it’s clear that greenhouse gas emissions are coming from man-made sources.” He also sent a message to World Bank staff, seen by Bloomberg, stating that “the sharp increase in the use of coal, diesel and heavy fuel oil in both advanced economies and developing countries is creating another wave of the climate crisis.”
He reiterated those messages on Friday.
“It’s clear that greenhouse gas emissions from human activity are adding to, are causing climate change,” Malpass said at the Politico event. “And so the task for us, for the world, is to pull together the projects and the funding that actually has an impact.”
The Union of Concerned Scientists on Friday called for Malpass to be replaced immediately.
“The World Bank is a critical institution serving low-income countries,” UCS President Johanna Chao Kreilick said. “People living in the global south deserve to have the World Bank led by a fierce climate advocate, not someone who hasn’t spent enough time ...

Glencore Gets $486 Million Criminal Penalty in Oil Pricing Case

Glencore Plc was sentenced to $486 million in fines and forfeiture for conspiring to manipulate US oil-price benchmarks.
The Swiss commodities trading firm, which pleaded guilty in May, was sentenced Friday by US District Judge Sarala V. Nagala in Hartford, Connecticut. She ordered Glencore to pay a $341.2 million fine and give up the $144.4 million that it made on the scheme, following the terms of its plea agreement, US prosecutors said.
Glencore admitted that, from 2012 to 2016, employees were directed to make bids and offers during a daily trading window that S&P Global Platts used to set its oil-price benchmarks.
The penalty is part of a the total $1.1 billion in fines and forfeitures Glencore has agreed to pay to resolve bribery and market-manipulation probes in the US, UK and Brazil. Glencore units agreed to plead guilty to a list of charges ranging from bribery and corruption in South America and Africa, to price manipulation in US fuel-oil markets.
Nagala delayed the sentencing in June to give Petroleos Mexicanos and its PMI Trading DAC trading arm additional time to claim restitution as a victim of the commodities firm’s fraud. Pemex settled its claim on confidential terms, both sides told Nagala on Sept. 12.
Glencore admitted in its plea agreement that employees were told to “talk the market” up or down to Platts reporters, who used the “color” in their market commentary. On one day in October 2014, Emilio Heredia, a former Glencore trader in San Francisco, told a Glencore marketer by text to “make sure you start talking the mkt down” for Los Angeles Bunker Fuel at a time when Glencore was buying it from PMI.
Glencore’s efforts helped push the bunker-fuel price down from $515 per metric ton to $471.50 in one day, inflating the firm’s profits from its trade by $2.1 million. In total, Glencore made $85 million from manipulating the market for fuel oil at the Los Angeles port, $23 million in Houston and split an additional $70 million in rigged proceeds with PMI, which was its partner in a joint venture.
Heredia pleaded guilty to conspiracy last year and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors. The firm’s plea agreement with the government also requires Glencore to cooperate with their investigation. The agreement doesn’t protect any individuals from prosecution “regardless of their affiliation” with Glencore.
The case is US v. Glencore, 22-cr-00071, US District Court, District of Connecticut (Hartford).

UK Bonds Plunge as Government Ramps up Borrowing More Than Expected

Investors dumped UK assets, sending bonds on a historic plunge and the pound to a 37-year low, as the new government’s stimulus will balloon the country’s debt and stoke inflation.
The yield on 10-year bonds jumped 35 basis points, set for the biggest increase on record, after Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng outlined tax cuts and spending plans. The pound plunged as much as 3.2% against the dollar to below $1.09 for the first time since 1985.
To fund the stimulus, the nation’s Debt Management Office lifted its government bond sales for this fiscal year by £62.4 billion ($69.8 billion), even more than an estimated £60 billion increase expected by banks surveyed by Bloomberg.
“Gilt yields up and the pound down is a very worrying combination, as it is indicative of markets pricing in risk premia to the UK,” said Mike Riddell, a portfolio manager at Allianz Global Investors. “It’s a clear sign that the UK’s inflation fighting credibility is at stake.”
The borrowing led traders to ramp up wagers on more aggressive BOE rate hikes to tackle inflationary pressures. Money markets are fully pricing a one percentage-point move from the central bank at its next policy decision in November — the last time it delivered an increase of that size was 1989.
While markets expected more debt and some tax changes, Liz Truss’s government set out the most radical package of tax cuts for the UK since 1972, reducing levies both on worker pay and companies. The total cost of the package is expected to run to £161 billion over the next five years.
The additional borrowing required to finance this spending threatens to widen the UK’s budget and current-account deficits. Strategists fear that this forms another pressure on the currency and bonds, as the UK becomes more reliant on external capital flows to finance the shortfall.
The nation’s current-account deficit widened to 8.3% of GDP in the first quarter, the most in data going back to 1997.
“The issue facing sterling is now the projected balance of payments, which in the short term will suffer from some of the measures in the mini-budget,” said Fredrik Repton, a portfolio manager at Neuberger Berman, adding that the current-account deficit could widen to 10% of GDP. “The UK may have to attract capital through higher rates, lower FX and investment opportunities and incentives.”
Pound at Parity Is No Longer a Far-Fetched Idea for Options Bets
The extra bond supply from ...

Asian stocks fall as yields surge with rate hikes: markets wrap

Stocks in Asia headed for a sixth weekly decline following another day of losses for US shares and surging Treasury yields that underscore expectations for tighter monetary policy and a slowing global economy.
Equities fell on Friday in Hong Kong, Australia and South Korea after the S&P 500 closed at the lowest level since June. US futures fluctuated.
The 10-year Treasury yield soared 18 basis points to pierce 3.7% on Thursday, its highest in a decade as investors weighed the risk of recession. Yields in Asia pushed higher, led by a jump of more than 20 basis points in Australia as trading resumed there after a holiday.
There is no trading of cash Treasuries in Asian hours with markets closed in Japan for Autumnal Equinox Day.
A dollar gauge held near a record high after a day of dramatic moves in currency markets that saw Japan intervene to prop up the ailing yen for the first time since 1998. The offshore yuan weakened in the face of efforts to slow the depreciation, with the People’s Bank of China setting the daily reference rate stronger than expected for a 22nd day.
Japan’s intervention hasn’t addressed the underlying cause of yen weakness – the yawning gap between Japan’s ultra-loose monetary policy and rising rates in other countries – leaving the currency vulnerable.
Rate hikes overnight in the UK, Switzerland and Norway, along with increases on Thursday in Asia in the Philippines, Indonesia and Taiwan, look set to damp market sentiment in the region.
The Federal Reserve has given its clearest signal yet that it’s willing to tolerate a recession as the necessary trade-off for regaining control of inflation, with officials forecasting a further 1.25 percentage points of tightening before year-end.
“We see this new even-higher-for-longer rate path as associated with a substantially higher likelihood of a hard landing, and so not just unambiguously hawkish but unambiguously bad for risk,” said Krishna Guha, vice chairman of Evercore ISI.
Elsewhere in markets, gold fluctuated and Bitcoin pushed higher, extending gains to a second day, while remaining below $20,000. Oil clung to a slight gain as it headed toward a fourth weekly loss.
The energy market faces a very volatile last quarter of the year, Amrita Sen, co-founder and research director of Energy Aspects said on Bloomberg Television. “It’s just too many different and contradictory factors driving prices right now,” she said, citing demand concerns from recessionary fears and supply constraints relating to Iran and ...

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