Natalie Noel is the latest social media star to be added to the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit roster as a rookie for 2021.
Natalie Noel is the latest social media star to be added to the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit roster as a rookie for 2021.
Citibank has hinted there won't be any possible layoff and closure of physical branches in the countries it is exiting.
Property purchases in China funded through bank loans fraudulently obtained by speculators are fuelling already red-hot real estate markets in its biggest cities and beginning to alarm regulators. Four tier-1 Chinese cities, including Shenzhen and Shanghai, have reported since March that a probe by financial regulators found that 877.8 million yuan ($134.21 million) of bank loans were improperly used for property purchases.
The company behind the UK's Liberty Steel says it did nothing wrong when seeking government funds.
Warren Buffett's famous economic measurement shows Orman might be onto something.
Gold jumped to its highest in over a month on Thursday as the dollar and U.S. Treasury yields retreated despite better-than-expected U.S. economic data, pushing more investors to bullion as a refuge against possible inflation ahead. Spot gold rose 1.7% to $1,766.13 per ounce by 11:07 a.m. EDT (1507 GMT), having earlier risen to $1,767.60, its highest since Feb. 26. "A massive amount of inflation is certainly on the horizon and gold is just the best asset to own as we start to see what I would consider some historic levels of inflation," said Jeffrey Sica, founder of Circle Squared Alternative Investments.
Euro zone politicians, courts and policy hawks will pose a stiff challenge this year to the ECB's resolve to pin down the bloc's borrowing costs, precisely at a time when higher U.S. Treasury yields are tempting investors away from European markets. The European Central Bank has held sovereign debt yields low through bond purchases, and recently increased buying in its 1.85 trillion-euro ($2.22 trillion) emergency stimulus scheme, known as PEPP. And it is no longer battling alone to support the euro economy, as the pandemic induced governments to spend more and to create an 800 billion-euro Recovery Fund, seeded by joint European Union borrowing.
(Bloomberg) -- JPMorgan Chase & Co. sold $13 billion of bonds Thursday, the largest deal ever by a bank, taking advantage of some of the cheapest borrowing costs in years to boost its capital after the Federal Reserve let pandemic relief measures lapse.The deal, which followed the bank’s best quarter ever, hit the market as corporate borrowers continue to see heavy demand for debt that provides a decent premium over Treasuries. Order books grew to about $26 billion, allowing JPMorgan to trim the interest on the debt from the relatively high spreads it initially offered, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.The jumbo offering may have been related to recent changes in regulatory relief for banks, according to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Arnold Kakuda.Treasuries liquidity disappeared in March 2020. In response, the Fed told banks they didn’t have to factor in Treasuries or deposits when calculating their supplementary leverage ratios, which tells them how much capital to set aside to back up their holdings. That exemption went away two weeks ago.Banks were left in the position of needing to sell Treasuries or add capital, and JPMorgan’s sale of unsecured debt will help it meet total loss-absorbing capacity, or TLAC, requirements, and put the ratio back in balance, Kakuda said.The bank signaled Wednesday that it would do something. “We have levers to manage SLR and we will,” Chief Financial Officer Jennifer Piepszak told analysts on a quarterly earnings call. The company declined to comment further on Thursday.Including today’s sale, JPMorgan has raised $22 billion in the U.S. dollar investment-grade bond market this year, more than any other major U.S. bank, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.“Banks are always going to be hefty issuers, which lends a certain opportunism to tapping the markets especially when funding is still so cheap,” said Jesse Rosenthal, a senior analyst at CreditSights.The longest portion of the five-part offering, a 31-year security, will yield 107 basis points above Treasuries, according to the person, who asked not to be identified discussing a private transaction. The sale follows strong first-quarter earnings, including a 15% increase in fixed-income, currency and commodity trading revenue and a $5.2 billion release from its credit reserves. Rival Goldman Sachs Group Inc. also sold bonds Thursday.The previous largest bond sale by a bank also came from JPMorgan, a $10 billion offering in April 2020, the Bloomberg-compiled data show. JPMorgan is the sole bookrunner of the sale, and the proceeds are marked for general corporate purposes.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
A sharp drop in Treasury yields in the face of strong U.S. economic data is surprising market participants who expected the reflation-driven bond selloff of the first quarter to continue. U.S. Treasury yields notched their biggest drop since Nov. 12 on Thursday, even as March retail sales data came in much better than expected and jobless claims fell. All told, the yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury has fallen nearly 20 basis points in April, reversing some of the dramatic rise in February and March and boosting a rally in growth and technology shares that has helped send markets to fresh records.
(Bloomberg) -- A senior Bank of Japan official played down the potential for China’s digital yuan to threaten the dollar’s position as the world’s main reserve currency.“The dollar’s status as the key global currency won’t change so easily,” said Kazushige Kamiyama, head of the BOJ’s payment systems department and the person in charge of looking into a virtual Japanese currency. “In fact, the dollar’s advantage may strengthen further if the U.S. goes with digitalization.”A report earlier this week showed the Biden administration is increasing its scrutiny of China’s progress toward a digital yuan amid concern it could kick off a long-term bid to displace the dollar.The People’s Bank of China has moved closer to becoming the first major central bank to launch a virtual currency, rolling out a trial for consumers and businesses in cities across the country.The PBOC has been working on a digital currency since 2014 and its moves have heightened interest among central banks and policy makers, while the spread of cryptocurrencies has added to a sense that competitors to regular cash could change how the financial sector operates.The pandemic has also accelerated the use of cashless payments, even in Japan where banknotes and coins are still used in a majority of transactions.Kamiyama said the BOJ had no specific plans for a pilot test at this point, but he denied that the central bank was lagging its peers.“The BOJ isn’t behind” in the study of a digital currency, Kamiyama said.The BOJ started the first phase of its own technical experiments on digital currencies last week and is participating in group studies on them with the Bank for International Settlements and six major central banks including the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank.The group in October said the introduction of digital currencies shouldn’t undermine the stability of the current financial system.“No single digital currency from a central bank is likely to conquer the world as long as everyone continues to work on improving their settlement systems,” Kamiyama said.(Updates with more comments from Kamiyama)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
Bitcoin takes a breather as billionaire investor Mike Novogratz warns of market correction.
(Bloomberg) -- British industrialist Sanjeev Gupta’s companies seemed to be prospering until his main lender, Greensill Capital, imploded last month. But long before Greensill collapsed, several banks had cut off the commodity trading business of Gupta’s Liberty House Group.Four banks stopped working with Gupta’s commodity trading business, starting in 2016, after they became concerned about what they perceived to be problems in bills of lading – shipping receipts that give the holder the right to take possession of a cargo – or other paperwork provided by Liberty, according to interviews with 18 people directly involved in the trades, as well as internal communications seen by Bloomberg News. The banks include Sberbank PJSC, Macquarie Group Ltd., Commonwealth Bank of Australia and ICBC Standard Bank. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. also stopped working with Gupta’s companies around that time.In 2018, Sberbank sent a team to scour the brightly colored containers stacked in the port of Rotterdam, looking for the ones full of nickel that the bank had financed on behalf of Liberty. Yet each time investigators located one of the containers, they found it had already been emptied, according to two people involved in the matter. After checking about 10 of them, they gave up, the people said. Sberbank confronted Gupta at a meeting weeks later. He promised that his company would pay back the roughly $100 million it owed, the people said.“At some point certain discrepancies were spotted within documentation and logistical data, which made Sberbank discontinue all operations with the company,” the bank said in an emailed statement. “The issue was settled in pre-trial format. Thanks to the existing control systems, we incurred no financial losses through these operations and managed to unwind all transactions in the spring of 2019.”GFG Alliance, which is made up of the companies controlled by Gupta and his family, including Liberty, said in an emailed statement sent by a spokesman that it refutes any suggestion of wrongdoing.“An internal investigation was conducted in 2019 by Liberty Commodities Limited (LCL)’s external legal advisors following enquiries regarding alleged rumours of double pledging,” GFG Alliance said in the statement. “The investigation found no evidence to substantiate the rumours, nor was LCL ever subject to further complaints or proceedings.”Double pledging is the practice of improperly raising funds more than once using the same collateral. As several banks dropped Gupta’s commodity trading unit, GFG Alliance came to rely more on Greensill Capital for loans – ultimately racking up debts of nearly $5 billion to Lex Greensill’s trade finance company by March 2021, according to a presentation seen by Bloomberg News. Gupta’s commodity trading business alone has $1.04 billion of debt, of which $846 million is owed to Greensill, according to the presentation. “LCL has ongoing banking relationships with separate financial institutions,” GFG Alliance said in the statement. “Its reliance on Greensill was a natural consequence of the competitive nature of the trade finance market, which has been hugely challenging for all but the very largest commodities traders in recent years.”Now, with Greensill in insolvency and its German subsidiary under a criminal complaint after the regulator said it found irregularities in how the banking unit booked assets tied to GFG Alliance, Gupta is trying to find new financing. But it’s been tough. After Gupta searched for would-be financial backers for weeks, Credit Suisse Group AG – which became a major lender to Gupta’s companies by buying debt packaged by Greensill – moved last month to push Liberty Commodities Ltd. into insolvency. Gupta said in interviews on BBC Radio 4 and Sky News on April 1 that the action made no sense and that he’d litigate it if needed.Lending RisksTraders in the world of commodities have long relied on banks to help finance the flow of goods on their journey from origin to destination. From the banks’ point of view, this type of financing is generally considered low risk. Should the trader run into financial difficulties, the bank can seize its collateral – the cargo – and easily recoup its money. That holds true so long as the shipping paperwork used, such as a bill of lading, is accurate.ICBC Standard Bank stopped financing Liberty’s commodity trading unit by early 2016, after discovering it had presented the bank with what seemed to be duplicate bills of lading, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter. Commonwealth Bank of Australia pulled the plug on lending to Gupta’s trading business the same year after the bank financed a cargo of metal for Liberty, only to be presented with what appeared to be the same bill of lading a short time later by another trader seeking a loan, according to three people directly involved.Then, in late 2016, Goldman Sachs, which had extended a credit line of about $20 million to Liberty to finance its nickel trade, stopped dealing with Gupta’s trading company after being warned of alleged paperwork problems by a contact in the warehousing industry, according to three people familiar with the matter.Spokespeople for Goldman Sachs, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and ICBC Standard Bank all declined to comment.“No financial institution has been left out of pocket as a result of lending money to LCL,” GFG Alliance said in the statement, referring to Liberty Commodities Ltd. “On the contrary, they have received substantial commercial returns.”By 2016, Liberty had already become one of the world’s largest traders of nickel, according to an interview with Gupta in Metal Bulletin. Still, Liberty’s containers of nickel would sometimes take an unusually long time to travel between Europe and Asia – instead of the normal sailing time of about one month, the voyage would take several months, stopping off at ports along the way for weeks at a time, six people said.Metals trader Red Kite Capital Management, which also cut ties with Liberty, did so because it had become “uncomfortable” with some of the trades, said Michael Farmer, the company’s founder who is also a member of the U.K’s House of Lords. “It was difficult to work out the commercial sense of some of the shipments, which resulted in our decision to err on the side of caution and discontinue such trades,” said Farmer, who is one of the world’s best-known metal traders. “We had no proof of any misdoings.”Savior of SteelGupta was born in Punjab, India, the son of a bicycle manufacturer. He moved to the U.K. as a teenager to attend boarding school and set up Liberty House, his commodities trading business, in 1992 while he was still an undergraduate student at Trinity College, Cambridge. He first hit the headlines in Britain in 2013 when he bought a troubled steel mill in Newport, South Wales, and restarted production at a time when many other steel plants were being closed down. He went on to buy a string of other struggling steelworks, earning him the nickname “the savior of steel.”Gupta’s GFG Alliance isn’t a consolidated group, but a loose conglomerate of more than 200 different entities. The common thread running through both sides of his business, according to six former employees, was a chronic shortage of cash and intense pressure to find new ways to generate financing.On the industrial side of the business, that meant buying one asset after another in rapid succession, including unloved aluminum and steel plants in Yorkshire, England, northern France and South Australia, then borrowing against the business’s own inventory, equipment and customer invoices, often from Greensill.On the trading side of the business, that often meant nickel. Used as an alloying element in the production of stainless steel, nickel is among metals deliverable on the London Metal Exchange, which means that its price can easily be hedged and that banks are usually willing to lend against it; and nickel is expensive, meaning a relatively small amount of space in a ship can hold a valuable cache of metal.The commodity trading business grew rapidly. Revenue rose to $8.41 billion in the 15 months to March 2019, from $1.67 billion in 2012, according to the accounts of Liberty Commodities Group Pte, a Singapore holding company for the trading operations.Delayed DeliveryMacquarie became concerned about the paperwork underpinning some of Liberty’s trades some four years ago, according to four people with direct knowledge of the events as well as written communications seen by Bloomberg News.In one instance, the bank realized that nickel that it was supposed to have received in Antwerp, according to the shipping documentation, wasn’t at the port, according to two people. Liberty eventually delivered the nickel to Macquarie, but at a different port and about two weeks later than was listed in the paperwork.It wasn’t the only time Macquarie’s team had discovered discrepancies in Liberty’s paperwork, the people said.At a meeting in Macquarie’s London offices, executives from the bank grilled Gupta and his top lieutenants about the inner workings of the commodity trading business, three of the people said. Macquarie remained unsatisfied with the explanations, and by mid-2017, the bank had made the decision to stop all financing for Liberty, the people said.A spokesman for Macquarie declined to comment on the matter.After that banking relationship ended in acrimony, Gupta’s companies turned to Sberbank. When that link, too, soured, they became even more reliant on Greensill.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
NINGBO, China/BEIJING (Reuters) -Chinese automaker Geely, owner of Volvo Cars, on Thursday launched a high-end electric vehicle (EV) brand named Zeekr, targeting China's growing appetite for premium EVs that has boosted sales for Tesla and Chinese peer Nio. Parent Zhejiang Geely Holding Group and Geely Automobile said last month they would jointly invest 2 billion yuan ($306 million) in the new venture, seeking to position Zeekr as a startup under Geely group, also known overseas for its 9.7% stake in Germany's Daimler AG. The price tags for Zeekr cars will be around 300,000 yuan, and Flynn Chen, Zeekr's vice president, said the brand will explore new sales and marketing methods, including allowing customers to subscribe to car-using rights and offering a stake in the company to car buyers.
Grab’s record-breaking deal to merge with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) will raise an eye-popping $4.5 billion in cash. A quick recap: Singapore-based Grab is poised to have a market value of around $39.6 billion after it combines with a SPAC called Altimeter Growth. Altimeter is basically a $500 million pot of money listed on Nasdaq that was looking for a target to merge with (which is why SPACS are sometimes called “blank check” companies).
(Bloomberg) -- Lai Xiaomin, former chairman of China Huarong Asset Management Co., was found guilty of accepting $277 million in bribes, as well as bigamy, crimes serious enough to see him summarily executed in January.Such extreme behavior -- and consequences -- are rare in any country. But in China, more modest but still flagrant mismanagement is common in the $54 trillion financial industry.In 2020 alone, the country’s top banking regulator issued almost 3,200 violations against institutions and 4,554 against individuals ranging from senior executives to rank-and-file staff; it levied fines totaling 2.3 billion yuan ($352.2 million). In the U.S., which has a much longer history of bank regulation, the Federal Reserve took 58 enforcement actions in total.Among the infractions, Chinese investigators found fabricated financial statements, executives’ nannies and chauffeurs installed as controlling shareholders, and favorable rates and sweetheart deals for investors and relatives.The state has also bailed out three poorly-run small lenders and merged dozens more since its first crackdown three years ago. Still, out of 4,400 financial institutions, 12.4% are designated at high risk for failure by the central bank. Now, the government is rewriting the commercial banking law and will have “zero tolerance” for transgressions.“Poor governance is obviously a risk for financial stability,” said Alicia Garcia Herrero, chief Asia economist of Natixis SA. If it’s contained within the country’s smallest institutions, the potential for damage is minimal, she added.“The issue is that we don’t really know whether governance problems are really contained and this is the big risk.”The past week offered a fuller picture of the costs of mismanagement and unchecked corruption. Huarong, which has around $42 billion in outstanding debt at home and abroad, delayed its earnings report in early April, beginning a spiral that’s seen its bonds fall to a record low of about 52 cents on the dollar. Its shares are down 67% since the 2015 debut and currently suspended.A China Huarong spokesperson said Thursday the company “learned the lesson from Lai Xiaomin’s case, firmly implemented central government policies, continued to eliminate the toxic influence, restored our corporate governance, accelerated business transformation and management reform, and enhanced corporate governance to move toward stable and better development.”It’s the second time in two years that creditors have been left at the mercy of bad actors. In 2019, China jolted global markets with a surprise seizure of Baoshang Bank Co., once seen as a model for funding regional economies. Triggered by the misappropriation of funds by its controlling shareholder, the takeover and eventual bankruptcy of Baoshang also called into question long-held assumptions of a perpetual government backstop.In general, the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission has placed the blame for problems in the financial system on bank directors, shareholders and executives, saying in a December statement that “ineffective corporate governance is the root cause.”In one example, a rural bank lent the equivalent of 95% of its net capital to its shareholders and affiliates, according to the CBIRC, which didn’t name the bank. Most of those loans defaulted or are non-performing.The largest shareholder at one bank inflated revenues by 80 million yuan to make the institution look profitable. Elsewhere, one person and 22 of what the regulator described as his “shadow affiliates” held stakes in 17 banks, far exceeding the limits on banking ownership.The regulator has also identified bad behavior in its own ranks, putting its official in charge of oversight of the rural banks under investigation for severe disciplinary and law violations.Social media, too, has allowed employees to air grievances and reports of wrongdoing. Earlier this year, a whistle-blower at China Life Insurance Co. claimed on the social network Sina Weibo that the branch head fabricated client signatures and pocketed millions of dollars of non-existent marketing expenses. Following a CBIRC investigation, the company said in a statement that it was fined 510,000 yuan for inadequate internal controls broadly and pledged to enhance compliance education.In response to the rising risks, the central bank is revising its commercial bank law. The proposed changes include a new chapter on corporate governance, which for the first time specifies the responsibilities of shareholders and the key role of the board of directors. It also bars entities from using borrowed money to invest in banks and prohibits directors from holding posts at more than one affiliated institution.Unlike in the U.S. and Europe where misconduct and mismanagement often lead to public outcry, regulatory probes, and even high-profile firings, top leaders have been so far insulated in China. Senior executives are rarely held responsible for branch-level violations, and the financial penalties pale compared with the 1.9 trillion yuan of profit the industry earned last year.“This is work in progress,” said James Stent, author of China’s Banking Transformation and a former banker who’s spent more than a decade on the boards of two Chinese lenders. “Governance is generally good at priority large banks, but problems remain at lower level financial institutions. Addressing them will take time, and governance will always be imperfect.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Zimbabwe is considering penalizing domestic banks, telecommunications operators and other businesses over what the government describes as profiteering off the hard currency it makes available at auctions.Lenders could face fines and suspensions, while companies that charge a premium for foreign exchange may be banned from participating in the auctions, central bank Governor John Mangudya said in a phone interview from the capital, Harare.“All the malpractices will be targeted,” he said. “There’s no need to chase foreign currency as if it will run out.”President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Monday threatened unspecified actions against “sharks in the financial sector,” according to the state-owned Herald newspaper, which said unidentified entities are profiteering at the public’s expense. The president’s comments were made during a wide-ranging interview he gave to state-owned television that will be aired on April 17 on the eve of Independence Day celebrations, the paper said.Exchange ClosedMnangagwa has previously issued warnings to private companies he blames for undermining his efforts to turn around an economy plagued by annual inflation of 241% and foreign-currency shortages.Last year, his government closed the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange for five weeks and singled out the largest mobile operator, Econet Wireless Zimbabwe Ltd., for undermining the nation’s currency through its mobile-money service. Econet denied the allegations.The impending action is an attempt to prevent manipulation of the foreign-currency auction system, according to the Herald. The system has provided over $800 million to companies since its introduction in June, though high demand for U.S. dollars by importers means that there is only a limited supply.Monetary authorities met with the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe on April 12 to discuss “due diligence and know-your-customer requirements” in order to ensure economic stability, Mangudya said.Ralph Watungwa, president of the Banker’s Association of Zimbabwe, didn’t immediately answer two calls to his mobile phone seeking comment.Zimbabwe reintroduced its own currency in 2019 after a 10-year hiatus and has been battling bouts of high inflation and shortages of everything from foreign currency to food. The local unit, which was pegged at parity to the U.S. dollar as recently as February 2019, has plunged to 84 per U.S. dollar.The gap between the official exchange rate and parallel market has widened by 36%, with a U.S. dollar selling for 115 Zimbabwean dollars on the streets of Harare.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- The Pritzkers built an empire spanning hotels to manufacturing before agreeing two decades ago to split up their fortune among 11 descendants.Karen Pritzker, one of the heirs, has parlayed that wealth into venture capital, backing firms such as Snap Inc. and Spotify Technology. Now she’s joined the wave of investors turning to blank-check firms.The Pritzker Vlock Family Office is the anchor investor for Thimble Point Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company that raised almost $300 million in an initial public offering in February. Executives from the family office, named after Pritzker and her late husband Michael Vlock, are leading the venture, which will focus on software and technology.“It allows us to be able to take companies public and kind of complete the full life cycle,” said Elon Boms, 40, Thimble Point’s chief executive officer and managing director of the family office, which committed $50 million to the SPAC ahead of its IPO.Growing ForceThe SPAC boom has attracted financiers, former politicians, athletes and celebrities willing to use their fame to attract retail and institutional investment. About 600 blank-check companies have raised more than $182 billion since the beginning of 2020, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.But family offices — the discrete, sometimes secretive firms that manage the affairs of the ultra-rich — have been one of the biggest driving forces.While large family offices have long been investors in private equity and real estate, the recent flurry of SPAC bets show how they’re becoming a growing force in public markets. This comes at a time when some critics are pushing for more regulation of the investment firms following the implosion of Bill Hwang’s Archegos Capital Management, which has inflicted billions of dollars of losses from banks.Family offices are largely exempt from registering with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, but SPACs have to file with the regulator, providing insight into how billionaires are managing their money.Family offices and firms linked to them have launched — or sponsored — at least a dozen SPACs that have raised about $4.5 billion in the past year with a further $1 billion in pending offerings, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.Och, SternlichtFormer hedge-fund manager Dan Och has been particularly active through his Willoughby Capital. The New York-based firm has invested in a blank-check company targeting China’s consumer industry and also holds a stake in Thimble Point, according to a person familiar with the deal. A SPAC he’s sponsored, Ajax I, is merging with U.K.-based used-car platform Cazoo in a deal valued at about $7 billion.Barry Sternlicht’s family office is affiliated with the creation of six SPACs. Meanwhile, a blank-check firm set up by a co-founder of Michael Dell’s family office raised almost $600 million in its IPO last month, while Tom Barrack’s family office Falcon Peak is sponsoring Falcon Acquisition, a blank-check company that’s filed for a $250 million public offering.Most SPACs have been created in the U.S., but the trend has gone global. Black Spade Capital, the Hong Kong-based family office of casino mogul Lawrence Ho, has got in on the action. London-based billionaire Mohamed Mansour’s Man Capital invested in Grab Holdings Inc., Southeast Asia’s most valuable startup, before it announced a $40 billion tie-up on Tuesday.Rich families are even joining forces. NNS Group, the family office of Egypt’s Nassef Sawiris, teamed with an investment firm for the Frere and Desmarais families to launch Avanti Acquisition Corp., which is targeting European businesses after raising $600 million through its U.S. offering.‘Very Active’“Sophisticated family offices have been very active,” said Luigi Pigorini, head of Europe, Middle East and Africa at Citi Global Wealth. “They have incredible connections, knowledge and investment capabilities — all of these are important characteristics.”The SPAC mania is showing signs of wear and tear with clogged deal pipelines, heightened regulatory scrutiny and concerns over the quality of the deals that have been done.Real estate titan Sternlicht joked that a member of his domestic staff — his “very talented house manager” — probably could pull off a SPAC. He told CNBC last month that “if you can walk, you can do a SPAC,” and pointed out that many of the people behind blank-check firms are failed money managers or executives.“Three days due diligence means you check the letterhead and find out if the company exists,” Sternlicht told CNBC. “It’s a little out of control. No, it’s a lot out of control.”But Sternlicht is convinced he’s got the secret sauce. His Jaws Spitfire Acquisition Corp. is merging with Velo3D, a maker of 3-D metal printers, valuing the company at $1.6 billion. Jaws Acquisition Corp., another SPAC he’s backed, is merging with health-care provider Cano in a deal valued at $4.4 billion.Bolster ReturnsEven if SPACs flounder, it won’t necessarily hurt the family offices that have already launched blank-check companies.SPAC sponsors typically buy shares in firms they create at a fraction of the standard $10 price offered to IPO investors. They usually own about 20% of the blank-check firm’s equity after it goes public and can bolster their returns further through debt or equity financing and stock options.The family office of payments-processing entrepreneur Ed Freedman, for example, is linked to the sponsor of Stable Road Acquisition Corp., which agreed in October to merge with space-transportation company Momentus. The blank-check firm, which has until next month to complete the deal, is seeking shareholder approval to extend the deadline.If they fully vest, a group of shares the sponsor acquired for about $5 million will be worth more than nine times that amount — an 800% gain — even if the company’s stock price remains at $10, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Freedman’s family office has also loaned the SPAC $300,000 and agreed to invest an additional $3 million at a price of $10 per share, filings show. Stable Road closed Thursday at $10.56 a share.A Stable Road spokesperson declined to comment.SPACs typically have as long as two years to find a company to acquire. If they fail to do so, they have to return cash plus interest to investors, while the sponsor forfeits their original investment.Thimble Point’s Boms said he began considering a SPAC about a year ago after trying to take companies public through reverse mergers. He said he’s had more than 100 meetings with prospective acquisitions since the company’s IPO. Of the roughly 600 SPACs that have listed since the start of last year, less than a third have announced deals and about 30 have completed them, according data compiled by Bloomberg.“We have a very, very solid hit list,” Boms said. “We are talking to people right now.”(Updates with details of Tom Barrack family office in 11th paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- China’s economy strengthened in the first quarter of the year as consumer spending rose more than expected, putting it on course to join the U.S. as twin engines for a global recovery in 2021.Gross domestic product climbed 18.3% in the first quarter from a year earlier, largely in line with the 18.5% predicted in a Bloomberg survey of economists, though that record-breaking figure was mainly due to comparisons with a year ago when much of the economy was shut due to coronavirus. Retail sales beat expectations while industrial output growth moderated.The latest data puts China on course to grow well above its annual target of more than 6%, supporting the view that China and the U.S., where economists predict 6.2% growth, will both outperform other major nations this year. China’s recovery hasn’t yet plateaued after it became the first major economy to contain the spread of coronavirus and return to growth, with GDP rising 0.6% in the first three months of 2021 from the previous quarter.How Much of China’s GDP Was Made in America?: Daniel MossThe recovery last year was led by strong investment in real estate and infrastructure spurring demand for industrial goods, while overseas orders for medical goods and electronic devices fueled exports. Consumer spending had lagged, but the latest figures showed a turnaround. Retail sales growth was 6.3% in March when calculated on a two-year average growth basis -- which removes distortions created by last year’s lockdowns -- up sharply from the rates seen last year.“We are seeing a bit more balanced recovery in the Chinese economy,” Wang Tao, chief China economist at UBS AG, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “That early pickup in construction industry is going to give way to more household consumption,” she added. Consumer spending at restaurants and sales of discretionary goods such as jewelry, alcohol and tobacco led the growth of retail sales in March.The economy was also boosted by a jump in investment from overseas. Inbound investment into China rose almost 40% to $45 billion in the first three months of 2021, according to data from the Ministry of Commerce released Thursday. That was the highest for that period in comparable data back to 2002.Markets were choppy following the data release but ended the day little changed, with the benchmark CSI 300 Index paring an earlier loss of as much as 0.6% to finish up 0.35% for the day. The yield on benchmark 10-year sovereign debt fell slightly to 3.16%. The onshore yuan was unchanged on the day at 6.5226 per dollar.Broadening out the recovery remains a work in progress with growth in the first quarter still reliant on the property sector. Fixed-asset investment in real estate rose 7.6% on a two-year average growth basis and infrastructure spending increased roughly in-line with pre-pandemic rates. Quarterly steel production of 271 million tons suggests that annual output is on course to top 1 billion tons for the second year running.What Bloomberg Economics Says...The undershoot in GDP growth relative to expectations and lopsided nature of the recovery do not warrant any economy-wide shift in monetary policy, in our view.Looking forward, production is poised to start peaking, while demand should pick up further. This should add more balance in what looks to be a steady recovery ahead.Chang Shu, chief Asia economistFor full report, click hereAlthough Beijing has promised “no sharp turns” in monetary and fiscal support this year, some prominent economists have warned that premature tightening could still put the recovery at risk. The central bank has asked banks to curtail loan growth in coming months as it seeks to control credit to curb asset bubbles. Alongside the investment data, data showing home prices grew at the fastest pace in seven months in March will likely prompt more action by Chinese policy makers to rein in the sector.“Considering the robust recovery, we certainly do not expect Beijing to step up easing measures, but it is also unlikely to make a sharp shift in its policy stance,” Nomura economists led by Lu Ting wrote in a note. Authorities have learned lessons from a “forceful deleveraging campaign” in 2017-18, which led to bond defaults, a stock market selloff and weaker growth, they said.The statistics bureau said Friday inflation is expected to remain in a moderate range this year, and while rising commodity costs could boost domestic prices, there’s no basis for prices in upstream sectors to rise significantly.“The economy is far from overheating,” said Bruce Pang, head of macro and strategy research at China Renaissance Securities Hong Kong Ltd. “The consumer sector doesn’t have a solid basis for overheating, and I don’t think the central bank will take a faster turn for monetary policy.”Bloomberg Economics forecasts global GDP growth of 6.9% in 2021, rapid enough to bring output substantially back onto its pre-Covid path. Data released Thursday showed the U.S. economy’s comeback is firing on all cylinders, with retail sales exceeding pre-pandemic levels in all categories except restaurants. Production at U.S. factories increased in March by the most in eight months.China has rapidly accelerated its vaccination campaign over the past month in a move that should help bolster spending on services. A recovery in major economies fueled by vaccine roll-outs and the Biden administration’s massive fiscal stimulus is expected to sustain rapid growth in Chinese exports this year.Economists have upgraded their forecasts for China’s growth in recent days: Bloomberg Economics expects 9.3% expansion, ING Groep NV economist Iris Pang predicts 8.6% and Nomura sees 8.9%.“We expect the economy to continue to gain momentum in the second quarter, with a rotation in terms of the drivers of growth compared to last year,” said Louis Kuijs, head of Asia Economics at Oxford Economics Ltd. in Hong Kong. “Less generous fiscal and monetary policy will weigh on infrastructure and real estate investment, while improved profitability and confidence should buoy corporate investment and consumption.”(Updates with foreign investment data.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
ANKARA (Reuters) -Bitcoin tumbled more than 4% on Friday after Turkey's central bank banned the use of cryptocurrencies and crypto assets for purchases citing possible "irreparable" damage and transaction risks. In legislation published in the Official Gazette, the central bank said cryptocurrencies and other such digital assets based on distributed ledger technology could not be used, directly or indirectly, to pay for goods and services. The decision could stall Turkey's crypto market, which has gained momentum in recent months as investors joined the global rally in bitcoin, seeking to hedge against lira depreciation and inflation that topped 16% last month.
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World stock markets extended a five-day run of fresh highs on Thursday, fueled by upbeat earnings and strong U.S. economic data that herald a solid recovery ahead, while Russian markets tumbled at the prospect of the harshest U.S. sanctions in years. Major stock indexes posted record highs, including MSCI's global benchmark, Europe's broad STOXX 600 , the Dow Industrials and the U.S. benchmark S&P 500, as bonds yields tumbled. The 10-year U.S. Treasury note slid below 1.6% to yield 1.563%, a fall of 7.4 basis points that helped spur renewed buying of big tech stocks in the biggest single-day decline in the benchmark's yield in almost three months.