May 30, 2014

BNP Paribas May Create A Schism Between US And Europe

Marine le penThe BNP Paribas affair may likely create a schism between the USA and the European governments and regulators.

The potential size of the fine - USD 10 billion - is so large that it is surely causing concern among many Europeans, not necessarily only bankers.

Christian Noyer, the French central bank chief, has already expressed concerns about U.S. prosecutors' pursuit of European banks.

National Front, the far-right French party has also now thrown its hat into the matter!

It has described the affair as a "racket" and demanded that the government "defend and protect the interests of millions of French depositors".

The party, citing Iraq, also cautioned that French interests should be protected from the US interests.

Taking a swipe at the current & previous French governments, the party alleged that the French government no longer has the leverage needed to negotiate with Washington because of its systematic submission to U.S. wishes and foreign policy.

Why does this matter?

Because both the voices raising concerns are quite influential in their own circles.

Christian Noyer is a member of the Governing Council and General Council of the European Central Bank, Chairman of the Bank for International Settlements and alternate Governor at the International Monetary Fund.

National Front, on the other hand, has won 25% of the national vote in the recently concluded elections for the European Parliament, nearly double that of the ruling Socialist Party.

This will most likely force the French Government and, to a lesser extent, the European Parliament to address the issue(s) raised, even if semi-formally or informally.

If & when this happens, the nationalistic outcry from Europeans may force their authorities to try to take a tough stance against the US "overreach". The situation can then degenerate even further.

Story sources:

"U.S. Seeking More Than $10 Billion Penalty From BNP", Bloomberg

"Capital concerns hit BNP Paribas on report of $10 billion U.S. fine", Reuters

"Amende américaine sur BNP Paribas : l'Etat français ne doit pas laisser faire ce racket !", National Front

May 13, 2014

Why ECB's "scaling back" on bank test measures is problematic

Logo European Central BankBusinessDaylive is reporting about a series of concessions that ECB has quietly made to banks so that they can meet the tight deadlines - the results are to be published in October - of a landmark review of the banks' businesses.

It is important to note that ECB has not publicly made any comments on the matter; BD's report is based on unnamed sources.

Sep 16, 2013

Ultrafast Trading Robots Hunt In Packs, Outside Of Human Control

High-frequency trading, a type of algorithmic trading, has taken over the global equity markets. These (almost) autonomous systems have also been blamed for many unusually violent swings in the stock market and for "flash freezes", computer glitches that abruptly brought stock market operations to a halt.

A recent paper, published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports, studied these glitches to understand the root cause of the problem. The study identified the emergence of an "ultrafast machine ecology" that is beyond the control of human traders!