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The Next Crypto Wave: The Rise of Stablecoins and its Entry to the U.S. Dollar Market

The Next Crypto Wave: The Rise of Stablecoins and its Entry to the U.S. Dollar Market

Author: Christian Hsieh, CEO of Tokenomy
This paper examines some explanations for the continual global market demand for the U.S. dollar, the rise of stablecoins, and the utility and opportunities that crypto dollars can offer to both the cryptocurrency and traditional markets.
The U.S. dollar, dominant in world trade since the establishment of the 1944 Bretton Woods System, is unequivocally the world’s most demanded reserve currency. Today, more than 61% of foreign bank reserves and nearly 40% of the entire world’s debt is denominated in U.S. dollars1.
However, there is a massive supply and demand imbalance in the U.S. dollar market. On the supply side, central banks throughout the world have implemented more than a decade-long accommodative monetary policy since the 2008 global financial crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated the need for central banks to provide necessary liquidity and keep staggering economies moving. While the Federal Reserve leads the effort of “money printing” and stimulus programs, the current money supply still cannot meet the constant high demand for the U.S. dollar2. Let us review some of the reasons for this constant dollar demand from a few economic fundamentals.

Demand for U.S. Dollars

Firstly, most of the world’s trade is denominated in U.S. dollars. Chief Economist of the IMF, Gita Gopinath, has compiled data reflecting that the U.S. dollar’s share of invoicing was 4.7 times larger than America’s share of the value of imports, and 3.1 times its share of world exports3. The U.S. dollar is the dominant “invoicing currency” in most developing countries4.

https://preview.redd.it/d4xalwdyz8p51.png?width=535&format=png&auto=webp&s=9f0556c6aa6b29016c9b135f3279e8337dfee2a6

https://preview.redd.it/wucg40kzz8p51.png?width=653&format=png&auto=webp&s=71257fec29b43e0fc0df1bf04363717e3b52478f
This U.S. dollar preference also directly impacts the world’s debt. According to the Bank of International Settlements, there is over $67 trillion in U.S. dollar denominated debt globally, and borrowing outside of the U.S. accounted for $12.5 trillion in Q1 20205. There is an immense demand for U.S. dollars every year just to service these dollar debts. The annual U.S. dollar buying demand is easily over $1 trillion assuming the borrowing cost is at 1.5% (1 year LIBOR + 1%) per year, a conservative estimate.

https://preview.redd.it/6956j6f109p51.png?width=487&format=png&auto=webp&s=ccea257a4e9524c11df25737cac961308b542b69
Secondly, since the U.S. has a much stronger economy compared to its global peers, a higher return on investments draws U.S. dollar demand from everywhere in the world, to invest in companies both in the public and private markets. The U.S. hosts the largest stock markets in the world with more than $33 trillion in public market capitalization (combined both NYSE and NASDAQ)6. For the private market, North America’s total share is well over 60% of the $6.5 trillion global assets under management across private equity, real assets, and private debt investments7. The demand for higher quality investments extends to the fixed income market as well. As countries like Japan and Switzerland currently have negative-yielding interest rates8, fixed income investors’ quest for yield in the developed economies leads them back to the U.S. debt market. As of July 2020, there are $15 trillion worth of negative-yielding debt securities globally (see chart). In comparison, the positive, low-yielding U.S. debt remains a sound fixed income strategy for conservative investors in uncertain market conditions.

Source: Bloomberg
Last, but not least, there are many developing economies experiencing failing monetary policies, where hyperinflation has become a real national disaster. A classic example is Venezuela, where the currency Bolivar became practically worthless as the inflation rate skyrocketed to 10,000,000% in 20199. The recent Beirut port explosion in Lebanon caused a sudden economic meltdown and compounded its already troubled financial market, where inflation has soared to over 112% year on year10. For citizens living in unstable regions such as these, the only reliable store of value is the U.S. dollar. According to the Chainalysis 2020 Geography of Cryptocurrency Report, Venezuela has become one of the most active cryptocurrency trading countries11. The demand for cryptocurrency surges as a flight to safety mentality drives Venezuelans to acquire U.S. dollars to preserve savings that they might otherwise lose. The growth for cryptocurrency activities in those regions is fueled by these desperate citizens using cryptocurrencies as rails to access the U.S. dollar, on top of acquiring actual Bitcoin or other underlying crypto assets.

The Rise of Crypto Dollars

Due to the highly volatile nature of cryptocurrencies, USD stablecoin, a crypto-powered blockchain token that pegs its value to the U.S. dollar, was introduced to provide stable dollar exposure in the crypto trading sphere. Tether is the first of its kind. Issued in 2014 on the bitcoin blockchain (Omni layer protocol), under the token symbol USDT, it attempts to provide crypto traders with a stable settlement currency while they trade in and out of various crypto assets. The reason behind the stablecoin creation was to address the inefficient and burdensome aspects of having to move fiat U.S. dollars between the legacy banking system and crypto exchanges. Because one USDT is theoretically backed by one U.S. dollar, traders can use USDT to trade and settle to fiat dollars. It was not until 2017 that the majority of traders seemed to realize Tether’s intended utility and started using it widely. As of April 2019, USDT trading volume started exceeding the trading volume of bitcoina12, and it now dominates the crypto trading sphere with over $50 billion average daily trading volume13.

https://preview.redd.it/3vq7v1jg09p51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=46f11b5f5245a8c335ccc60432873e9bad2eb1e1
An interesting aspect of USDT is that although the claimed 1:1 backing with U.S. dollar collateral is in question, and the Tether company is in reality running fractional reserves through a loose offshore corporate structure, Tether’s trading volume and adoption continues to grow rapidly14. Perhaps in comparison to fiat U.S. dollars, which is not really backed by anything, Tether still has cash equivalents in reserves and crypto traders favor its liquidity and convenience over its lack of legitimacy. For those who are concerned about Tether’s solvency, they can now purchase credit default swaps for downside protection15. On the other hand, USDC, the more compliant contender, takes a distant second spot with total coin circulation of $1.8 billion, versus USDT at $14.5 billion (at the time of publication). It is still too early to tell who is the ultimate leader in the stablecoin arena, as more and more stablecoins are launching to offer various functions and supporting mechanisms. There are three main categories of stablecoin: fiat-backed, crypto-collateralized, and non-collateralized algorithm based stablecoins. Most of these are still at an experimental phase, and readers can learn more about them here. With the continuous innovation of stablecoin development, the utility stablecoins provide in the overall crypto market will become more apparent.

Institutional Developments

In addition to trade settlement, stablecoins can be applied in many other areas. Cross-border payments and remittances is an inefficient market that desperately needs innovation. In 2020, the average cost of sending money across the world is around 7%16, and it takes days to settle. The World Bank aims to reduce remittance fees to 3% by 2030. With the implementation of blockchain technology, this cost could be further reduced close to zero.
J.P. Morgan, the largest bank in the U.S., has created an Interbank Information Network (IIN) with 416 global Institutions to transform the speed of payment flows through its own JPM Coin, another type of crypto dollar17. Although people argue that JPM Coin is not considered a cryptocurrency as it cannot trade openly on a public blockchain, it is by far the largest scale experiment with all the institutional participants trading within the “permissioned” blockchain. It might be more accurate to refer to it as the use of distributed ledger technology (DLT) instead of “blockchain” in this context. Nevertheless, we should keep in mind that as J.P. Morgan currently moves $6 trillion U.S. dollars per day18, the scale of this experiment would create a considerable impact in the international payment and remittance market if it were successful. Potentially the day will come when regulated crypto exchanges become participants of IIN, and the link between public and private crypto assets can be instantly connected, unlocking greater possibilities in blockchain applications.
Many central banks are also in talks about developing their own central bank digital currency (CBDC). Although this idea was not new, the discussion was brought to the forefront due to Facebook’s aggressive Libra project announcement in June 2019 and the public attention that followed. As of July 2020, at least 36 central banks have published some sort of CBDC framework. While each nation has a slightly different motivation behind its currency digitization initiative, ranging from payment safety, transaction efficiency, easy monetary implementation, or financial inclusion, these central banks are committed to deploying a new digital payment infrastructure. When it comes to the technical architectures, research from BIS indicates that most of the current proofs-of-concept tend to be based upon distributed ledger technology (permissioned blockchain)19.

https://preview.redd.it/lgb1f2rw19p51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=040bb0deed0499df6bf08a072fd7c4a442a826a0
These institutional experiments are laying an essential foundation for an improved global payment infrastructure, where instant and frictionless cross-border settlements can take place with minimal costs. Of course, the interoperability of private DLT tokens and public blockchain stablecoins has yet to be explored, but the innovation with both public and private blockchain efforts could eventually merge. This was highlighted recently by the Governor of the Bank of England who stated that “stablecoins and CBDC could sit alongside each other20”. One thing for certain is that crypto dollars (or other fiat-linked digital currencies) are going to play a significant role in our future economy.

Future Opportunities

There is never a dull moment in the crypto sector. The industry narratives constantly shift as innovation continues to evolve. Twelve years since its inception, Bitcoin has evolved from an abstract subject to a familiar concept. Its role as a secured, scarce, decentralized digital store of value has continued to gain acceptance, and it is well on its way to becoming an investable asset class as a portfolio hedge against asset price inflation and fiat currency depreciation. Stablecoins have proven to be useful as proxy dollars in the crypto world, similar to how dollars are essential in the traditional world. It is only a matter of time before stablecoins or private digital tokens dominate the cross-border payments and global remittances industry.
There are no shortages of hypes and experiments that draw new participants into the crypto space, such as smart contracts, new blockchains, ICOs, tokenization of things, or the most recent trends on DeFi tokens. These projects highlight the possibilities for a much more robust digital future, but the market also needs time to test and adopt. A reliable digital payment infrastructure must be built first in order to allow these experiments to flourish.
In this paper we examined the historical background and economic reasons for the U.S. dollar’s dominance in the world, and the probable conclusion is that the demand for U.S. dollars will likely continue, especially in the middle of a global pandemic, accompanied by a worldwide economic slowdown. The current monetary system is far from perfect, but there are no better alternatives for replacement at least in the near term. Incremental improvements are being made in both the public and private sectors, and stablecoins have a definite role to play in both the traditional and the new crypto world.
Thank you.

Reference:
[1] How the US dollar became the world’s reserve currency, Investopedia
[2] The dollar is in high demand, prone to dangerous appreciation, The Economist
[3] Dollar dominance in trade and finance, Gita Gopinath
[4] Global trades dependence on dollars, The Economist & IMF working papers
[5] Total credit to non-bank borrowers by currency of denomination, BIS
[6] Biggest stock exchanges in the world, Business Insider
[7] McKinsey Global Private Market Review 2020, McKinsey & Company
[8] Central banks current interest rates, Global Rates
[9] Venezuela hyperinflation hits 10 million percent, CNBC
[10] Lebanon inflation crisis, Reuters
[11] Venezuela cryptocurrency market, Chainalysis
[12] The most used cryptocurrency isn’t Bitcoin, Bloomberg
[13] Trading volume of all crypto assets, coinmarketcap.com
[14] Tether US dollar peg is no longer credible, Forbes
[15] New crypto derivatives let you bet on (or against) Tether’s solvency, Coindesk
[16] Remittance Price Worldwide, The World Bank
[17] Interbank Information Network, J.P. Morgan
[18] Jamie Dimon interview, CBS News
[19] Rise of the central bank digital currency, BIS
[20] Speech by Andrew Bailey, 3 September 2020, Bank of England
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Hibiscus Petroleum Berhad (5199.KL)


https://preview.redd.it/gp18bjnlabr41.jpg?width=768&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=6054e7f52e8d52da403016139ae43e0e799abf15
Download PDF of this article here: https://docdro.id/6eLgUPo
In light of the recent fall in oil prices due to the Saudi-Russian dispute and dampening demand for oil due to the lockdowns implemented globally, O&G stocks have taken a severe beating, falling approximately 50% from their highs at the beginning of the year. Not spared from this onslaught is Hibiscus Petroleum Berhad (Hibiscus), a listed oil and gas (O&G) exploration and production (E&P) company.
Why invest in O&G stocks in this particularly uncertain period? For one, valuations of these stocks have fallen to multi-year lows, bringing the potential ROI on these stocks to attractive levels. Oil prices are cyclical, and are bound to return to the mean given a sufficiently long time horizon. The trick is to find those companies who can survive through this downturn and emerge into “normal” profitability once oil prices rebound.
In this article, I will explore the upsides and downsides of investing in Hibiscus. I will do my best to cater this report to newcomers to the O&G industry – rather than address exclusively experts and veterans of the O&G sector. As an equity analyst, I aim to provide a view on the company primarily, and will generally refrain from providing macro views on oil or opinions about secular trends of the sector. I hope you enjoy reading it!
Stock code: 5199.KL
Stock name: Hibiscus Petroleum Berhad
Financial information and financial reports: https://www.malaysiastock.biz/Corporate-Infomation.aspx?securityCode=5199
Company website: https://www.hibiscuspetroleum.com/

Company Snapshot

Hibiscus Petroleum Berhad (5199.KL) is an oil and gas (O&G) upstream exploration and production (E&P) company located in Malaysia. As an E&P company, their business can be basically described as:
· looking for oil,
· drawing it out of the ground, and
· selling it on global oil markets.
This means Hibiscus’s profits are particularly exposed to fluctuating oil prices. With oil prices falling to sub-$30 from about $60 at the beginning of the year, Hibiscus’s stock price has also fallen by about 50% YTD – from around RM 1.00 to RM 0.45 (as of 5 April 2020).
https://preview.redd.it/3dqc4jraabr41.png?width=641&format=png&auto=webp&s=7ba0e8614c4e9d781edfc670016a874b90560684
https://preview.redd.it/lvdkrf0cabr41.png?width=356&format=png&auto=webp&s=46f250a713887b06986932fa475dc59c7c28582e
While the company is domiciled in Malaysia, its two main oil producing fields are located in both Malaysia and the UK. The Malaysian oil field is commonly referred to as the North Sabah field, while the UK oil field is commonly referred to as the Anasuria oil field. Hibiscus has licenses to other oil fields in different parts of the world, notably the Marigold/Sunflower oil fields in the UK and the VIC cluster in Australia, but its revenues and profits mainly stem from the former two oil producing fields.
Given that it’s a small player and has only two primary producing oil fields, it’s not surprising that Hibiscus sells its oil to a concentrated pool of customers, with 2 of them representing 80% of its revenues (i.e. Petronas and BP). Fortunately, both these customers are oil supermajors, and are unlikely to default on their obligations despite low oil prices.
At RM 0.45 per share, the market capitalization is RM 714.7m and it has a trailing PE ratio of about 5x. It doesn’t carry any debt, and it hasn’t paid a dividend in its listing history. The MD, Mr. Kenneth Gerard Pereira, owns about 10% of the company’s outstanding shares.

Reserves (Total recoverable oil) & Production (bbl/day)

To begin analyzing the company, it’s necessary to understand a little of the industry jargon. We’ll start with Reserves and Production.
In general, there are three types of categories for a company’s recoverable oil volumes – Reserves, Contingent Resources and Prospective Resources. Reserves are those oil fields which are “commercial”, which is defined as below:
As defined by the SPE PRMS, Reserves are “… quantities of petroleum anticipated to be commercially recoverable by application of development projects to known accumulations from a given date forward under defined conditions.” Therefore, Reserves must be discovered (by drilling, recoverable (with current technology), remaining in the subsurface (at the effective date of the evaluation) and “commercial” based on the development project proposed.)
Note that Reserves are associated with development projects. To be considered as “commercial”, there must be a firm intention to proceed with the project in a reasonable time frame (typically 5 years, and such intention must be based upon all of the following criteria:)
- A reasonable assessment of the future economics of the development project meeting defined investment and operating criteria; - A reasonable expectation that there will be a market for all or at least the expected sales quantities of production required to justify development; - Evidence that the necessary production and transportation facilities are available or can be made available; and - Evidence that legal, contractual, environmental and other social and economic concerns will allow for the actual implementation of the recovery project being evaluated.
Contingent Resources and Prospective Resources are further defined as below:
- Contingent Resources: potentially recoverable volumes associated with a development plan that targets discovered volumes but is not (yet commercial (as defined above); and) - Prospective Resources: potentially recoverable volumes associated with a development plan that targets as yet undiscovered volumes.
In the industry lingo, we generally refer to Reserves as ‘P’ and Contingent Resources as ‘C’. These ‘P’ and ‘C’ resources can be further categorized into 1P/2P/3P resources and 1C/2C/3C resources, each referring to a low/medium/high estimate of the company’s potential recoverable oil volumes:
- Low/1C/1P estimate: there should be reasonable certainty that volumes actually recovered will equal or exceed the estimate; - Best/2C/2P estimate: there should be an equal likelihood of the actual volumes of petroleum being larger or smaller than the estimate; and - High/3C/3P estimate: there is a low probability that the estimate will be exceeded.
Hence in the E&P industry, it is easy to see why most investors and analysts refer to the 2P estimate as the best estimate for a company’s actual recoverable oil volumes. This is because 2P reserves (‘2P’ referring to ‘Proved and Probable’) are a middle estimate of the recoverable oil volumes legally recognized as “commercial”.
However, there’s nothing stopping you from including 2C resources (riskier) or utilizing 1P resources (conservative) as your estimate for total recoverable oil volumes, depending on your risk appetite. In this instance, the company has provided a snapshot of its 2P and 2C resources in its analyst presentation:
https://preview.redd.it/o8qejdyc8br41.png?width=710&format=png&auto=webp&s=b3ab9be8f83badf0206adc982feda3a558d43e78
Basically, what the company is saying here is that by 2021, it will have classified as 2P reserves at least 23.7 million bbl from its Anasuria field and 20.5 million bbl from its North Sabah field – for total 2P reserves of 44.2 million bbl (we are ignoring the Australian VIC cluster as it is only estimated to reach first oil by 2022).
Furthermore, the company is stating that they have discovered (but not yet legally classified as “commercial”) a further 71 million bbl of oil from both the Anasuria and North Sabah fields, as well as the Marigold/Sunflower fields. If we include these 2C resources, the total potential recoverable oil volumes could exceed 100 million bbl.
In this report, we shall explore all valuation scenarios giving consideration to both 2P and 2C resources.
https://preview.redd.it/gk54qplf8br41.png?width=489&format=png&auto=webp&s=c905b7a6328432218b5b9dfd53cc9ef1390bd604
The company further targets a 2021 production rate of 20,000 bbl (LTM: 8,000 bbl), which includes 5,000 bbl from its Anasuria field (LTM: 2,500 bbl) and 7,000 bbl from its North Sabah field (LTM: 5,300 bbl).
This is a substantial increase in forecasted production from both existing and prospective oil fields. If it materializes, annual production rate could be as high as 7,300 mmbbl, and 2021 revenues (given FY20 USD/bbl of $60) could exceed RM 1.5 billion (FY20: RM 988 million).
However, this targeted forecast is quite a stretch from current production levels. Nevertheless, we shall consider all provided information in estimating a valuation for Hibiscus.
To understand Hibiscus’s oil production capacity and forecast its revenues and profits, we need to have a better appreciation of the performance of its two main cash-generating assets – the North Sabah field and the Anasuria field.

North Sabah oil field
https://preview.redd.it/62nssexj8br41.png?width=1003&format=png&auto=webp&s=cd78f86d51165fb9a93015e49496f7f98dad64dd
Hibiscus owns a 50% interest in the North Sabah field together with its partner Petronas, and has production rights over the field up to year 2040. The asset contains 4 oil fields, namely the St Joseph field, South Furious field, SF 30 field and Barton field.
For the sake of brevity, we shall not delve deep into the operational aspects of the fields or the contractual nature of its production sharing contract (PSC). We’ll just focus on the factors which relate to its financial performance. These are:
· Average uptime
· Total oil sold
· Average realized oil price
· Average OPEX per bbl
With regards to average uptime, we can see that the company maintains relative high facility availability, exceeding 90% uptime in all quarters of the LTM with exception of Jul-Sep 2019. The dip in average uptime was due to production enhancement projects and maintenance activities undertaken to improve the production capacity of the St Joseph and SF30 oil fields.
Hence, we can conclude that management has a good handle on operational performance. It also implies that there is little room for further improvement in production resulting from increased uptime.
As North Sabah is under a production sharing contract (PSC), there is a distinction between gross oil production and net oil production. The former relates to total oil drawn out of the ground, whereas the latter refers to Hibiscus’s share of oil production after taxes, royalties and expenses are accounted for. In this case, we want to pay attention to net oil production, not gross.
We can arrive at Hibiscus’s total oil sold for the last twelve months (LTM) by adding up the total oil sold for each of the last 4 quarters. Summing up the figures yields total oil sold for the LTM of approximately 2,075,305 bbl.
Then, we can arrive at an average realized oil price over the LTM by averaging the average realized oil price for the last 4 quarters, giving us an average realized oil price over the LTM of USD 68.57/bbl. We can do the same for average OPEX per bbl, giving us an average OPEX per bbl over the LTM of USD 13.23/bbl.
Thus, we can sum up the above financial performance of the North Sabah field with the following figures:
· Total oil sold: 2,075,305 bbl
· Average realized oil price: USD 68.57/bbl
· Average OPEX per bbl: USD 13.23/bbl

Anasuria oil field
https://preview.redd.it/586u4kfo8br41.png?width=1038&format=png&auto=webp&s=7580fc7f7df7e948754d025745a5cf47d4393c0f
Doing the same exercise as above for the Anasuria field, we arrive at the following financial performance for the Anasuria field:
· Total oil sold: 1,073,304 bbl
· Average realized oil price: USD 63.57/bbl
· Average OPEX per bbl: USD 23.22/bbl
As gas production is relatively immaterial, and to be conservative, we shall only consider the crude oil production from the Anasuria field in forecasting revenues.

Valuation (Method 1)

Putting the figures from both oil fields together, we get the following data:
https://preview.redd.it/7y6064dq8br41.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=2a4120563a011cf61fc6090e1cd5932602599dc2
Given that we have determined LTM EBITDA of RM 632m, the next step would be to subtract ITDA (interest, tax, depreciation & amortization) from it to obtain estimated LTM Net Profit. Using FY2020’s ITDA of approximately RM 318m as a guideline, we arrive at an estimated LTM Net Profit of RM 314m (FY20: 230m). Given the current market capitalization of RM 714.7m, this implies a trailing LTM PE of 2.3x.
Performing a sensitivity analysis given different oil prices, we arrive at the following net profit table for the company under different oil price scenarios, assuming oil production rate and ITDA remain constant:
https://preview.redd.it/xixge5sr8br41.png?width=433&format=png&auto=webp&s=288a00f6e5088d01936f0217ae7798d2cfcf11f2
From the above exercise, it becomes apparent that Hibiscus has a breakeven oil price of about USD 41.8863/bbl, and has a lot of operating leverage given the exponential rate of increase in its Net Profit with each consequent increase in oil prices.
Considering that the oil production rate (EBITDA) is likely to increase faster than ITDA’s proportion to revenues (fixed costs), at an implied PE of 4.33x, it seems likely that an investment in Hibiscus will be profitable over the next 10 years (with the assumption that oil prices will revert to the mean in the long-term).

Valuation (Method 2)

Of course, there are a lot of assumptions behind the above method of valuation. Hence, it would be prudent to perform multiple methods of valuation and compare the figures to one another.
As opposed to the profit/loss assessment in Valuation (Method 1), another way of performing a valuation would be to estimate its balance sheet value, i.e. total revenues from 2P Reserves, and assign a reasonable margin to it.
https://preview.redd.it/o2eiss6u8br41.png?width=710&format=png&auto=webp&s=03960cce698d9cedb076f3d5f571b3c59d908fa8
From the above, we understand that Hibiscus’s 2P reserves from the North Sabah and Anasuria fields alone are approximately 44.2 mmbbl (we ignore contribution from Australia’s VIC cluster as it hasn’t been developed yet).
Doing a similar sensitivity analysis of different oil prices as above, we arrive at the following estimated total revenues and accumulated net profit:
https://preview.redd.it/h8hubrmw8br41.png?width=450&format=png&auto=webp&s=6d23f0f9c3dafda89e758b815072ba335467f33e
Let’s assume that the above average of RM 9.68 billion in total realizable revenues from current 2P reserves holds true. If we assign a conservative Net Profit margin of 15% (FY20: 23%; past 5 years average: 16%), we arrive at estimated accumulated Net Profit from 2P Reserves of RM 1.452 billion. Given the current market capitalization of RM 714 million, we might be able to say that the equity is worth about twice the current share price.
However, it is understandable that some readers might feel that the figures used in the above estimate (e.g. net profit margin of 15%) were randomly plucked from the sky. So how do we reconcile them with figures from the financial statements? Fortunately, there appears to be a way to do just that.
Intangible Assets
I refer you to a figure in the financial statements which provides a shortcut to the valuation of 2P Reserves. This is the carrying value of Intangible Assets on the Balance Sheet.
As of 2QFY21, that amount was RM 1,468,860,000 (i.e. RM 1.468 billion).
https://preview.redd.it/hse8ttb09br41.png?width=881&format=png&auto=webp&s=82e48b5961c905fe9273cb6346368de60202ebec
Quite coincidentally, one might observe that this figure is dangerously close to the estimated accumulated Net Profit from 2P Reserves of RM 1.452 billion we calculated earlier. But why would this amount matter at all?
To answer that, I refer you to the notes of the Annual Report FY20 (AR20). On page 148 of the AR20, we find the following two paragraphs:
E&E assets comprise of rights and concession and conventional studies. Following the acquisition of a concession right to explore a licensed area, the costs incurred such as geological and geophysical surveys, drilling, commercial appraisal costs and other directly attributable costs of exploration and appraisal including technical and administrative costs, are capitalised as conventional studies, presented as intangible assets.
E&E assets are assessed for impairment when facts and circumstances suggest that the carrying amount of an E&E asset may exceed its recoverable amount. The Group will allocate E&E assets to cash generating unit (“CGU”s or groups of CGUs for the purpose of assessing such assets for impairment. Each CGU or group of units to which an E&E asset is allocated will not be larger than an operating segment as disclosed in Note 39 to the financial statements.)
Hence, we can determine that firstly, the intangible asset value represents capitalized costs of acquisition of the oil fields, including technical exploration costs and costs of acquiring the relevant licenses. Secondly, an impairment review will be carried out when “the carrying amount of an E&E asset may exceed its recoverable amount”, with E&E assets being allocated to “cash generating units” (CGU) for the purposes of assessment.
On page 169 of the AR20, we find the following:
Carrying amounts of the Group’s intangible assets, oil and gas assets and FPSO are reviewed for possible impairment annually including any indicators of impairment. For the purpose of assessing impairment, assets are grouped at the lowest level CGUs for which there is a separately identifiable cash flow available. These CGUs are based on operating areas, represented by the 2011 North Sabah EOR PSC (“North Sabah”, the Anasuria Cluster, the Marigold and Sunflower fields, the VIC/P57 exploration permit (“VIC/P57”) and the VIC/L31 production license (“VIC/L31”).)
So apparently, the CGUs that have been assigned refer to the respective oil producing fields, two of which include the North Sabah field and the Anasuria field. In order to perform the impairment review, estimates of future cash flow will be made by management to assess the “recoverable amount” (as described above), subject to assumptions and an appropriate discount rate.
Hence, what we can gather up to now is that management will estimate future recoverable cash flows from a CGU (i.e. the North Sabah and Anasuria oil fields), compare that to their carrying value, and perform an impairment if their future recoverable cash flows are less than their carrying value. In other words, if estimated accumulated profits from the North Sabah and Anasuria oil fields are less than their carrying value, an impairment is required.
So where do we find the carrying values for the North Sabah and Anasuria oil fields? Further down on page 184 in the AR20, we see the following:
Included in rights and concession are the carrying amounts of producing field licenses in the Anasuria Cluster amounting to RM668,211,518 (2018: RM687,664,530, producing field licenses in North Sabah amounting to RM471,031,008 (2018: RM414,333,116))
Hence, we can determine that the carrying values for the North Sabah and Anasuria oil fields are RM 471m and RM 668m respectively. But where do we find the future recoverable cash flows of the fields as estimated by management, and what are the assumptions used in that calculation?
Fortunately, we find just that on page 185:
17 INTANGIBLE ASSETS (CONTINUED)
(a Anasuria Cluster)
The Directors have concluded that there is no impairment indicator for Anasuria Cluster during the current financial year. In the previous financial year, due to uncertainties in crude oil prices, the Group has assessed the recoverable amount of the intangible assets, oil and gas assets and FPSO relating to the Anasuria Cluster. The recoverable amount is determined using the FVLCTS model based on discounted cash flows (“DCF” derived from the expected cash in/outflow pattern over the production lives.)
The key assumptions used to determine the recoverable amount for the Anasuria Cluster were as follows:
(i Discount rate of 10%;)
(ii Future cost inflation factor of 2% per annum;)
(iii Oil price forecast based on the oil price forward curve from independent parties; and,)
(iv Oil production profile based on the assessment by independent oil and gas reserve experts.)
Based on the assessments performed, the Directors concluded that the recoverable amount calculated based on the valuation model is higher than the carrying amount.
(b North Sabah)
The acquisition of the North Sabah assets was completed in the previous financial year. Details of the acquisition are as disclosed in Note 15 to the financial statements.
The Directors have concluded that there is no impairment indicator for North Sabah during the current financial year.
Here, we can see that the recoverable amount of the Anasuria field was estimated based on a DCF of expected future cash flows over the production life of the asset. The key assumptions used by management all seem appropriate, including a discount rate of 10% and oil price and oil production estimates based on independent assessment. From there, management concludes that the recoverable amount of the Anasuria field is higher than its carrying amount (i.e. no impairment required). Likewise, for the North Sabah field.
How do we interpret this? Basically, what management is saying is that given a 10% discount rate and independent oil price and oil production estimates, the accumulated profits (i.e. recoverable amount) from both the North Sabah and the Anasuria fields exceed their carrying amounts of RM 471m and RM 668m respectively.
In other words, according to management’s own estimates, the carrying value of the Intangible Assets of RM 1.468 billion approximates the accumulated Net Profit recoverable from 2P reserves.
To conclude Valuation (Method 2), we arrive at the following:

Our estimates Management estimates
Accumulated Net Profit from 2P Reserves RM 1.452 billion RM 1.468 billion

Financials

By now, we have established the basic economics of Hibiscus’s business, including its revenues (i.e. oil production and oil price scenarios), costs (OPEX, ITDA), profitability (breakeven, future earnings potential) and balance sheet value (2P reserves, valuation). Moving on, we want to gain a deeper understanding of the 3 statements to anticipate any blind spots and risks. We’ll refer to the financial statements of both the FY20 annual report and the 2Q21 quarterly report in this analysis.
For the sake of brevity, I’ll only point out those line items which need extra attention, and skip over the rest. Feel free to go through the financial statements on your own to gain a better familiarity of the business.
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Income Statement
First, we’ll start with the Income Statement on page 135 of the AR20. Revenues are straightforward, as we’ve discussed above. Cost of Sales and Administrative Expenses fall under the jurisdiction of OPEX, which we’ve also seen earlier. Other Expenses are mostly made up of Depreciation & Amortization of RM 115m.
Finance Costs are where things start to get tricky. Why does a company which carries no debt have such huge amounts of finance costs? The reason can be found in Note 8, where it is revealed that the bulk of finance costs relate to the unwinding of discount of provision for decommissioning costs of RM 25m (Note 32).
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This actually refers to the expected future costs of restoring the Anasuria and North Sabah fields to their original condition once the oil reserves have been depleted. Accounting standards require the company to provide for these decommissioning costs as they are estimable and probable. The way the decommissioning costs are accounted for is the same as an amortized loan, where the initial carrying value is recognized as a liability and the discount rate applied is reversed each year as an expense on the Income Statement. However, these expenses are largely non-cash in nature and do not necessitate a cash outflow every year (FY20: RM 69m).
Unwinding of discount on non-current other payables of RM 12m relate to contractual payments to the North Sabah sellers. We will discuss it later.
Taxation is another tricky subject, and is even more significant than Finance Costs at RM 161m. In gist, Hibiscus is subject to the 38% PITA (Petroleum Income Tax Act) under Malaysian jurisdiction, and the 30% Petroleum tax + 10% Supplementary tax under UK jurisdiction. Of the RM 161m, RM 41m of it relates to deferred tax which originates from the difference between tax treatment and accounting treatment on capitalized assets (accelerated depreciation vs straight-line depreciation). Nonetheless, what you should take away from this is that the tax expense is a tangible expense and material to breakeven analysis.
Fortunately, tax is a variable expense, and should not materially impact the cash flow of Hibiscus in today’s low oil price environment.
Note: Cash outflows for Tax Paid in FY20 was RM 97m, substantially below the RM 161m tax expense.
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Balance Sheet
The balance sheet of Hibiscus is unexciting; I’ll just bring your attention to those line items which need additional scrutiny. I’ll use the figures in the latest 2Q21 quarterly report (2Q21) and refer to the notes in AR20 for clarity.
We’ve already discussed Intangible Assets in the section above, so I won’t dwell on it again.
Moving on, the company has Equipment of RM 582m, largely relating to O&G assets (e.g. the Anasuria FPSO vessel and CAPEX incurred on production enhancement projects). Restricted cash and bank balances represent contractual obligations for decommissioning costs of the Anasuria Cluster, and are inaccessible for use in operations.
Inventories are relatively low, despite Hibiscus being an E&P company, so forex fluctuations on carrying value of inventories are relatively immaterial. Trade receivables largely relate to entitlements from Petronas and BP (both oil supermajors), and are hence quite safe from impairment. Other receivables, deposits and prepayments are significant as they relate to security deposits placed with sellers of the oil fields acquired; these should be ignored for cash flow purposes.
Note: Total cash and bank balances do not include approximately RM 105 m proceeds from the North Sabah December 2019 offtake (which was received in January 2020)
Cash and bank balances of RM 90m do not include RM 105m of proceeds from offtake received in 3Q21 (Jan 2020). Hence, the actual cash and bank balances as of 2Q21 approximate RM 200m.
Liabilities are a little more interesting. First, I’ll draw your attention to the significant Deferred tax liabilities of RM 457m. These largely relate to the amortization of CAPEX (i.e. Equipment and capitalized E&E expenses), which is given an accelerated depreciation treatment for tax purposes.
The way this works is that the government gives Hibiscus a favorable tax treatment on capital expenditures incurred via an accelerated depreciation schedule, so that the taxable income is less than usual. However, this leads to the taxable depreciation being utilized quicker than accounting depreciation, hence the tax payable merely deferred to a later period – when the tax depreciation runs out but accounting depreciation remains. Given the capital intensive nature of the business, it is understandable why Deferred tax liabilities are so large.
We’ve discussed Provision for decommissioning costs under the Finance Costs section earlier. They are also quite significant at RM 266m.
Notably, the Other Payables and Accruals are a hefty RM 431m. What do they relate to? Basically, they are contractual obligations to the sellers of the oil fields which are only payable upon oil prices reaching certain thresholds. Hence, while they are current in nature, they will only become payable when oil prices recover to previous highs, and are hence not an immediate cash outflow concern given today’s low oil prices.
Cash Flow Statement
There is nothing in the cash flow statement which warrants concern.
Notably, the company generated OCF of approximately RM 500m in FY20 and RM 116m in 2Q21. It further incurred RM 330m and RM 234m of CAPEX in FY20 and 2Q21 respectively, largely owing to production enhancement projects to increase the production rate of the Anasuria and North Sabah fields, which according to management estimates are accretive to ROI.
Tax paid was RM 97m in FY20 and RM 61m in 2Q21 (tax expense: RM 161m and RM 62m respectively).

Risks

There are a few obvious and not-so-obvious risks that one should be aware of before investing in Hibiscus. We shall not consider operational risks (e.g. uptime, OPEX) as they are outside the jurisdiction of the equity analyst. Instead, we shall focus on the financial and strategic risks largely outside the control of management. The main ones are:
· Oil prices remaining subdued for long periods of time
· Fluctuation of exchange rates
· Customer concentration risk
· 2P Reserves being less than estimated
· Significant current and non-current liabilities
· Potential issuance of equity
Oil prices remaining subdued
Of topmost concern in the minds of most analysts is whether Hibiscus has the wherewithal to sustain itself through this period of low oil prices (sub-$30). A quick and dirty estimate of annual cash outflow (i.e. burn rate) assuming a $20 oil world and historical production rates is between RM 50m-70m per year, which considering the RM 200m cash balance implies about 3-4 years of sustainability before the company runs out of cash and has to rely on external assistance for financing.
Table 1: Hibiscus EBITDA at different oil price and exchange rates
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The above table shows different EBITDA scenarios (RM ‘m) given different oil prices (left column) and USD:MYR exchange rates (top row). Currently, oil prices are $27 and USD:MYR is 1:4.36.
Given conservative assumptions of average OPEX/bbl of $20 (current: $15), we can safely say that the company will be loss-making as long as oil remains at $20 or below (red). However, we can see that once oil prices hit $25, the company can tank the lower-end estimate of the annual burn rate of RM 50m (orange), while at RM $27 it can sufficiently muddle through the higher-end estimate of the annual burn rate of RM 70m (green).
Hence, we can assume that as long as the average oil price over the next 3-4 years remains above $25, Hibiscus should come out of this fine without the need for any external financing.
Customer Concentration Risk
With regards to customer concentration risk, there is not much the analyst or investor can do except to accept the risk. Fortunately, 80% of revenues can be attributed to two oil supermajors (Petronas and BP), hence the risk of default on contractual obligations and trade receivables seems to be quite diminished.
2P Reserves being less than estimated
2P Reserves being less than estimated is another risk that one should keep in mind. Fortunately, the current market cap is merely RM 714m – at half of estimated recoverable amounts of RM 1.468 billion – so there’s a decent margin of safety. In addition, there are other mitigating factors which shall be discussed in the next section (‘Opportunities’).
Significant non-current and current liabilities
The significant non-current and current liabilities have been addressed in the previous section. It has been determined that they pose no threat to immediate cash flow due to them being long-term in nature (e.g. decommissioning costs, deferred tax, etc). Hence, for the purpose of assessing going concern, their amounts should not be a cause for concern.
Potential issuance of equity
Finally, we come to the possibility of external financing being required in this low oil price environment. While the company should last 3-4 years on existing cash reserves, there is always the risk of other black swan events materializing (e.g. coronavirus) or simply oil prices remaining muted for longer than 4 years.
Furthermore, management has hinted that they wish to acquire new oil assets at presently depressed prices to increase daily production rate to a targeted 20,000 bbl by end-2021. They have room to acquire debt, but they may also wish to issue equity for this purpose. Hence, the possibility of dilution to existing shareholders cannot be entirely ruled out.
However, given management’s historical track record of prioritizing ROI and optimal capital allocation, and in consideration of the fact that the MD owns 10% of outstanding shares, there is some assurance that any potential acquisitions will be accretive to EPS and therefore valuations.

Opportunities

As with the existence of risk, the presence of material opportunities also looms over the company. Some of them are discussed below:
· Increased Daily Oil Production Rate
· Inclusion of 2C Resources
· Future oil prices exceeding $50 and effects from coronavirus dissipating
Increased Daily Oil Production Rate
The first and most obvious opportunity is the potential for increased production rate. We’ve seen in the last quarter (2Q21) that the North Sabah field increased its daily production rate by approximately 20% as a result of production enhancement projects (infill drilling), lowering OPEX/bbl as a result. To vastly oversimplify, infill drilling is the process of maximizing well density by drilling in the spaces between existing wells to improve oil production.
The same improvements are being undertaken at the Anasuria field via infill drilling, subsea debottlenecking, water injection and sidetracking of existing wells. Without boring you with industry jargon, this basically means future production rate is likely to improve going forward.
By how much can the oil production rate be improved by? Management estimates in their analyst presentation that enhancements in the Anasuria field will be able to yield 5,000 bbl/day by 2021 (current: 2,500 bbl/day).
Similarly, improvements in the North Sabah field is expected to yield 7,000 bbl/day by 2021 (current: 5,300 bbl/day).
This implies a total 2021 expected daily production rate from the two fields alone of 12,000 bbl/day (current: 8,000 bbl/day). That’s a 50% increase in yields which we haven’t factored into our valuation yet.
Furthermore, we haven’t considered any production from existing 2C resources (e.g. Marigold/Sunflower) or any potential acquisitions which may occur in the future. By management estimates, this can potentially increase production by another 8,000 bbl/day, bringing total production to 20,000 bbl/day.
While this seems like a stretch of the imagination, it pays to keep them in mind when forecasting future revenues and valuations.
Just to play around with the numbers, I’ve come up with a sensitivity analysis of possible annual EBITDA at different oil prices and daily oil production rates:
Table 2: Hibiscus EBITDA at different oil price and daily oil production rates
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The left column represents different oil prices while the top row represents different daily oil production rates.
The green column represents EBITDA at current daily production rate of 8,000 bbl/day; the orange column represents EBITDA at targeted daily production rate of 12,000 bbl/day; while the purple column represents EBITDA at maximum daily production rate of 20,000 bbl/day.
Even conservatively assuming increased estimated annual ITDA of RM 500m (FY20: RM 318m), and long-term average oil prices of $50 (FY20: $60), the estimated Net Profit and P/E ratio is potentially lucrative at daily oil production rates of 12,000 bbl/day and above.
2C Resources
Since we’re on the topic of improved daily oil production rate, it bears to pay in mind the relatively enormous potential from Hibiscus’s 2C Resources. North Sabah’s 2C Resources alone exceed 30 mmbbl; while those from the yet undiagnosed Marigold/Sunflower fields also reach 30 mmbbl. Altogether, 2C Resources exceed 70 mmbbl, which dwarfs the 44 mmbbl of 2P Reserves we have considered up to this point in our valuation estimates.
To refresh your memory, 2C Resources represents oil volumes which have been discovered but are not yet classified as “commercial”. This means that there is reasonable certainty of the oil being recoverable, as opposed to simply being in the very early stages of exploration. So, to be conservative, we will imagine that only 50% of 2C Resources are eligible for reclassification to 2P reserves, i.e. 35 mmbbl of oil.
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This additional 35 mmbbl of oil represents an 80% increase to existing 2P reserves. Assuming the daily oil production rate increases similarly by 80%, we will arrive at 14,400 bbl/day of oil production. According to Table 2 above, this would yield an EBITDA of roughly RM 630m assuming $50 oil.
Comparing that estimated EBITDA to FY20’s actual EBITDA:
FY20 FY21 (incl. 2C) Difference
Daily oil production (bbl/day) 8,626 14,400 +66%
Average oil price (USD/bbl) $68.57 $50 -27%
Average OPEX/bbl (USD) $16.64 $20 +20%
EBITDA (RM ‘m) 632 630 -
Hence, even conservatively assuming lower oil prices and higher OPEX/bbl (which should decrease in the presence of higher oil volumes) than last year, we get approximately the same EBITDA as FY20.
For the sake of completeness, let’s assume that Hibiscus issues twice the no. of existing shares over the next 10 years, effectively diluting shareholders by 50%. Even without accounting for the possibility of the acquisition of new oil fields, at the current market capitalization of RM 714m, the prospective P/E would be about 10x. Not too shabby.
Future oil prices exceeding $50 and effects from coronavirus dissipating
Hibiscus shares have recently been hit by a one-two punch from oil prices cratering from $60 to $30, as a result of both the Saudi-Russian dispute and depressed demand for oil due to coronavirus. This has massively increased supply and at the same time hugely depressed demand for oil (due to the globally coordinated lockdowns being implemented).
Given a long enough timeframe, I fully expect OPEC+ to come to an agreement and the economic effects from the coronavirus to dissipate, allowing oil prices to rebound. As we equity investors are aware, oil prices are cyclical and are bound to recover over the next 10 years.
When it does, valuations of O&G stocks (including Hibiscus’s) are likely to improve as investors overshoot expectations and begin to forecast higher oil prices into perpetuity, as they always tend to do in good times. When that time arrives, Hibiscus’s valuations are likely to become overoptimistic as all O&G stocks tend to do during oil upcycles, resulting in valuations far exceeding reasonable estimates of future earnings. If you can hold the shares up until then, it’s likely you will make much more on your investment than what we’ve been estimating.

Conclusion

Wrapping up what we’ve discussed so far, we can conclude that Hibiscus’s market capitalization of RM 714m far undershoots reasonable estimates of fair value even under conservative assumptions of recoverable oil volumes and long-term average oil prices. As a value investor, I hesitate to assign a target share price, but it’s safe to say that this stock is worth at least RM 1.00 (current: RM 0.45). Risk is relatively contained and the upside far exceeds the downside. While I have no opinion on the short-term trajectory of oil prices, I can safely recommend this stock as a long-term Buy based on fundamental research.
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What Is Forex?

What Is Forex?

A New Era

Although it might seem easy to invest in Forex nowadays, by just logging into an account with a broker, deposit some money and start actively trading; it has not always been like this, as forex industry has rapidly changed in the past three decades.
Before technology and free-floating currencies took over the industry, world currency exchanges were operating under the Bretton Woods System of Money Management. This agreement established rules for commercial and financial relations among top economies, tying their currencies to gold. Hence, a currency note issued by any world government represented a real amount of gold held in a vault by that nation. When in July 1944 delegates from all over the world sign off the pact, the main goal was to reduce lack of cooperation between countries and therefore avoiding currency wars. This process of regulating the foreign exchange brought to the foundation of the international money fund (IMF) and the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), today part of World bank Group.
However, in the early 70s the real-world economics outpaced the system, dollar suffered from severe inflation cutting its value by half. At that time unemployment rate was 6.1% and inflation 5.84%. Finally, in August 1971, U.S. government led by Richard Nixon took away gold standard, creating the first fiat currency and replacing Bretton Woods System with De Facto. Together with this there were other important measures taken by the USA president to combat that high inflation regime:
  1. This decision was driven by many European nations asking to redeem their dollars for gold, till leaving Bretton Woods System. This had an enormous impact on USD which plunged against European currencies. Consequently, USA congress release a report suggesting USD devaluation to protect the currency from foreign gougers. However, dollar dropped again, and Treasury Secretary was directed to suspend the USD convertibility with gold; hence foreign governments could no longer exchange their USD with gold.
  2. The inflation level was skyrocketing and one more action taken by Nixon was to freeze all wages and prices for 90 days, this was the first time since WWII.
  3. Import surcharge of 10% was set up to safeguard American products ensuring no disadvantage in trades.
Today, USD dominates financial markets, accounting together with the EURO, for approximately 50% of all currency exchange transactions in the world.
1971 represents the beginning of a new forex trading era, bringing this market to be the largest and most liquid in the world, with an average of daily trading volume exceeding $5trn. All the world’s combined stock markets don t even come close to this, what does this mean to you?
In an environment which is controlled by free-floating currencies moving constantly, following principles of supply and demand, there are constant and exciting trading opportunities, unavailable when investing in different markets.
In this article are shared main features of what is forex trading today and how can be an incredible new source of income for everyone who is into financial markets.

What Is Forex?

Forex is the acronym for foreign exchange which intends to be a decentralized or over the counter (OTC) marketplace, where currencies from all over the world are traded 24 hours, five days a week. Main financial centres include New York, Chicago, London, Tokyo and Frankfurt for Eurozone. It is by far the largest market in the world in terms of volume, followed by the credit market. Being highly liquid is an important feature that allows traders to be able to enter and exit their positions very quickly. Nevertheless, while trading forex, an investor should be aware of several components:
Dynamicity – forex is an extremely fast environment, this means that currency rates can move very fast, influenced by price action signals and fundamental factors. Therefore, going into forex trading, one needs to be aware of adopting serious risk and money management strategies in order to be effective, limiting losses.
Zero Sum Game – trading forex is not like investing in the stock market but is known to be a zero-sum game. For example, going into the equity market buying some tech shares, they could both rise or decrease in value. In forex is different because currencies work in pairs; for instance, an investor decides Euro will go up he or she is doing it against another currency. Thus, in this specific marketplace one currency will rise while the other will fall, meaning an investor is buying the currency hoping it will appreciate to the other, or selling the one that will depreciate.
See image below:
Figure 1: Main traded currency pairs
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Currency pairs are composed by a base and a price currency. Main forex trading principle is how much price currency an investor can buy using 1 unit of the base, thus, the base currency, which is the first one in line within the quotation, is always equal to 1.
Because like every financial instrument currency pairs are driven by fundamentals of supply and demand, forex is intensively influenced by geopolitical and macroeconomic factors.
Capital Markets – these are the most visible indicators of a country economic health, where usually the healthier the economy the stronger the currency. For example, a rapid sell-off from a country will show that nation is not economically stable, subsequently investors will think negatively of it depreciating its currency.
Moreover, many countries are sector driven, this means that their currencies are strictly correlated with certain resources. For instance, Canada which is a commodity-based market, CAD is strictly linked to price of Brent and metals, a swing in those will affect the Canadian currency.
Finally, credit market is also connected to forex since also relies heavily on interest rate so, a change in bond yield will have major impact on currency prices. like increase in yield will favour bullish market for USD
International Trade – Trade levels serve as a proxy for relative demand of goods from a nation, a country which goods and services that are in high demand internationally, will experience an appreciation to its currency. This is an effect driven by all other countries converting their currencies into the one of that state to purchase its goods and services. Let’s say a product from USA is in high demand globally, all the other countries must sell their currencies to buy dollars to then see their goods shipped, thus USD will appreciate.
Trade surplus and deficit also indicate a nation competitive standing in international trade. Countries with a large trade deficit are usually importers resulting in more of their currencies being sold to buy goods worldwide, thus they will see their currencies devaluate.
Geopolitics – The political landscape of a nation places a major role in the economic outlook for that country and consequently, the perceived value of its own currency. Beside building up price action strategies, based purely on price levels, forex traders constantly look at economic calendars and news to gauge what could move currencies. A geopolitical event which is having a great impact on GBP, is the election of Boris Johnson as UK prime minister, driving the local currency to 2 years low, yesterday 29th of July 2019. Therefore, when investors observe instability from a nation political environment, there are high chances that the currency of that country will depreciate.

Why Trading Forex

Beside swapping from a gold standard to free-floating, which change the whole forex trading game, technology is another crucial factor that helped this financial sector to spread globally. With the introduction of internet in the 90s forex opened to retail investors giving access to various trading platforms. The introduction of online platforms and retail investments have increased forex market volume by 5%, up to $250bn of its daily turnover. Different traders may have different reasons for selecting forex, however, mostly is because this is a fertile market plenty of daily opportunities to gauge price action and profit from it.

Volatility

How traders profit from trading forex? Basics of trading are rather simple to understand. An investor buys an asset at a certain price hoping to get rid of it for a higher price. The more volatile is the market for that specific financial instrument, the more revenue is possible to make. Therefore, a trader is looking for long up and down moves rather than market fluctuating sideways.
Volatility is great in forex and a trader can expect to regularly see prices oscillating 50-100 pips on major currency pairs almost any day of the week. Yet again, due to this enormous constant fluctuation, potential losses or gains can be very high thus, rigours money management must be applied to avoid major damages and become a profitable trader. To conclude, volatility is the main characteristic investors are looking at and that is why it is one of the main feature traders can take advantage.
See image below:

Figure 2: FDAX Volatility, H4 (30th May 2019, 16:00, 30th July 2019, 16:00)

Accessibility & Technology

While volatility is the most important element out in the market that tell us why forex is the best market to trade, accessibility comes straight after. This market is more accessible than all the others, trading forex requires an online desk position and as little as $100 to start off an account.
In comparison with the other financial markets, forex requires a rather low trading capital. Moreover, trading forex can be easily accessible from your PC, tablet or mobile since most of retail broker firms operate online. Although, accessibility cannot tell the quality of the market by itself, it definitely shows a reason why many investors try their first trading experience on forex.
Also, the rapid introduction of technology since the 90s, made trading much easier. There are every year more advanced online platforms to trade on with many possible updates and that is why trading forex is edging for many global investors.

Forex Players

Before the introduction of free-floating currency and more importantly cutting hedge technology, forex was a market that could have been traded only by institutional investors. Nowadays however, even retail and individual investor can take advantage of the huge volume forex offers every day.
Banks
Interbank market is the major responsible for the high volume registered daily in forex. This is the place where banks exchange currency among each other, facilitating forex transactions for customers and speculate for their trading desks.
  • Clients transactions: in this case banks of all size act as dealer for clients, where the bid-ask spread represents the profit for the institutions.
  • Speculation: currencies are traded to profit from their price fluctuations as well as to increase diversification on their portfolio
Because banking institutions are the biggest players in foreign exchange market, they are able to push up and down the price of currencies giving an extreme advantage and higher volatility to individual traders who are trying to gauge price moves.
Central Banks
Central banks representing their nation’s government, are crucial in forex. They oversee monetary and fiscal policies having massive influence on currency rates. A central bank is responsible for fixing the price level of its native currency on the market, in other words they take care of the regime currencies will float in the open market.
  • Floating: these are the currencies which price floats on the open market based on principles of supply and demand relative to other currencies
  • Pegged (fixed exchange rate): opposite to floating currencies pegged ones are not free-floating in the open market however, their government rather tie them to the value of a stronger foreign currency. Pegged currencies are more seen in developing countries (CYN to USD).
Because central banks manage interest rates in order to increase the competitiveness of their native nation to another.
  • Dovish: these policies will be lowering down interest rates. A central bank which applies dovish conditions aims to give economic stimulus and guard against deflation. Usually a policy intended to give economy stimulus will weakening the currency value.
  • Hawkish: on the other hand, hawkish policies lead to an increase in interest rate. A central bank that uses hawkish measures aims to reduce inflation. Typically, this kind of policies will reinforce the country currency value.
Investment Managers & Hedge Funds
Portfolio managers and hedge funds are the second investors in forex after central and investment banks. They are hired by huge institutions such as pension to manage their assets. However while portfolio managers of pool funds will buy currency to speculate on foreign securities, hedge funds execute speculative trades as part of their strategies.
Corporations
Also international corporation play a big role in forex. Those firms operating globally, buying and selling goods and services are involved in forex transactions daily. Imagine an American company producing pipes that imports Japanese components and sell the finished product to China. After the sale is closed the CYN must be converted back to USD, while the American company must exchange USD into JPY to repay for the components supply.
Moreover, company involved in international trade have an interest in forex in order to hedge the risk associated with currencies fluctuations making several foreign exchange transactions. For instance, the same American company might buy JPY at spot rate, or enter a swap agreement to obtain JPY in advance, overtaking the risk of the Japanese currency to rise in the future. Therefore, forex become crucial to run companies with many subsidiaries and suppliers all over the word.
Individual & Retail Investors
Even though this investor cluster brings to forex a very limited volume compared to financial institutions and corporations, it is rapidly growing in numbers and popularity. These base their trades on a mixture of fundamentals and technical analysis.
Bottom line, main reason why forex is the most traded market in the world is because gives everyone, from top financial institutions to retail and individual trades, opportunities to make returns on capital invested from currencies price fluctuations related to global economy.
submitted by Horizon_Trading to u/Horizon_Trading [link] [comments]

Weekly Roundup | Random Chat | Notifications

News roundup for the previous week.
In International news
  1. Feature: U.S. dignitaries say U.S., China must keep good relations to benefit world
  2. 'Serious' hack attacks from China targeting UK firms: The gang behind the attacks has compromised technology service firms and plans to use them as a proxy for attacks, security firms have said
  3. Americans' concerns about China: ranked
  4. China donated 12,173 tonnes of rice to Zimbabwe to assist vulnerable people that were affected by drought which wreaked havoc last year. In 2016, China already donated 19,000 tonnes of rice which had been distributed to the needy throughout the country
  5. China, South Korea discuss more sanctions on North Korea amid talk of Trump action
  6. Freight train to leave Britain on long haul for China
  7. Blackwater founder Erik Prince eyes opportunities with China
  8. China’s National Space Administration Secretary-General Yulong Tian says that China is contemplating developing cooperation with Russia with respect to space debris
  9. American-Chinese Lady's Dream of Attending Tsinghua: Those who were born in America should know their roots and identify themselves as Chinese because they will not get lost, feel ashamed or reject their motherland's culture in the crisis of identity of American society, Tan concluded
  10. Racist United Airline Overbooked Flight, Forcibly Removes Asian Doctor and His Wife For No Reason Other Than to Free up Seats (United - has acknowledged that the man's only apparent crime was that the flight was overbooked and he refused to leave voluntarily)
  11. Boy, two, and parents suffer burns after acid attack in north London
  12. Russia may abandon International Space Station to join forces with China
  13. A consortium of Chinese and Indonesian firms on Tuesday signed a contract with KCIC, a firm tasked with monitoring the high-speed train project linking Jakarta to Bandung, unveiling the construction phase of the project
  14. China warns against using military force in Syria
  15. United Passenger's Violent Removal Sparks Outrage In China: Images of a bloodied passenger being forcibly removed from a United Airlines flight in Chicago drew widespread condemnation in China following a witnesses' report that the man said he was targeted because he was Chinese
  16. Chinese Lives Matter Petition Becoming Viral in the Overseas Chinese Community
  17. China and Norway resume free trade negotiations after diplomatic freeze: The memorandum of understanding was one of six pacts covering cooperation on economic development, technology, health, science and sport
  18. Russia and China Finding Ways to Avoid the U.S. Dollar: The Central Bank of Russia opened its first overseas office in Beijing. ICBC established a clearing bank in Moscow to handle transactions in Chinese currency. Russia is preparing to issue its first federal loan bonds in Chinese currency
  19. Many in China think doctor was dragged off because he was Asian. 'United Airlines just randomly chose an Asian? It’s blatant racial discrimination' 'a perfect illustration' of human rights in the US. 'I am going to tell you a joke: America is the country with the best human rights'
  20. Chinese social media continues to rage at United, and the airline may face real fallout
  21. China tells US to resolve Korea tensions peacefully
  22. China commits US$60bn to Africa
  23. China warns India over Dalai's visit to disputed area
  24. China Might Bomb North Korea If It Crosses Beijing’s ‘Bottom Line’
  25. Trump, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, appeared to acknowledge that China hasn’t been intervening to weaken its currency recently. “They’re not currency manipulators," he said. (finally we can move on from this made up/outdated fight)
  26. Trump says he told Xi how he bombed Syria over ‘most beautiful piece of cake’: says that he was faced with a dilemma – whether to inform Xi. “What does he do, finish his dessert and go home and then they say, you know, the guy you just had dinner with just attacked a country?” Trump mused
  27. Trump claims China has turned back N. Korean coal ships, lauds it as 'big step': "The vast amount of coal that comes out of North Korea going to China, they've turned back the boats. That's a big step, and they have many other steps that I know about."
  28. Chinese premier holds talks with Sao Tome and Principe counterpart on cooperation
  29. Lukashenko: Belarus is ready to increase food supplies to China's Hunan Province
  30. China publicly criticises US missile strike on Syria
  31. China, Sri Lanka vow to deepen cooperation to further develop strategic cooperative partnership
  32. Russian-Chinese Joint Ventures in Russia’s Far East, Arctic: An integral element in increasing bilateral trade will be the increased maritime transit of goods and hydrocarbon resources by developing Russia’s merchant marine infrastructure
  33. Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed his plans to visit China in May to take part in the "One Belt, One Road" forum in Beijing
  34. White House: China Abstained From UN Vote on Syria Thanks to Trump-Xi
  35. The 10 minutes with Xi Jinping that changed Donald Trump’s mind on North Korea
  36. First rail freight service to China departs UK: British goods including soft drinks, vitamins and baby products are in the 30 containers carried by the train, which will be a regular service. The train will pass through 7 other countries before arriving on 27 April
  37. Chinese FM: Political settlement is only reliable and right way to solve crisis in Syria
  38. Belarus' cooperation with Hunan Province hailed as example to follow
  39. "There can be no winners in an armed conflict between the U.S. and North Korea over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons and missile programs, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Friday [14 April 2017], while pledging China's support for any attempts at dialogue between the sides."
  40. In the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017, China ranked 15 among 136 countries in 14 dimensions, up two spots
  41. China seeks Russia's help to 'cool' N. Korea situation
  42. China says deal reached at last with Myanmar on oil pipeline
  43. Foreign Minister statement on Korea situation. Check out the comments.
In Domestic news
  1. China anti-graft body investigating chief insurance regulator
  2. Beijing to reward informants on spying
  3. Luxembourg Consulate Staff tries to physically assault old Chinese man in Shanghai
  4. China emerges as digital rights champion with new info privacy law
  5. President Xi meets incoming HKSAR chief executive
  6. JD.com to build 150 airports in China for drone delivery: Drone delivery would help reduce the freight costs by 70 percent. It said its drones, which can carry 50 kilograms of parcels, have been put into use and drones that can carry 500 kilograms are in the pipeline
  7. Graph: Finding China's missing girls who show up in the census years -- sometimes decades -- after birth
  8. China raises pensions amid pressure from slowing economy, aging population
  9. China Focus: Xiongan's key role is to receive Beijing's non-capital functions: vice premier
In SciTech news
  1. The Top 10 Artificial Intelligence Startups in China
  2. Self-charging robots sorting system helps Chinese delivery firm finish at least 200k packages a day in the warehouse
  3. Seaweed: From superfood to superconductor. Yang, currently at Qingdao University, worked with colleagues at Qingdao University and at Los Alamos National Laboratory in the U.S. to make porous carbon nanofibers from seaweed extract
  4. Squishy robotic manta ray flaps its wings to spy in the ocean: The goal is to use the robot to explore underwater areas, says Tiefeng Li at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China. “The soft body will make it easy for the robot to sneak through reefs without damaging them,”
  5. Geek Culture Could Teach Americans About Chinese Technology, Says Technopreneur: According to Zhang, being called a geek is a compliment in China as someone who is "super cool" and knowledgeable about technology, and doesn't mean being weird or socially awkward
  6. Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent advance China’s AI development goals, says Microsoft research head. The mainland may be closing in on the US in developing AI, led by its three main internet firms, says Harry Shum Heung-yeung, executive vice-president for the artificial intelligence and research group
  7. China Emerges as Powerhouse for Biotech Drugs
  8. China launches 1st high-throughput communications satellite
  9. Legion Y520 Review - Lenovo's Best Laptop For $850 (Dave Lee review)
  10. Researchers in China and US made a new viral tracking tool by encapsulating HIV-1 in fluorescent quantum dots to observe how the virus enters macrophages at the single particle level in live cells. Technique may help in development of inhibitors that stop HIV from entering macrophages altogether.
  11. Chuwi Hi13: First Look at the Windows 10 2-in-1 with Surface Book Display
  12. SpaceX doesn’t scare Asia’s space players
  13. Google AI's AlphaGo to face Chinese teen in May - Science & Tech
  14. China’s Desert Hamsters on Medicine’s Front Line: The humble Chinese hamster has played a vital role in medical advances for more than a century, thanks to its biological makeup
In Economic news
  1. The bulls are back after China kicks off 2017 with strength: "There's been this cyclical recovery — China's in an easing mode … It shows up in the economic numbers, and it shows up in many company earnings reports," said Brendan Ahern, chief investment officer at Krane Funds Advisors
  2. America owes China $1tn. That's a problem for Beijing, and Trump knows it
  3. U.S. and European regulators have cleared ChemChina's proposed $43 billion acquisition of Swiss agribusiness giant Syngenta on condition it sells some businesses to satisfy anti-monopoly objections
  4. Ballpoint pens and the danger of China’s ‘one-dragon’ policy
  5. The Next Time Americans Want To Believe They Have Free Markets, Remind Them of United Airlines
  6. The surprising rise of China as IP powerhouse
  7. US firms cashing in on China's shift to consumer economy
  8. China is investing in Silicon Valley start-ups with military applications at such a rapid rate that the United States government needs tougher controls to stem the transfer of some of America’s most promising technologies, a Pentagon report says
  9. WhatsApp looks to copy China's Tencent-owned WeChat
  10. Why Trump won't be branding China a currency cheater
  11. China Focus: China's consumer inflation steady amid firming economy
  12. China Focus: Chinese companies come, hiring more locals in U.S.: Chinese investment in the U.S. outstripped U.S. investment in China for the first time in 2015, according to the Rhodium Group. Chinese investment has supported about 104,000 jobs in the United States
  13. China's forex reserves rise for second month in a row: concerns about capital outflows have receded lately, with the Chinese economy on a firmer footing, supported by a string of upbeat data including industrial profits, factory activity and fixed asset investment
  14. Trump won't label China a currency manipulator
  15. U.S. business leaders see benefits from strong trade ties with China
  16. China’s top maker of air conditioners breezes into Brazil’s economy and society
  17. Beijing thinking big on switch to a big data economy: Ministry pushes five-year plan to develop big data into a trillion-yuan industry. The target is for the big data industry, including related goods and services, to exceed 1 trillion yuan (US$144 billion) in revenue by 2020
  18. How Oppo, Vivo and xiaomi conquered India (OPPO、vivo和小米们如何夺取印度半壁江山?)
  19. Korea, China, Japan to hold new round of free trade talks
  20. U.S. Treasury says China does not manipulate its currency
  21. China’s Global Solar Business Shakes Foreign Competitors: China’s relentless pursuit to become self-dependent on sophisticated industries, such as solar panel systems, have left foreign competitors and even smaller-scale Chinese businesses in the dust
In Military news
  1. Thailand to buy more Chinese tanks, reportedly for $58M: According to Thai government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd, the cabinet has approved the acquisition of 10 more VT4 main battle tanks designed and built by China’s Norinco
  2. China and US agree to top military talks to head off close armed encounters: New mechanism between Chinese and US armed forces could ease Beijing’s suspicions about US moves, analyst says
  3. China and Russia are Catching Up to the U.S. Military: America’s enemies are rapidly catching up and in some cases exceeding the United States in terms of military technology, according to senior U.S. Navy official Rear Adm. Mark Darrah
  4. US racing China to develop hypersonic attack drones by 2040
  5. China is testing its new PL-15 long-range air-to-air missile (LRAAM) designed to shoot down defenseless U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy aerial tankers and airborne early warning and control aircraft (AEW&C) from as far away as 300 kilometers
  6. China Takes Wraps Off National Hypersonic Plan
  7. Chinese armed police hold anti-terror drill in Xinjiang
  8. SOUTHCOM Tidd: Russia, Iran and China Expanding Influence in Central, South America. Russia, China and Iran are increasing interest in Central and South America, especially Moscow’s renewed focus on Nicaragua, the head of U.S. Southern Command told the Senate
  9. China Coast Guard vessels patrol Diaoyu Islands on Fri, the 10th time this year
Other Notables
  1. Demolishing Dalian: China's 'Russian' city is erasing its heritage – in pictures
  2. DJI - M200 – Search and Rescue in Extreme Environments
  3. Driving under the rainbow! Watch China's first and only rainbow tunnel
  4. Ancient Chinese tomb-sweeping festival goes hi-tech: If you can't get to the grave yourself, staff at the Yuhuatai Gongdeyuan cemetery will clean tombs and place bouquets for paying clients, who watch the ritual via a livestream on the Wechat app instead
  5. Shanghai past and present
  6. High Profile Korean-Chinese Movie coproduction is a scifi set to release June 30th in China - Starring Yang Mi, Wallace Huo, Produced by Jackie Chan
  7. Westerners oughtn’t to criticize China for its ‘fake cities’: hypocrisy in the way Western media approaches "duplitecture". Core neighborhoods within Manhattan Island owe their architecture to Mannheim, Germany. Try and tell apart the central districts of Buenos Aires, Argentina from Madrid, Spain
  8. The Chinese engineer who mined an American life in Hibbing: In 1914 Wen Ping Pan became the first Chinese student at UofM. Met his wife Mae Humm, who was half-Irish like his mother. She retained an Irish temper and a talent for gab. As a result, she did most of the talking in their 63 yr marriage
  9. 3-part online low-key documentary series looking at different lives in China. First part features Wuhan and punk band SMZB.
  10. Is Hong Kong less free now than under British colonial rule?
  11. Goddess Ivanka continues to win the hearts of Chinese people as she began teaching Mandarin Chinese to Theodore, her youngest son. The boy began his Mandarin lessons just a week following his first birthday
  12. The Mercury Rivers of Emperor Qin Shi Huang
  13. The Chinese engineer who mined an American life on Minnesota's Iron Range
  14. Parcel sorting facility in China
  15. China and The Troubling Idealization of Ivanka
  16. Xiongan New Area to be Shenzhen of the north
  17. China's New World Order - the new Silk Road
  18. Why The NY Time’s Title of ‘Goddess Ivanka’ Is Misleading
  19. The Lionsgate movie “Power Rangers” got the approval of China’s censor for theatrical release on May 12 even if it has a gay character
  20. A Chinese bank employee is being hailed as a hero after risking his life to save a female customer from a robber who put a knife to her neck
  21. Unfettered online hate speech fuels Islamophobia in China.
  22. 汉服音乐微电影 汉家衣裳 超清
  23. Xiongan construction expected to drive up China steel market
  24. China's Xiongan New Area: Protecting environments a major task
  25. White Mainstream Media Goes On The Offensive Against Critics of United Airlines
  26. Success of China behind the growing allure of authoritarianism: the economic successes of China and some other countries may have helped create an underlying crisis of confidence in liberal ideas and values
  27. What does the Hong Kong Sevens have to do with Hongkongers?
  28. Thoughts on article about British Colonialism holding India Back? How did China overcome the Century of Humiliation while the British Raj's legacy still looms over India?
  29. Taiwanese music festival
  30. Foreign girls and their Chinese Mr. Right: Confronted with failure in College Entrance Examination Mei Aisi went to Ukraine for study
  31. What Would Have Happened If China Didn't Develop Nuclear Weapons?
  32. Child prodigy from Sale scores highest possible IQ score, beating Einstein and Hawking (From Messenger Newspapers)
  33. Discussion: Do you think the current escalation in the Korean Peninsula could possibly end up becoming a big boon to China?
  34. Chinese explorer's incredible arctic journey: This is the Arctic Circle, and Zhanjiang-born Wu Yu has just become the first person to ever drive here from China, some 8,000 kilometers away
  35. Reviving traditional Chinese archery: As one of the traditional Six Arts that have their roots in Confucian philosophy and formed the basis of education in ancient Chinese culture, archery has a long history in China
  36. The Results Are In: 2016 Is a Record-Breaking Year for Tall Buildings
  37. Pictures: Apricot flowers in blossom at Jinshanling Great Wall
  38. Something I noticed about chinese-canadians in canada
  39. TIL that the first king of the first muslim kingdom in indonesia was chinese indonesian
  40. Getting paid to do nothing: why the idea of China’s dibao is catching on
  41. Five thousand years of Chinese civilisation through 108 million relics - Four year survey finds that is just what is in the hands of the state. The number grows even more when considering overseas museums and private collectors
submitted by AutoModerator to Sino [link] [comments]

WorldWideMarkets Online Trading to Accept Bitcoin deposits

WWM is an established broker offering online trading in Forex, CFDs and US Stocks to individuals around the world.
Along with many others, we are still studying and debating the ideal role of Bitcoin and other alternative currencies in the world economy. However, as innovators in the financial space and experts in currency management and risk, we are pleased to accept deposits in BTC from qualified depositors for the purpose of trading forex and other instruments from their USD based accounts.
The process is simple: After opening a live account through our website and providing the required ID’s and other documentation, customers can fund with Bitcoin by emailing [email protected] to get the wallet address and instructions.
The deposit will be credited to the customer account in USD at the BTC/USD spot rate from Bitstamp. Any withdrawals would be based strictly on a USD amount, but returned in the equivalent quantity of BTC based on the current spot rate.
WWM is not a Bitcoin exchange, and we do not currently offer actual trading in Bitcoin, although we do plan to introduce a BTC derivative trading product in the near future. The purpose of the BTC deposit must be expressly for trading. We do not solicit or accept any US persons or UK residents as customers.
Learn more about WorldWideMarkets or open an account at our website, or email us for more information: [email protected] www.worldwidemarkets.com
submitted by WWMOnlineTrading to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Financial Times: Trader transcripts: 'If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying' -

Financial Times: Trader transcripts: 'If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying'
May 20, 2015
They were known as the “Cartel” or the “Mafia” among their peers. The unsubtle nicknames were given to a group of traders who at one time worked for five of the six banks that reached settlements on Wednesday with regulators over allegations they rigged the foreign exchange markets.
Transcripts from chatrooms used by those traders and others as they attempted to manipulate forex benchmarks and engaged in misleading sales practices towards their clients were published as part of the settlements.
Below is a selection of the exchanges (including original punctuation) from the settlements between Barclays and the New York State Department of Financial Services and the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority:
● Membership of the chatroom used by the “Cartel” was by invitation only. The FT has previously named the members of the “Cartel” as Rohan Ramchandani, Citi’s European head of spot trading, and Richard Usher, who moved from RBS to become JPMorgan’s chief currency dealer in London, and Matt Gardiner, who was at Barclays before joining UBS.
One Barclays trader, Chris Ashton, was desperate to join the chatroom when he became the bank’s main euro trader in 2011. After discussions as to whether the trader “would add value”, he was invited to join for a one-month “trial” but was warned by Mr Ramchandani: “Mess this up and sleep with one eye open at night.” Mr Ashton passed his “trial” and remained in the chatroom until it was shut down at some point in 2012.
● Traders used various strategies to try to manipulate fix rates, according to the NYDFS.
One method, known as “building ammo”, involved one trader building a large position in a currency and then unloading it just before or during the “fixing period” — a short period of time during which an average price is produced, at which large client transactions are executed — in an attempt to move the price favourably.
On January 6 2012, the head of Barclays’ FX spot desk in London attempted to manipulate the reference rate set by the European Central Bank by unloading €500m at the time of the fix. He wrote in the Cartel chatroom “I saved 500 for last second” and in another, “i had 500 to jam it.”
Another method was for traders at rival banks to agree to stay out of each other’s way at the time of the fix.
In one example, from June 2011, a Barclays trader told a counterpart at HSBC that another trader was building orders to execute at the fix contrary to HSBC’s orders. But the Barclays trader assisted HSBC by executing trades ahead of the fix to decrease the other trader’s orders. He wrote: “He paid me for 186 . . . so shioud have giot rid of main buyer for u.”
In another chat in December 2011, a Barclays trader told another at Citigroup: “If u bigger. He will step out of the way . . . We gonna help u.”
In the another example, traders in the US dollar-Brazilian real market colluded to manipulate it by agreeing to boycott local brokers to drive down competition. In October 2009, a trader at Royal Bank of Canada wrote: “everybody is in agreement in not accepting a local player as a broker?” A Barclays forex trader replied: “yes, the less competition the better.”
● Then there were numerous occasions, according to the NYDFS, from at least 2008 to 2014 when Barclays employees on the forex sales team engaged in misleading sales practices with clients by applying “hard mark-ups” to the prices that traders gave the sales team.
The level of mark-up was determined by calculating the best rate for Barclays that would not lead the client to question whether executing the transaction with the bank was a good idea.
One Barclays forex salesperson wrote in a chat to an employee at another bank in December 2009: “hard mark up is key . . . but i was taught early . . . u dont have clients . . . u dont make money . . . so dont be stupid.”
These mark-ups were a key source of revenue to Barclays, and generating them was made a high priority for sales managers. As a Barclays’ vice-president in New York (who later became co-head of UK FX hedge fund sales) wrote in a November 2010 chat: “markup is making sure you make the right decision on price . . . which is whats the worst price i can put on this where the customers decision to trade with me or give me future business doesn’t change . . . if you aint cheating, you aint trying.”
● In the FCA settlement, the regulator details an exchange between traders at Barclays and three other firms, refered to as X, Y and Z. Barclays was trying to trigger a client stop-loss order to buy £77m at a rate of 95 against another currency. If it could trigger the order, it would result in Barclays selling £77m to its client and the bank would profit it the average rate at which the bank had bought sterling in the market was below the rate at which the client had agreed to buy it.
In one exchange, firm X asked Barclays and firms Y and Z if they had any stop-loss orders — “u got...stops?” Barclays replied to say it had one for “80 quid” at a level of 95 and noted it was “primed like a coiled cobra...concentrating so hard...[as if] made of wax...[haven’t] even blinked”.
● While most of the settlements concerned manipulation of foreign exchange benchmarks, UBS inked a deal with the US Department of Justice in which it agreed to plead guilty to rigging Libor.
In once example, a broker commented to a UBS trader after a Yen Libor fix on June 10 2009: “mate yur getting bloody good at this libor game . . . think of me when yur on yur yacht in monaco wont yu”
In another conversation with a UBS trader after a Libor Yen fix on August 22 2008, a broker, identified as A1, commented about another broker, A2: “think [broker-A2] is your best broker in terms of value added :-)”.
The trader replied: “yeah . . . i reckon i owe him a lot more”, to which broker-A1 responded: “he’s ok with an annual champagne shipment, a few [drinking sessions] with [his supervisor] and a small bonus every now and then.”
submitted by wazzzzah to inthenews [link] [comments]

Financial Times: Trader transcripts: 'If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying' -

Financial Times: Trader transcripts: 'If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying'
May 20, 2015
They were known as the “Cartel” or the “Mafia” among their peers. The unsubtle nicknames were given to a group of traders who at one time worked for five of the six banks that reached settlements on Wednesday with regulators over allegations they rigged the foreign exchange markets.
Transcripts from chatrooms used by those traders and others as they attempted to manipulate forex benchmarks and engaged in misleading sales practices towards their clients were published as part of the settlements.
Below is a selection of the exchanges (including original punctuation) from the settlements between Barclays and the New York State Department of Financial Services and the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority:
● Membership of the chatroom used by the “Cartel” was by invitation only. The FT has previously named the members of the “Cartel” as Rohan Ramchandani, Citi’s European head of spot trading, and Richard Usher, who moved from RBS to become JPMorgan’s chief currency dealer in London, and Matt Gardiner, who was at Barclays before joining UBS.
One Barclays trader, Chris Ashton, was desperate to join the chatroom when he became the bank’s main euro trader in 2011. After discussions as to whether the trader “would add value”, he was invited to join for a one-month “trial” but was warned by Mr Ramchandani: “Mess this up and sleep with one eye open at night.” Mr Ashton passed his “trial” and remained in the chatroom until it was shut down at some point in 2012.
● Traders used various strategies to try to manipulate fix rates, according to the NYDFS.
One method, known as “building ammo”, involved one trader building a large position in a currency and then unloading it just before or during the “fixing period” — a short period of time during which an average price is produced, at which large client transactions are executed — in an attempt to move the price favourably.
On January 6 2012, the head of Barclays’ FX spot desk in London attempted to manipulate the reference rate set by the European Central Bank by unloading €500m at the time of the fix. He wrote in the Cartel chatroom “I saved 500 for last second” and in another, “i had 500 to jam it.”
Another method was for traders at rival banks to agree to stay out of each other’s way at the time of the fix.
In one example, from June 2011, a Barclays trader told a counterpart at HSBC that another trader was building orders to execute at the fix contrary to HSBC’s orders. But the Barclays trader assisted HSBC by executing trades ahead of the fix to decrease the other trader’s orders. He wrote: “He paid me for 186 . . . so shioud have giot rid of main buyer for u.”
In another chat in December 2011, a Barclays trader told another at Citigroup: “If u bigger. He will step out of the way . . . We gonna help u.”
In the another example, traders in the US dollar-Brazilian real market colluded to manipulate it by agreeing to boycott local brokers to drive down competition. In October 2009, a trader at Royal Bank of Canada wrote: “everybody is in agreement in not accepting a local player as a broker?” A Barclays forex trader replied: “yes, the less competition the better.”
● Then there were numerous occasions, according to the NYDFS, from at least 2008 to 2014 when Barclays employees on the forex sales team engaged in misleading sales practices with clients by applying “hard mark-ups” to the prices that traders gave the sales team.
The level of mark-up was determined by calculating the best rate for Barclays that would not lead the client to question whether executing the transaction with the bank was a good idea.
One Barclays forex salesperson wrote in a chat to an employee at another bank in December 2009: “hard mark up is key . . . but i was taught early . . . u dont have clients . . . u dont make money . . . so dont be stupid.”
These mark-ups were a key source of revenue to Barclays, and generating them was made a high priority for sales managers. As a Barclays’ vice-president in New York (who later became co-head of UK FX hedge fund sales) wrote in a November 2010 chat: “markup is making sure you make the right decision on price . . . which is whats the worst price i can put on this where the customers decision to trade with me or give me future business doesn’t change . . . if you aint cheating, you aint trying.”
● In the FCA settlement, the regulator details an exchange between traders at Barclays and three other firms, refered to as X, Y and Z. Barclays was trying to trigger a client stop-loss order to buy £77m at a rate of 95 against another currency. If it could trigger the order, it would result in Barclays selling £77m to its client and the bank would profit it the average rate at which the bank had bought sterling in the market was below the rate at which the client had agreed to buy it.
In one exchange, firm X asked Barclays and firms Y and Z if they had any stop-loss orders — “u got...stops?” Barclays replied to say it had one for “80 quid” at a level of 95 and noted it was “primed like a coiled cobra...concentrating so hard...[as if] made of wax...[haven’t] even blinked”.
● While most of the settlements concerned manipulation of foreign exchange benchmarks, UBS inked a deal with the US Department of Justice in which it agreed to plead guilty to rigging Libor.
In once example, a broker commented to a UBS trader after a Yen Libor fix on June 10 2009: “mate yur getting bloody good at this libor game . . . think of me when yur on yur yacht in monaco wont yu”
In another conversation with a UBS trader after a Libor Yen fix on August 22 2008, a broker, identified as A1, commented about another broker, A2: “think [broker-A2] is your best broker in terms of value added :-)”.
The trader replied: “yeah . . . i reckon i owe him a lot more”, to which broker-A1 responded: “he’s ok with an annual champagne shipment, a few [drinking sessions] with [his supervisor] and a small bonus every now and then.”
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Dealers in Foreign Exchange Market

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