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Deutsche Bank unexpectedly pulled an offer to hire a top executive at the last minute (DB)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank unexpectedly pulled an offer to hire a top executive at the last minute, people familiar with the matter said, delaying its efforts to end churn at its fixed-income operation.

Rob Allard, a former Deutsche Bank executive who ran the structured product sales team before moving to Goldman Sachs in 2008, was due to join the bank as head of US fixed-income sales. He was set to replace John Gallo in that role. Matt Scully at Bloomberg reported the hire last week. 

However, the job offer has since been rescinded, according to three people who did not want to be identified discussing the matter. It's unclear why, they said. A Deutsche Bank spokesman declined to comment, as did Allard.

Allard was most recently CEO of hedge fund Firebreak Capital. The fund is closing.  

It marks a strange turn of events for Deutsche Bank, which has seen a high level of churn in fixed-income sales. 

Dixit Joshi, who previously led the bank's fixed-income sales force globally as head of the institutional client group for debt, moved to the role of group treasurer earlier this year. 

Suzanne Cain, who had been European head of debt sales, left for a role at BlackRock in February. Her departure was followed by that of Kevin Burke, who held the same role in Asia

The departure of Gallo meant that the global head, the US head, the European head, and the Asian head of fixed income sales either moved internally or left in 2017. 

Deutsche Bank reported debt sales and trading revenues of €2.3 billion in the first quarter, up from €2.1 billion in the first quarter of 2016. The bank cited strong revenues in credit and rates in particular. 

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Doctors and patient advocates are slamming the Senate Republicans' healthcare plan

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

surgeon surgery doctor

Doctors and patient groups slammed the Better Care Reconciliation Act released by Republican Senators on Thursday, taking issue in particular with Medicaid cuts in the bill.

The groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and American Hospital Association, are critical of Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.

The Senate's plan, like one passed by the
House of Representatives rolls back many of the provisions of Obamacare, including taking deep cuts from the Medicaid program.

Here's what the groups thought of the bill

The American Academy of Pediatrics, which represents 66,000 pediatricians, opposed the BCRA, especially because it was left out of the conversation around its drafting.

"The bill that the Senate unveiled today was crafted without the benefit of groups like pediatricians weighing in with what children need," Dr. Fernando Stein, president of the AAP, said in a statement. "The result is that the bill would tear down the progress we've made by achieving health insurance coverage for 95% of America's children."

The AAP was critical of the changes to Medicaid.

"The bill includes misleading 'protections' for children by proposing to exempt them from certain Medicaid cuts," Stein said. "A 'carve-out' for children with 'medically complex' health issues does little to protect their coverage when the base program providing the coverage is stripped of its funding." 

 The American Lung Association also opposed the bill, citing the Medicaid cuts. 

"The proposed cuts to Medicaid under this bill will be devastating for children, seniors and people living with disabilities for whom healthcare is critical. Cuts to Medicaid will lead to more asthma attacks," ALA President Harold Wimmer said in a statement Thursday. 

Leading up to the bill's release, the ALA didn't get a chance to share their thoughts on the BCRA. 

"You're never going to get everything right," Erika Sward, the assistant vice president of national advocacy at the ALA told Business Insider. But when you completely exclude patient organizations from the conversations, "you're more likely to get it wrong," she said. 

The March of Dimes criticized the cuts to coverage for children and pregnant women.

"This bill penalizes pregnant women, children and families at every turn," the organization's president Stacey Stewart said in a statement.  

The American Hospital Association, which represents thousands of hospitals and health systems, was unhappy with the cuts to the Medicaid program. 

"Medicaid cuts of this magnitude are unsustainable and will increase costs to individuals with private insurance. We urge the Senate to go back to the drawing board and develop legislation that continues to provide coverage to all Americans who currently have it," AHA President Richard Pollack said in a statement on Thursday. 

SEE ALSO: This map shows where people with HIV live in the US — and points to some troubling trends

DON'T MISS: Nevada just passed one of the strictest drug pricing transparency laws in the country

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JPMORGAN: There's a chance Walmart will go head-to-head with Amazon to buy Whole Foods (AMZN, WMT, WFM)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Walmart

Amazon's deal to acquire Whole Foods merger may seem like a dream come true to some, but there's a realistic chance Walmart could still swoop in to trump Amazon's $13.7 billion offer, according to JPMorgan. 

Whole Foods stock has been trading above Amazon's offer of $42 a share, signaling that investors believe a bidding war could emerge and drive up the final price for Whole Foods.

Competitors like Target, Costco, and Kroger have been rumored as potential suitors, and they'd do anything to make this deal harder for Amazon, according to Barclays analyst Karen Short.

According to JPMorgan, Walmart is the only retailer with a legitimate shot of entering the fray.

Here's JPMorgan (emphasis added):

"From our perspective, we have a hard time seeing Kroger, Costco, or Target coming in over the top. We do think there is a chance that Walmart makes a bid. There are compelling reasons for it to do so (adding new, generally wealthier customers; acquiring a strong brand; generating synergies and efficiencies; et al), in addition to keeping Amazon out of its wheelhouse." 

Walmart is the only company with the financial might to play ball with Amazon. The current offer for Whole Foods comprises only 3% of Amazon's market cap and only 6% of Walmart's. It would match 64% of Kroger's. 

Here's how other companies would fare, including Costco (COST), Publix (PUSH), Target (TGT), and Netherlands-based Ahold-Delhaize (AD NA). 

JPMorgan note whole foods walmart

Walmart also has plenty of incentives to make a move for Whole Foods, according to JPMorgan. Among them:

  • Grocery is its strongest advantage right now against Amazon, its top competitor. That moat is significantly diminished once Whole Foods is safely in Amazon's clutches. 
  • Walmart could leverage the distribution network of its roughly 4,000 locations to help expand Whole Foods' audience. 
  • Whole Foods would also fit nicely into Walmart's network of stores without overlapping too much, as their stores are concentrated in urban, high-income locations. 

That's not to say that a Walmart bid would be a slam dunk. While JPMorgan thinks Walmart is the only competitor in the group "with the means and motive to counterbid," doing so would have serious downsides.

For starters, it puts Walmart in a defensive position rather than offensive: It already owns a colossal network of brick and mortar grocery stores; what it really needs to improve is its online platform. 

Here's JPMorgan: 

"Given Walmart’s 20%+ share in grocery, why should the company spend $14B+ on what it’s already good at (selling food via brick-and-mortar) when the money instead could be used to expand and improve Jet.com and Walmart.com? Jet.com is Walmart’s urban/millennial alternative to Amazon Prime, and Walmart.com is in many ways the 'forgotten man’s' alternative to Prime." 

It would also be very difficult to overcome the culture clash. For instance, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey has focused intently on employee welfare — even to the detriment of shareholders, he acknowledges — while Walmart is notoriously stingy on benefits and has reputation for paying minimum wage, JPMorgan notes.

When Walmart spent $310 million last Friday to acquire Bonobos — a high-end brand like Whole Foods — fans of the hip fashion brand were furious, saying it was "no longer cool." It's hard to imagine Whole Foods loyalists would be more subdued. 

"As cultural similarity is often a key determinant of a successful merger, we think WMT and WFM have conclusively different guiding principles for the two entities to combine and thrive," JPMorgan wrote in the note. 

Walmart is probably the only company out there with the financial firepower and the motive to compete with Amazon for Whole Foods. But it wouldn't be easy, and Amazon, with a cash war chest nearly $20 billion larger than Walmart's, will have the right to match or beat any offer that comes in.

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Millennials want to put their wealth to work for the greater good

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

friends tourists selfie millennials colorful

Millennials are more connected and aware of global issues than ever, which is changing the way they approach investing their wealth.

According to a new UBS report, millennials as a generation will likely be worth $24 trillion by 2020. That figure is one and a half times US gross domestic product.

But young investors are not only looking for financial returns — they want to put that wealth to work for the public good.

"Our wealthiest millennial clients are at the forefront of the trend towards digital networking and mobilizing investments for public good," writes Simon Smiles, CIO for Ultra High Net Worth at UBS Wealth Management in a news release for the UBS report. "To meet related needs, wealth managers and financial advisers must prioritize new digital services like financial networks and help mainstream impact investing and other sustainability-related initiatives."

Sustainability is a key issue for millennials. Investors under the age of 35 are roughly twice as likely as other age cohorts to withdraw from investments that have sustainability problems, according to UBS.

And with millennials poised to inherit roughly $30 trillion from the baby-boomers, catering to the preferences of the younger generation will be key for wealth managers and financial advisers. Wealth managers hoping to win younger clients will likely need to help their investors identify companies meeting standards for sustainability and community impact.

While there are currently no uniform standards in evaluating a company's sustainability efforts, there are several initiatives underway from groups such as the Global Reporting Initiative, the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate Change, and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board that aim to educate and inform the public on the performance of companies' efforts to increase sustainability.

Mark Haefele, Global CIO at UBS Wealth Management, wrote that this focus on impact investing "gives wealth managers and financial advisers a renewed opportunity to improve their digital capabilities as well as using private capital to help make the world a more sustainable place."

Screen Shot 2017 06 22 at 2.16.58 PM

SEE ALSO: A startup that wants to change the way people think about saving money has named a new CEO

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The company called Blockchain raises $40 million

TechCrunch, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

 Blockchain (the company) just raised a $40 million Series B funding round led by Lakestar. Blockchain has been working on the most popular bitcoin wallet in the world. You can open a wallet on the company’s website or through its mobile apps. GV, Nokota Management, Digital Currency Group and existing investors Lightspeed Venture Partners, Mosaic Venture Partners, Prudence Holdings,… Read More

Blockchain-Based Remittance Companies Win at RemTECH Awards Ceremony

Bitcoin Magazine, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

RemTech Awards

The global remittance industry’s blockchain-based startups got a boost recently at the Remittance Technology (RemTECH) awards held at the United Nations in New York, from June 16 to 18 as part of the UN Global Forum on Remittances, Investment and Development.

Of the 11 award-winning remittance companies, five startups built on the blockchain were winners. The entries were judged on price, speed, the onboarding of enterprise clients (for white label solutions) and seamless delivery.

The aim of the RemTECH awards is to showcase the most innovative and outstanding ideas, models and projects designed to improve remittance services worldwide by improving transparency, speed, cost and reliability for companies and end-users that send and receive remittances.

Hugo Cuevas-Mohr, Director of the RemTECH Awards, told Bitcoin Magazine:

“Even though large money transfer companies still don’t see the importance of the breakthroughs of blockchain-based and Bitcoin remittance startups, the RemTECH Judging Panel was impressed by some of the solutions presented by companies like Bitso and Everex, just to name two of them.”

“The Awards gave new blockchain startups a chance to shine in the spotlight of the United Nations Forum where the public and private sector met to discuss the challenges of the remittance industry. At IMTC (International Money Transfer Conferences) we are striving to create this dialog of incumbents and fintech firms to work together and create win-win partnerships. It’s not easy but it is happening,” added Cuevas-Mohr.

Bitcoin and blockchain services AirPocket, Bitso, Everex, Moneytis and Trulioo took home the following awards:

Remittances and Financial Inclusion: AirPocket

AirPocket, built on the Bitcoin blockchain, serves Latin America with tens of thousands of payout locations and is supported by the top banks in each country.

Pioneering Spirit: Bitso

Mexican bitcoin exchange Bitso, which raised $2.5 million last September, has been working with Canadian payments startup Paycase to create a new remittance corridor between the two countries and send funds from bank accounts in Canada to Mexico.

Most Innovative Service: Moneytis

Bitcoin blockchain-based Moneytis aims to offer the lowest possible fees to help empower unbanked groups in the developing world. They also have a notification service that monitors all exchange rates in real-time and sends alerts when a significant change happens.

Potential for Growth: Trulioo

Trulioo is a Canadian blockchain-based financial technology company that in addition to remittance services, offers identity verification services for businesses and organizations worldwide using government and private databases.

Service Originality: Everex

Everex was the only Ethereum-based platform nominated. In addition to its contributions to remittance services, Everex has also developed a system for placing national currencies on the blockchain. By doing so, Everex allows people living in cash-based societies to earn a public financial reputation.

“The judges knew about Ethereum, and were excited by the ongoing experiments taking place on the network by individual users, small businesses and multinational corporations,” said Alexi Lane, CEO of Everex, in a statement. “This technology will transform the remittance industry and increase financial inclusion everywhere.”

Greta Geankoplis, a blockchain systems developer and IMTC (International Money Transfer & Payments Conferences) advisor, co-chaired the judges panel. She told Bitcoin Magazine:

“Blockchain (and some Bitcoin specifically) platform-based companies competed shoulder to shoulder with older technology for delivering cross-border value to diverse customers in widely varying environments.

But this is just the beginning. Blockchain platforms in the $700 billion remittance industry holds the promise of leveraging many other needed services in the fastest growing markets: mobile based, micro insurance, loans, education, and remote healthcare to name a few.”

Other blockchain-based companies that were nominated for a RemTECH award included Bitex, Cashaa, DigitalX and OKLink.

The post Blockchain-Based Remittance Companies Win at RemTECH Awards Ceremony appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

U.S. Bill Requiring Travelers to Declare Digital Currencies Resurfaces

Bitcoin Magazine, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

U.S. Bill Requiring Travelers to Declare Digital Currencies Resurfaces

The United States Senate has introduced a bill that would require all travelers entering the U.S. to declare digital currency holdings in excess of $10,000. Despite concerns raised by the invasive nature of the bill, the likelihood of it being passed is extremely low simply due to the incredibly challenging infrastructure that would be required.

In fact, the new bill is actually a reintroduction of an older bill that was originally introduced in 2011. The 2011 bill never made it out of sub-committee deliberation.

Speaking about the recent legislation development, David Siegel, founder of Twenty Thirty AG and Bitcoin enthusiast, tells Bitcoin Magazine, “It’s disappointing. It’s a step back toward 1934.”

The bill would require the Secretary of Homeland Secretary and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner to submit a joint report to Congress withinthat meets the following two conditions over 18 months after the date of enactment of this Act:

“(1) detailing a strategy to interdict and detect prepaid access devices, digital currencies, or other similar instruments, at border crossings and other ports of entry for the United States; and;
(2) that includes an assessment of infrastructure needed to carry out the strategy ...”

The amount of technology that would have to be developed in order to enforce this law is incredible. How could they detect these crypto assets? The infrastructure investment that would be needed would be quite prodigious.

“My position on regulation is that there should be strong evidence supporting its effectiveness,” says Siegel. “I don’t see declaring moving money as a transparency issue, so I would say it’s a strong step in the wrong direction. I think regulation should be scaled way back to the point where we can show it’s actually better than no regulation.”

The bill, S.1241, would add “prepaid access devices” under the definition of U.S. monetary instruments in section 5312, title 31, of the U.S. Code. Specifically, a “‘prepaid access device’ means an electronic device or vehicle, such as a card, plate, code, number, electronic serial number, mobile identification number, personal identification number, or other instrument, that provides a portal to funds or the value of funds that have been paid in advance and can be retrievable and transferable at some point in the future.”

These prepaid access devices, in theory, could extend to include electronic ledgers, cryptocurrency wallets and even private keys. These are all portals where individuals can gain access to their private funds. Thus, individuals with more than $10,000 worth of crypto assets tied up on the blockchain would have to declare their crypto net worth to the U.S. Government by filling out a Report of International Transportation of Currency or Monetary Instruments, often called the FinCEN105. This could have a serious impact on digital currency holders traveling to the United States. Punishment for not reporting could include up to five years of jail time and forfeiture of those funds in the form of criminal and civilian penalties.

Formally known as the “Combating Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing, and Counterfeiting Act of 2017,” the bill was introduced on May 25, 2017, by Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and is co-sponsored by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), John Cornyn (R-TX) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). It has been referred to the Committee on the Judiciary for further deliberation, but has a tremendous number of obstacles that must be overcome before reaching the President’s desk for final approval.

The post U.S. Bill Requiring Travelers to Declare Digital Currencies Resurfaces appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

The first thing you should do when you start at a Wall Street bank

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Wall Street Money Never Sleeps Shia

Interns have descended upon Wall Street.

They'll likely work long hours under high pressure in what is known to be an extremely competitive environment.

But there is one thing that new hires and interns can do to stay afloat: Find a sponsor within their new firm as soon as possible.

Michelle Domanico was named to Forbes' "30 Under 30" finance list in 2016. She told Business Insider that it's extremely important to find a senior person in the firm who is not your boss — someone who will go to bat for you when it comes time to decide promotions and pay.

"That person can change over time, and it probably needs to change over time," Domanico said.

At the time, she was a principal at KKR, the private equity giant. She has since joined Shenkman Capital Management, a credit research firm, as a senior credit analyst.

Domanico said sponsor relationships develop organically, but you can still be proactive about it.

"You should notice when someone takes either an interest in you or offers to be helpful," she said.

For example, you might be in a big general meeting with a senior person who says, "Let me know if anybody has questions or would like to meet about this."

That's where you can jump in.

"The difference is the young person proactively shooting that person an email and saying, 'Thanks so much for the offer. I'd love to meet one-on-one and get your perspective on these three things,' versus not acting," Domanico said.

Learning from mistakes

Domanico mentioned a few other things to keep in mind.

She said networking, both internally and externally, has been a powerful tool for her. So has maintaining her integrity. "There are lots of viral emails that go around — examples of what happens when that goes wrong," she said. "Reputations are very, very hard to fix."

She added that it's important to fail fast and learn from your mistakes.

"[How] you handle a mistake that you've made is a really defining attribute of somebody," she said. "And those are not bad things — those are opportunities for growth, and I think that failure and mistakes are actually what you learn from the most versus the successes that you experience along your career path."

Portia Crowe contributed to an earlier version of this article.

SEE ALSO: The head of HR at a top Wall Street bank shares the secrets to getting ahead in finance

SEE ALSO: An investment banker explains why aspiring Wall Streeters should read every section of the newspaper

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$45 BILLION HEDGE FUND BOSS: Protectionism is 'a convenient fig leaf for the shortcomings of US business leaders'

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

David Siegel Two Sigma

Add David Siegel, co-founder of $45 billion hedge fund Two Sigma Investments, to the list of those warning against protectionism. 

In an op-ed on LinkedIn, Siegel recites a recent trip to an Abu Dhabi camel farm, which he toured in a "comfortable, Japanese-made SUV." His host explained that everyone used to drive American cars, but they don't stack up anymore.

"As US policymakers wrestle with how to stanch (if not reverse) the decline of manufacturing employment and alleviate the US trade deficit, my thoughts often return to that conversation in the desert, and to many others like it," he said.

From the op-ed:

We hear a lot about how both automation and globalization have affected factory jobs here at home. It’s true that repetitive manual and cognitive tasks are increasingly likely to be automated, and that labor costs in developing countries remain far below those of the developed world. When it comes to solutions, however, I see a concerning sign: trade protectionism is once again becoming the response to dwindling factory payrolls and a swollen trade deficit.

The recent re-embrace of this warmed-over policy seems more like a convenient fig leaf for the shortcomings of US business leaders than a viable answer. The qualities that have driven US economic growth and job creation in the past–creativity, risk taking, and innovation–are what will actually help rekindle demand for US-made products overseas, and for American labor.

The rise of protectionism has been a hot topic of late, given the UK's decision to leave the EU and the election of Donald Trump at US president. Trump made the debate over free trade one of the central topics of his campaign. He argued in favor of ripping up trade deals, said NAFTA was "the worst trade deal in the history of the country," and called the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, "a rape of our country."

Back in February, Jeff Immelt, then CEO of GE, said America "will be less of a leader in trade" in the coming years. And in June, Ray Dalio, the founder of Bridgewater Associates, said Trump was showcasing a tendency to choose the part over the whole. Trump's actions are leaving people scrambling to figure out which Americans Trump is trying to help, such as American manufacturing workers, and at the expense of whom, Dalio wrote.

In his op-ed, Siegel cites Boeing, Apple, and Google as examples of American companies that have prospered globally, and touched on why protectionism was proving popular:

Those supporting increased trade barriers often couch it in terms of “leveling the playing field.” That is well and good, but my sense is that some simply hope to make it easier for US companies to compete in the global marketplace with inferior products or insufficient effort. Nobody claims making great products is easy, but again, this attitude is not a recipe for reviving American manufacturing employment. There is simply no substitute for doing the hard work of learning local markets.

The op-ed concluded:

Automation and competition from overseas will remain stiff headwinds for U.S. manufacturing employment. But we shouldn’t make excuses and hope protectionism will save the day. The only way for American manufacturers to succeed is through an uncompromising commitment to innovation.

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Cambodian Central Bank Is Trialing Blockchain Technology

Bitcoin Magazine, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

cambodia.jpg

The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) announced that it plans to launch a blockchain trial at the end of 2017 that aims to improve the central bank’s ability to monitor and facilitate interbank lending.

In April, the Cambodian central bank entered into a partnership with Japanese blockchain startup Soramitsu to co-develop the Hyperledger Iroha ledger to build a new payment infrastructure on top of distributed ledger technology. Hyperledger Iroha is an open-source blockchain software that allows users to store and transfer data as well as develop smart contracts, which makes it suitable for the development of digital payment systems.

However, the National Bank of Cambodia stated that it is not focusing on creating a new digital currency at this point. Instead, the new blockchain trial will aim to reduce the costs in Cambodia’s interbank lending market, according to a local news publication.

“We expect the new technology to provide smooth, efficient, safe and affordable interbank transactions which will ultimately benefit end users. At this stage we will focus on the operational functionality of the system, but we believe the system can further be customized with application development to benefit the [central] bank’s monetary policy, including the use of the local currency,” NBC Director-General Chea Serey told the Phnom Penh Post.

Having said that, Serey also mentioned that “a cashless system is less costly and more transparent for the whole economy. This has always been on our agenda, but we needed time to study the different platforms available,” suggesting that a digital Cambodian riel is not off the table in the future.

Serey further added that the National Bank of Cambodia’s motivation for developing blockchain solutions is to give the central bank greater control over the country’s monetary policy, which is constrained by the Kingdom’s heavy use of the U.S. dollar.

Central Banks Around the World Look to the Blockchain

The National Bank of Cambodia is not the only central bank looking at possible implementation of blockchain technology.

The People’s Bank of China, for example, announced in January that it has completed a blockchain trial for a new Chinese digital currency by digitizing the Chinese yuan and transacting with a range local banks. The Canadian central bank, the Bank of Canada, is also interested in what blockchain technology can offer, having run a similar trial to test blockchain-based digitized fiat currency for interbank payments.

The Bank of England is also exploring blockchain opportunities through its multi-year research program that explores the implication of central banks issuing digital currencies. For Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, the most interesting use case for blockchain technology is the securities settlement process. He called it “ripe for innovation.”

“A typical settlement chain involves many intermediaries, making it comparatively slow and keeping operational risks high. Industry has begun to work together to determine how distributed ledger technologies could be used to solve these issues at scale,” Carney added, speaking at a fintech conference in London in April.

Given the number of blockchain trials that central banks are conducting across the globe, it will not be surprising to see a wave of digitization of fiat currencies taking place in the years to come.

The post Cambodian Central Bank Is Trialing Blockchain Technology appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Mylan's shareholders just voted against its executive pay, which included a $100 million package for its chairman (MYL)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

FILE PHOTO: Robert J. Coury, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Mylan (C) stands next to Amnon Neubach, the chairman of Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (R) during a bell ringing ceremony at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, Israel November 4, 2015. REUTERS/Nir Elias

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Mylan NV shareholders voted to re-elect the generic drugmaker's board at its annual meeting on Thursday, despite a push to to vote down most of the directors.

Shareholders also voted against a measure to approve the company's executive compensation. The shareholder campaign against Mylan's board picked up steam after Chairman Robert Coury's nearly $100 million pay package was disclosed earlier this year.

Coury made roughly $98 million in 2016, according to company filings, in a year in which the company faced criticism for the price of the emergency allergy device EpiPen and the stock fell almost 30%.

The generic pharmaceutical company came into the spotlight in August 2016 for raising the price of the EpiPen to $608.61 from $93.88 over the past decade. It caught the nation's attention because parents were refilling their kids' prescriptions, and some found that they were on the hook for hundreds of dollars for the device.

The company did not disclose the vote totals for the directors.

(Reporting by Toby Sterling, Writing by Michael Erman in New York; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

SEE ALSO: The chairman of EpiPen maker Mylan reportedly gave everyone the finger when he was asked about drug prices

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Ethereum had a flash crash — here's what happened

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

The Ethereum logo seen at the Ethereum DEV offices in Berlin, Germany, 14 April 2015. Ethereum is an open source platform that hosts applications and data on a decentralized network. While the block chain technology of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin is restricted to finance, this concerns applications that would normally require escrow services like, for example, financial applications, social networking applications, notaries or booking services that need to save and validate verifiable data. Photo:

Digital currency Ethereum experienced a "flash crash" on Wednesday, with the price falling from about $296 to a low of $0.10 in a matter of minutes.

Almost as quickly as it collapsed, the price bounced back and, at close to 11.25 a.m. BST (6.25 a.m. ET) on Thursday, Ethereum is trading at $342.02 according to Coindesk.

So what happened?

The price crash appears to stem from GDAX, one of the leading Ethereum exchanges. Adam White, a VP at GDAX, wrote in a blog post on the company's site that an unusually large sell order caused the crash.

A "multimillion dollar" sell order caused the initial price dip but the real problem was the domino effect that it triggered. The initial fall triggered 800 stop losses — automatic sell orders that are placed once an asset hits a certain price — and margin funding liquidations, which is where investors trading with borrowed money had their positions closed to stop them losing any more money.

Essentially, the large sell order created a flood of other sellers. With not enough buyers to mop up demand, the price collapsed as programmes executing the trades tried to find a price at which buyers would step in and fill the orders.

Here is how the flash crash looked as it happened:

Ethereum flash crash

Charles Hayter, CEO and founder of digital currency information provider CryptoCompare, told Business Insider over email: "Thin order books and large trades are the usual culprits in these scenarios. Liquidity that isn't unified but spread across multiple isolated pools can be vulnerable to large sell orders that drop prices rapidly. This can then trigger panic in the market.

"Most likely someone with little experience was trying to exit a position and ate through all the liquidity — although it could have been a fund manipulating the market by shorting Ethereum and then crashing the market and stimulating panic."

White says in the GDAX blog: "Our initial investigations show no indication of wrongdoing or account takeovers. We understand this event can be frustrating for our customers. Our matching engine operated as intended throughout this event and trading with advanced features like margin always carries inherent risk."

Ethereum, the world's second largest blockchain, was first conceived in 2013 by a developer involved in bitcoin and was first launched in 2015. The open source network can be used to build "smart contracts" and other applications that involve data sharing.

Ethereum "tokens" are used to power the network and, as it has become more popular, the value of these tokens has spiked. Ether — the official name of the Ethereum tokens — has risen from around $11 per token in January to well over $300.

Additional reporting by Rob Price.

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Bitcoin Startup Blockchain Raises $40 Million Series B

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Bitcoin wallet software startup Blockchain has raised $40m in Series B funding to continue its mission of improving financial services.

Source

Buddhist Monks Said to Be Targeted by Bitcoin Pyramid Scheme

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

A bitcoin-focused pyramid scheme appears to have targeted Buddhist meditation practitioners in Thailand, according to a local news source.

Source

ALBERT EDWARDS: Central bankers are the 'next sacrificial lambs to throw to the wolves' of populist rage

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Global finance ministers and central bankers

Albert Edwards, Societe Generale's renowned and unashamedly bearish strategist has a new prediction: central bank independence will come under threat in the coming years as citizens of the world turn on what he calls "the main culprits of their poverty" in the post-crisis years.

Writing in his weekly Global Strategy note, Edwards — who has long been a critic of the ultra-loose monetary policy prevalent around the world since the financial crisis — says that while public anger and displeasure has been largely focused on the political classes in the last couple of years, central banks will be the next target once the public realises, that in his eyes at least, it is not politicians who are to blame.

"While politics in the West reels from a decade of economic crisis and stagnation, asset prices continue to surge on the back of continued rapid growth in G3 [Japan, USA, and the Eurozone] QE," Edwards writes.

"In an age of 'radical uncertainty' how long will it be before angry citizens tire of blaming an impotent political system for their ills and turn on the main culprits for their poverty – unelected and virtually unaccountable central bankers?"

"While a furious electorate has turned its pent up anger on the establishment political parties, the target for their rage is misguided," he adds.

"I am not completely alone in thinking it is the unelected and virtually unaccountable central bankers who are primarily responsible for the poverty of working people and who will be ultimately held to account in the next crisis."

Edwards' basic argument is that central banks, by cutting interest rates to record lows and pumping money into the world's economies through extensive quantitative easing programmes, first inflated a giant bubble in the housing markets that hit the middle classes, and have now driven the "stagnation in growth" that has meant a so-called lost decade for many in the west.

Here is that theory in Edwards' own words:

"After the GFC central bankers have collectively spent the last decade stepping up the pace of money printing to new extremes in an attempt to drown the global economy in liquidity, while couching their actions in plausible theories such as ‘secular stagnation’. There is no recognition at all by central bankers that it may well be their own easy money and zero interest rate policies that are actually causing the stagnation in growth while at the same time wealth inequality surges to intolerable heights." 

Sooner or later, he says, this will dawn on regular citizens around the world, who will turn their anger onto the central banks and their figureheads. In turn, the political classes will sense an opportunity to redeem themselves, doing so by, in Edwards words, making central bankers the "next sacrificial lambs to throw to the wolves."

Here he is once more:

"For as the next inevitable economic and financial collapse comes ever nearer – a consequence of yet another global asset bubble bursting politicians will be looking for the next sacrificial lambs to throw to the wolves. It’s hard to believe Yellen, Draghi and Carney won’t be those bleating lambs. But then the mob will devour the very independence of those institutions with the connivance of a political class willing to do anything to save their own skins."

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Leaking information about corporate deals adds millions to their value

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

deal

Leaking information about mergers and acquisitions (M&A) boosts the value of a deal by an average of $21 million (£16.6 million), according to new research carried out by content management company Intralinks and Cass Business School.

A report from the pair analysed deals between 2009 and 2016, and found that the median takeover premium for leaked deals was 47%, compared with 27% for non-leaked deals.

The higher premium is based on higher valuations, which are prompted by increased competition. In short, once news of a deal leaks it becomes more like an auction, with rival companies bidding each other up.

Deals leaked this year include Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management's £11 billion merger and Walmart's purchase of online retailer Bonobos for $310 million (£244.8 million).

Other significant findings from the report, published on Thursday, include:

  • 8.6% of deals worldwide were leaked in 2016, the same as in 2015 but up from 6% in 2014.
  • Leaks rose year-on-year in Europe but fell in North America, while Asia-Pacific had the highest rate of leaked deals in 2016, at 9.7%.
  • Globally, the consumer sector saw the highest rate of leaked deals across the eight years, hitting 15.5% in 2016.
  • The completion rate for leaked deals was almost 5 percentage points higher than for non-leaked deals between 2014 and 2016.
  • Of the top ten countries with the most M&A activity, India has consistently seen the highest percentage of leaks.

Leaking confidential information about M&As before the possibility of a transaction is officially made publiccan lead to heavy fines. Leaks have been linked to insider trading, and global regulators have been working to clamp down on this underhand activity.

In both 2015 and 2016, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) collected fines of more than $4 billion (£3.1 billion) for disgorgement — or profit obtained illegally. The percentage of leaked deals in the US also fell between 2015 and 2016.

Fines by the UK's Financial Conduit Authority have jumped by over 700% so far in 2017 compared to last year, going from £22,216,446 to £163,230,322. However, this remains significantly below the huge spike in fines in 2014 and 2015, which totalled £1.47 billion and £905 million respectively. The drop is likely due to investigations coming to an end, rather than more relaxed attitude to law enforcement. The UK has seen a significant improvement in the percentage of leaks since 2009, going from 12.5% to 7% in 2016.

Philip Whitchelo, Vice President of Strategy and Product Marketing at Intralinks, said in a statement: "The rate of deal leaks in markets where leaking was rampant a decade ago, such as the UK, has reduced considerably: a reflection of new regulations against market abuse and much stricter regulatory enforcement.

"Countries such as India and Hong Kong, which have comparatively high levels of deal leaks, are also making more efforts to tackle market abuse and insider trading. Overall, against the perceived benefits, those leaking deals must also weigh the risks, and those benefits appear to have reduced in 2016."

The number of leaked deals declined between 2009 and 2014, but has risen again over the last two years. Details of 462 deals were leaked over the eight-year period, out of a total of 5,997.

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The Bank of England could be about to take a 'momentous step'

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Mark Carney

LONDON — Brexit has speared the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee on the horns of a dilemma.

On Wednesday, Britain's most senior economist and one of the Bank of England's chief policymakers, Andy Haldane, indicated he could back hiking interest rates at the next meeting, something the bank has not done since before the financial crisis.

Haldane's justification for saying he would back a rate hike in the near future is that the global economy is booming and that Britain's economy has held up better than expected since the vote.

"Provided the data are still on track, I do think that beginning the process of withdrawing some of the incremental stimulus provided last August would be prudent moving into the second half of the year," he said in a speech on a visit to Yorkshire on Wednesday.

"The first 25 basis-point rise in UK interest rates for 10 years seems like a momentous step. But it would still leave monetary policy highly accommodative by any historical metric."

Haldane's comments sent ripples through the City of London and the financial media, coming just days after he backed leaving rates on hold when the bank's eight member Monetary Policy Committee (it is usually made up of nine people, but has stood at eight since the resignation of Charlotte Hogg in March) voted 5-3 in favour of holding rates, with three MPC members backing a hike in the bank's base rate.

Less than two years ago, and before the UK voted for Brexit, Haldane indicated that he could back an interest rate cut when consensus in the Bank of England was that its next move would be a hike. Of course, then Brexit came along and changed everything. 

The BoE swiftly announced a rate cut from 0.5% to 0.25% and a pumped up quantitative easing programme to deal with the initial shock of the Brexit vote and market expectations were largely that it would leave rates unchanged at least until Brexit talks were complete.

At its simplest level, the policy dilemma facing Britain's central bank is that it must balance surging inflation brought on by the weakened pound since the referendum, with the slowdown in the economy, dwindling consumer spending and declining inward investment.

Inflation currently sits at 2.9%, well above the 2% target mandated by the government, while GDP growth in the first quarter of 2017 was just 0.2%.

"Momentous step"

Haldane's speech on Wednesday, alongside the 5-3 vote in June, are clear signs that the UK could be moving towards the "momentous step" mentioning by the bank's chief economist.

Within June's vote a very clear split emerged. Of the MPC's four "external members" — who work for the Bank of England on a part-time basis and are appointed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer — three voted for a hike.

The outgoing Kristin Forbes, whose terms ends in just over a week, Ian McCafferty, and Michael Saunders. Gertjan Vlieghe, who is probably the MPC's most dovish — inclined to cut rates and loosen policy — member, backed a hold.

Every internal member of the MPC — those who hold official titles at the bank beyond their MPC commitments — voted to leave policy unchanged, and by Governor Mark Carney's comments on Tuesday, when he said "now is not yet the time" to increase rates, it seemed unlikely that any of those votes would change anytime soon.

Here is a breakdown of the dynamics of the committee's votes:

  • Mark Carney — Hold, confirmed in speech on Tuesday.
  • Jon Cunliffe — Voted to hold in June, likely to do the same in August.
  • Ben Broadbent — Voted to hold in June, likely to do the same in August.
  • Andy Haldane — Voted to hold in June, but has indicated he could back a hike in August in speech on Wednesday.
  • Ian McCafferty — Hike, likely to do the same in August.
  • Michael Saunders — Hike, likely to do the same in August.
  • Gertjan Vlieghe — The MPC's most dovish member, unlikely to vote anything other than a hold.
  • Kristin Forbes (outgoing) — Voted to hike in June, will not vote again.
  • Silvana Tenreyro (incoming) — Unknown as yet to vote, likely to back a hold.
  • Unknown incoming member — Charlotte Hogg's replacement is likely to be a BoE insider.

While the composition of the June vote was 5-3, many were quick to note that with Forbes on her way out the vote split made it look like a hike was more likely than it actually was, especially with the bank imminently appointing a new internal member of the committee — who, if current dynamics were followed, would be likely to back holding rates for a significant period.

However, Haldane's comments throw a spanner in the works. If the bank's chief economist is thinking about voting for a hike, then it is not beyond the realms of possibility that the likes of Ben Broadbent and Jon Cunliffe — the bank's deputy governors for monetary policy and financial stability respectively — might be thinking along the same lines, putting a hike closer on the horizon.

"I think it's really important to see what Broadbent thinks. That will really shape expectations," Sam Hill, an economist at RBC Capital said, according to a report from Reuters. Broadbent could speak next week, although that won't be known until the BoE publishes its weekly calendar on Friday.

It is now close to two months until the MPC meets again, with the bank taking a long hiatus for a summer break. In that time, data could swing either way. For instance, inflation could show that it has peaked, making a hike less likely, or GDP growth could prove stronger than expected, making a hike more likely.

To be clear, a rate hike would require several switches in allegiance from MPC members, but it is now looking more likely than it has been for many, many years.

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'The UK is unprepared to feed its own people'

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

A worker sells strawberries on the market stall formerly owned by the parents of former Leicester City player Gary Lineker in Leicester, Britain April 20, 2016. Leicester City's Premier League title dream became reality on Monday as their only remaining challengers Tottenham Hotspur drew 2-2 at Chelsea to complete one of the greatest ever sporting achievements.The Foxes' Premier League campaign has captivated fans in the provincial English city as well as sports fans worldwide. REUTERS/Darren Staples

LONDON – Brexit threatens the security of the UK's supply of fresh fruit and vegetables and will make healthy food more expensive, according to research house Euromonitor International.

Leaving the European Union without a trade deal would weaken the pound further, "leading to even higher prices of imported foods, which mostly applies to fresh produce," Sara Petersson, nutrition analyst at Euromonitor International said in an emailed statement.

"With such dependence on foreign agriculture, at its current state, the UK is unprepared to feed its own people," Petersson said.

The domestic agriculture sector is also heavily reliant on seasonal, migrant labour, which would be threatened by Prime Minister Theresa May's plans to reject the EU's free movement of people and take the UK out of the single market.

Trade barriers and tariffs could exacerbate the price increases if the UK leaves the customers union. The cost of strawberries, for example, could jump by as much as 50%, Datamonitor said.

"The UK’s exit from the European single market is expected to result in changes in tariffs in food trade between the UK and the EU," said Peterson. "Rising tariffs are likely to lead to high prices for fruits which may eventually affect the consumption of certain fruits that the UK is heavily reliant on importation from the EU over the 2016 – 2021 forecast period."

The average Briton consumes 99 kilograms of fruit a year, or 3.4 portions a day. This is expected to drop by 2.1 kilograms to 3.3 portions by 2020.

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Blockchain.info raises $40 million from Lakestar and Google's venture arm

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Blockchain Nic Carey Peter Smith David Cameron Bob Wigley

LONDON — Bitcoin and blockchain technology company Blockchain.info has raised $40 million (£31.5 million) in its second round of institutional funding.

European venture capital fund Lakestar and GV, Google's venture capital arm, both led the round. Nokota Management and Digital Currency Group also took part in the investment, as did existing investors Lightspeed Venture Partners, Mosaic Venture Partners, Prudence Holdings, Virgin, and Sir Richard Branson.

The Series B funding takes the total raised by Blockchain.info to $70 million (£55.2 million). The company claims the investment is the biggest into a UK startup since Brexit. (Blockchain is officially headquartered in Luxembourg but most of its staff work in London.)

Blockchain.info was founded in 2011 and makes tools for people to use bitcoin and blockchain, the next-generation database technology that underpins the digital currency. Blockchain.info is the world's biggest provider of digital wallets for bitcoins, with close to 15 million open accounts.

Announcing the Series B investment in a blog post on Thursday, founder and CEO Peter Smith said: "As the market leader, you can expect us to make big, bold bets in research and development as well as further our expansion efforts globally. You can also expect new products aimed at allowing anyone to transact, save, or hedge digital assets with greater speed, efficiency and control.

"Innovating, disrupting, revolutionizing a century old industry takes time. We’ve made significant strides, but we’re just getting started."

Blockchain.info employs close to 50 people and will grow its headcount as part of the fundraising.

Bitcoin's popularity has been revived in 2017 thanks to a price rally that has seen it more than double in price since the start of the year. Banks around the world are also pouring huge amounts of resources into trying to apply the blockchain technology that underpins bitcoin to the mainstream financial world.

Watch Business Insider Oscar Williams Grut's interview with Blockchain founder and CEO Peter Smith at the MoneyConf conference in Madrid earlier this month:

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The value of UK inheritance tax is at its highest point since 1980

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Mansion Tax

Inheritance tax receipts have risen to their highest level since 1980 at nearly £5bn, according to official figures released by the government.

That is the highest point both in terms of the annual value of revenue, and revenue as a percentage of GDP.

The value of receipts dropped sharply after the 2008 financial crisis, as residential property prices plummeted. But revenues have increased steadily since 2009, rising significantly in 2015. This more recent change is attributed both to the rising value of assets, and to a higher number of deaths towards the end of 2014/15, compared with the same period in previous years.

Inheritance tax is a 40% levy paid on all assets over the value of £325,000 left by somebody in their will. It makes up a relatively small proportion of the total revenue generated in the UK by taxation, with personal income tax generating the most.

Although there has been a general upward trend in total revenue throughout the period, the value of inheritance tax receipts as a percentage of GDP has been more consistent since about 1985, bar the turbulent 2008 period. 

Here is the graph:

Inheritance tax receipts, 1980-2017

A significant change from last year is the value of inheritance tax collected in April and May 2017, which is up 34.2%. This is due in part to the rising value of residential property in early 2016, compared with the more recent slowdown; the results of this sort of market change are not immediately noticeable, since inheritance tax is typically collected between six months and a year after somebody dies.

Inheritance tax receipts

Revenue is expected to continue to rise in the coming years, despite the introduction in April of the 'family home allowance,' which allows families to pass on homes worth up to £1 million before being taxed. 

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The pound is flat after a rollercoaster day on Wednesday

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

LONDON — The pound is little moved on Thursday as investors take a breather from a manic day for the currency on Wednesday when sterling slumped and jumped numerous times.

Sterling rode a rollercoaster on Wednesday, slumping during early morning trade to hit a new post-election low, before recovering ahead of the Queen's Speech and then jumping after Bank of England Chief Economist Andy Haldane said that he is almost ready to back an interest rate hike, contradicting comments made by his boss, Governor Mark Carney, the previous day.

Consequently, the pound is treading water, down less than 0.1% as of 8.35 a.m. BST (3.35 a.m. ET) to trade at $1.2660, as the chart below illustrates:

Screen Shot 2017 06 22 at 08.35.10

The pound could be shaken from its slumber later on Thursday with rumours circulating that Prime Minister Theresa May could be set to provide some clarity on the future status of EU citizens living in the UK as Brexit talks enter their fourth day.

Earlier reports had suggested that Britain is planning to make a "very generous" offer on post-Brexit rights for the three million EU citizens who live in the UK. Any such move would likely be seen by the markets as something of a softening of the government's Brexit stance, and therefore a positive for the currency.

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Nomura picks Frankfurt for post-Brexit HQ

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Frankfurt

LONDON – Japanese bank Nomura picked Frankfurt as its European Union hub for when the UK leaves the 28-nation trading bloc, Bloomberg News reported.

The lender is in the process of finding office space and regulatory approval for a new base of operations, Bloomberg said, and will transfer fewer than 100 people from London.

A spokeswoman for Nomura in London declined to comment.

With the clock ticking down to March 2019, banks are not waiting to see how the UK's talks with the European Union pan out.

The UK has been thrown into political chaos after this month's general election returned a hung parliament, weakening rather than strengthening Prime Minister Theresa May's credibility in the negotiations. 

US investment bank Citi is preparing for a "hard Brexit" and is in the final stages of deciding where to move operations to maintain links to clients, EMEA corporate and investment banking chief, Manolo Falco, told Business Insider earlier this month.

Banks and European regulators need at least a year, if not longer, to set up fully functioning branches and subsidiaries in Europe to maintain activities. This means that if talks stumble, or the likelihood of the UK leaving the EU without a transition deal increases, banks may be forced to move quickly on plans to boost EU offices.  

Frankfurt could prove to be a popular destination for its proximity to the European Central Bank. Last month, Sabine Lautenschlager, vice-chair of the Frankfurt-based SSM, a unit of the ECB, said applications for European licences will be scrutinised closely.

"It is the ECB that grants licences in the euro area. And to be clear: we will only grant licences to well-capitalised and well-managed banks," she said.

"We will not accept empty shell companies. Any new entity must have adequate local risk management, sufficient local staff and operational independence."

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Oil prices are on track for worst first half performance since 1997

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

LONDON — Oil is hovering below $45 and on track for its worst performance for the first-half of a year since 1997.

Oil prices dropped in late trade on Wednesday and have failed to recover, amid continued concerns about oversupply. It entered bear market territory earlier in the week and price pessimism appears to be setting in. Traders are increasingly skeptical that OPEC will be able to control prices through supply caps in the way it once could.

Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, says in an email: "The declines seen in the past few weeks really shouldn’t have been too much of a surprise to OPEC given the capacity of US shale producers to vacate the space left open for them.

"That, and a significant increase in output from Libya and Nigeria, both of whom are exempt from the quota system, and it is clear that OPEC underestimated their own importance, when it came to global oil output. The decline in prices hasn’t been helped by concerns that demand might be slowing in Asia, meaning the prospect that inventory levels are likely to remain elevated for longer."

US West Texas Intermediate is hovering close to 12-month lows, down 0.02% to $42.52 at 7.10 a.m. BST (2.10 a.m. ET):

crude

Brent oil, meanwhile, is below $45 a barrel for the first time this year. Brent is down 0.09% to $44.74 at 7.15 a.m. BST (2.15 a.m. ET):

brent

Oil prices have now dropped by more than 20% since the start of the year and, with eight days left to go until the first half of 2017 ends, the Telegraph reports that oil is on track for its worth first-half performance since 1997.

CMC Markets' Hewson warns that price pressure could continue, saying: "A new unknown is whether the new Saudi leadership will alter course on its current oil policy, given that it is they who are making the lion’s share of the cuts in output."

The Saudi king this week shook up the kingdom's line of succession, putting his 31-year-old son first in line to the throne.

Hewson adds: "Another question now is what US shale producer’s pain threshold is as oil prices close in on the $40 level, and levels last seen in August last year."

OPEC began pumping out oil in 2014 as a tactic to try and put the US shale industry out of business by depressing prices to unsustainable levels. It had a dramatic effect, reducing the number of US oil rigs from just over 1,600 to around 500.

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