The Lunch Wrap | FT Alphaville

The Lunch Wrap

Good morning, New York


LTRO users list: charts courtesy of UBS on three-year borrowings from the ECB, both in absolute terms and relative to balance sheet, bank by bank. Top borrowers by quantity: Santander, Intesa, BFA. By balance sheet: BCP, Bankinter, Bank of Ireland.

FOMC meeting today: Cardiff discusses the potential for this to be a non-event, with the real interesting revelations to come when the minutes are released on April 3rd. That said, it’s likely that the language in the statement will be changed to account for the recent labour market improvement and higher oil and gas prices.

– Finland’s collateral: Joseph dives into what is known about the deal that gives Finland collateral for its part in Greece’s bailout.

– The Sicilian mafia: it starts with a market for private protection. Cardiff covers an academic study on the development of the mafia after the demise of feudalism.

China’s growth: Kate investigates whether it’s already below the new 8 per cent target announced by Wen Jiabao, given those lower than expected industrial production numbers.

Libor manipulation: why banks may have felt compelled to break the rules.


European markets are advancing this morning after Greece’s second bailout was agreed by eurozone finance ministers. Attention now turns to a report on US retail sales and a statement from the FOMC. S&P 500 futures point to a positive open for the US session, with stocks on course to trade at their highest level since June 2008  (FTBloomberg).

Rare earths: the US is set to challenge China’s export controls on 17 elements crucial for producing a range of items from fluorescent lightbulbs and BlackBerrys to guided missiles and hybrid cars, by bringing the case to the WTO (FT). In the meantime, the WTO upheld a prior ruling concerning unfair subsidies granted to Boeing (Reuters).

Whistleblowers are being drawn into the SEC’s programme to turn informant by prospects of large financial rewards. Many complaints brought to the agency involve allegations of fraud and foreign bribery. (FT)

The Fed, meanwhile, is pushing back against a subpoena to compel Fed chairman Ben Bernanke to testify in a case against Bank of America that alleges that the company misled investors about the losses at Merrill Lynch before acquiring it. Lawyers for the civil lawsuit want to question the chairman about the government’s role, and what they were told about the losses at Merrill by Bank of America officials. (WSJ)

Stress tests for US banks are set to be released on Thursday, with Citigroup expected to be one of the biggest winners by being granted permission to increase its dividend. Wells Fargo is also expected to increase its dividend. (Reuters)

Facebook: puts ads on its mobile app, annoying users (Bloomberg). In a twist of fate, Yahoo then annoys Facebook by suing the social media company for infringing on 10 of its patents on methods and systems for advertising (Reuters).

MF Global: customers with claims against the failed broker can sell them to big financial firms, with Barclays and RBS amongst the buyers. There is still an estimated $1.6bn missing from customer accounts, and some may prefer to sell to the banks at a discount rather than wait for the claims to be settled by the trustee. (Reuters)

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