The (early) Lunch Wrap | FT Alphaville

The (early) Lunch Wrap

Good morning New York…


The Barcenas files: As Spain’s political crisis heats up, the El Pais has published a nifty interactive whereby you can search the 14 sheets of manuscripts allegedly penned over 18 years by Luis Gutierrez Barcenas, the party manager and treasurer at the heart of the supposed Rajoy “slush fund” scandal. But Paul’s post notes that hand writing experts think the docs were actually written in one sitting.

That ring fence will be electrified after all: So, it’s happening. The Banking Reform bill to be published today will give the Treasury and the bank regulator the power to break up a bank that doesn’t respect the ringfence between retail and investment banking. Kate’s post looks at the analyst and market reaction, and reminds us that electric fences never really work anyway.

A floor with a few holes: The great debate over interest on excess reserves (IOER), base money and short term debt used ‘the floor’ analogy to describe what happens to short term interest rates. But that might not have been quite the right analogy, at least in the US case. Simon’s guest post explains why and runs through the implications for monetary policy.

Deripaska on the collateralisation of aluminium: Oleg Deripaska has been talking to the Telegraph about where he thinks the aluminium market is headed. But Izzy’s post finds his views on the financialisation and securitisation of aluminium inventory in warehouses the most interesting. It all signals to a bullion-ification of aluminium she argues.


Foxconn plans Chinese union vote: The contract manufacturer whose biggest customer is Apple is preparing genuinely representative labour union elections in its factories in China for the first time, a powerful sign of the changes in the workshop of the world demanded by an increasingly restive workforce. This would be the first such exercise at a large company in China, where labour unions have traditionally been controlled by management and local government. Foxconn is the country’s largest private sector employer with 1.2m mainland workers. (Financial Times)

Powerless Super Bowl disrupts advertisers: The Baltimore Ravens held off a resurgent San Francisco 49ers and survived a power outage to win American football’s most lucrative game, the 2013 Super Bowl. Advertisers paid up to $4m to appear in 30-second spots between plays but many of them had an eye to the digital world too, with about half of the ads using Twitter’s “hashtags” to stimulate online discussion after their broadcast. (Financial Times)

JAL posts lower net and higher forecast: Japan Airlines raised its earnings forecasts on Monday morning, in spite of the the problems beseiging its Boeing Dreamliner fleet, as well as slow earnings in the last quarter. (WSJ)

Argentina proposes new debt swap: Argentina has told a US appeals court due to rule on whether it must pay more than $1bn to holders of its defaulted debt that its central bank reserves are not an “open till” and the fairest solution to a case that threatens to trigger a fresh sovereign default would be a new debt swap on the same terms as its last. A group of holders of bonds issued when Argentina restructured almost all of its defaulted debt in 2005 and 2010 said in a separate filing to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York on Friday that institutions with some $500m in judgments and claims against Argentina were indeed prepared to entertain a new offer of a debt swap. (Financial Times)

Julius Baer boosted by Merrill Lynch: Assets under management reached the SFr200bn threshold for the first time, as Switzerland’s largest private bank presses ahead with the integration of the Merrill Lynch businesses it bought last summer from Bank of America. In the year to December 31, the bank’s assets under management swelled to SFr189bn, up SFr19bn on a year earlier, helped by a recovery in various asset classes, such as equities, and SFr9.7bn of net new money – the bulk of which came from emerging markets such as Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Russia. (Financial Times)

Chinese banks venture into ecommerce: Banks are not normally the floggers of kettles and smartphones, duvets and leather shoes. But China Construction Bank, the world’s second-largest lender by market value, is undeterred by convention. Half a year ago CCB launched an online mall,, in a move akin to HSBC directly taking on Amazon. While a few western banks such as Bank of America have launched internet shopping portals linked to major retailers, CCB’s ambition goes well beyond that. It wants to become a fully fledged ecommerce site that is home to thousands of vendors, big and small. (Financial Times)

Markets: Global stocks are trading at 4½-year highs as investors continue to express confidence in the prospects for the world’s three biggest economies. The FTSE All-World equity index is up fractionally to 235.8, on course to close at its best level since June 2008, as the FTSE Eurofirst 300 opens barely changed and after the Asia-Pacific region added 0.7 per cent. US index futures suggest Wall Street’s S&P 500 will start the week steady at 1,510, a five-year high that leaves the New York benchmark just 3.6 per cent shy of virgin territory. (Financial Times)