Sunday , August 1 2021
Home / FT Alphaville
FT Alphaville

FT Alphaville

FT Alphaville is a free daily news and commentary service giving finance professionals the information they need, when they need it. In a world where market professionals are inundated with information there is a pressing need to edit and filter, and hopefully sow a few ideas along the way. That’s where the FT Alphaville team comes in.

Articles by FT Alphaville

Big tech: trees can grow to the sky

4 days ago

Big tech updatesSign up to myFT Daily Digest to be the first to know about Big tech news.

Quarter after quarter, it now feels almost inevitable.Yes, it’s earnings season in the US again and that means that mega tech is, once again, crushing it. And so it was Tuesday evening when Google, Apple and Microsoft — three out of the four largest listed companies in the States — reported their numbers.Alphabet (née Google) were first to embarrass analysts, with revenues of $61.9bn versus estimates of $56.2bn. For context, that’s 14 times Twitter’s current trailing annual revenue. Using 2019’s second quarter as a base to avoid the Covid-related distortions, Google’s sales have now grown at an average of 26 per cent over the past two years. Microsoft repeated the trick, but not to

Read More »

Now is not the time for central bank digital currencies

4 days ago

Digital currencies updatesSign up to myFT Daily Digest to be the first to know about Digital currencies news.

Stephen Cecchetti is Rosen Family Chair in International Finance at Brandeis International Business School. Kim Schoenholtz is Henry Kaufman Professor of the History of Financial Institutions and Markets at NYU Stern School of Business. In this guest post, they argue that central bank digital currencies are a solution looking for a problem.In a recent column, the FT’s Martin Wolf called for central banks to introduce their own retail digital currencies now. While we share several of Martin’s concerns about the importance of faster and cheaper payments, financial inclusion, and limiting private digital currencies, we could not disagree more with his argument for

Read More »

Further reading

4 days ago

Cookies on FT Sites

We use
cookies
for a number of reasons, such as keeping FT Sites reliable and secure,
personalising content and ads, providing social media features and to
analyse how our Sites are used.

Read More »

Tesla’s stellar earnings fail to enchant investors

5 days ago

US & Canadian companies updatesSign up to myFT Daily Digest to be the first to know about US & Canadian companies news.

Whenever Tesla’s earnings deck for the quarter lands, FT Alphaville has a little trick: we pull up the PDF and hit ctrl + F and type in a few choice words to see what accounting chicanery the company has been up to over the three months to make its numbers. For, while it’s arguably true that Wall Street is too focused on short-term financials (as Tesla’s shareholders often allege), it’s also true that there are few companies so myopic about hitting estimates as Elon Musk’s $634bn electric car company.This quarter, however, FT Alphaville’s inspection drew a blank. In fact, the financials were remarkably clean. There were no bitcoin sales to boost the

Read More »

Further reading

5 days ago

Elsewhere on Tuesday . . . – A conflagration and a gender reveal– Rusbridger returns– Rates: running out of room?– Ignored red flags at a new SEC appointment– Evergrande: too big to fail– Spotify and the future of music listening– The flimsy evidence behind child vaccination– Science and tribalism– James Meadway on post-neo liberalism (podcast)– Song of the day: Mdou Moctar – Tala Tannam

Read More »

When bitcoin bros* talk unregistered securities

6 days ago

Fintech updatesSign up to myFT Daily Digest to be the first to know about Fintech news.

Good morning to everyone including those who tweet things that come round to bite them on the proverbial. (We can once again embed tweets! Thank you FT devs.) Good morning to everyone except the people who thought they could sell unregistered securities and get away with it— Pomp 🌪 (@APompliano) December 22, 2020
Yes, that’s our old pal Anthony “Pomp” Pompliano — purveyor of dollar-payable “bitcoin pizza”, hard currency theory, and heartfelt eulogies that double up as buy signals — having a pop at Ripple after the SEC charged the company and two of its executives for conducting a $1.3bn unregistered securities offering. Now we wouldn’t be so sexist and unfair as to call Pomp a

Read More »

Further reading

6 days ago

Cookies on FT Sites

We use
cookies
for a number of reasons, such as keeping FT Sites reliable and secure,
personalising content and ads, providing social media features and to
analyse how our Sites are used.

Read More »

Term’s time has come

9 days ago

Libor transition updatesSign up to myFT Daily Digest to be the first to know about Libor transition news.

We’ve written before about why the lack of an officially endorsed term rate for US dollar Libor is a particularly thorny issue — even when placed against the many-pronged rose bush that is Libor transition.No longer. Or not much longer, at least. On Monday the market convention for dollar-denominated swaps will switch from Libor to the Secured Overnight Refinancing Rate, or Sofr. That’s ahead of a move in late October that’ll see Libor disappear from the screens of interdealer brokers entirely. The shift will, according to Tom Wipf, head of the Alternative Reference Rates Committee (ARRC), the official body for ditching dollar Libor, pave the way for them to back a

Read More »

Further reading

9 days ago

Cookies on FT Sites

We use
cookies
for a number of reasons, such as keeping FT Sites reliable and secure,
personalising content and ads, providing social media features and to
analyse how our Sites are used.

Read More »

Money’s quantum time bomb

9 days ago

There’s a paradox at the heart of cyber security. It relates to the trade-off between keeping our secrets safe and protecting the communications of bad actors. Most people are blissfully unaware of it, but an uneasy balance was struck in the early 2000s following the conclusion of the Crypto Wars. After many years of fighting the ability to export secure encryption, US officials finally capitulated on restrictions in 2000, opening the door to a much larger share of the world being able to benefit from secure encryption protocols. While many saw this as too much of a concession to terrorists and criminal organisations, privacy advocates argued the benefits of secure communications for all outweighed the risks. With quantum computing around the corner, however, some believe

Read More »

Further reading

10 days ago

Cookies on FT Sites

We use
cookies
for a number of reasons, such as keeping FT Sites reliable and secure,
personalising content and ads, providing social media features and to
analyse how our Sites are used.

Read More »

DeFi paradoxes

11 days ago

You might have heard the term “DeFi” making the rounds in the cryptosphere. Like us, you may even have tried to understand what it was all about but given up due to the complexity, opacity and jargon surrounding its key aspects. Others have tried to shed light on its mysterious operations. The FT’s Miles Kruppa and Hannah Murphy, for example, noted as far back as the heady pre-pandemic days of December 2019 that DeFi operates as a broad umbrella term for blockchain projects that aim to eject human involvement in financial services by using smart contracts. To accomplish this, DeFi depends on the creation of “liquidity pools” and overcollateralised repo-style arrangements. Even so, DeFi, which stands for “decentralised finance”, remains a murky if increasingly hyped up

Read More »

Further reading

11 days ago

Cookies on FT Sites

We use
cookies
for a number of reasons, such as keeping FT Sites reliable and secure,
personalising content and ads, providing social media features and to
analyse how our Sites are used.

Read More »

Twitter Spaces with Ecuador’s Andres Arauz

11 days ago

Andres Arauz, best known for nearly becoming Ecuador’s new president earlier this year, makes up a new generation of leftist Latin American leaders who oppose free market orthodoxy and are open to experimentation with digital monetary systems to wean their economies off US dollar dependencies.Arauz’s open-mindedness stems from his days as a director at the Central Bank of Ecuador, where he investigated complementary monetary systems, as well as from his time serving as Minister of Knowledge and Human Talent (!) during the leftwing presidency of Rafael Correa. Arauz’s hostility towards the IMF and its domestic programmes over the course of his presidential run, however, spooked many Ecuadorian creditors. Since losing out to former banker Guillermo Lasso in the presidential

Read More »

Gorton turns his attention to stablecoins

12 days ago

Over the course of his career, Gary Gorton has gained a reputation for being something of an experts’ expert on financial systems. Despite being an academic, this is in large part due to what might be described as his practitioner’s take on many key issues.The Yale School of Management professor is, for example, best known for a highly respected (albeit still relatively obscure) theory about the role played in bank runs by information-sensitive assets. Given Gorton’s reputation for deep and thoughtful analysis (with a twist), it shouldn’t be surprising then that the professor is now turning his expertise to studying the run-risk of stablecoins. In a recently published piece co-authored with Jeffery Zhang, an attorney at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve

Read More »

Further reading

12 days ago

Elsewhere on Tuesday: – Valance and the chances of getting sick when you’re vaxxed.– Why Powell should stay on. (BBG, $) – The disaster that is UK bus privatisation. – Should AstraZeneca make a comeback? – Why people do want to work. – Fauci takes aim at anti-vaxxers. – The aftermath of sovereign debt crises. – The aftermath of the NSO spying scandal.

Read More »

Further reading

13 days ago

Cookies on FT Sites

We use
cookies
for a number of reasons, such as keeping FT Sites reliable and secure,
personalising content and ads, providing social media features and to
analyse how our Sites are used.

Read More »

Man who started QE now member of committee that slams QE

16 days ago

There’ll be some ruffled feathers at the Bank of England this morning following the publication of a rather damning report by the House of Lords’ economic affairs committee. From the FT’s economics reporter Valentina Romei: After an in-depth inquiry into QE — the practice by which the central bank attempts to stimulate spending by creating money and pumping it into the economy by purchasing assets — the House of Lords economic affairs committee said the BoE had not provided sufficient justification for its flagship policy.The committee’s report will sting inside Threadneedle Street, since one of the authors is former BoE governor Mervyn King and another is Nicholas Stern, former chief economic adviser to the Treasury and chief economist of the World Bank.Yes, you read

Read More »

Further reading

16 days ago

Elsewhere on Friday: – Biden’s China doctrine. (The Economist, $)– People have received mystery seeds from Amazon. – Lumber felled. – A thorough guide to Libor replacement, BSBY. – On Covid’s origins. – German floods. – Zuckerberg’s speechwriter speaks. – Is this the greatest sci-fi writer of all time? (Wired, $)

Read More »

A Covid poll with some very different findings to *that* viral Ipsos one

17 days ago

Earlier this week we wrote a post about an Ipsos MORI poll on Covid restrictions that had been commissioned by and written up in The Economist. The poll had gone viral because of some rather surprising and alarming findings, such as the idea that 19 per cent of Brits would support a permanent 10pm curfew, and 26 per cent would ban nightclubs and casinos. We suspected the poll wasn’t particularly representative of how people really felt, and suggested that if the questions had been asked differently, and if other questions were asked, we might have seen a quite different set of results. Well we no longer have to speculate on this, because a 70-person Oxford-based polling start-up called Prolific was inspired by our article and decided to carry out their own 24-hour survey,

Read More »

Further reading

17 days ago

Elsewhere on Thursday:How Twitter ruined everything.Larry Summers wades in on US inflation. Why a Mumford son quit. (Spectator, $)Niesr breaks down the rise in UK inflation.SpinTech.Russell Brand on fake news. CEOs say “fairness” drives pay deals. Bitcoin miners are on the move. Don’t panic about US CPI inflation. The FT’s Joseph Cotterill on the situation in South Africa.

Read More »

UK regulators are wading into the US’s Libor transition

18 days ago

The world of financial regulation is, unlike global capital, respectful of national boundaries. That’s especially true when those boundaries belong to the biggest of all financial players — the US. So we’ve been somewhat surprised that the top ranks of UK officialdom have seen fit to wade into how the US is handling efforts to transition from Libor to alternative benchmarks to underpin floating-rate financial products (of which, in America at least, there are many). We think, for the reasons set out below, this will have some implications for how businesses based in Britain do dollar borrowing. As with everything Libor-related, we need to backtrack a little and explain what’s going on here. The nearest thing the US has to an official Libor replacement is the Secured

Read More »

Twitter Spaces with Gottfried Leibbrandt, former CEO of SWIFT

18 days ago

Gottfried Leibbrandt is the former CEO of SWIFT, the secure international messaging system that empowers the transfer and exchange of trillions of dollars across the financial system every year. It’s also the network that almost every challenger payment system wants to disrupt on grounds it occupies an unfairly dominant position in the market. It is this dominance which allows the organisation to dictate who can and cannot receive dollar-denominated payments and which has in turn transformed it into a critical instrument in enforcing US-sponsored international sanctions and in pursuing stolen monies across the world. Leibbrandt’s new book, co-authored with Natasha de Teran, is called “The Pay Off” and tells the inside story of the operations at the heart of the

Read More »

Further reading

18 days ago

Elsewhere on Wednesday,– A Blackrock, Elon, Bitcoin and ESG conspiracy in Redditor land.– The BoE’s crack down on “secretive” cloud computing services.– The ban on unvaccinated people is also hitting China. — We are all Britney now. — That time Russia covered up an anthrax lab leak.– Behind the scenes of the Australian vaccine debacle. — Face masks will remain compulsory on the London Underground. — No holidays for five million Brits who received the Indian-made AstraZeneca jab. — Lebanon on the brink of fuel and power shortages. — On the origin of systemic risk.

Read More »

Further reading

19 days ago

Cookies on FT Sites

We use
cookies
for a number of reasons, such as keeping FT Sites reliable and secure,
personalising content and ads, providing social media features and to
analyse how our Sites are used.

Read More »

Something’s up with this Covid poll

20 days ago

The Economist has a rather eye-popping chart in this week’s print edition, under the headline “Some Britons crave permanent pandemic lockdown”, which has been doing the rounds on Twitter:
Yes, according to the above table, based on a poll conducted for The Economist by Ipsos MORI, it is apparently the case that just under one in five Brits (19 per cent) support having a nationwide 10pm curfew permanently in place, regardless of whether or not we happen to be in the grips of a pandemic. More than one in three (35 per cent), meanwhile, apparently want us all to have to quarantine for 10 days each time we come back from abroad forever and always; more than one in four (26 per cent) want clubs and casinos to be kept permanently closed. You can see why the table has been making a

Read More »

Further reading

20 days ago

Cookies on FT Sites

We use
cookies
for a number of reasons, such as keeping FT Sites reliable and secure,
personalising content and ads, providing social media features and to
analyse how our Sites are used.

Read More »

Live today: FT Alphaville featuring Matt Klein

23 days ago

Macroeconomics can be tricky to understand at the best of times. FT Alphaville still recalls reading about balance of payments and thinking “wait, what?” before swiftly putting the book down to revel in our own ignorance for a few moments.Luckily, there are some smart macro-wonks out there to help explain these befuddling concepts to us. And arguably, none better than Matthew C Klein. If you don’t know Matt, he started off his career at a tiny hedge fund called Bridgewater Associates, before abandoning the Connecticut life for a career in journalism. Since then he’s written for the Economist, Bloomberg, Barron’s, and some markets blog on the FT. He’s also published a book, Trade Wars Are Class Wars, which was co-authored with China-watcher Michael Pettis (and was also

Read More »

Further reading

23 days ago

Cookies on FT Sites

We use
cookies
for a number of reasons, such as keeping FT Sites reliable and secure,
personalising content and ads, providing social media features and to
analyse how our Sites are used.

Read More »

Tell me lies, tell me sweet little VIEs

24 days ago

Over the past 24 hours, in a fund manager’s office somewhere, some poor analyst has probably desperately typed “variable interest entity China” into Google in an attempt to figure out just what the duck they’ve actually invested their clients’ money in.You see, normally when a foreign company lists its shares in the US, it deposits the stock in a US bank, and then receipts for those shares are listed in the States. These are known as American Depositary Receipts, or ADRs. It’s a neat way for a dollar-denominated investor to buy exposure to say, VW, without any of the faff of German taxes, Euro-exposure or other pesky regulations. Some dude called JP Morgan came up with the idea. Clever guy.But that’s not the case with US-listed Chinese businesses. There is no share neatly

Read More »