Good morning! Here’s what you need to know in markets on Monday.
1. The BBC says it has seen evidence that top executives at Shell knew money paid to the Nigerian government for a vast oil field would be passed to a convicted money-launderer. It also had reason to believe that money would be used to pay political bribes. The deal was concluded while Shell was operating under a probation order for a separate corruption case in Nigeria.
2. Barclays CEO James Staley is under investigation by regulators in London and New York over allegations that he responded to an anonymous complaint about a senior executive by trying to identify the whistle-blower, according to a person familiar with the matter. Bloomberg reports that Staley is alleged to have tried to unmask a tipster who alerted the bank to a personal matter involving a senior executive, said the person, who declined to be named because the probe isn’t yet public.
3. France’s finance minister has warned that the City of London will lose lucrative euro-denominated trading operations after Brexit, saying that allowing them to continue there would threaten the currency bloc’s “sovereignty.” Speaking to the Financial Times, Michel Sapin said that other euro area countries share Paris’s conviction that key processes such as the clearing of euro-denominated derivatives must be relocated so that they come under the full oversight of EU supervisors.
4. Asian stock markets are mixed. Japan’s Nikkei closed up 0.70%, the Hong Kong Hang Seng is down 0.06% at the time of writing (7.25 a.m. BST/2.25 a.m. ET), and China’s Shanghai Composite is down 0.50%.
5. A secret recording that implicates the Bank of England in Libor rigging has been uncovered by BBC Panorama. The 2008 recording adds to evidence the central bank repeatedly pressured commercial banks during the financial crisis to push their Libor rates down.
6. Hundreds of thousands of people who have borrowed money from payday lender Wonga are being warned that their personal data could have been stolen by hackers. The Financial Times reports that the company, which offers short-term loans at annual percentage rates that can be as high as 1,509%, said that it had discovered an intrusion into its systems early last week but initially believed that no customer data had been accessed.
7. Shaftesbury, the owner of large chunks of Soho and Covent Garden, is braced for a bid from a reclusive Hong Kong billionaire who has yet to meet the company. The Times reports that Samuel Tak Lee, 78, has quietly amassed a stake of 18% of the property company, which over the years has refused to move away from its central London heartland and has a market worth of almost £2.6 billion ($US3.2 billion).
8. BrewDog, the independent brewery and bar-chain owner, has received a £213 million ($US263 million) investment from TSG Consumer Partners that values the company at £1 billion ($US1.24 billion), according to multiple reports. Founders James Watt and Martin Dickie, and other shareholders, could share up to £100 million ($US124 million) of that investment between them, The Sunday Times reports.
9. Singapore’s DBS, south-east Asia’s biggest bank by assets, will use a new UK licence to quadruple the size of its hitherto tiny London wealth management operation, in a post-Brexit endorsement of the UK as a destination for rich Asian investors. The Financial Times reports that DBS recently obtained a UK securities licence and said it was now looking at adding staff in London as part of growth plans focused on the greater China market.
10. Brexit and political uncertainty in Europe are likely to depress merger activity among European insurers this year, after a steep decline in deals in 2016, ratings agency AM Best said on Monday. Reuters reports that mergers in Europe involving an insurer on at least one side of the deal totalled around $US5 billion (£4 billion) last year, down 72% from 2015 and 76% from 2014, AM Best said.
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