The first U.S. bitcoin futures-based exchange-traded fund began trading on Tuesday, sending bitcoin to a six-month high and within striking distance of its all-time peak, as traders bet the ETF could boost investment flows into cryptocurrencies.
The ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF began trading on Intercontinental Exchange Inc’s NYSE Arca on Tuesday under the ticker BITO after being greenlighted by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Bitcoin futures have been overseen by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission for four years and ETFs – securities that track an asset and can be bought or sold on a stock exchange – are regulated by the SEC, offering some level of investor protection, SEC chair, Gary Gensler, said on Tuesday.
“Yet it’s still a highly speculative asset class and investors should understand that underneath, there is the same volatility and speculation,” he told CNBC.
Bitcoin, the world’s biggest cryptocurrency, touched $63,337.54 after the listing, its highest since mid-April and near its record of $64,895.22.
Known throughout its 13-year life for its volatility, bitcoin has risen by some 40% this month on hopes the advent of bitcoin ETFs – of which several are in the works – will see billions of dollars managed by pension funds and other large investors flow into the sector.
The BITO ETF was last at $40.95, up slightly from its $40.88 open.
“It has traded tightly, within a penny of fair value pretty much all morning, so it’s part of the ecosystem,” said Dave Nadig, chief investment officer and director of research at ETF Trends.
The ETF had traded around $500 million worth, notionally, by late morning, which is “about what we would expect for a media-darling first launch in the space,” he said.
Much of BITO’s initial volume appeared to be from retail investors, as there were only four block trades, above 10,000 shares, all morning, Nadig said.
Nasdaq Inc on Friday approved the listing of the Valkyrie Bitcoin Strategy ETF, and Grayscale, the world’s largest digital currency manager, plans to convert its Grayscale Bitcoin Trust into a spot bitcoin ETF, the company confirmed.
Crypto ETFs have launched this year in Canada and Europe amid surging interest in digital assets. VanEck and Valkyrie are among fund managers pursuing U.S.-listed ETF products, although Invesco on Monday dropped its plans for a futures-based ETF.
The SEC has yet to approve a spot bitcoin ETF.
Bitcoin futures were up 2.21% at $63,035.
(Reporting by John McCrank in New York, Tom Wilson in London; additional reporting by Tom Westbrook in Singapore and Katanga Johnson in Washington; Editing by Kim Coghill, Jason Neely and Andrea Ricci)
Oil rises after Saudi price hike signals confidence in demand – BNN
Oil rose after Saudi Arabia boosted the prices of its crude, signaling confidence in the demand outlook despite the spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus.
Futures in New York advanced 2.4 per cent to trade near US$68 a barrel. The kingdom increased its oil prices for customers in Asia and the U.S. for January, just days after the OPEC+ alliance agreed to boost output for the same month. Prices for its high-sulfur barrels in Asia were the highest since at least 2000.
Meanwhile, initial data on omicron from South Africa — the epicenter of the outbreak — doesn’t show a resulting surge of hospitalizations. Markets across the globe have been roiled since the variant emerged in recent weeks, prompting concerns about a potential hit to the economic rebound.
The U.S. said over the weekend that chances of Iran rejoining the nuclear deal may be slipping away. The briefing was one of the most pessimistic American assessments of the negotiations yet, dampening any expectations of a quick return of Iranian oil to the market.
While oil dropped for a sixth consecutive week of declines — the longest stretch since 2018 — it has begun to recover from the stark drop at the beginning of last week, when omicron led to renewed restrictions on travel. OPEC+ decided to keep adding extra barrels to the market in January, essentially putting a floor under prices by giving itself the option to change the plan at short notice.
Oil is seeing “a continuation of last week’s recovery” and “a bit of extra spice by Saudi OSPs,” said Ole Hansen, head of commodities strategy at Saxo Bank.
- West Texas Intermediate for January delivery gained 2.9 per cent to US$68.15 a barrel by 9:09 a.m. in New York.
- Brent for February settlement rose 2.8 per cent to US$71.80 a barrel.
Saudi Aramco raised its key Arab Light grade for customers in Asia by 60 cents from December to US$3.30 a barrel above a benchmark, according to a statement from the state producer. That followed comments last week from Aramco Chief Executive Officer Amin Nasser that he was “very optimistic” about demand and that the market had overreacted to omicron.
White House medical adviser Anthony Fauci said Sunday that there doesn’t look to be a great degree of severity to the new strain, while cautioning it’s too early to be certain. Omicron has so far spread to at least 17 U.S. states.
Other oil-market news:
- ConocoPhillips raised its capital budget for 2022 just months after a pair of major acquisitions that made it the second-biggest oil driller in the Permian Basin.
- Iran said world powers can’t expect it to stop expanding its nuclear work until they reach an agreement with Tehran on how U.S. sanctions will be lifted from the Islamic Republic’s economy, according to a statement by the country’s foreign ministry.
- President Joe Biden said U.S. drivers are beginning to see lower prices at gasoline pumps, but that China has not yet participated in a global release of oil reserves.
Trans Mountain Pipeline restarts after three-week pause due to B.C. floods – Globalnews.ca
On Sunday, Trans Mountain confirmed it has completed “all necessary assessments, repairs, and construction of protective earthworks” needed to turn the taps back on.
“As part of this process Trans Mountain will monitor the line on the ground, by air and through our technology systems operated by our control centre,” it said on its website.
The pipeline was shut down as a precaution on Nov. 14, amid record-breaking rainfall that caused catastrophic flooding and mudslides across southern B.C.
It was the first of four major storms to strike the province last month.
Trans Mountain said Saturday there’s no evidence of “serious damage” to the pipeline, or the release of any product in the aftermath of the extreme weather.
B.C.’s fight for fuel: Trans Mountain hopes to restart pipeline at reduced capacity in days
The 1,150-kilometre Trans Mountain Pipeline ships roughly 300,000 barrels of oil per day to terminals in B.C. from Edmonton. It also supplies fuel to Washington.
With the pipeline shut down, the B.C. government issued an emergency order on Nov. 19 limiting consumers in storm-stricken parts of the province to 30 litres of gasoline in a single fill-up.
On Nov. 29, it extended gas-rationing to Dec. 14. The fuel conservation measures apply to residents of the Lower Mainland to Hope, Sea to Sky, Sunshine Coast, Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island.
Essential vehicles remain exempt.
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
China Evergrande shares plunge as it teeters on brink of default – CNBC
After lurching from deadline to deadline, China Evergrande Group is again on the brink of default, with its pessimistic comments condemning its stock to a record low just as direct state involvement raises hope of a managed debt restructuring.
Having made three 11th-hour coupon payments in the past two months, Evergrande again faces the end of a 30-day grace period on Monday, with dues totaling $82.5 million.
But a statement on Friday saying creditors had demanded $260 million and that it could not guarantee funds for coupon repayment prompted authorities to summon its chairman — and wiped a fifth off its stock’s value on Monday.
Evergrande, once China’s top-selling developer, is grappling with over $300 billion in liabilities, meaning a disorderly collapse could ripple through the property sector and beyond.
Its Friday statement was followed by one from authorities in its home province of Guangdong, saying they would send a team at Evergrande’s request to oversee risk management, strengthen internal control and maintain operations — the state’s first public move to intervene directly to manage any fallout.
The central bank, banking and insurance regulator and securities regulator also released statements, saying risk to the property sector could be contained.
Analysts said authorities’ concerted effort signaled Evergrande has likely already entered a managed debt-asset restructuring process.
Morgan Stanley said such a process would involve coordination between authorities to maintain operations of property projects, and negotiation with onshore creditors to ensure financing for project completion.
Regulators would also likely facilitate debt restructuring discussion with offshore creditors after operations stabilize, the U.S. investment bank said in a report.
After the flurry of statements, Evergrande’s stock nose-dived 20% on Monday to close at an all-time low of HK$1.82.
Its November 2022 bond — one of two bonds that could go into default upon Monday non-payment — was trading at the distressed price of 18.560 U.S. cents on the dollar, compared with 20.083 cents at Friday’s close.
Evergrande has been struggling to raise capital through asset disposal, and the government has asked Chairman Hui Ka Yan to use his wealth to repay company debt.
The firm is just one of a number of developers starved of liquidity due to regulatory curbs on borrowing, prompting offshore debt defaults, credit-rating downgrades and sell-offs in developers’ shares and bonds.
To stem turmoil, regulators since October have urged banks to relax lending for developers’ normal financing needs and allowed more real estate firms to sell domestic bonds.
To free up funds, Premier Li Keqiang on Friday said China will cut the bank reserve requirement ratio “in a timely way.”
Still, the government may have to significantly step up policy-easing measures in the spring to prevent a sharp downturn in the property sector as repayment pressure intensifies, Japanese investment bank Nomura said in a report on Sunday.
Quarterly dollar bond repayments will almost double to $19.8 billion in the first quarter and $18.5 billion in the second.
Yet easing measures such as the ability to sell domestic bonds are unlikely to help Evergrande refinance as there would be no demand for its notes, CGS-CIMB Securities said on Monday.
Evergrande’s inability to sell projects — with almost zero November sales — also makes short-term debt payments “highly unlikely,” the brokerage said.
On Monday, smaller developer Sunshine 100 China Holdings Ltd said it had defaulted on a $170 million dollar bond due Dec. 5 “owing to liquidity issues arising from the adverse impact of a number of factors including the macroeconomic environment and the real estate industry.”
The delinquency will trigger cross-default provisions under certain other debt instruments, it said.
Last week, Kaisa Group Holdings Ltd — China’s largest offshore debtor among developers after Evergrande — said bondholders had rejected an offer to exchange its 6.5% offshore bonds due Dec. 7 , leaving it at risk of default.
The developer has begun talks with some of the bondholders to extend the deadline for the $400 million debt repayment, sources have told Reuters.
Smaller rival China Aoyuan Property Group Ltd last week also said creditors have demanded repayment of $651.2 million due to a slew of credit-rating downgrades, and that it may be unable to pay due to a lack of liquidity.
Aoyuan Chairman Guo Zi Wen on Friday told executives at an internal meeting to have a “wartime mindset” to ensure operation and project delivery and to fund repayment, a person with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
Such tasks will be priorities for the developer, which will leave bond repayment negotiation to professional institutions in Hong Kong, said the person, declining to be identified as the matter is private.
Aoyuan did not respond to a request for comment.
The developer’s share price fell nearly 8% on Monday. Kaisa lost 3.8% whereas Sunshine 100 plunged 14%.
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