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What Moved Global Markets
– The U.S. backed Hong Kong protesters, and China didn’t like it. Ongoing civil unrest in Hong Kong is the biggest geopolitical threat to global markets, an economist told CNBC Thursday. Speaking to CNBC’s “Street Signs Europe,” Holger Schmieding, chief economist at Berenberg, said the worst-case scenario was “pretty clear” after President Donald Trump signed two bills backing protesters in Hong Kong. The move reignited tensions between Washington and Beijing, with China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs accusing the U.S. on Thursday of having “sinister intentions.” “Hong Kong at the moment is the biggest geopolitical risk out there for markets,” Schmieding told CNBC.
– Gold gains, oil falls, Chinese stock dip.
– European investors managing assets worth more than 1 trillion pounds ($1.28 trillion) are pressing top auditors (EY, Deloitte, KPMG and PwC) to take urgent action on climate-related risks, warning that failure to do so could do more damage than the financial crisis.
What moved Crypto Markets (i.e. digital assets)
– Blockchain compliance solutions provider CipherTrace says in its Q3 Cryptocurrency Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Report, published Wednesday, that around one-third of the top 120 exchanges are “weak” when it comes to know-your-customer (KYC) verification, while fully two-thirds “lack strong KYC policies.”
– Bitcoin futures market Bakkt just logged the largest single-day volumes for its physically-settled monthly bitcoin future contract.
– Volumes hit ~$37.45 million on Wednesday, passing its previous high of ~$19.96 million on November 22. The total volume of Bakkt’s monthly bitcoin futures now stands at $269.64 million (33,036BTC) since the market launched on Sept. 23. The average volume has been ~$5.62 million (688.25 BTC) a day over the last 48 trading days.
Fintech: The new digital bank set up by the Royal Bank of Scotland to compete with rival financial technology groups has become a target for fraudsters. It is understood that about 30 per cent of applications received by Bó since the app-based venture went live two weeks ago were fraudulent.
Healthtech: Health analytics and education company Elsevier and Chinese multinational conglomerate Tencent announced the signing of a strategic agreement to accelerate the dissemination of global health information in China. The two organizations will leverage their respective expertise and resources to help Chinese physicians gain quick access to Elsevier’s medical information and academic resources through digital platforms and services.
Al: A South Korean master of the ancient strategy game Go has announced his retirement from professional competition due to the rise of what he says is unbeatable artificial intelligence. The news that Lee Se-dol is bowing out comes three years after he lost in a closely watched series against Google’s AlphaGo in 2016.
Smart cities: Ikea Group has said it will invest 200 million euros ($220 million) to accelerate its transition into what it describes as a “climate positive business.” In an announcement Wednesday the Group, which among other things develops and supplies Ikea’s product range, said the money would focus on two areas: investing in schemes “aimed at removing and storing carbon through reforestation and responsible forest management”; and using renewable energy in its supply chain.
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