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What Moved Global Markets
– Coronavirus update: US health officials said on Sunday they had confirmed overall 11 cases, with one in Santa Clara County and two more in San Benito County. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned on Monday that the world may be “dangerously” unprepared for the next pandemic.
– Markets reacted: the dollar strengthened and a gauge of global stocks jumped, lifted by an unexpected rebound in U.S. manufacturing that helped temper fears that caused stocks overnight in Asia to plunge on the potential impact of the coronavirus in China.
– Some technology firms in China – including Huawei – have maintained operations to manufacture parts and products despite government calls in various cities and provinces for companies to halt work to help stop the spread of a new coronavirus.
– Oil falls to a more than 1-year low below $50 on fears the coronavirus will slow global growth. OPEC is reportedly considering large production cut.
– The British pound slumped as the European Union and Britain clashed over a post-Brexit trade deal on Monday, with the two sides setting out very different visions of a future relationship that could result in the most distant of ties. Both want to secure a trade agreement, but Britain has set a deadline of the end of the year and the EU has warned that if Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants a no-tariff, no-quota deal, he will have to sign up to its rules to ensure fair competition. Johnson said he would not do that, in a speech that harked back to Britain’s past trading successes, promising that his government would again be a champion of free trade and jealously guard his country’s new-found “sovereignty”.
What moved Crypto Markets (i.e. digital assets)
– Bitcoin was up over 29% in January, its best performance for that particular month since 2013. Experts said that bitcoin was being viewed as a “safe-haven asset” as global equity markets remain shaky following the outbreak of the coronavirus.
– According to the latest data from Coinbase and Bitbay, Bitcoin usage among merchants is up. Coinbase is also looking to build out its merchant services in 2020.
– More than 4,000 bitcoins – an amount worth approximately $37 million as of press time – will be auctioned off by U.S. law enforcement officials on February 18. The U.S. Marshals Service said on Monday that it will put up 4,040.54069820 BTC on the auction block on February 18. A $200,000 deposit is required for those wishing to participate, and would-be bidders must register by February 12. The Marshals Service held its first bitcoin auction in the summer of 2014 – which, as reported at the time, saw investor Tim Draper win nearly 30,000 BTC across 10 auction blocks. A number of other auctions, including more coins seized during the U.S. government’s investigation into the now-defunct dark marketplace Silk Road, have been held in the years since.
Fintech: The day before Brexit, Innovate Finance has put out a report hailing a record 2019 for the UK’s fintech scene and predicting a rosy future. In 2019, the UK smashed its fintech investment record, notching up $4.9 billion of capital raised, surpassing the $3.6 billion the previous year and catapulting the country to second in the global rankings for VC investment.
Fintech firms in the UK attracted more capital and completed more deals than the rest of the top 10 European countries combined. Seven of the top 10 deals in Europe involved UK fintechs, with Greensill leading the way with an $800 million round and OakNorth bagging $440 million.
Healthtech: Investment into mental health technology has boomed, reaching £580 million in 2019, according to a study by early-stage investor Octopus Ventures. The research shows an almost five-fold increase in mental health tech investment in the last six years, rising from £120 million in 2014. But the sector still makes up just 15% of overall investment in the digital health market.
AI: Elon Musk tweeted he’ll be holding a “super fun AI party/hackathon”… at his house next month. The hackathon seems geared towards bolstering Tesla’s self-driving division.
Smart cities: An amusing story of one (big) smart city: how the 2028 Olympics has sparked a transportation revamp in LA.
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