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Oil Signals to Watch in 2018; 2018, the year of the active fund manager?; Chicago firms gear up for MiFID Newsletter,Options

Observations & Insight Editor’s Note There will not be an edition of JLN Options tomorrow – we will be back January 2, 2018. So, this marks our last email (on a pretty thin options news day) of an extremely eventful year, yet one historically devoid of volatility. Here’s to 2018! Maybe the VIX will hit 30, the short vol trade will get busted up, market makers will proliferate, fees will decrease, capital rules will make sense, roses will smell better and a whole bunch of other stuff. See you then. Lead Stories Five Oil Signals to Watch in 2018 Alex…

LedgerX Initiates First Long-Term Bitcoin Option Price at $10,000; Low vol paradox Newsletter,Options

Observations & Insight FUD on All Sides: In Defense of CME’s Bitcoin Plan William Mallers – Coindesk I’m a member of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. I’ve also been a bitcoiner since 2013. So, when CME Group announced its intention to launch bitcoin futures in the coming weeks, I thought, “Great! Way to go, CME.” bit.ly/2hSpzG8 ****SD: Pretty much Mallers vs. John Lothian. Go to the comment section for a ton more fireworks. Here’s a Bloomberg piece – A Hacker Warning for Bitcoin – from today in light of the Tether heist. Lead Stories LedgerX Initiates First Long-Term Bitcoin Option Price…

Record Days for VIX Futures and Options Volume and Open Interest This Month Newsletter,Options

Lead Stories Record Days for VIX Futures and Options Volume and Open Interest This Month Matt Moran – VIX Views This year many financial professionals have raised the issue as to whether the VIX level appears to be “low” compared to the levels of worldwide financial insecurity. At the 70th CFA Institute Annual Conference in May 2017, Richard Thaler of the University of Chicago opined that the “low” level of the VIX Index was one of the biggest financial mysteries of our time. As shown in the chart below, in 2017 the averages of the daily levels were 11.5 for…

An Obscure Oil Bet Takes Off; The VIX Is at a Two-Year Low, But Volatility Trading Is Surging; A volatile calm – the paradox of 2016 financial markets Newsletter,Options

Observations & Insight JLN Options Publishing Schedule In light of the upcoming holiday, JLN Options will not be publishing Friday, December 23, and Monday, December 26. Have a safe and joyous weekend everyone! Best wishes, The JLN Team Lead Stories An Obscure Oil Bet Takes Off Gunjan Banerji and Alison Sider – WSJ Traders often turn to plain-vanilla options on oil futures to wager on crude prices, which recently have been whipsawed by oil producers’ efforts to curtail global output. But a less-popular approach is attracting attention. These options allow traders to bet on the price gap itself. On Wednesday,…

OPEC Agrees to Cut Production in Drive to End Record Glut; A World Without Market Makers; No Absolute Immunity For Exchanges, SEC Tells 2nd Circ. Newsletter,Options

Observations & Insight Blockchain That Makes Sense: How Post-Trade Digital Ledger Technology Will Make Banks And Brokers Happy Jim Kharouf – JLN When you talk about the potential for digital ledger technology, words like revolutionary and transformative are often mentioned. Ray Kahn and Thorsten Peisl are not in the disruptor camp. Yet both left solid jobs in the financial markets and launched blockchain start-ups aimed at bringing new efficiencies to the marketplace. Their message about blockchain was clear at the World Federation of Exchanges annual meeting in Cartagena, Colombia this month. Yes, blockchain is coming. No, it’s not going to…

JLN Environmental/Energy: Carbon trading in China could secure global climate deal; Barclays Raises 2013-2020 EU Carbon Permit Price Forecast by 13%; Ryan slams ‘green pork’ in stimulus law Environmental/Energy,Newsletter

In this edition, focus on China’ evolution in carbon markets, including Business Green’s coverage of a new report. Elsewhere, the IEA sees the oil price burden on consumers easing. Oil-and-gas lobby ‘wary’ of tax reform, saysThe Hill’s E2 Wire.

John Lothian Newsletter: London Forms Bank Working Group To Expand Yuan-Trading Operations; Quote MTF venue to block unwanted bids; Obama administration targets oil speculators John Lothian Newsletter,Newsletter

The City of London starts a working group with banks to help them expand their already-in-motion plans to trade yuan in the city. Startup trading venue Quote MTF plans to provide the ability for traders to decline to participate with specific other parties, to help mitigate the influence of high-frequency activity. In the “Well, we have to do SOMEthing” department, the Obama administration adds their nomination to throw speculators under the oil-price bus. And in a jam-packed top section, you’ll find links from John Lothian on charitable giving; comments and links to oil-speculator-related articles; commentary from Jim Kharouf on the…

Response to 12 U.S. Senators Letter to CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler Suggesting Higher Margins Commentary,Regulation

John Lothian

(Recently 12 Senators wrote to CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler urging him to apply higher margins to the energy markets to “restore integrity.” Here is my response:) Dear Senators: I applaud your concern about the impact of rising oil prices on American consumers.  No one likes paying more for something than they think it is worth. Your letter to CFTC Chairman Gensler suggests you have the answer for the higher prices we are currently experiencing.  Your answer seems to be to facilitate less buying by speculators through imposing higher margin requirements for speculative trades.  While that could have the short-term effect you desire…