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🌎Elon's First Passenger to the Moon | Nord Stream II | Twitter vs India

February 12th, 2021

Happy Friday!

Today has been a monumental day for the #FreeBritney movement. Today, the court rejected Britney’s father's request to exert greater control over her estate.

For those of you unaware, Britney has been under a conservatorship controlled by her father, Jamie Spears. The conservatorship was put into force after her infamous mental breakdown which resulted in a bald but still fabulous Britney.

Since the incident, Britney has played the role of a superstar puppet, possessing zero control of her finances, touring schedule or career decisions. Today, was a big step for the #FreeBritney movement. You go girl!

Did You Know...

The hairdresser who shaved Britney’s head in 2007 gathered up the pop princess’s locks, the Redbull she sipped from, and the cig butts left in the salon’s ashtray. She then listed them on eBay and received a bid for:

(a) € 10,000 Euro

(b) £ 150,000 British Pounds

(c) ₽ 1,000,000,000 Russian Rubles

(d) $ 1,000,000 US Dollars

(Answer below)

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Elon’s First Passenger to the Moon: DogeCoin

Dogecoin is a cryptocurrency that began as a parody of Bitcoin; its mascot - a perpetually flabbergasted Shiba Inu dog. Over the last week, Dogecoin soared almost 1,000 percent.

The 50ft tsunami wave of retail traders clicking “buy” came following Tesla’s celebrated purchase of $1.5 billion of Bitcoin. The electric car company announced they would soon begin accepting Bitcoin payments for their EVs.

However, 'Big Short' investor Michael Burry says Tesla's $1.5 billion bet on Bitcoin was a #digitalconfetti distraction and Dogecoin's rocketing price is one big voluptuous bubble. Burry is no joke. Burry is the type of guy who reads the terms and conditions of a parking ticket before entering the parking lot.

You may remember Burry from the Big Short where he famously made a billion-dollar bet on the US housing-market collapse after reading the content of all AAA-rated mortgage bonds with death metal playing in the background.

Burry claims Tesla strategically timed its $1.5 billion purchase of Bitcoin to distract from the bad press coming out of China. "Chinese regulators summoned Tesla on quality issues as consumers complain". Burry also claimed Dogecoin’s current price is as absurd as GameStop’s once was, which has since ‘burst’ and currently sits at $49/share… Invest wisely, everyone.

FX |Struggling to keep in the positive territory over the week, the greenback took a hit on Thursday from the worst-than-expected jobless claims. The DXY, which tracks the U.S dollar against a basket of major currencies, has declined half percent this week compared to last Friday. On that note, the slow pace of jobless claims justifies the Federal Reserve’s dovish stance, which could provide more vulnerability to the USD in the short term.


To Stream or Nord II Stream

Putin and his fellow Kremlins have been in a world of hurt these past few weeks following a wooden spoon spanking by the international community for the shady imprisonment of Aleksei Navalny. However, the Kremlin recently enjoyed a piece of good news.

The syndicate managing the construction of the 1,200-kilometer pipeline (‘Nord Stream 2’) announced it had resumed laying pipes, nearing imminent completion. Once in full operation, the pipeline will double the volume of natural gas exported annually from Russia to Germany.

The U.S. fears a second pipeline will increase Germany’s economic dependency on Russia. Gazprom, the Russian state-owned energy giant, has a concerningly large share of the gas market across Europe. The company holds 37% of all imported gas.

Last month, the U.S. State Department threatened European stakeholders with sanctions in an attempt to protect the market share of Yankee-branded liquefied natural gas. A fuel that competes directly with Russian gas.

In response, the German government metaphorically flashed Washington with a briefcase packed with 1 billion taxpayer euros in a bid to hush Washington D.C. and their economic sanctions. Nice Germany.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier holds the pipeline close to his heart, stating during an interview with the German newspaper Rheinische Post, that the pipeline is "one of the last bridges between Russia and Europe … this year marking 80 years since the Nazis invaded Russia.” Apparently, there is no faster way to a Russian’s heart than to buy their LNP gas.

FX | The Russian Ruble has continued to gain traction against the greenback over the week, hovering around 73.5 mark. The Ruble’s strength is, partially, thanks to the recent rise in oil prices, which rose to pre-Covid-19 pandemic levels. Furthermore, market investors have been taking advantage of the interest rate differential to carry out a carry trade, thus boosting the bid to the Ruble. Subscribe here to receive our daily market commentary.


Twitter v India: Fighting for Free Speech

Whilst readying their inboxes for virtual flowers, chocolates and love poems, the employees of Twitter’s Indian offices received something a little unexpected. On Monday, the Indian government threatened employees at the social media giant with threats of prison time for restoring hundreds of accounts once banned for criticizing government actions.

In shock, Twitter immediately complied. The social media platform culled over 250 accounts owned by political activists, Bollywood stars, and an investigative news magazine. The once blocked accounts had been “actin’ up”, criticizing Indian Prime Minister Modi for implementing controversial agricultural reform.

That same afternoon, Twitter rebelled. After meeting with India’s IT Ministry, the legal eagles of Twitter argued that blocking politically critical tweets would be a breach of free speech.

Twitter now faces a dilemma. Should the company choose to reblock the accounts, this would mean silencing the fundamental right of free speech, an integral value of Twitter’s platform. However, standing up against the Indian government by permitting activists to tweet freely could ignite a legal showdown with Twitter’s third-biggest market.

We’ll watch from the sidelines on this one.

FX |The Indian currency settled at 72.61 on Friday, after trading between 72.56 and 73.00 levels over the week. The rupee has been holding well at 73 mark since September, 2020. In order to keep the INR stable, India's Central Bank has been intervening in the forward markets, providing liquidity amid heavy foreign inflows. However, the central bank’s strategy has side effects. That’s pushed the 12-month implied yields, which typically reflect the interest rate differential between India and U.S., to the highest in more than four years, fueling further inflows and deterring imports to hedge their USD exposure. Subscribe here to receive our daily FX market commentary.

What We’ve Been Reading

Wanted: Banker Who Became Literal Poster Boy of Cum-Ex Scandal - Looking straight into the camera with a blank expression, his hair slicked back, the individual wanted by German Federal Police is Paul Mora. A New Zealand native who became a high-rolling investment banker in London, the 53-year-old has been linked to the dividend-tax strategy known as Cum-Ex that German lawmakers have decried as the biggest tax fraud in history.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics president announces resignation following sexist remarks - Tokyo 2020 Olympics chief Yoshiro Mori has been under fire since last week, when he said that "board meetings with lots of women take longer" because "women are competitive -- if one member raises their hand to speak, others might think they need to talk too," according to reports in the Japanese press.

The man behind Fortnite is making the riskiest bet of his career. The payoff could be huge - The CEO and founder of Epic Games has had a knack for picking the right battles while also shoring up his company's independence. Fortnite, the company's blockbuster battle royale game, recently topped more than 15 million concurrent players and has spawned a universe of fandom.

DRC is rich with farmland, so why do 22 million people there face starvation? - You have to wonder how a country with eight months of rain, more than 50% of all the rivers, lakes and wetlands in Africa, and more agricultural land than any African country, with the potential to feed up to 2 billion people, gets to the point where it is unable to feed its population of 100 million.


Quiz of the week


(d) Someone bid $1,000,000 for the collection of assorted goods

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