Record Liquefied Natural Gas Prices in Asia Won’t Last

It’s been a wild year for commodity markets, marked by despair last spring as the world ground to a halt and followed more recently by exuberance. Nowhere has the bullish feeling been more evident than the usually staid market for liquefied natural gas: February futures for Asian gas hit nearly $20 per million British thermal units last week according to data from Refinitiv. As recently as mid-December, they were only trading around $8 per MMBtu. Unfortunately for gas producers, today’s prices aren’t sustainable and the longer-term supply picture is bearish. Supply stoppages combined with the coldest winter in Asia in decades […]

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WSJ News Exclusive | Yellen Prepared to Affirm Commitment to Market-Determined Dollar Value

WASHINGTON—Janet Yellen is expected to affirm the U.S.’s commitment to market-determined exchange rates when she testifies on Capitol Hill Tuesday, and she will make clear the U.S. doesn’t seek a weaker dollar for competitive advantage, according to Biden transition officials familiar with her hearing preparation. The remarks would represent a return to the U.S.’s hands-off approach to the dollar, which President Trump had deviated from by often publicly calling for a lower dollar. Ms. Yellen, the former Federal Reserve chairwoman, is set to appear before the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday as it considers her nomination to be the next U.S. Treasury […]

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After Stock Surge, Investors Ask Companies What’s Ahead

An epic stock rally faces a key test in coming weeks as investors learn what executives expect for profits and revenues in coming periods. Fourth-quarter earnings season kicked off in earnest Friday with better-than-expected profits from some of the nation’s largest banks. Despite a record quarterly profit at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and some bright spots at Citigroup Inc. and Wells Fargo & Co., shares of all three declined, with Wells and Citi each dropping more than 6%. The market reaction highlights the stakes as large firms begin sharing quarterly results and, more important, their outlooks for coming quarters. Though results […]

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Regulators Are Fed Up With Food-Delivery Fees

American consumers have been forced to eat food-delivery costs sometimes nearly as big as the meals themselves. Regulators are fed up. In addition to new laws boosting compensation and benefits for delivery drivers, restaurant protections such as pandemic-related commission caps have been proliferating at the city and state levels. Consumer protections could be next. New laws have been costly for delivery players that have been struggling to generate consistent profits lately. On its third-quarter conference call, Uber , which owns and operates Uber Eats, suggested it wouldn’t absorb all of the added costs related to the passage of Proposition 22 in […]

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Chinese Property Developers Have Huge Debts to Refinance

China’s property developers have a mountain of international debt to refinance this year, and tight lending conditions are raising the risk of defaults. The real-estate firms need to repay up to $53.5 billion of offshore debt this year, a sharp increase from the $25.4 billion that came due in 2020, according to CreditSights, a bond-research firm. The bulk of the debt—$47.6 billion—is dollar bonds. The CreditSights figures include maturing bonds and a smaller sum of puttable debt, which has a longer maturity but which investors have the right to sell back during 2021. At the same time, support from China’s powerful […]

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Capital One Fined for Anti-Money-Laundering Deficiencies

The Treasury Department on Friday said it fined Capital One Financial Corp. for “willfully failing to implement and maintain” effective anti-money-laundering controls. As part of the settlement, Capital One admitted that it “willfully failed to file thousands of suspicious activity reports,” according to the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. The allegations pertain to a check-cashing portfolio that Capital One acquired when it bought North Fork Bank in 2006. Write to AnnaMaria Andriotis at annamaria.andriotis@wsj.com Source link

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America’s Big Banks Girded for a Wave of Bad Loans. They’re Still Waiting.

America’s top bankers signaled the economic recovery has held up better than they expected and should continue in the new year, releasing some of the stockpiles of cash they had set aside for a wave of soured loans. JPMorgan Chase & Co. posted a record quarterly profit while Citigroup Inc. and Wells Fargo & Co. both posted higher-than-expected earnings in the final three months of the year, boosted by the reserve releases and Wall Street’s record-setting run. The period capped a tumultuous 2020, when a sharp decline in economic activity in the spring gave way to an uneven recovery that has […]

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Ethanol Lobbyists Don’t Want to Be Labeled

America led the world decades ago by sticking warning labels on cigarettes, but not without a fight from an influential industry. In the latest scrap over a label, this one for ethanol, things might be going the other way. While corn-based fuel blended into almost all gasoline is mostly a wasteful boondoggle, using too much of it merely endangers the health of your boat, lawn mower or older car, not that of a human being. But advocates for the higher blend called E15, denoting 15% ethanol content, as opposed to the more common E10, are pushing to change or get rid […]

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More Cash Means More Problems for Big Banks

Big banks have a tantalizing amount of cash on their books, but there is still a ways to go before it can make its way into shareholders’ pockets. JPMorgan Chase said Friday that it ended 2020 with $1.4 trillion in cash and marketable securities, which it said is some $450 billion in excess of what regulators require. Across Citigroup , PNC Financial Services , JPMorgan and Wells Fargo , which all reported earnings Friday, cash assets at year-end represented about 15% of their total assets, well up from less than 10% a year before. Behind this is a wave of deposits […]

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