EU fines banks over $1 billion over foreign exchange cartel

The EU Commission said Thursday that investigators found that some bank employees in charge of spot trading in 11 currencies ‘exchanged sensitive information and trading plans.’ (AFP)
Updated 16 May 2019

EU fines banks over $1 billion over foreign exchange cartel

  • Investigators found that some bank employees in charge of spot trading in 11 currencies ‘exchanged sensitive information and trading plans’
  • They sometimes coordinated strategies through online professional chat rooms

BRUSSELS: European Union regulators have fined five banks a total of more than €1 billion ($1.1 billion) for allegedly colluding in the trade of large sums of foreign currency.
The EU Commission said Thursday that investigators found that some bank employees in charge of spot trading in 11 currencies “exchanged sensitive information and trading plans.” They sometimes coordinated strategies through online professional chat rooms.
The commission fined Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland, Citigroup and JPMorgan over €811 million ($909 million) for collaborating in a foreign exchange spot trading cartel dubbed “Forex — Three Way Banana Split.”
It also fined Barclays, RBS and MUFG Bank over €257 million ($288 million) for a separate cartel.
UBS escaped fines for revealing the cartels.


S&P downgrades trio of Dubai developers as pandemic hits property and retail

Updated 55 min 28 sec ago

S&P downgrades trio of Dubai developers as pandemic hits property and retail

  • Gulf states are being hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic that has come at a time of weak oil prices

RIYADH: The credit ratings of three Dubai property companies were downgraded by S&P as the coronavirus pandemic hits confidence in the retail and real estate sectors.
S&P Global Ratings reduced the credit ratings for the real estate developer Emaar Properties as well as Emaar Malls to +BB from -BBB with a negative forward outlook, adding that it sees a “weakening across all its business segments” in 2020. S&P also cut its rating for DIFC Investments to +BB from -BBB, while keeping a stable outlook.
Gulf states are being hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic that has come at a time of weak oil prices, heaping pressure on governments, companies and employees.
The ratings agency expects the emirate’s economy to shrink by 11 percent this year
“The supply-demand imbalance in the realty sector appears to have been exacerbated by the pandemic. We now expect to see international demand for Dubai’s property to be subdued, and the fall in residential prices to be steeper than we had expected, lingering well into 2021” S&P reported.
Despite easing restrictions and the opening of the economy, S&P said that overall macroeconomic conditions remained challenging.
Global travel restrictions and social distancing constraints “significantly weigh on Dubai’s tourism and hospitality sectors” the rating agency reported.
Still, Dubai’s tourism chief was upbeat on the emirate’s prospects when international tourism resumes.
“Once we do get to the other side, as we start to talk about next year and later on, we see very much a quick uptick. Because once things normalize, people will go back to travel again,” Helal Al-Marri, director general of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing told AFP in an interview.