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Mar 08, 2019

The week in IR: Platinum-backed ETFs surge by 15 percent, and Miami International prepares to launch MIAX Equities Exchange

This week’s investor relations-related stories from around the web

According to the Financial Times, holdings in platinum-backed exchange-traded funds (ETFs) have surged by 15 percent this year as investors bet on car makers using the metal in petrol car catalysts due to the short supply of mainstay palladium. Citing Mitsubishi, it added that holdings in platinum ETFs have reached a four-year high of 2.7 mn ounces. That’s the highest increase in the first two months of the year since platinum ETFs became available in 2007, according to the World Platinum Investment Council.

Miami International Holdings is preparing to launch its MIAX Equities Exchange toward the end of the year or in early 2020, The Wall Street Journal reported. Miami International has roughly tripled its share of the stock options market over the past five years, said the publication. The plan, floated in 2011, is subject to regulatory approval but some on Wall Street have questioned whether another trading venue is necessary.

Investment and Pensions Europe reported that UK church investors have tightened their voting policy on key corporate governance issues ahead of the AGMs of some of the country’s largest listed companies. The Church Investors Group – which represents church organizations with combined investment assets of around £21 bn ($27.5 bn) – wrote to FTSE 350 companies earlier this month warning that it would take a tougher voting line where it deems reform on major issues to be too slow.

Global forex markets were overshadowed by the continued decline in volatility, lending a boost to higher-yielding currencies such as the US dollar and emerging markets, reported Reuters. Focus has turned to meetings at the European Central Bank and the Bank of Canada, with both institutions facing the need to address stuttering economic growth and a slowdown in world trade.

The combining of Germany’s two largest banks now has political backing, according to the FT. It reported that both Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank saw their share prices plunge more than 90 percent in the past 11 years as they churned through eight chief executives – including the two incumbents – flip-flopping on strategy while raising more than €30 bn ($34 bn) in new equity.

According to Reuters, China will acknowledge tariffs made in any trade deal with the US for the sake of stabilizing shaky relations. Citing experts, however, it reported that China is unlikely to yield to demands it alter its economic model even if faced with continued tariffs. US President Donald Trump has warned he could walk away from a China deal if it is not good enough, even as his advisers touted ‘fantastic’ progress toward an agreement to end a dispute that has put tit-for-tat tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of each country’s goods.

According to the WSJ, the European Central Bank made a major policy reversal, unveiling plans for fresh measures to stimulate the eurozone’s faltering economy less than three months after phasing out a €2.6 tn ($2.9 tn) bond-buying program, making it the first rich-country central bank to ease policy in response to the global slowdown.