Forex Weekly Look Back: IG Group announces its first ESG Manager, UK economy sinks

Looking back at the most intriguing and popular industry news from the past week between 1th and 15th May on LeapRate.

Online trading leader, IG Group, announced the company’s first ESG manager, Ben Hemington. At the newly created position, Hemington will lead the development of the business’s ESG agenda like managing the company’s environmental impact, ESG programmes and initiatives.

Many online trading service providers across the world are reporting significant month-over-month declines in trading volumes for April. GAIN Capital Holdings, Inc. reported trading volumes drop of over 50% MoM. The US online trading services provider reported that OTC trading volume for the retail segment fell to $ 188.1 billion from $388.6 last month, registering a 51.6% MoM decrease. The numbers are still up by 28.6% compared to April last year.

Financial technology provider Prime XM reported over 20% MoM decrease in trading volumes for April. The company reported trading volume of $910.86 billion for the month of April across the 3 major data centres (LD4, NY4 and TY3), registering 20.8% decreased since last month. The Average Daily Volume was $41.40 billion, a 14.14% MoM decline compared $48,22 billion in March.

Online bank, Swissquote announced the appointment of Christ Thomas as Head of Digital Assets. With 20 years of professional experience in the financial industry, at his new position Thomas will focus on expanding the institutional product range and offer services to asset managers, hedge funds, private banks and family offices.

The Bitcoin third block halving event took place this Monday. Every four years the amount a bitcoin minor receives is cut in half as a deflationary measure. The Bitcoin reward has gone down to 6.25 BTC from 12.5BTC. The algorithm behind the halving is designed to limit the total number of Bitcoins issued to 21 million coins. In anticipation for the event, the prices of Bitcoin increased the past few weeks. From around $4,100 in middle of March to just shy of $10,000 on May 6. Now the event is a fact, the prices have fallen back to about $8,700.

Financial service firm JPMorgan Chase began offering banking services to large bitcoin exchanges Coinbase Inc. and Gemini Trust Co as an indication that Wall Street’s becoming comfortable with working with cryptocurrency companies.

The newly revived and rebranded Synergy Markets issued a report cautioning retail investors to proceed with caution when trading crude oil. The Australian brokerage firm released an in-depth analytical report on trading crude oil, identifying 5 key areas and advice on what to be aware of before trading.

The US Dollar Index continues to rise as investors are lured by the safe haven appeal of the greenback. The dollar is consolidating its status as a refuge-asset as a safety-first attitude dominates the foreign exchange markets after the Fed chairman made it clear that the American central bank expects the economic recovery from the coronavirus fallout to be slow.

US stocks sank on Wednesday afternoon after Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell said that further interventions may be required in order to support the US economy, in the face of an unemployment rate that stands at close to 15%. Powell played down the rumblings that the Fed was seriously considering negative interest rates, and said that additional fiscal support from Congress may be required and would be “worth it”, despite the United States’ rising debt burden. “This tradeoff is one for our elected representatives, who wield powers of taxation and spending,” he said. Powell’s speech sent the S&P 500 tumbling; the index closed out the day 1.8% lower with all 11 sectors in the red.

The UK economy saw its biggest slump since the 2008 financial crisis in Q1, official figures confirmed on Wednesday, with a 2% decline in GDP in the first quarter. The Office for National Statistics said there had been a “widespread disruption to economic activity, as services output fell by a record 1.9% in Quarter 1”, while it also noted there were significant contractions in production and construction. The pound made some modest, but nonetheless remarkable, gains versus both the euro and the dollar during early European trading this Wednesday, despite the publications on the economy’s contraction.

The European Commission (EC) published a plan to patch up gaps and fix weak points in the EU’s current anti-money laundering (AML) and combating the financing of terrorism (CFT) rules. The Commission’s plan will be executed over the next 12 months, along with the launch of a public consultation on the subject, which will be open until the end of July.

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