Iberian gas-for-power price cap to start June 14 after EC approves measure for 12 months

A year-long cap on the price of gas used for power generation will come into force June 14 for application on the day-ahead market, Spain’s government said June 9.

The measure, which applies to both the Spanish and Portuguese markets, was approved June 8 by the the European Commission to run until May 31, 2023.

From June 14 market operators will have to “internalize the unitary adjustment amount,” the government said in the official gazette, BOE.

The support will take the form of a payment that operates as a direct grant to electricity producers to finance part of their fuel costs.

Daily payments will be calculated based on the price difference between the market price of natural gas and a gas price cap set at an average of Eur48.80/MWh during the duration of the measure.

During the first six months of the application of the measure, the actual price cap will be set at Eur40/MWh.

Spanish gas at the PVB hub for July delivery was assessed June 8 at Eur70.50/MWh, S&P Global Commodity Insights data show.

As of the seventh month, the price cap will increase by Eur5 per month, resulting in a price cap of Eur70/MWh in the 12th month.

The measure will be financed by so-called “congestion income” obtained by the Spanish power grid operator as result of cross-border electricity trade between France and Spain and a charge imposed by Spain and Portugal on buyers benefitting from the measure.

The impact on consumers’ electricity bills is estimated in single digits, according to Fernando Garcia, director of European utilities equity research at RBC Capital, who said the measure could also boost Spanish gas exports to France by as much as 7 Bcm/year while also boosting CCGT load factors in Spain.

Flows reversing northbound

The European Commission, in approving the mechanism, said it recognized that the Spanish and Portuguese economies are “experiencing a serious disturbance” as a result of record-high gas and power prices.

Spanish and Portuguese day-ahead power settled at Eur182.67/MWh for June 9 delivery, up from Eur81.60/MWh on the same day last year.

While Spain’s government estimates that the day-ahead price could be reduced by 38% once the measure comes into force, it estimates the savings for consumers at nearer to 15%.

<img ” src=”https://www.spglobal.com/platts/PlattsContent/en/market-insights/latest-news/electric-power/easset_upload_file57377_2384894_e.jpg” alt=”Spain vs France baseload power” width=”909″ height=”546″ style=”display:none”>

“The temporary measure… will allow Spain and Portugal to lower electricity prices for consumers who have been hit hard by the rise in electricity prices due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” said Margrethe Vestager, the EC’s executive vice-president in charge of competition policy. “At the same time, the integrity of the Single Market will be preserved.”

Spain and Portugal estimated a Eur8.4 billion impact from the measure (Eur6.3 billion for Spain and Eur2.1 billion for Portugal) to lower the input costs of fossil fuel-fired power stations with the aim of reducing their production costs and, ultimately, the price in the wholesale electricity market, according to their notification to the EC.

Spanish year-ahead power has become Europe’s discount…

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FEATURE: US corn harvest vulnerable to ‘prevented planting,’ dry weather outlook

Concerns of above-normal prevent planting acres and forecast dry weather during the peak growing season are clouding US corn output prospects for marketing year 2022-23 (September-August), with the crop already expected to be lower on the year at a time when global supplies are also limited.

Inclement weather conditions in parts of the US during the peak corn-planting period kept farmers away from their fields, raising concerns that farmers would leave fields fallow and opt instead to take prevented planting,” also called “prevent plant,” insurance payments.

Prevented planting acreage and weather conditions during the peak planting season are important harvest factors every year, but this year they are more so, as corn stocks are shrinking globally while prices are sharply higher amid the backdrop of the Russia-Ukraine war, weather troubles in South America and lower production in the US.

The concern about prevented planting acreage is highest in North Dakota and Minnesota, as planting in these states was reported to be farthest behind their five-year averages as of June 5.

Though final planting dates for corn varies by regions in the US, the last dates fall between the end of May through June 5. After the final planting date, farmers can opt for a prevented plant payments.

“There will be a fair amount of prevent plant in areas — especially toward the western edge of Minnesota and into the eastern Dakotas — farmers wanted to plant corn and many still have been trying extremely hard, but the clock is about done ticking,” Minnesota corn and soybean farmer Jonathan Mikkelson said. Opting for prevented planting payments has been the last resort for farmers this year given that market opportunities are good, he added.

“The market was calling for corn and crop planting, MIkkelson said. “Farmers were poised to plant, but in some cases weather and field conditions just didn’t allow for planting before time ran out.”

Shifting acreage

The Upper Midwest received record rainfall in April and May, and it has been a struggle for farmers to put their seeds in the ground.

“Certainly, the prevent plant acres will be higher than last year’s 2.1 million acres given the wetness,” said Pete Meyer, head of Grain, Oilseed and Advanced Feedstocks at Platts Analytics. “If I had to guess, probably around 3.5 million-4 million acres,” he said.

Backing up Meyer’s assertion, the University of Illinois, in a June 8 report, suggests that US corn prevented planting in 2022-23 is likely to be greater than normal at 3.2 million acres, compared with the 2007-2021 annual average of 2.5 million acres.

Arlan Suderman, chief commodities economist with StoneX, while he echoed that this year’s delayed planting is expected to prevent some farmland from being planted, said conditions could also contribute to “shifting acres” between crops.

US corn could lose a half-million acres in the South, mostly to cotton and soybeans due to early planting problems and the surge in cotton and soybean prices during spring, and more than 2 million acres in Minnesota and North Dakota, Suderman said.

“Normally, the market wouldn’t worry too much about lost acres in northern Minnesota and North Dakota, but this is a year when every acre counts,” said Suderman, referring to the global shortfall of grain.

Fields typically planted with corn in the US have already seen a switch to soybeans this year owing to high fertilizer costs, making it only the third time in US history when farmers are likely to plant more soybean than corn in the country. As fertilizer prices soar to near-record highs, corn being a fertilizer-intensive crop currently offers lower returns compared with soybeans. US corn production in the MY 2022-23 is already expected to be 4.3% lower on the year at 14.5 billion bushels.

Above-normal temperatures forecast

While planting beyond normal final planting dates is raising concerns of yield losses, Kyle Tapley, senior agricultural meteorologist with Colorado-based private weather service Maxar, said such concerns for US corn are currently limited.

“Over the past week or so, planting has caught up to near the…

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OPEC+ output up after two months of declines, but quota shortfall grows: Platts survey

Crude oil production from OPEC and its Russia-led allies rebounded modestly in May from a steep drop in April but remains well short of its collective quotas, according to the latest Platts survey by S&P Global Commodity insights, highlighting the group’s continuing struggles with sanctions and unplanned outages.

OPEC’s 13 members pumped 28.62 million b/d in May, down 180,000 b/d from April, including major losses in Nigeria and Libya, while nine other countries partnering with the producer group added 13.08 million b/d, a rise of 300,000 b/d, led by gains in Russia and Kazakhstan, the survey found.

That is a net 120,000 b/d gain in the month by the entire OPEC+ alliance.

But with production quotas rising monthly under the OPEC+ agreement, the group underproduced its target by 2.616 million b/d, with compliance at a lofty 182.5%, according to S&P Global calculations.

Bar chart that illustrates modest output gains in may for for OPEC+ countries

Russia, targeted by western sanctions since its invasion of Ukraine in late February, has been the biggest contributor to the alliance’s shortfalls, as its production has fallen significantly from pre-war levels. However it was able to regain some footing in May, boosting output by 150,000 b/d to 9.29 million b/d, compared to its quota of 10.549 million b/d, the survey found.

Exports of Russian crude have remained resilient in the face of the sanctions, with some buyers eager to snap up discounted cargoes.

But analysts expect production to contract sharply in the months ahead, as the EU implements a ban on almost all seaborne Russian oil imports by year-end.

Fellow non-OPEC producer Kazakhstan also saw a healthy bounce in May to 1.52 million b/d, thanks to repairs to its damaged CPC pipeline from storm damage in April, according to the survey. Kazakhstan exports some two-thirds of its crude via the pipeline.

Volatile output

With Russia impaired, OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia has over the past few months reclaimed its mantle as the group’s leading producer, pumping 10.45 million b/d in April, though that is below its quota of 10.549 million b/d.

The world’s largest crude exporter saw its shipments down in the month, though some volumes were shunted into inventories and refinery runs were strong, market sources said.

But Nigeria suffered a 170,000 b/d decline, with key crude grades Qua Iboe and Bonny Light going on unexpected maintenance, while flows on the TransForcados pipeline were disrupted, according to the survey.

The country’s May output of 1.23 million b/d is its lowest on record in the Platts survey, which dates back to 1988.

Libya also saw a 130,000 b/d drop, the survey found. The fractured country has experienced persistent outages at major fields and blockades at ports, as protestors demand concessions from the government.

Libya is exempt from a quota under the OPEC+ deal, as are Iran and Venezuela, both of which had steady production in May.

Bar chart that shows how OPEC+ compliance swells in May as countries grapple to hit quotas. Total OPEC+ compliance is 182.45%.

Going forward, the OPEC+ alliance has accelerated its quota increases for July and August, in anticipation of higher global oil demand. The group will hike quotas by 643,000 b/d each month, a roughly 50% rise from the typical 432,000 b/d rises, ministers announced June 2.

But analysts say only Saudi Arabia and the UAE have any significant spare production capacity to meet their higher targets, while other countries are mostly maxed out or, in the case of Russia, Iran and Venezuela, subject to sanctions, likely causing some volatility in the months ahead.

The survey figures, which measure wellhead production, are compiled using information from oil industry officials, traders and analysts, as well as reviewing proprietary shipping, satellite and inventory data.

OPEC+ May crude oil production

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IMF recommends the Bahamas ‘accelerate its education campaigns’ on CBDC

The International Monetary Fund, or IMF, has turned its attention to the Bahamas’ central bank digital currency (CBDC), the Sand Dollar, and suggested additional regulatory oversight and education.
The recommendation came following the conclusion of an Article IV consultation in the Bahamas last Wednesday.
During an interview at SALT’s Crypto Bahamas conference in May, The Bahamas Prime Minister Philip Davis told Cointelegraph that the region has a regulatory regime in place that will enable crypto businesses to operate within its jurisdiction.
Davis’ office also said in April the government would “enable payment of taxes using digital assets” by working with the central bank as well as the private sector.
It was an honor to interview the Prime Minister of the Bahamas for @Cointelegraph at @CryptoBahamas stay tuned for our coverage!

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Al Jazeera Journalist Is Killed During Clashes in West Bank

JERUSALEM — A journalist for Al Jazeera was fatally shot in the West Bank city of Jenin early Wednesday during clashes between Israeli military forces and Palestinian gunmen, the news organization and the Palestinian health ministry said.

The circumstances surrounding the shooting of the journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh, were not immediately clear. Al Jazeera, citing the health ministry, said she had been hit in the head by a bullet from Israeli forces.

The Israeli military said on Twitter that it was investigating the possibility that journalists had been injured “possibly by Palestinian armed gunfire.”

Ms. Abu Akleh, 51, a veteran journalist, was wearing a protective vest that identified her as a member of the news media, Al Jazeera reported.

Another journalist, Ali al-Samodi, who was also wearing a protective vest, was injured by a bullet in the back, according to the official Palestinian news agency, which cited the health ministry. His condition was not immediately clear.

In the wake of a series of attacks by Palestinians in Israel, the Israeli military has been carrying out regular military raids into the Palestinian city of Jenin in the occupied West Bank since early April.

The Israeli military said on Twitter that its forces had been in Jenin to arrest suspects and came under fire first.

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Justin Sun Stepping Down from Tron (TRX) Leadership To Be A Diplomat For Grenada

Justin Sun

Justin Sun Stepping Down from Tron (TRX) Leadership To Be A Diplomat For Grenada

  • AnTyAnTy

Tron founder Justin Sun has announced his exit from the project to focus on crypto legitimization in Latin American countries starting with Grenada, where he will be the government’s ambassador to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

“I’m not retiring from TRON, but rather stepping down from an active involvement to serve as leader and supporter role now that the TRON network has been truly decentralized,” said Sun on Twitter.

Sun further said that he will still engage with the TRON community and continue pushing for its advancement.

Founded in 2017, Tron (TRX) is currently an $8.2 billion market cap cryptocurrency trading at $0.080, down 65% from its all-time high of $0.23 hit about four years back.

🎉🎉🎉Congratulations @HEJustinSun on his appointment as Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Grenada to the World Trade Organization. @WTO #WTO

Minister of Foreign Affairs Oliver Joseph with H.E. Mr. Justin Sun👇👇👇 pic.twitter.com/q3mdUULqa3

— GrenadaWTO🇬🇩 (@GrenadaWTO) December 17, 2021

Sun is now embarking on a new career as a diplomat for the Caribbean nation of Grenada, where he has been a resident since 2019.

On his separate Twitter account bearing the salutation “His Excellency,” Sun wrote that he had accepted the Grenadian government invitation to serve as the permanent representative of the country to the World Trade Organization in Geneva.

“I will be working in full capacity to represent Grenada’s national interests, to the WTO,” Sun added.

Last year, Sun won a dinner with billionaire investor Warren Buffett and this year was outbid at the very last moment at an auction for Beeple’s NFT that was sold for $69 million.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Sun said that the $2.3 trillion cryptocurrency industry has reached a stage now that “we really need sovereign states and regulators and international organizations to recognize the potential and the benefits of blockchain technology.”

As such, he will now focus his efforts on helping developing countries and developed states recognize the importance of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency.

“I will also try to promote new technology development in Grenada,” Sun said.

AnTy

AnTy has been involved in the crypto space full-time for over two years now. Before her blockchain beginnings, she worked with the NGO, Doctor Without Borders as a fundraiser and since then exploring, reading, and creating for different industry segments.

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SEC Postpones Decision on Grayscale and Bitwise Bitcoin Spot ETF to Early February

ETF Exchange Traded Fund

SEC Postpones Decision on Grayscale and Bitwise Bitcoin Spot ETF to Early February

  • AnTyAnTy

The US Securities and Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) continues to delay the physically-backed Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) from trading.

Earlier this month, the SEC rejected WisdomTree’s application for a spot Bitcoin ETF after delaying it in June. A week ago, the asset manager amended its filing with “significant protection” for investors.

This week, the SEC has postponed two Bitcoin ETF proposals: Bitwise Bitcoin ETP Trust and Grayscale Bitcoin Trust’s conversion to Bitcoin ETF to February 1 and 6, 2022, respectively.

“The Commission finds that it is appropriate to designate a longer period within which to take action on the proposed rule change so that it has sufficient time to consider the proposed rule change and the comments received,” said the regulator in its statement.

Back in mid-October, asset manager Bitwise filed for a spot Bitcoin ETF which would provide exposure to “actual BTC” rather than indirect exposure through Bitcoin futures. Bitwise also filed a Bitcoin futures-based application but dropped it in November.

In October, the Proshares Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BITO) became the first futures-based Bitcoin ETF to make its debut. The first-mover advantage saw it amassing more than $1 billion in assets. Two other Bitcoin futures ETFs have since then begun trading, but they manage to attract only a fraction of BITO’s funds.

Meanwhile, the world’s largest digital asset manager, Grayscale, filed an application on Oct. 19 to convert its flagship Bitcoin Trust holding $30.8 billion in assets into an ETF.

As we reported this week, Coinbase also sent a letter to the SEC in which it urged the regulator to approve Grayscale’s application arguing that treating spot Bitcoin ETPs differently from futures-based ETPs can “undermine confidence” in the agency.

AnTy

AnTy has been involved in the crypto space full-time for over two years now. Before her blockchain beginnings, she worked with the NGO, Doctor Without Borders as a fundraiser and since then exploring, reading, and creating for different industry segments.

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Binance.US Hires Former Intel Compliance Officer As Its First Chief Risk Officer

Binance

Binance.US Hires Former Intel Compliance Officer As Its First Chief Risk Officer

  • AnTyAnTy

Leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance’s US entity has hired Sidney Majalya as its deputy general counsel and first chief risk officer. Majalya will join Binance.US in January. Majalya said in a statement,

“Binance.US is deeply committed to compliance, and our priority is to maintain and grow a world-class compliance and risk organization that earns the utmost confidence and trust of our customers, investors, and regulators.”

The former vice president, legal, and chief compliance officer of the largest US semiconductor maker Intel Corp. also worked at Uber Technologies before that. Majalya was in Uber’s legal compliance department before the company went public in 2019.

As Binance’s chief risk officer, Majalya will oversee compliance issues and expand its headcount.

Binance.US is “not a company where I have to come in and do convincing about the importance of compliance,” he said in an interview.

The exchange expects to raise a “couple hundred” million dollars in a funding round expected to close soon, shared Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao in a recent interview.

Brian Shronder, the Chief Executive Officer of Binance.US, also said in September that the exchange aims to go public in the next two to three years. Shroder, a former executive of Ant group and Uber, replaced Brian Brooks, a former Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), who resigned from his position in just four months, citing “differences over strategic direction.”

AnTy

AnTy has been involved in the crypto space full-time for over two years now. Before her blockchain beginnings, she worked with the NGO, Doctor Without Borders as a fundraiser and since then exploring, reading, and creating for different industry segments.

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Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Opens An In-Depth Probe Into Meta’s (Facebook) Acquisition of VR App Developer

Facebook

Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Opens An In-Depth Probe Into Meta’s (Facebook) Acquisition of VR App Developer

  • AnTyAnTy

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) of the US has started an in-depth probe into Meta Platform’s (previously Facebook) $400 million acquisition of Supernatural, a virtual reality (VR) fitness app.

Now, the deal won’t be finalized for another year following FTC’s probe that started shortly after Thanksgiving Day last month, news portal The Information reported on Thursday, citing two people with knowledge of the situation.

Back in late October, Facebook announced its rebranding, which it said would be more in line with its plans of becoming a metaverse company. At the time, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that this new platform would “touch every product we build” and would support “crypto and NFT projects.”

Meta has invested heavily in virtual and augmented reality and is working on AR glasses and wristband technologies.

The company’s Oculus VR headsets are also a vital step towards metaverse. These headsets allow people to interact in this “more immersive” digital reality.

2021 was the year of VR, and I have one stat to show you why:

This year, Oculus has sold more headsets than Microsoft did Xboxs.

This marks the beginning of ARVR’s predominance.

A thread on ARVRs growth, use-cases, and future below: pic.twitter.com/tQVlWMerp6

— Jack Soslow (@JackSoslow) December 16, 2021

Besides building hardware Oculus, Meta has acquired at least six companies that make some of the most popular games and other apps for the headsets, a move to dominate the space and slow down its completion. The developer of Supernatural is one of them, which has become a breakout hit.

According to Meta, acquiring these apps allows them to pour funds into them and create better VR experiences. While other acquisitions went without a hitch, the FTC has now initiated a probe into the latest one.

As per the report, this probe appears to be a part of FTC Chair Lina Khan’s mission to make sure technology giants are not shutting out the next generation of competitors in emerging computing platforms.

AnTy

AnTy has been involved in the crypto space full-time for over two years now. Before her blockchain beginnings, she worked with the NGO, Doctor Without Borders as a fundraiser and since then exploring, reading, and creating for different industry segments.

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Former student protest leader Gabriel Boric wins Chile election

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