Week InReview
Friday | Jul 24, 2020
Architecture in a post-Covid world.
Six feet. As Covid-19 has torn through the world, that distance has come to define daily life. Six feet is how far we stand from other shoppers or the space we try to maintain while catching up with a friend.

It’s painfully clear that our world has been constructed for a reality that no longer exists. Crowded subway cars, packed restaurants, and bustling sidewalks all pose a threat every time someone nearby sneezes, talks, or even just breathes.

Eventually, architects and engineers will reconstruct the world around us to take into account the pandemic — and others that may follow. Temporary plexiglass barriers and markings on the floor may give way to designs that favor privacy and small groupings of people to limit the spread of pathogens. 

let's recap...
Hedge funds and mutual funds are among bond holders that could lose $2 billion as a consequence of U.S. lawmakers letting millions of homeowners delay their mortgage payments during the Covid-19 pandemic. At stake are so-called credit-risk-transfer securities, which threaten to lead to estimated losses of between $1 billion and $2 billion, are intended to shift the risk of borrower defaults on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages to private investors. (Bloomberg Politics | Jul 23)

Wall Street banks scored a major win Thursday as the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission largely retreated from policing derivatives trades that are booked abroad. The CFTC’s shift to defer more oversight to foreign regulators follows years of industry lobbying. The change means that going forward, the regulator will no longer assert sweeping jurisdiction over global swap trades. (Bloomberg Markets | Jul 23) see also CFTC chair pushes to finalize Dodd-Frank rules (The Wall Street Journal | Jul 21) 

As fast and furiously as the world’s central banks are purchasing debt, there’s still about $1 trillion of sovereign bonds coming to market in the months ahead that will be looking for buyers. The flood of fresh debt, sold by governments to fund pandemic-rescue packages, threatens to dwarf central-bank buying and swamp markets in the U.K., Canada and Australia. (Bloomberg Economics | Jul 21)

U.S. banks may soon cut back on their real estate holdings to prepare for a world in which fewer workers make a daily commute to the office. Roughly 61% of bank executives surveyed by Accenture Plc said they don’t expect all of their employees to be called back to the office, and more than 40% said they plan to reduce their real estate footprint as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and their new workforce strategies. (Bloomberg Business | Jul 21)

The dollar’s exchange rate will be a key factor in the pace of global economic recovery while domestic currencies will have a smaller impact as the world struggles to bounce back from the pandemic, according to a study by the IMF. The findings come in a fund discussion note called “Dominant Currencies and External Adjustment”, which said that the U.S. currency’s role in trade and finance would exacerbate the impact of Covid-19 on the global economy. (Financial Times | Jul 20)
the cyber cafe
Stealthy hacker leaves feline calling card
A mystery hacker is wiping exposed databases  –  more than 1,500 so far  –  and overwriting data with the word "meow" and a series of numbers. It is unclear whether the "meow bot" is stealing the data or simply destroying it, and one researcher noted that if the attacker isn't misusing the data, the incidents "could actually be safeguarding users from more financially driven malicious attackers" by motivating the targeted companies to secure their databases.
—  Infosecurity (U.K.)

Phishing: eMail fraudsters impersonate colleagues, vendors
The latest form of business email phishing attacks involve impersonating familiar senders, a  GreatHorn report found . More than a third (36%) of respondents said they are seeing email threats coming into their inboxes every day. 
—  TechRepublic

FBI issues cybersecurity warning to air travelers
The FBI is warning air travelers that hackers are using fake airport websites to steal personal data and financial information when users book travel-related services. Hackers can also breach travelers' devices at airports via Wi-Fi networks, the FBI says.
—  InfoSecurity
binge reading disorder
The rich are looking to buy access to Covid-safe havens.
The next time the world’s rich are forced into lockdown, they would like to have an escape ready to a remote and sunny beach. Or perhaps to New Zealand, one of the few countries that has  eliminated Covid-19 . They are willing to pay for the privilege, of course.

U.S. airlines are facing the end of business travel as they know it
U.S. airlines hammered by the catastrophic loss of passengers during the pandemic are confronting a once-unthinkable scenario: that this crisis will obliterate much of the corporate flying they’ve relied on for decades to prop up profits.

Wall Street firms look at moving jobs out of New York City
About one in four office employers intend to reduce their footprint by at least a fifth, and about 16% expect to move jobs out of the city, according to the  Partnership for New York City,  an influential group composed of corporate chief executives, which enlisted over a dozen consulting firms to work for free to conduct the study.
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