China opens up FX trading

China will allow trading in forwards and swaps between the yuan and three more currencies in an effort to reduce foreign-exchange risks amid increased volatility in emerging markets.

The China Foreign Exchange Trade System will begin such contracts with Malaysia’s ringgit, Russia’s ruble and the New Zealand dollar (CME:N6H15) from today, it said in a statement on its website posted Dec. 26 in Shanghai. That will extend the yuan’s (CME:QTF15) swaps trading to 11 currencies on the interbank foreign-exchange market.

A plunge in Russia’s ruble (CME:R6G15) this month to a record low sparked a sell-off in developing nations’ assets, leading to a surge in currency volatility. The new contracts come as China tries to increase the international use of the yuan, which the world’s second-largest economy promotes as an alternative to the U.S. dollar (NYBOT:DXH15) for global trade and finance. Malaysia and Russia are China’s eighth- and ninth-biggest trading partners, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The CFETS is an agency under the People’s Bank of China.

Compliance Policy - China Changes Its Tax Policy for Precious-Metal Exports

China will levy a value-added tax and a consumption tax based on the most valuable material in a given product, if 80% of it consists of precious metals and gems, China’s finance ministry said.

Gold (COMEX:GCG15), silver (COMEX:SIF15), platinum, diamond, and pearl were cited as precious metals and gems subject to the rule.

The rules take effect Jan. 1. The statement didn’t specify the tax rate.

China sent investigators in October to the southern province of Guangdong to probe a sevenfold surge in precious-metals exports as the government intensified scrutiny of irregularities in the country’s trade figures.

Compliance Action - Decision on PGNiG Fine Early January, Regulator Chief Bando Says

Poland’s energy market regulator will early next month announce its decision on a fine for Polskie Gornictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo SA, or PGNiG, for failing to comply with the requirement to sell 30% of gas through an exchange in 2013, Maciej Bando, head of the country’s energy watchdog told reporters in Warsaw.

The fine’s “scale won’t be surprise for the market,” Bando said.

Polish law requires PGNiG to increase the amount of gas sold through an exchange to 55% in 2015.

Obamacare-Aided Insurer Almost Broke After $145 Million in Loans

A startup insurance company loaned $145 million by the U.S. government under Obamacare is running out of money and being taken over by state officials in Iowa.

The company, CoOportunity Health, which also serves Nebraska, was placed under Iowa Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart’s supervision last week and is no longer accepting new enrollees, according to a statement from his office. While Gerhart’s agency will operate the company for the time being, it’s urging policyholders to seek a new insurer.

CoOportunity Health is a co-op, or Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan, one of 23 nonprofit health insurers providing coverage in 26 states. They were created under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to increase competition.

CoOportunity has 96,350 enrollees, up from 63,000 at the end of March, according to its website. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services provided the insurer $130.6 million for solvency and $15.4 million for operations, according to a legal filing by Gerhart. CMS told CoOportunity Dec. 16 it couldn’t provide more funds. The insurer lost $45.7 million from January to October, according to the petition.

“CoOportunity is not insolvent on a statutory basis at this time, but CoOportunity’s lack of additional solvency funding places it in a financially hazardous condition,” the petition said.

CMS, the Iowa Insurance Division and CoOportunity didn’t immediately respond to phone and e-mail messages seeking comment.

People who enrolled in CoOportunity on or before Dec. 15 will still have insurance, and anyone who enrolled after will need to choose a new plan by the end of open enrollment Feb. 15, according to Iowa’s Insurance Division.

“Most policyholders may find it in their best interests to find other coverage before the end of open enrollment,” the Insurance Division said on its website.

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