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Record Liquefied Natural Gas Prices in Asia Won’t Last

It’s been a wild year for commodity markets, marked by despair last spring as the world ground to a halt and followed more recently by exuberance. Nowhere has the bullish feeling been more evident than the usually staid market for liquefied natural gas: February futures for Asian gas hit nearly $20 per million British thermal units last week according to data from Refinitiv. As recently as mid-December, they were only trading around $8 per MMBtu.

Unfortunately for gas producers, today’s prices aren’t sustainable and the longer-term supply picture is bearish. Supply stoppages combined with the coldest winter in Asia in decades are a perfect market for those gas producers who still have capacity to supply spot shipments—including U.S. firms like Cheniere. But futures are already pricing in warmer weather a few months out: the April contract is currently trading around $7 per MMBtu.

Further out, Chinese demand is still the swing factor—as it is for most industrial commodities. Here the news is bullish, but perhaps less so than some LNG vendors might hope. Chinese demand continues to expand robustly, and China continues to consume far more gas than it produces. The bad news is that the growth of

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Regulators Are Fed Up With Food-Delivery Fees

American consumers have been forced to eat food-delivery costs sometimes nearly as big as the meals themselves. Regulators are fed up.

In addition to new laws boosting compensation and benefits for delivery drivers, restaurant protections such as pandemic-related commission caps have been proliferating at the city and state levels. Consumer protections could be next.

New laws have been costly for delivery players that have been struggling to generate consistent profits lately. On its third-quarter conference call, Uber , which owns and operates Uber Eats, suggested it wouldn’t absorb all of the added costs related to the passage of Proposition 22 in California. Instead, Chief Financial Officer Nelson Chai said he expected additional wage or benefit costs to be passed along to customers. DoorDash and Grubhub say they are doing the same.

When the state’s voters opted to keep drivers classified as independent contractors, they didn’t necessarily realize they would be picking up the tab for the added benefits drivers got as part of the deal. Yet, on Uber Eats orders in California as of Dec. 14, for example, consumers’ itemized receipts include a “Driver Benefits” fee, which is explained in the app as a direct consequence of Proposition 22.

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Fannie, Freddie Taxpayer Stake Won’t Be Restructured Under Trump

WASHINGTON—The Treasury Department has decided not to restructure the taxpayers’ stake in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac , effectively ending the Trump administration’s push to ensure that the mortgage giants are eventually returned to private hands.

The announcement by the Treasury Department and the companies’ federal regulator leaves it to the incoming Biden administration to decide the future of the firms, which were put under government control during the 2008-09 financial crisis through a process known as conservatorship.

Advisers close to President-elect Joe Biden have said he would be in no hurry to privatize the companies, which guarantee roughly half of the $11 trillion U.S. mortgage market. Instead, Mr. Biden would focus on ways to use the companies to boost housing affordability and promote homeownership, the advisers said.

Under a more modest agreement announced Thursday by the Treasury Department and the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the mortgage companies will be allowed to retain more of their earnings, boosting their ability to absorb potential losses. FHFA is the companies’ independent federal regulator.

Thursday’s changes to the companies’ bailout agreements allow the firms to retain roughly $280 billion, or the equivalent of what they are required to maintain as part of new,

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Poshmark Set to Join IPO Boom

Poshmark Inc., the online marketplace for secondhand goods, will start trading Thursday, the latest e-commerce site to tap the buoyant initial public offering market as the coronavirus pandemic continues to squeeze bricks-and-mortar stores.

Poshmark said it priced its IPO at $42 a share, giving the company an initial valuation of more than $3 billion. The shares priced above the target range of $35 to $39. The business was valued at $1.25 billion in 2019. Poshmark declined to comment, citing a regulatory quiet period ahead of its IPO.

A number of digital marketplaces, including Poshmark, reported more people selling goods in spring 2020 as a way to generate extra income and stave off boredom during widespread lockdowns. Poshmark sellers list everything from $17 reusable Starbucks cups to $3,000 Louis Vuitton handbags. While many traditional apparel companies struggled to survive, Poshmark was profitable for the first time in its 10-year history in the quarter ended June 30.

The company, based in Redwood City, Calif., follows ContextLogic Inc., the parent of e-commerce marketplace Wish, which has traded below its IPO price of $24 after a rocky debut last month. The investor skepticism is an anomaly in an otherwise booming IPO market that

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Capitol Riot Threatens Trump’s Already-Hurting Business

The storming of the Capitol last week by a pro-Trump mob will ratchet up the pressure on President Trump’s family business at a moment when some of his most lucrative assets were already suffering from the pandemic and facing looming debt payments.

One of the Trump Organization’s most loyal partners, German lender Deutsche Bank AG , is moving to distance itself from the president’s businesses and is unlikely to lend it more money, said a person familiar with the matter. The bank has lent the Trump Organization more than $300 million that will mature in 2023 and 2024, forcing the company to refinance the debt or pay it off by potentially selling assets.

Deutsche Bank was one of the few major financial institutions willing to do business with Mr. Trump, who has a tumultuous financial history. Since the riots, the Trump Organization’s access to the financial system was squeezed further.

New York-based Signature Bank and Coral Gables, Fla.-based Professional Bank said they would be closing Mr. Trump’s accounts. Signature Bank, where Mr. Trump had $5.3 million, urged the president to resign. “We witnessed the president of the United States encouraging the rioters and refraining from calling in the National Guard