The comment period for the controversial Volcker rule, which seeks to ban firms from making risky bets with their own capital, ends on Monday, Feb. 13. The rule, named after former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, is expected to be implemented in July this year. But critics have said the rule is highly complex and argue that strict adherence to the provisions will increase the cost of compliance, raise the costs to the end user and reduce overall market liquidity. The U.K, Japan and other countries have also expressed concerns that a restriction on trading sovereign bonds other than U.S. will hurt foreign sovereign markets. Paul Volcker himself might submit a comment letter defending his rule on Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported. He is expected to argue that the ban on prop trading would make the financial system safer and ensure that firms are working in their clients interests.
Greece on Sunday approved a series of unpopular austerity measures including pension and wage cuts in order to secure a second bailout package from international creditors. The package passed in the parliament by a 199-74 vote amid heavy rioting in Athens. Euro Zone finance ministers will meet at Brussels on Wednesday to sign off on the 130 billion euro deal, which will then set the stage for negotiations with bondholders who will have to voluntarily agree to a debt swap that will result in a 50% haircut. The fresh injection of aid and the debt swap is necessary in order for Greece to avoid a disorderly default in March, when the country will have to redeem 14.5 billion euros worth of bonds.