January 17, 2022
“Bank of Japan policymakers are debating how rapidly they should announce the possibility of an interest rate hike encouraged by rising prices and a more hawkish Federal Reserve.”
Tim Hallinan – Trading Director
A vast majority of American voters do not think President Joe Biden has his priorities straight when it comes to record-setting inflation currently gripping the country, a dire new poll revealed on Sunday. The agenda items the progressive president has been focused on, like his $1.75 trillion Build Back Better bill, are only pushing his critics further away. Last week, Biden has attempted to play down a new annual inflation reading of 7 percent, the highest level in 40 years, by branding it a ‘global’ issue and a ‘global challenge’ that his administration is making ‘progress’ with. Persistent supply chain issues have left grocery shelves bare across the nation this week, drawing comparisons to conditions in the former Soviet Union and putting further upward pressure on prices. Sunday’s survey highlights Americans’ dissatisfaction with the state of the country.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s position is looking increasingly vulnerable as more reports emerge of parties and gatherings in Downing Street during periods of Covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions. Kier Starmer, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, accused Johnson of breaking Covid laws amid numerous allegations of parties and gatherings that were held by government staff, with some attended by Johnson, during lockdown. No 10 is braced for a difficult week with fears Tory MPs will return to Westminster today having spent the weekend been barracked by their constituents over the row. Boris Johnson is now planning Downing Street staff changes and a series of populist measures in a bid to save his premiership, the Times reported. They include a ban on alcohol in his office, new measures to help the NHS and the removal of all remaining Covid restrictions on January 26. Almost three dozen Tory MPs support a no-confidence vote in Johnson, still well short of the 54 that would be required to trigger a vote on his leadership.
Sterling is stronger against the dollar and weaker against the euro this morning. The chairman of global banking giant Credit Suisse, Antonio Horta-Osorio, has resigned with immediate effect after breaking Covid quarantine rules. Recruitment in the City of London’s financial district hit levels not seen since before the pandemic in the final three months of 2021, according to new data. Oil and gas companies have handed shareholders almost £200bn since 2010 and should be hit with a windfall tax to cap heating bills that are set to rise by as much as £500 a year, according to a report on the finances of the UK’s energy sector. The number of households suffering from ‘fuel stress’ is set to treble overnight to 6.3 million households when the new energy price cap comes into effect on April 1. The quarantine period has been reduced after a review of the medical evidence, to help ease staff shortages across the economy. But people will need to produce negative lateral flow tests on days five and six of their isolation. Meanwhile, 16 and 17-year-olds are now able to book a booster jab or attend a walk-in vaccination centre in England.
The euro is well bid against most major currencies overnight. Influenza has returned to Europe at a faster-than-expected rate this winter after almost disappearing last year, raising concerns about a prolonged “twindemic” with COVID-19 amid some doubts about the effectiveness of flu vaccines. The U.S. is working to determine who carried out a cyberattack on Ukrainian government websites and it wouldn’t be surprising if Russia was behind it, President Joe Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan said. Ukrainian officials say “all evidence” points to Russia, while Russia denies it was behind the hacks. It’s the latest source of tension after President Vladimir Putin massed 100,000 troops on the Ukrainian border for what the U.S. says is a possible invasion. President Emmanuel Macron will on Monday tout 21 new foreign investment projects in France and a booming economy as proof his economic reforms have been bearing fruit less than three months before a presidential election in which he is expected to run. Microsoft Corp said in a blog post on Saturday it observed destructive malware in systems belonging to several Ukrainian government agencies and organisations that work closely with the Ukrainian government.
The dollar is weaker than most major currencies in the early morning trade. Billionaire investor Bill Ackman says the Federal Reserve is losing its battle against inflation and should raise its key interest rate by a bigger-than-expected 50 basis points in March to “restore its credibility.” Gold prices held steady on Monday as market participants gauged the global economic policy outlook, with inflation-based demand for bullion countering hawkish comments from U.S. Federal Reserve officials which lifted the dollar and Treasury yields. As the pandemic enters its third year, many small businesses across the United States are besieged on three fronts: deepening supply chain issues; periodic staffing shortages; and fewer customers showing up in some areas, fearing the Omicron spike in COVID-19 cases. U.S. President Joe Biden travelled to Philadelphia on Sunday to honour the legacy of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., as he continues to press for voting rights legislation and concerted action to combat rising extremism.
Stocks were mixed Monday as traders weighed a global advance in sovereign bond yields and policy easing by China’s central bank to counter an economic slowdown. Shares in China and Japan gained but Hong Kong declined. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures fell, while European contracts climbed. A dollar gauge ticked higher. US stock and bond markets are shut Monday for a holiday. The People’s Bank of China exceeded market expectations for stimulus by cutting two key policy interest rates ahead of a report showing economic growth slowed last quarter to 4%. A real-estate slump and partial Covid shutdowns are among the challenges for the world’s second-largest economy. Bond yields in Australia and New Zealand rose after US Treasuries tumbled Friday. The 10-year US yield — a linchpin for valuing a range of assets — is back up at levels seen before the pandemic roiled global markets in 2020, spurring a rethink about the outlook for markets. Treasury futures slid.
Main Economic Data/Central Banks/Government (All Times CET)
9:00 a.m.: Czech Republic Dec. PPI
10:00 a.m.: Italy Dec. CPI
11:00 a.m.: Norway sells bills
11:30 a.m.: Germany sells bills
2:00 p.m.: Russia Nov. trade balance
2:50 p.m.: France sells bills
U.S. markets closed for holiday
Earnings include Ultratech Cement