Risky assets continue to rise ahead of major central bank releases and Biden inauguration.
- President Trump prepares to leave office later today with a farewell address in which he says “we did what we came to do”. The President has issued over 100 pardons which include his former adviser Steve Bannon, but he has not pardoned himself, any family members, or Rudy Giuliani contrary to the expectations of some.
- The nominated Treasury Secretary and former Chair of the Federal Reserve Janet Yellen yesterday claimed she will not pursue a deliberate policy to weaken the dollar or keep interest rates low. She also floated the possibility of the U.S. Treasury issuing bonds of 50-year duration.
- Stocks and other risky assets have continued to advance over the past day, although most remain off their recent highs.
- In the Forex market, the Australian dollar and the British pound are the strongest currencies on recovering risk sentiment. The U.S. dollar is the weakest major currency.
- The central banks of Japan and Canada will be giving their monthly policy releases today, which may impact their currencies. There will also be a release of key inflation data. It is likely to be an unusually active day in the Forex market.
- Global coronavirus deaths have increased dramatically since early October to reach a level twice as high the peak last April.
- Total confirmed new coronavirus cases worldwide stand at over 96.6 million with an average case fatality rate of 2.13%.
- The fastest progression in terms of immunizing a population against the coronavirus has been in Israel, which has already administered a first shot of the Pfizer vaccine to 31% of its entire population (including almost 80% of the over-60s) and began administering second doses over a week ago. The U.A.E. ranks second, having now vaccinated 21% of its population. For most of the world, a vaccine seems distant: only 11 countries have vaccinated more than 2% of their population so far.
- The rate of new coronavirus infections appears to now be increasing most quickly in Belarus, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Haiti, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, Portugal, Spain, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Ukraine, the U.A.E., and Venezuela.