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5 Things in World Business Today


December 13, 2017 by Lorcan Roche Kelly

(Bloomberg) 

It’s Fed day, Doug Jones wins Alabama, and the U.K. is losing workers. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about today.

Hike day

Unless almost every economist surveyed by Bloomberg and practically all U.S. traders have got this one wrong, the Federal Reserve will announce a rate increase at 2 p.m. Eastern Time today. The key piece of data that might move markets is the updated dot plot, which the U.S. central bank uses to signal its outlook for the path of interest rates in the coming years. The decision will be followed at 2:30 with Janet Yellen’s last scheduled press conference as Fed chair. The decision kicks off a busy 24 hours for monetary observers, with the Swiss National Bank, Norges Bank, Bank of England, and the European Central Bank all due to announce decisions tomorrow morning.

Alabama vote

Democrat Doug Jones won the race for the U.S. Senate seat in Alabama, defeating Republican Roy Moore in a surprise victory in a state that has not returned a Democrat since the early 1990s. Moore’s loss will further trim the GOP Senate majority to 51-49 next year, exerting further pressure on Congress to pass its tax overhaul before Jones takes his seat. While it’s too early to tell whether the Alabama democrat’s victory signals a shift in voter sentiment away from Trump, it’s likely to make Republicans nervous ahead of next year’s midterm elections.

Losing workers

Unemployment in the U.K. remained at 4.3 percent in the three months to October, as people left the workforce, pushing down both the number of people in work and those unemployed. At 2.3 percent, wage growth remained well below the rate of inflation. Meanwhile, in parliament, Prime Minister Theresa May’s flagship Brexit bill faces a seventh day of scrutiny and a vote that the government might lose due to concerns expressed by pro-European Conservative party members.

Markets wait

Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 0.3 percent, while Japan’s Topix index closed 0.2 percent lower as trading remained quiet ahead of today’s Fed decision. It’s the same story in Europe with the Stoxx 600 Index 0.1 percent lower at 5:50 a.m. as investors await a raft of European central-bank decisions. S&P 500 futures were flat, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 2.417 percent, and gold was telling us nothing.

Aramco

Saudi Arabian Oil Co. is looking for banks to pitch for roles as bookrunners and coordinators of its mega-IPO, with the aim of appointing a group of lenders by early next year, according to people familiar with the matter. The news comes as shares of Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. for Distribution PJSC, the fuel retailing unit of Abu Dhabi’s oil giant Adnoc, soared as much as 16 percent on their trading debut. Also in Saudi Arabia, authorities are said to be setting up an organization to deal with the assets relinquished by detainees in a recent crackdown, with the potential to recover as much as $100 billion from the settlement deals.



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