January 23, 2018, by Lorcan Roche Kelly
Open for business
The U.S. government will remain open for business until at least Feb. 8 following a deal brokered in the Senate yesterday in which Majority Leader Mitch McConnell agreed to address Democrat concerns about protection for young undocumented immigrants. Getting a deal on immigration is likely to remain the biggest sticking point, and the hottest topic for debate, during the three-week window secured yesterday. A revision to the wording of the bill may hinder congressional oversight of intelligence agencies, according to Senator Richard Burr, the North Carolina Republican who chairs the Intelligence Committee.
President Donald Trump slapped a 30 percent tariff on imported solar panels, and duties of up to 50 percent on washing machines in response to two U.S. International Trade Commission rulings on unfair practices. While the headlines look bad for exporters to the U.S., the market reaction has been relatively muted, with the tariffs announced less severe than feared. It will also help domestic producers, who have struggled in the face of cheap imports. That said, the imposition of these duties further inflames trade tensions.
The Bank of Japan kept its massive stimulus on track while making no changes to inflation and economic forecasts. In the post-decision news conference, Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said that it’s too early to consider policy normalization. Thursday sees the European Central Bank’s latest monetary-policy decision, and while no change is expected, economists have been bringing forward their predicted end date for the asset-purchase program.
S&P 500 futures pointed to a weaker opening, the 10-year Treasury yield was 2.630 percent and gold was slightly higher. Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 1 percent, while Japan’s Topix index closed 1 percent higher as benchmark indexes across the region hit new all-time highs. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index edged higher at 5:45 a.m. Eastern Time.
The annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland is underway, and with the end of the U.S. government shutdown lifting doubts over Trump’s attendance, it now seems that this play will get its prince. Keep up with the latest from the event with Bloomberg’s rolling coverage.