Blackrock's chief multi-asset strategist summed up tomorrow's anxiously awaited ECB meeting best by noting that "what’s priced into markets is a fully fledged extension of the [bond-buying] program," but warns that, thanks to a muted reaction to the Italy vote and recent encouraging data, "there’s a significant chance the ECB disappoints markets." As bond traders bet on a six-month QE extension, Citi warns, anything less will be seen as hawkish and send EUR surging.
Rome is demanding the ECB give it more time to rescue the third largest Italian bank. That was to be expected, what is surprising, however, is that as the FT adds, Italy is "preparing to blame the bank for losses imposed on bondholders if Rome is forced into an urgent state bailout", a negotiating tactic some could call blackmail.
Trump picks conservative Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head up the EPA, a man who has “led the charge with repeated notices and subsequent lawsuits against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for their [sic] leadership’s activist agenda.”
Trump has picked Iowa Governor Terry Branstad as the next U.S. ambassador to China, choosing a longstanding friend of Beijing after rattling the world's second-largest economy by speaking to Taiwan's president. Earlier in Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang called Branstad an "old friend" of China when asked about a report on the appointment.
Crude prices are lower this morning following API's huge reported build at Cushing (biggest since 2008) and fears over OPEC deal realities. With expectations for a crude draw (on lower imports), DOE confirmed a bigger than expected overall draw but also Cushing saw a 3.78mm barrel build - the biggest since Jan 2009. Both Distillates and Gasoline (most since Jan) also saw bigger than expected builds as US production dropped very modestly.
There is over a month left until Trump's inauguration, and the President-elect's hard-hitting negotiating style may have scored yet another economic victory: according to a statement issued by Foxconn, the world's largest contract electronics manufacturer and a major Apple Inc supplier, the company said it was in preliminary discussions to expand its operations in the United States.
Ruling in its first insider-trading case in two decades, the justices unanimously said that people can be sent to prison for making trades even when the insider who provided the tip wasn’t trying to make money. The court said it’s enough if the insider gave the information as a gift.
Italy's constitutional court said on Tuesday it will hold a hearing on the legitimacy of a new electoral law on Jan. 24, in a case which has major implications for when parliamentary elections might be held.