In the oil markets, rates widened their ‘rally’ in the expectation of a demand rebound in 2021, and in February and March, following OPEC’s unexpected decision on Monday to prolong its supply cuts. For the February futures market on the Nymex, the rate of US light crude oil WTI rose 0.4% to $50.83 a barrel, confirming its return above $50. Brent futures in the North Sea advanced 0.2 percent to $54.38.
After a 2.4 percent plunge, gold rallied. The price of yellow metal returned 0.3 percent to $1,913.60 per ounce for the February futures contract on the Comex on Thursday.
However, in the midst of these dramatic developments, the U.S. stock market stayed stable and welcomed the election of two Democratic senators in Georgia, which tipped the Senate into the Democrats’ camp, who still dominate the House of Representatives.
The 100-member Senate (2 per state) will now be divided into 50/50 seats between the two parties but will pass de facto into the Democratic camp since the norm is that in passing the rules, the vice president (Democrat Kamala Harris) will cast a vote.
This situation has significant capital market ramifications, allowing Joe Biden more leeway to take left-wing steps (tax increases, higher capital gains taxes, increased regulations, etc.). Markets, however, expect that Joe Biden would not rush to contest Donald Trump’s sharp corporate tax cuts in 2017 because of the global economic and health crises.
In the short term, though, in the face of the coronavirus, the ‘blue wave’ means expanded budget funding, a possibility which investors applaud. Therefore, since Wednesday, the possibility of a new stimulus package has boosted inflation forecasts and sovereign interest rates in the United States significantly.
On the macro-economic sector, the latest United States figures about registrations for unemployment declined marginally by 3,000 to 787,000 last week against a consensus of 800,000.