Markets Overview

  • ASX SPI 200 futures down 0.6% to 7,338.00
  • Dow Average down 0.3% to 35,544.30
  • Aussie down 0.3% to 0.7107 per US$
  • U.S. 10-year yield rose 2.0bps to 1.4360%
  • Australia 3-year bond yield fell 4bps to 0.85%
  • Australia 10-year bond yield fell 6bps to 1.54%
  • Gold spot down 0.8% to $1,772.46
  • Brent futures down 1.3% to $73.46/bbl

Economic Events

  • 10:30am: (AU) Dec. Westpac Consumer Conf SA MoM, prior 0.6%
  • 10:30am: (AU) Dec. Westpac Consumer Conf Index, prior 105.3
  • 11am: (AU) Bloomberg Dec. Australia Economic Survey

As the Federal Reserve gets ready to wrap up its final meeting of the year, another report showing inflation running hot sank some of the most-expensive pockets of the stock market.

The Fed is expected to accelerate the tapering of its bond-buying program — an action that would allow policy makers to begin increasing interest rates next year. The central bank has been under both public and political pressure to address decades-high inflation, but has to balance that with a mandate to ensure maximum employment.
Treasury two-year yields topped 0.65%, while the U.S. dollar extended its advance into a second day. Oil and gold retreated.

Other News

Finland’s government is hemorrhaging credibility after the prime minister and three other cabinet members chose not to isolate following exposure to the coronavirus.

Prime Minister Sanna Marin earlier this week apologized for not cutting short her night on the town on Saturday after being told a minister she had been in contact with had tested positive for the virus. Her lapse of judgment prompted criticism from the opposition and newspapers as well as memes and disapproval on social media.

A video had emerged showing Marin, 36, at a club drinking a beer, which appears to be of the Corona brand. Marin said she didn’t recall what brand of beer she was drinking. The club, Butchers, which describes itself as an international oasis inspired by New York’s Meatpacking District, is located in Helsinki’s party street.

But according to local media reports, she wasn’t alone in flouting the government’s internal Covid guidelines of social distancing, putting to question whether the cabinet retains enough credibility to place restrictions on citizens and lead efforts to mitigate the pandemic.

Economy Minister Mika Lintila apologized after criticizing Marin’s actions, when it emerged he had visited an indoor sporting event knowing he had been exposed. Defense Minister Antti Kaikkonen attended a banquet dinner and Trade Minister Ville Skinnari went to play ice hockey after receiving instructions to isolate, having come to contact with the virus at a Friday cabinet meeting.

The ministers’ loss of moral authority comes just as infections are spreading. The burden on hospital’s intensive care units has doubled from the end of October. And the government may soon have to take over managing the pandemic measures currently handled by regional authorities.