Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.
As 2020 draws to a close, Bitcoin is continuing its remarkable rally.
The cryptocurrency has surged to a new all-time high this morning, bursting over $28,500 early this morning. That’s a gain of over 5% today, and means bitcoin has jumped by 46% since the start of the month.
For 2020, it’s up almost 300%, among increased interest from institutional investors, and concerns about the inflationary impact of this year’s huge stimulus packages.
As Reuters puts it:
Bitcoin has increasingly seen demand from larger U.S. investors, in particular, attracted by its perceived inflation-hedging qualities and the potential for quick gains, as well as expectations it would become a mainstream payments method.
Bitcoin’s moves comes as the US dollar continues to slide – dropping to its lowest level since April 2018.
The greenback is ailing as investors continue to move into riskier assets, anticipating a strong economic recovery in 2021 as Covid-19 vaccines are rolled out and the global economy recovers.
There’s also a strong expectation that the next US administration will push for larger stimulus packages next year, once Joe Biden has replaced Donald Trump in the White House (especially if the Democrats manage to tie the Senate by winning crucial runoff races next week).
Jeffrey Halley of OANDA says the dollar continued to “beat a modest retreat overnight”:
It is clear that currency markets are pricing in a potentially powerful move lower by the US Dollar as soon as the new trading year begins next week. I agree with the overall view but not that the unidirectional move in the US Dollar lower this week, suggests that positioning is heavily one-way.
Markets face a heavy data week next week, and a significant risk event in the shape of the Georgia Senate runoff elections.
With the UK medical regulator approving the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine this morning, next year does look to be brighter.
On the economic front, we get new US trade data, oil inventory figures and home sales, which may all shed light on the economic impact of the pandemic.
On the Brexit front, UK MPs are expected to vote through the UK-EU free trade deal, despite anger from fishing industry leaders and boat owners, and concerns that the UK’s dominant services industry gets little from the agreement.
- 1.30pm GMT: US trade goods balance
- 3pm GMT: US pending home sales
- 3.30pm GMT: US weekly oil inventory figures