EU Withdrawal Agreement Debate Restarts Today

Good morning everyone,


I vote is planned for next Tuesday evening on the 15th January. According to reports, the UK government is continuing to seek new assurances from the EU on the Irish backstop, while also denying it is seeking an extension of Article 50 (to delay Brexit) if the deal is voted down next week.

The US government shutdown means that there will remain a dearth of official economic data releases. So far this week, we have seen a fall in the December non-manufacturing ISM to 57.6 (still well above the 50 growth/contraction level) from 60.7, while the NFIB small business optimism index also fell, but by less than expected, to 104.4 from 104.8.

The lack of data means that markets will continue to focus on a busy schedule of speeches from Fed policymakers. Chairman Powell recently said that low inflation would allow policymakers to be “patient” in deciding whether to increase interest rates. He speaks again on Thursday. Ahead of that, the Fed’s Bostic, Evans and Rosengren are all due to talk today. The minutes of the 18-19 December meeting, when interest rates were raised to 2.5% (upper-bound), will be published this evening, but they are likely to be overshadowed by more up-to-date assessments from Fed speakers. Bostic yesterday said he now favours one rate hike this year, compared with two rises previously.

Elsewhere, the Bank of Canada is expected to keep policy rates unchanged at 1.75% for now, having raised them only in October, while Bank of England Governor Carney will take part in an online Q&A on “The Future of Money”. The early hours of Thursday sees the release of Chinese inflation data and the British Retail Consortium’s estimate of December retail sales.

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