Fear of “Fiscal cliff” dominates markets



By demanding higher taxes for the rich as a condition for any budget agreement with the Republicans, President Barack Obama, has opened the fiscal battle that is going to dominate the first months of his second term. Strengthened by the elections Obama has invited Republican leaders to a first round of high-stakes negotiations to prevent the fiscal cliff – a mix of $ 600 billion in spending cuts and tax rises that will go into effect next year unless a deal is reached by 31st December. In spite of some more optimistic signals markets seem to have built in prospects for a no-deal. Combined with technical analysis the development points towards a substantial correction in shares and the security markets in the coming months.
Talks to prevent that scenario, which could tip the US into recession and have disastrous effects on the global economy, were put on ice during the election campaign. Sticking to his principle stand that individuals like himself with an annual income of more than $ 500 000, must take their fair share Obama has kept the door open for details in a compromise package that can open for new ideas. A senior Republican Senator voiced Sunday support for the idea that increased tax revenues from wealthier Americans ought to be a part of a compromise to avoid falling over the “fiscal cliff”.
Global markets are watching Washington’s steps with increased worries. The Asian markets continued to fall in to-day’s morning trade in spite of a smooth Chinese leadership transition and better industrial production, investment figures and retail sales coming out of China for October. The Chinese authorities also seem to have inflation under better control, and the GDP for 2012 seems to end around the predicted 7,6 percent. A shrinkage in the Japanese in last quarter with 0,9 % also weighed in on investor’s sentiment in Asia. The contraction suggested faltering global demand and weaker consumer spending, and might push the world’s third largest economy into mild recession.
The Greek parliament which last Thursday approved new austerity measures, adopted yesterday night a new tough budget for 2013. European Finance ministers are meeting in Brussels to-day to discuss unfreezing of lending to Greece. There is no agreement within the Euro zone on how to make the debt sustainable. It seems, however, that Athens will be given two more years to cut its debt. Greece’s adoption of a new budget has for now stopped the free fall of the Euro. Euro/USD is trading 0,2 % up at 1.2730. USD is gaining against JPY at 79,485, but is weaker towards Australian dollar, the New Zealand KIWI, Swedish and Norwegian krones. Oil prices have stabilized with Brent trading above 109. Gold and silver, the big winners last week, continue slightly up with Gold at 1735 and Silver 32,62.
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