A compromise in the 24th hour avoided the fiscal cliff at least for now. After tough negotiations running into the new year, Democrats and Republicans succeeded in reaching partial agreement on a threshold which imposes tax increases on incomes above USD 400 000. The “grand deal” of bigger taxes on the rich combined with spending cuts which President Barack Obama aimed for, has been suspended till March. The Senate and the House of Representatives voted during night hours in favor of the compromise deal, which has been difficult to swallow for all parties.
The drama around the fiscal cliff which has dominated US and global markets for the last months, has thereby found a temporarily solution. Markets reacted with relief and sent stock markets in Asia to new highs after a bumpy session in the US on New Year’s Eve. Investors shifted between optimism and pessimism till the majority gambled on a deal. Both Dow Jones and Nasdaq posted healthy gains. With president Obama’s signing of the deal this morning that gamble has paid off.
The compromise has given global markets a good start on the year in spite of general consensus that major economic and financial challenges have to be dealt with especially the big US deficits and the problems inside the Eurozone. Angela Merkel in her New Year speech reminded that problems inside the Euro-zone by no means had reached an end. The deal in Congress means, however, that there are good chances that the recovery of the US and global economy will continue. Better prospects for still high growth in China will boost global markets. This more positive sentiment is reflected in today’s trades where oil and commodity prices are up in expectations of increased growth. New York crude, NYMEX, is above USD 93 a barrel and Brent crude is above 111. Copper, gold and silver prices are also up.
The positive attitude is also reflected in the currency markets where there are increased appetite for more risky currencies as Euro and British pounds. EURO/USD trades at 1.3280 up 100 basis points. USD/GBP is above 1.63. Japanese yen, a “safe haven” currency continues to lose ground against both Euro and the USD. USD/JPY is above 87 yen a dollar. Typical commodity currencies as Australian and Canadian dollar are up together with the Scandinavian; Swedish, Norwegian and Danish krones.
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