Weekly Comment – US jobs report eyed as new virus strain haunts markets

A post-Thanksgiving selloff is spreading across the markets after the identification of a new Covid-19 variant. The news has sparked fears over new lockdowns that could force central banks to review their Quantitative Easing exit strategies should the situation deteriorate. In the coming week, the latest US employment report and Fed Chair Powell’s testimony take centre stage, together with Eurozone inflation and Australian growth figures.

The Highlights:
  • In America, Fed Chair Jerome Powell is going to testify before the Senate on Tuesday, while nonfarm payrolls will also hit the market on Friday. A better-than-expected jobs report could give a nudge to the Fed over faster tapering.
  • Inflation will be a major topic in the Eurozone next week, with the EUR possibly getting its much needed break if the numbers come out ‘hot’. However, the ECB’s reaction is likely to stay muted due to the recent tailwinds in the pandemic front.
  • Meanwhile, the upcoming third quarter GDP estimates in Australia will come out on Wednesday, reflecting the recent lockdowns’ effects on growth. This could be crucial for the AUD, which has been under pressure recently.
  • Oil prices will get their signal from the OPEC meeting on Thursday, with focus being on whether the ‘cartel’ will hold on to its promise of increasing supply by 400,000 barrels per day. Gold has rebounded at the end of the week as the new Covid-19 variant has lifted demand for safe-havens.
  • Stocks are retreating as the detection of the new Covid-19 strain comes on top of high inflation and the prospect of quicker exit from ultra-loose monetary policy.

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