The day of the central banks

A look at the day ahead from Sujata Rao

Vaccinations are just getting off the ground so there is not a whole lot central banks can do at this point. The Bank of Japan confined itself to marginally upping 2021 GDP growth forecasts but held off extending the target band for 10-year yields as had been speculated.

Similarly, it's too soon for the European Central Bank to act after it extended asset purchases last month but after five straight months of negative inflation readings, markets will seek the ECB's views on euro strength, how much of its emergency stimulus "envelope" it might spend and whether yield -- or rather spread - control is likely.

Nor are policymakers expected to do much in Norway, South Africa and Turkey, though there is a slim chance of a hike in Turkey where the new governor has hiked rates 675 basis points since early November.

Back on markets, so much for Donald Trump's warnings of a stock market crash should Joe Biden become president -- Wall Street scaled new record highs after Biden's inauguration and futures imply further gains ahead in New York as well as across Europe.

Watch out for weekly U.S. jobless figures which are expected to stay close to the one million-mark, reinforcing the need to quickly get Biden's planned stimulus package off the mark.

In keeping with the risk-on mode, the dollar is slipping, benefiting commodity currencies such as the Aussie and Canadian dollars. Sterling is above $1.37, near 2-1/2-year highs.

Key developments that should provide more direction to markets on Thursday: -European Central Bank -Norges Bank -UK CBI business sentiment/new orders -South African Reserve Bank -Central Bank of Turkey -U.S. initial jobless claims -US Treasury to sell $15 billion in 10-year TIPS -U.S. earnings: Coca Cola, American airlines, Southwest Airlines, American Express, Carnival Corp, IBM, Intel -Europe earnings: Spain's Bankinter said 2020 net profits fell 42.4% vs previous year -Julius Baer shares marked down 1% after industry watchdog FINMA launched proceedings against a senior manager and reprimanded two others over failure to prevent money laundering.

Next up in yield curve control: ECB? Link

Reporting by Sujata Rao

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