Indecision still reigns supreme.
Asian indices mainly higher, but lacking conviction.
After some selling into the close yesterday, U.S. futures are basically flat.
U.S. 10Y yields continue the grind lower, and the USD is slightly higher.
Eurostoxx futures currently down 0.6%.
Now the daily tally has risen above 2,000 - for the first time -- surpassing a record set on Saturday.
Of those, nearly 500 were confirmed in the capital. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government plans to raise the coronavirus alert to its highest level on Thursday.
Japan Finance minister Taro Aso comments to parliament;.
“Not thinking now about giving cash handouts to households for the 2nd time. “
“State of emergency was lifted so conditions are different now from when households were given cash handouts.”
“The yen is gaining on dollar weakness.”
“In theory, a weaker yen is better for exporters.”
A lower sales tax is also off the table.
In other dollar-related news;
More than 30 major Japanese firms will begin experiments next year towards issuing a common, private digital currency to promote digitalisation in one of the world’s most cash-loving countries, the group’s organising body said on Thursday.
The group, consisting of Japan’s three biggest banks as well as brokerages, telecommunication firms, utilities and retailers, will conduct experiments for issuing a digital currency that will use a common settlement platform.
The chief executives of the seven largest U.S. airlines made a fresh plea for more payroll relief before the end of the year and pointed to the challenges of distributing a COVID-19 vaccine in a letter to Congressional leaders on Wednesday.
The letter, seen by Reuters, was sent by the main industry lobby Airlines for America and signed by the heads of the top seven U.S. airlines.
“As the nation looks forward and takes on the logistical challenges of distributing a vaccine, it will be important to ensure there are sufficient certified employees and planes in service necessary for adequate capacity to complete the task,” they said.
U.S. airlines received $25 billion in federal aid to keep employees on payroll between March and September and have asked for a second round of support after cutting tens of thousands of jobs either through furloughs or early retirements in recent months.
The industry’s aid request has received wide bipartisan support but has so far failed to pass as Congress remains deadlocked over a broader COVID-19 relief and stimulus plan.
They are now hoping that Congress can pass airline aid through some other vehicle such as a funding bill this year, people familiar with the matter have said.
Congress is not expected to return until Nov. 30.
European Union leaders will discuss on Thursday the Polish and Hungarian veto to Europe’s 1.8 trillion euro (£1.6 trillion) financial plan to recover from the recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, but officials do not expect a solution this week.
“We won’t find a miracle solution at this meeting,” a senior EU official said. “We are not going to come up with a solution that we will share with the 27 on a video-conference.”
But while Poland and Hungary refuse to support the financial plan with the rule of law condition, others, like the Netherlands and the European Parliament, refuse to accept it without it.
“The European Parliament... reiterates the agreements reached on both the MFF and the Rule of Law are a closed deal and can in no way be reopened,” the parliament said in a statement. “No further concession will be made on our side.”
“We are fully confident that we will get there but we are in crisis mode right now,” the official said.
Anyone got a barrel of salt for this one?
Europe’s leaders will demand today that the European Commission publish no-deal plans amid fears that Brexit negotiations are dragging on without businesses knowing what they need to prepare for in the worst scenario.
Several European Union governments are growing frustrated that deadlines for trade, security and fishing talks are slipping, leaving little time to get ready if the negotiations fail to reach agreement.
“We must now come up with contingency measures. January 1, 2021 is getting close; we need a safety net,” a senior EU diplomat said. “Of course, this sends out a political signal. But it is high time to prepare people and businesses in case we cannot fix an agreement in time. I know member states will ask to get contingency measures out into the open.”
The U.K. and Canada are on the brink of signing a new trade agreement to replace the existing deal Britain has through European Union membership.
The agreement would be a major boost to U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson in his efforts to plot a new course for Britain as a global trading nation outside the EU. An announcement is expected within days, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke on condition they not be identified.
The Canada deal would be the second major trade accord announced by Britain in less than a month, after it agreed to terms with Japan in late October. Meanwhile, trade negotiations are ongoing with countries including Australia, New Zealand and the U.S.
The U.K. still needs to roll over 14 other EU agreements by Jan. 1 to avoid defaulting to World Trade Organization terms, including with nations such as Mexico, Turkey and Singapore -- agreements which cover about 60 billion pounds of trade with Britain.
The October employment figures showed a superb 178.8 thousand gain, which also stood up to scrutiny when looked at in terms of full-time versus part-time jobs. Full-time jobs grew by 97 thousand, more than the 81.8 thousand part-time jobs, which should help support consumer spending in the months ahead.
This result was all the more impressive as most of the state of Victoria was in lockdown until late October, though there may be some element of back-to-work for previously furloughed workers creeping into these numbers - we won't know for sure until we see next month's numbers.
The linked press release from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that the reference period for this survey was the two weeks up to October 10, so before the Victoria lockdown ended. The survey itself was undertaken later in the month though, and some returning-to-work respondents may have given inaccurate responses, even if technically, the end of the Victoria lockdown should not really be a feature until next month.
ING note a 0.1pp rise in the unemployment rate to 7.0% which they mainly attribute to a spike in female unemployment
...a greater number of women looking for (and presumably failing to immediately obtain) part-time work.
This was probably the biggest single component of the increase in the labour force and unemployment gains for the month.
The difficulty is determining whether this is a positive factor (people think their prospects for finding work are reasonable, and will continue to find employment), or if it is negative, and driven by households failing to make ends meet.
Beijing has issued an extraordinary attack on the Australian government, accusing it of "poisoning bilateral relations" in a deliberately leaked document that threatens to escalate tensions between the two countries.
The government document goes further than any public statements made by the Chinese Communist Party, accusing the Morrison government of attempting "to torpedo" Victoria’s Belt and Road deal, and blaming Canberra for "unfriendly or antagonistic" reports on China by independent Australian media.
"China is angry. If you make China the enemy, China will be the enemy," a Chinese government official said in a briefing with a reporter in Canberra on Tuesday.
The dossier of 14 disputes was handed over by the Chinese embassy in Canberra to Nine News, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age in a diplomatic play that appears aimed at pressuring the Morrison government to reverse Australia’s position on key policies.
The list of grievances also includes: government funding for "anti-China" research at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, raids on Chinese journalists and academic visa cancellations, "spearheading a crusade" in multilateral forums on China’s affairs in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Xinjiang, calling for an independent investigation into the origins of COVID-19, banning Huawei from the 5G network in 2018, and blocking 10 Chinese foreign investment deals across infrastructure, agriculture and animal husbandry sectors.
The Yuan continues to strengthen;
And China's GDP to debt ratio continues to grow.
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ALWAYS bet on politicians saying stupid things
Looking ahead, Turkey's central bank decision is this morning's highlight, and U.S. weekly claims data will be in focus this afternoon.