White House Press Secretary Psaki holds first press briefings

Takes over from Trump Administrations Kylie McEnaney

White House Press Secretary Psaki
  • Will bring back truth, transparency to briefing room
  • that she will participate in WHO meeting tomorrow
  • Biden’s 1st foreign leader call will be with Canada’s Trudeau on Friday
  • early leader calls will be with partners, allies
  • administration intends to return to regular health briefings
  • getting cabinet is front and center for president Biden (no cabinet members have been approved by the Senate)
  • plan to meet soon with congressional leaders on Covid
  • Covid relief package was not designed with $1.9 trillion as a starting point but based on need for special proposals
  • we are at the beginning of negotiations on Covid relief plan
  • clear preference is to move forward with bipartisan bill
  • will have more from health experts on schools reopening
  • follow on diplomacy will lead to constraints on Iran nuclear program
  • plans for Iran negotiations will be part of Biden’s early consultation with allies
  • more details on use of Defense production act for vaccine distribution tomorrow
  • Biden will leave the mechanics of running impeachment trial to Congress

As expected, Biden signs executive orders

Getting started with the new Biden administration

As expected, Pres. Biden has signed a series of executive orders:
  • revocation of Keystone XL oil pipeline permit
  • document rejoining Paris climate cord
  • and to travel ban on some majority-Muslim countries
  • memo aimed at strengthening DACA program
  • executive order requiring mask wearing and federal buildings and on federal lands
  • end of emergency declaration used to divert funds to build wall on the US – Mexico border

The president also expressed that former Pres. Trump wrote a “very generous letter”.

Meanwhile on Capitol Hill,
  • Sen. Schumer says the Senate works best when they work together
  • Schumer adds that the Senate will work differently with Democratic majority
  • Sen. Reed says timing for Lloyd Austin Department of Defense vote will go through committee as soon as possible
  • Senate Minority Leader McConnell congratulates VP Harris and welcomes new centers
Having the day off in the NY session to absorb the inauguration ceremonies, I am filled with hope for a more united political environment which hopefully extends to the general public.  Having said that there will be disagreement and those that can’t “let it go”.  Also, with the margins in the House and Senate very close, it will keep the checks and balances in place and hopefully encourage cooperation and compromise from both sides of the aisle.
There is something refreshing about a new beginning.  Let’s hope and pray for the best for all.

Joe Biden sworn in as President of the United States

Biden sworn in as 46th US President

Biden sworn in as 46th US President
That must be a surreal moment for a man who dreamed of becoming President for his entire adult life.
For reference, here are all the main market levels on his swearing in:
  • S&P 500 3841
  • DJIA 31,118
  • Nasdaq 13,424
  • 10-year note yield 1.095%
  • WTI crude $53.37
  • Nat gas $2.47
  • Gold $1868
  • DXY 90.47
  • EUR/USD 1.2111
  • GBP/USD 1.3658
  • USD/JPY 103.58
  • USD/CNH 6.46

Trump not expected to pardon himself – report

Tomorrow is last-minute pardon day

Trump is expected to issue more than 100 pardons tomorrow, and one may include Julian Assange. However one person who won’t be getting one is Trump himself. The ability of the President to pardon himself is a murky legal concept and he’s not going to go down that round, according to Fox and a separate report from Reuters.
He’s also not going to offer protective pardons for his family, according to the same report.
CNN reported that Dr Salomon Melgen, a prominent eye doctor from Palm Beach who is in prison after being convicted on dozens of counts of health care fraud, is expected to be on the clemency list.
There’s also a disturbing report saying an associate of Rudy Giuliani told a former CIA officer a presidential pardon was “going to cost $2m”

Schumer says Trump could be barred from running again

Interesting development

Democratic Senate leader Schumer says that a trial for Trump in the Senate likely won’t occur until after Biden takes over.
Many thought that would be the end of it but evidently not. Schumer said the trial will begin after January 19 and if he’s convicted, there will be a vote to bar him from running again.
That is a very interesting development, that would take Trump out of the 2024 equation. I imagine there might be 17 Republican Senators who want to be done with him. You can be Mitt Romney is one of them.

Italy ministers quit coalition. Puts Premier Conte at risk

Italy’s Conte government is at risk

Matteo Renzi’s, leader of the Italia Viva party, says that his party ministers are resigning, putting PM Conte’s government at risk.
Renzi says
  • Italy has to tackle pandemic, education infrastructure
  • Party has faith in Italy’s president to handle crisis
  • takes courage to pull out of government now
The EURUSD moved to a new session low on the news but did find buyers against the lows from yesterday at 1.21364. The low price reached 1.21389 and is trading back at 1.2152 at the moment.
EURUSD on the hourly finds buyers and yesterday's lows

Georgia vote: What does it mean markets

Strategy from Citi

warnock, ossoff

CitiFX Strategy offers a comprehensive assessment of implications from the Georgia Senate Democrat victories.

“Bottom line: The outcome of the Georgia run-offs is very significant in two ways: i) by increasing the scope for policy changes, including even more fiscal stimulus and ii) strengthening the MMT (money-financed stimulus) theme in the US and globally,” Citi notes.

In markets, the outcome supports a significantly lower USD, higher and steeper US rates, higher breakevens, lower real yields, and higher prices of commodities, precious metals and cryptocurrency,” Citi adds.

China’s Global Times refers to US insurrection as ‘karma’

The Global Times is the gutter-press tabloid version of state media in China.

Sort of Rupert Murdoch with Chinese characteristics I guess.
They have not pulled punches today:
  • “chaos in the US” as revenge for what US politicians said on similar scenarios when rioters stormed HK LegCo in 2019. 
  • After inciting troubles around the world, US finally tasted “karma” of double standards. 
On the bright side at least the GT is not kicking Australia today.