Markets cheer Biden’s first moves, ECB, jobless claims eyed

Markets have positively greeted President Biden’s first moves in office amid high hopes of fiscal stimulus. The ECB is set to follow the BOJ to leave rates unchanged. After Australia reported upbeat jobs figures, weekly US Unemployment Claims are eyed.

President Joe Biden entered the White House and signed a long list of Executive Orders, such as canceling the Keystone XL pipeline – as expected and already priced into the loonie. The administration said it aimed to reach a bipartisan agreement on the covid relief plan worth $1.9 trillion.

The S&P 500 Index reached new highs around the inauguration and is on course to continue higher on Thursday. The safe-haven US dollar is edging lower, especially against commodity currencies. Gold broke out of range and has topped $1870.

Christine Lagarde , President of the European Central Bank, may issue a warning about the euro’s high exchange rate in her first rate decision of the year. The ECB is set to leave its policy unchanged and discuss weak inflation, the current damage from the virus, and prospects for the rest of the year.

GBP/USD has been trading around 1.37 as coronavirus deaths hit new highs in the UK, but cases are falling.

The Bank of Japan stayed put as expected, marginally upgrading its growth forecast for fiscal 2021.

USD/CAD is trading closer to 1.26 after the Bank of Canada upgraded its growth forecasts and hinted that it could taper its bond-buying scheme if the economy grows rapidly. WTI Crude Oil is stable at around $53.

Australia reported an increase of 50,000 positions in December, and the unemployment rate dropped to 6.6%, better than estimated. AUD/USD is advancing toward 0.78, underpinned by the weakening USD.

Apart from the ECB, the US jobless claims are of high interest after their disappointing leap last week. They are expected to retreat from near one million.

Cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin has been on the back foot, sliding below $35,000. Ethereum is also struggling.

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