Markets encouraged by stimulus hopes, silver retreats, cryptos edging higher

The market mood is positive amid signs of progress in US stimulus talks, updated US data, optimism about vaccines, and some calm around the so-called “meme stocks.” Eurozone growth figures and virus/vaccine headlines are eyed.

President Joe Biden held talks with a group of ten Republican Senators that offered to pass a package worth around $600 billion, roughly a third of the $1.9 trillion packages the White House desires. While both sides describe talks as productive, it is unclear if Democrats will compromise or go it alone.

Silver has been retreating from an eight-year high above $30 after retail traders piled into XAG/USD in another attempt to squeeze shorts, yet hedge funds and bullion merchants are also involved.

The action in silver follows the battle over GameStop seen last week. The stock of the videogame company tumbled by 30% on Monday and short interest has also dropped. Raphael Bostic, President of the Atlanta branch of the Federal Reserve, said that retail trading volatility “does not seem like something monetary policy should address.”

Concerns about the South African variant and its resistance to vaccines have somewhat subsided after Johnson and Johnson reported that while its jabs are less efficacious, they prevent severe disease. Moderna, another supplier, aims to fill its vials with 15 doses instead of ten currently.

The US ISM Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index missed estimates with a score of 58.7 points in January, yet the employment component rose. The pace of US inoculations is picking up.

AUD/USD is on the back foot after the Reserve Bank of Australia left its policy unchanged, extended its bond-buying scheme, and signaled a rate cut is not coming before 2024.

EUR/USD is edging higher amid the risk-on mood and ahead of eurozone Gross Domestic Product figures are set to show a minor decline in the fourth quarter European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen aims to vaccinate 70% of European adults by the summer while Germany reported a lower number of cases.

GBP/USD is also moving higher as the UK is reporting substantial progress in its immunization campaign.

Bitcoin is rising above $34,000, Ethereum and is holding up above $1,400 and XRP is also edging higher. Ripple’s token experienced a whipsaw in recent days.

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