Davos Reconvenes for The Winter with a Packed Agenda.
Elite officials worldwide are taking to the mountains again as the World Economic Forum annual meeting returns to Davos in winter for the first time in three years. The pandemic and subsequent closures caused the cancellation of the January meetings in 2021 and 2022. As things return to normal, more than 2,700 politicians, executives, investors, bankers, and academics are gathering at the Swiss ski resort this week. The agenda for the 53rd conference includes panel discussions on topics such as “Collaboration in a Fractured World,” fast-food parties such as those organized by JPMorgan, and daily mindfulness meditation sessions. The meetings coincide with growing concerns about several issues, including the Russian war in Ukraine, the looming global recession amid the rising cost of living, and reservations about efforts to combat climate change, which reflect the presence of slight indications of their decline.
Nikkei Closed at Week-Low, Amid Anticipations of The BoJ Meeting
Japan’s Nikkei index closed at its lowest level in more than a week Monday, January 16, as the yen’s rise pressures exporters and investors bet that the Bank of Japan may have to adjust its stimulus policies this week at the earliest. The Nikkei closed today’s session down 1.14% to 25,822.32 points, its lowest closing level since January 5. The Bank of Japan is said to announce its monetary policy on Wednesday. This announcement follows the markets’ shock last month after BoJ doubled the range that allows 10-year government bond yields to move from zero to -0.5% and 0.5%. The benchmark return exceeded this target for the second day today, Monday, and reached 0.51%.
China Reveals 60,000 Coronavirus Deaths After Abandoning The “Zero Covid” Policy.
China announced the death of nearly 60,000 people who had been hospitalized with COVID-19 since it abandoned its “Zero Covid” policy last month. The number of deaths related to covid sharply increased compared to the previously announced numbers.
In early December, Beijing abruptly scrapped its strict three-year anti-virus policy that included frequent testing, travel restrictions, and sweeping lockdowns pressured by the spread of protests in late November. Cases have been increasing since then across the country, estimated at 1.4 billion cases. A health official said that cases of fever and emergency hospitalizations due to COVID-19 had already peaked and that the number of hospitalizations continued to decline. The total number of deaths related to COVID-19 in hospitals reached 59,938 between December 8 and January 12, said Jiao Yahui, director of the Department of Medical Affairs under the National Health Commission. She added that respiratory failure due to infection with Covid caused 5,503 deaths among these cases. In contrast, the cause of the rest of the deaths was a combination of other conditions and illnesses along with the Coronavirus infection.
China had previously announced that it had recorded just over five thousand deaths since the start of the pandemic, which is one of the lowest death rates in the world.
Bitcoin Begins Its Upward Journey Again, In Parallel With Technology Stocks.
The market value of digital currencies exceeds $1 trillion for the first time since November 2022, according to “coinmarketcap” data, driven by the recovery of the entire sector and the rise of Bitcoin above $21,000 levels. After a harsh winter in 2022, the digital currency market entered a state of remarkable recovery this year, as it added about $176 billion to its market value since the beginning of 2023, to reach about $971 billion, an increase of more than 22%. Ethereum rose by more than 20% during the past seven days at $1521, and Ripple rose 12% to $0.3822.
Gold holds near a 9-month high amid hopes of slowing interest rate hikes.
Gold prices stabilized after rising to their highest levels in nearly nine months Monday, January 16, as a weaker dollar and expectations of a slower Fed rate hike added to the yellow metal’s appeal. The price of gold in instant trades reached $1918.66/ounce; earlier in the session, prices advanced $ 1929/ounce, its highest level since late April. US gold futures rose 0.1% to $1,923.20. The dollar index fell 0.3%, making gold priced in the US currency a more attractive bet.
For other precious metals, the spot silver price rose 0.5% to $24.37 after reaching its highest level in nearly two weeks. Platinum rose 0.1% to $1,065.46, while palladium fell 1.2% to $1,767.69.
Oil Declines, But Still Hovering Near 2023-High.
Oil prices fell in early Asian trading on Monday, January 16. Still, they settled near their highest levels since the beginning of the year. Optimism about increasing fuel demand in China, the world’s largest crude importer, continues to grow after reopening borders and easing restrictions imposed to combat Covid. Brent crude fell 36 cents, or 0.4%, to $84.92/barrel, while US crude recorded $79.65/barrel, 21 cents down, or 0.3%, amid weak trading during a public holiday in the United States.
Both benchmarks rose more than 8% last week, the biggest weekly gain since October, after China’s crude imports rose 4% year-on-year in December, while a boom in travel during the Lunar New Year boosted expectations of fuel demand.
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