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LGT Navigator: US Parliament sends historic signal at the end of the Trump era

January 14, 2021

After the solid start to the year last week, stock markets are currently trending sideways. The focus is on the one hand on the still highly uncertain further development of the corona pandemic and on the other hand on the political events in the US. In both matters, however, there are bright spots in the form of the vaccination campaigns launched worldwide and the imminent transfer of power in Washington. At the same time, history was made yesterday with the second impeachment trial against the still incumbent US President Trump initiated in the US Parliament.

US Parliament sends historic signal at the end of the Trump era

Never before in the history of the United States has a president faced an impeachment twice. The violent storm of Trump supporters on the parliament in the past week was the trigger of a renewed impeachment trial against President Donald Trump in which this time at least also ten Republican deputies turned against Trump. After the quasi-preliminary conviction for “incitement of insurrection“ in the House of Representatives, the US Senate would now have to effectively remove the president from office, but this is doubtful given the only short period of time before power is handed over to Democrat Joe Biden on January 20. The majority leader in the still Republican-dominated Senate, Mitch McConnell, said such a procedure would not be possible until after that date. Trump is thus likely to remain at the center of political events in Washington even after leaving the White House and could thus overshadow the start of the Biden administration.

On the New York Stock Exchange, the indices did not make any big jumps on Wednesday after the record run in the previous week. The Dow Jones Industrial closed virtually unchanged at 31'060.47 points (-0.03%) and the S&P 500 gained a moderate +0.23% to 3'809.84 points. In addition to the corona pandemic and US politics, the stock exchanges focus above all on the corporate reporting season, which begins tomorrow. In Asia, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index is heading for a new record high, and stock futures point to a friendly start to trading on Europe's stock exchanges. The risk appetite is supported by hopes of a new US economic stimulus package.

Inflationary pressure picks up in the US

In the United States, the cost of living increased more strongly than expected in December. Compared with the same period a year earlier, consumer prices rose by +1.4% at the end of last year. Analysts had expected an average of +1.3%. In November, the inflation rate had still been +1.2%. The core rate, i.e. excluding energy and food prices, which are often susceptible to fluctuations, was unchanged from the two previous months at +1.6%. In view of the expansionary monetary and fiscal policy to combat the corona crisis, inflation expectations have risen recently.

ECB head Lagarde sees growth and inflation forecasts still plausible

According to ECB President Christine Lagarde, the central bank's December growth forecasts are still valid, although the corona crisis with intensified lockdowns in some countries clouds the outlook. Lagarde expressed optimism, pointing to some uncertainties that have now been cleared up, such as the outcome of the US presidential and Senate elections, and also Brexit. In addition, the Covid-19 vaccines that are now available give reason to hope that the corona pandemic can be contained. Furthermore, the central bank chairwoman emphasized that the ECB is keeping a very close eye on the development of the euro exchange rate.

Continued recovery of China's foreign trade

With a strong increase in both exports and imports, China's economy appears to remain on the road to recovery. Exports rose by +18.1% year-on-year in December, after an even stronger increase of around +21% was already observed in November. Imports increased by +6.5% at the same time. In 2020 as a whole, China recorded a +3.6% year-on-year increase in exports, while imports declined by -1.1%. Thanks to the rigorous fight against the pandemic, the People's Republic was able to get a grip on the corona crisis surprisingly quickly and is expected to show growth in 2020, in contrast to the American and European economies. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects China's GDP to grow by +1.9% in 2020.



Economic Indicators January 14

MEZ Country Indicator Last
08:00 GE GDP (Q4, q/q) +8.5%
14:30 US Initial Jobless Claims (weekly) +787,000
14:30 US Import Prices (December, m/m) +0.1%

Earnings Calendar January 15

Country Corporate Period
US JPMorgan Chase Q4
US Citigroup  Q4
US Goldman Sachs Q4
US Alcoa


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