- Global stocks rose on Wednesday after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said US stimulus payments could begin arriving in people’s bank accounts as early as Tuesday night.
- The $600 stimulus checks are considered meager, but could provide a boost to the US economy, which has been slammed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- “Risk sentiment remains buoyant, with vaccine roll-out hopes providing confidence despite growing COVID-19 case numbers,” a chief market strategist said.
- Britain on Wednesday became the first nation to authorize emergency use of Oxford and AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine.
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Global stocks rose on Wednesday after Steven Mnuchin Treasury Secretary said Tuesday that $600 stimulus checks could begin arriving this week.
Mnuchin said stimulus checks could reach people’s bank accounts as early as Tuesday night, while paper checks for those without government-registered bank accounts would be mailed Wednesday.
The checks are deemed inadequate by most Democrats, and by President Donald Trump, but they are expected to provide a boost for the US economy, which has been hammered by the pandemic.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday thwarted a vote on $2,000 stimulus checks, which have been backed by Trump, causing US stocks to retreat from record highs on the day. He introduced a bill linking the bigger checks to a repeal of Section 230, and the creation of a new commission to study election fraud, a move likely to doom the increased direct payments.
The US dollar dropped to its lowest point since April 2018, falling 0.3% to 89.74, as it continued to “beat a modest retreat overnight,” said Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst at OANDA.
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In Europe, Britain became the first country to authorize emergency use of Oxford and AstraZeneca’s cheap and easy to store COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccine doses should be available early in the new year.
It is the second vaccine approved in the UK, following Pfizer and BioNTech’s. “Risk sentiment remains buoyant, with vaccine roll-out hopes providing confidence despite growing COVID-19 case numbers,” said Stephen Innes, chief global market strategist at Axi.
In Asia, China revised down its national growth rate for 2019 to 6% from 6.1%, mainly because of a $77 billion cut in manufacturing. The manufacturing sector contributed about 2% of the country’s 2019 GDP.
But China’s statistics authority said industrial profits increased 2.4% in the first 11 months of 2020.
Bitcoin continued its historic streak by rising 1.3%, to $27,746. A tumultuous year saw “the king of crypto” surge in price from under $4,000 in March to a new all-time high of above $28,000 this week, said Paolo Ardoino, CTO at Bitfinex.