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5 Things you need to know today

Switzer Daily
18 January 2022

1. US chief medical advisor warns not to jump the gun on Omicron
It is still too soon to say whether omicron marks the final wave of the pandemic, Dr Anthony Fauci has said. Speaking via videoconference at The Davos Agenda, President Biden’s chief medical advisor said it remains an “open question.” A scenario where Omicron marks the end of the pandemic as we know it “would only be the case if we don’t get another variant that eludes the immune response,” he said.

2. Xi Jinping tells the West not to raise interest rates
China’s President has warned western nations that “slamming on the brakes“ by raising interest rates could “challenge global economic and financial stability”. This just a day after the Chinese central bank has begun dropping interest rates on many short-term borrowing options as it grapples with a property crisis and the emergence of the Omicron variant. President Xi warned that if the West all raise rates, “developing countries will bear the brunt of it”.

3. Global bond market feels the heat after central bank sell off
Global bond markets came under pressure on Monday after Treasuries sold off on Friday on increased speculation of a March rate hike by the Federal Reserve. “Germany’s 10-year borrowing rates jumped to within three basis points of turning positive for the first time in almost three years, while Australia’s benchmark yield climbed seven basis points to 1.92%. Treasury futures retreated after 10-year yields saw their highest close Friday since January 2020,” Bloomberg reports.

4. Russia moves troops to Belarus, edges closer to Ukraine
Russia has begun moving troops to Ukraine’s northern neighbour Belarus for joint military exercises, a move that will spark sentiment of imminent invasion. “The joint military exercises, named United Resolve, are to take place as Russia also musters forces along Ukraine’s eastern border, threatening a potential invasion that could unleash the largest conflict in Europe for decades,” The Guardian reports.

5. ASX to rise despite US market closure
ASX futures were up 21 points or 0.3% to 7342 near 7.15am AEDT. US markets closed for Martin Luther King Jr holiday. In Europe: Stoxx 50 +0.7%, FTSE +0.9%, CAC +0.8%, DAX +0.3%. Bitcoin continued its poor form in 2022, extending its year-to-date slide of over 9%, trading at $US42,000 overnight.


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