Kick the can

The clock is ticking on averting a shutdown of the U.S. government, as midnight marks the deadline for increasing federal funding. An agreement to raise the ceiling will not be reached, but a stopgap funding bill to extend the deadline again to Feb. 16 and keep the government open is currently in the Senate for approval.

To pass the bill and bring it to the president’s desk by midnight is no small task, as it needs 60 votes to pass. A few of the 54 Republicans have vowed not to support the current legislation, and tensions are flaring up on both sides of the aisle, as both parties lay blame on the other while the President tweets his own accusations.

Economic event excitement

It’s the most wonderful (economic) time of the year as economists, world leaders and dignitaries descend on the wintry hamlet of Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum. Topics range broadly from economics (not as much as you’d think) to geopolitics to environmental concerns.

Not much economic news normally comes out of Davos, but it is far from a non-event as the White House announced that President Trump will be in attendance. This sets the stage for Davos to be an absolute must-see: effectively the Super Bowl of the economic world. Tune in to news networks to see people in big coats against romantic snowy backdrops discussing people discussing things.

Oh, Canada!

As everyone’s focus remains on a looming U.S. shutdown and international meetings in Switzerland, don’t sleep on our neighbors to the north. The Bank of Canada (BoC) has released some very interesting numbers today. Manufacturing shipments blew by consensus of a 2% increase from October to November, and Foreign portfolio investment in Canadian securities crushed expectations of 15.76 billion in November by 24%, at 19.65 billion.

Serious money flowing out of the U.S. and into Canada, as well as strong manufacturing demand, could spell a strong 2018 to come.

SEC comments on Bitcoin funds

In the wake of Chinese and South Korean comments regarding cryptocurrencies, a major regulator of the world’s largest economy has added its clout. Yesterday, the Security Exchange Commission demanded answers from funds based on cryptocurrencies regarding the actual assets these funds hold, and how they safeguard their clients’ investments.

The SEC is aiming to protect those who have seen the huge gains made in cryptocurrencies of late: “There are a number of significant investor protection issues that need to be examined before sponsors begin offering these funds to investors,” said the letter signed by Dalia Blass, the SEC’s director of the division of investment management. Regulation, though of great importance for investors, historically lets a lot of air out of an overheated asset, so keep a close watch.

– Matthew Worley, The WorldFirst Team