After a break on Monday, oil prices rebounded, expecting a pick-up in demand in 2021 on the heels of the new Biden administration and the Federal Reserve’s high-demand economic and monetary policies. U.S. WTI light crude rose 1.8% to $53.21 a barrel (Nymex’s February futures contract), while North Sea Brent advanced 1.7% to $56.58.
For the February Comex futures contract on Tuesday, gold remained unpredictable, with the ounce slipping 0.4 percent to $1,844.20. On Friday, before gaining 0.8 percent on Monday, the yellow metal plummeted 4.1 percent. Its safe-haven status is somewhat rattled in the short term by the sharp increase in long-term interest rates, which has made sovereign bonds more appealing relative to barbarian relics (which offers no yield). Bitcoin, much more unpredictable than gold, rose to around $34,800 on Tuesday (up 12 percent in 24 hours) following a 15 percent decline on Monday, and last Friday after getting close to $42,000.
Although the Capitol protests did not rock the markets last week, others are worried about an atmosphere of unrest that would be detrimental to consumer trust in the nation if it were to stabilize indefinitely in the United States.
The FBI is worried about the possibility of violent demonstrations before January 20, the day of Joe Biden’s inauguration as the 46th president of the United States, according to sources cited by Reuters. The United States National Guard was allowed to mobilize up to 15,000 personnel in the federal capital to help maintain law enforcement at the inauguration ceremony, in the face of the possibility of violence due to the actions of Donald Trump’s supporters.
In order to secure extra defense funding, which Donald Trump supported Monday, Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser called for a state of emergency to be proclaimed upstream in the federal capital. Nevertheless, the resignation on Monday of Acting Homeland Security Minister Chad Wolf led to fears about the complicated time of transition. Donald Trump, who accepted his defeat just half-heartedly, has declared that, according to American tradition, he will not partake in Joe Biden’s swearing-in ceremony.
The number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the United States has now surpassed 22.6 million, with a record 300,000 per day reached last Friday. Nearly 9 million Americans have received at least one vaccine since the launch of the vaccination program (of the two expected to be highly immunized) and 25 million doses have been released on the market, respectable numbers, but they are smaller than the U.S. authorities’ original estimates.