In the oil market on Wednesday, in the expectation of an economic rebound in 2021 due to the anti-Covid-19 vaccines, optimism has boosted prices again. In the January Nymex contract, U.S. light crude oil (WTI) gained 0.4 percent to $47.82 a barrel. The Brent contract for delivery in February rose 0.60 percent to $51.08 per barrel.
For the February Comex futures contract, gold rebounded 0.2 percent to $1,859.10 on Wednesday. At the end of October, the yellow metal had fallen to about $1,780, the lowest in five months, as investors fled the stock markets neglecting safe haven.
The U.S. Congress, after months of talks, at a time when coronavirus deaths in the country have surpassed 300,000 and threatening economic growth, appears finally on the verge of deciding on a new strategy to help the U.S. economy.
An agreement could be reached and unveiled Wednesday on a $900 billion stimulus package after a critical meeting on Tuesday between the leaders of both houses of Congress, according to multiple sources close to Congress cited by media.
According to NBC News, the proposal drafted by a coalition of Democratic and Republican senators two weeks ago, will include direct assistance to individuals as well as unemployment benefits.
On the other hand, funds to states or counties would not be included, and no corporate responsibility assurances would cover it. Discussions on the latter two issues have stalled in recent days, with Republicans declining to accept direct assistance to states and municipalities and seeking assurances for businesses suing in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Legislative representatives were hopeful at the conclusion of the last talks. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (whose agreement is essential) said that we are getting closer and closer to getting there I am optimistic that we will reach a decision soon,” he added, although he had so far rejected the proposals sent to him. 12 million Americans are hoping to expand their unemployment benefits.
The U.S. Congress in reaction to the coronavirus crisis has already approved around $3,000 billion in support to individuals and companies including a huge $2,200 billion package passed last March, the CARES Act. Many stimulus services however will stop on 31 December, depriving 12 million people of unemployment insurance and thus putting an end to loan and rent moratoriums.
A congressional failure before the end of the legislature (subject to an end this Friday night) will delay the introduction of a new package by at least one month, which will be introduced to the new Congress that will assume office in early January, but is not expected to pass legislation before the inauguration of Joe Biden.