Since November, the United States has seen a rise in the number of Covid-19 cases and routinely deplores over 200,000 confirmed cases and more than 3,000 deaths every day. According to statistics from the Johns Hopkins University, the nation remains the world’s most affected with nearly 334,000 deaths and more than 19 million reported cases since the onset of the pandemic.
In the wake of short-term worries about the evolution of the Covid-19 pandemic, oil prices dropped on Monday. For the February Nymex futures contract, U.S. light crude WTI gave up -1.3 percent to $47.62 a barrel, while North Sea Brent for February gave up -0.8 percent to $50.86 on the ICE Futures Europe market.
For the February Comex futures contract, gold decreased marginally 0.1 percent to $1,880.40 an ounce.
The dollar gaining strength in presence of stimulus plan that now stands approved has also been weighing on the yellow as well as black gold prices.
On the political front, the outgoing President Donald Trump, who on January 20 will hand over power to Joe Biden, signed the U.S. $892 billion coronavirus relief package plus federal government funding bill. Trump said that he is ratifying this legislation to restore unemployment insurance, avoid (rent) evictions, provide donor support, add additional funds to the business loan program, encourage air staff to return to work, and provide significant additional funding for vaccine delivery.
Paradoxically, Trump’s plan to increase direct assistance to U.S. citizens to $2,000 was endorsed by Democratic senators, although Republicans opposed the proposition as too expensive. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, said the president would now call for Republicans in Congress to follow his instance and accept a rise to $2,000 in the sum of checks.
About the stimulus plan, Pelosi said the current plan is “a down payment on what is needed to combat the pandemic, put money in the wallets of Americans and support our veterans. She tweeted, “We need to take more action immediately.”