DAILY ASIA-PAC OPENING NEWS

ASIA-PAC

UK Chancellor Hammond stated that UK and China agreed to speed up preparations for a stock connect initiative between London and Shanghai. (Newswires)

Australian PM Turnbull's government regained a majority in Parliament after Liberal MP John Alexander won a crucial by-election after he previously had to resign due to dual citizenship. (Newswires)

New Zealand Performance of Services Index (Nov) 56.4 (Prev. 55.6). (Newswires)

EU/UK

DBRS affirmed its credit rating on UK at AAA; Outlook Stable. (Newswires)

Fitch raised Ireland credit rating one notch from A to A+; Outlook Stable and raised Portugal 2 notches from BB+; Outlook Positive to investment grade of BBB; Outlook Stable. (Newswires)

FX

USD was underpinned on Friday due to the tax reform hopes after reports that Republican Senator Rubio will vote for the tax plan, while Republican Senator Corker, who previously votes against the draft bill, was also said to have shifted his view in favour of supporting the tax reform bill. GBP underperformed despite what appeared a positive update from the EU as they signed off on the first stage of talks, signalling that stage two (trade) can begin in earnest. However, President of the EU, Jean-Claude Juncker stated that these next talks will be “harder”, a worrisome thought for the UK Brexit Secretary Davis.

COMMODITIES

Nigerian oil union stated it will begin strike action on Monday after discussions to resolve a dispute with domestic oil and gas companies stalled. (Newswires)

Iraq Oil Minister said they are planning to build a pipeline network across Iraq, which will eventually eliminate need for tanker truck transportation. (Newswires)

GEOPOLITICAL

US Defense Secretary Mattis stated on Friday that North Korea has not yet demonstrated the capability to threaten the US with a capable ICBM. (Newswires)
 

US

US Congressional Conference Committee released the final text of the tax reform bill on Friday, while the House is to vote on the final bill on Tuesday. Furthermore, Republican Senator Corker who had previously voted against the draft bill at the Senate, stated he would now support the final tax reform bill. (Newswires)

US President Trump’s private legal team is to meet with Special Counsel Mueller as early as this week as an opportunity to get a better understanding regarding next steps in the Russia investigation. In addition, President Trump also commented that he has no intention of firing Mueller. (Newswires)
 

EQUITIES

Optimism that the US will get Trump’s tax reform through Congress gave equity markets a lift on Friday as reports that Republican Senator Rubio will vote for the tax plan appeared to ease some concerns that bill would struggle to get enough votes in the Senate, while Senator Corker was also reported to have come aboard on the final tax reform bill. All the major indices were higher and posted fresh record highs in which the S&P 500 closed up 0.9%, DJIA closed up 0.6% and Nasdaq 100 closed up 1.2%.
 

TREASURIES

Treasuries fell after the news broke that Rubio will vote in favour of the tax legislation. The curve continued its flattening trend with 30y yields dropping to their lowest level since September.

17 Dec 2017 - 22:00- ForexImportant- Source: Newswires

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