US Close: Democratic Senator Manchin whipsaws markets, Oil jumps, Gold extends losses, Bitcoin sees some profit-taking
Democratic Senator Manchin’s office corrected the Washington Post story that implied he would object to the $2000 stimulus checks. Manchin wants vaccine distribution to be a higher priority over checks. US stocks recovered most of the weakness from the WAPO’s “absolutely not” interpretation of his comments. Biden still has his Blue Wave, but Wall Street was reminded that Manchin won’t always fall in line with the Democrats.
Crude prices extended gains despite one of the bigger increases with rig counts. The US oil rig count rose 8 to 275 rigs, the 7th straight weekly increase. The Saudis have taken away all concerns over the short-term crude demand outlook and as President-elect Biden has signaled, he will aim to deploy every available vaccine. Stockpiling second doses won’t happen on his watch as he will do everything possible to ensure the production and distribution of COVID vaccines. Money managers are heavily piling back into Brent as net-long positions rise to the most bullish in 11 months.
Gold’s worst tumble in two months accelerated after Washington Post initially reported that Democratic Senator Manchin threw a wrench over the prospects of $2,000 stimulus checks once Biden takes office. Manchin’s office later walk-backed those comments and gold has since then recovered almost $20 since from the today’s lows. Gold can’t wait for the weekend to get here. Gold should see some support at the $1800 level, but if that breaks, prices should easily retest the November lows around the $1780 level.
Bitcoin needed a trigger for some profit-taking and Senator Manchin’s threat to oppose any additional direct aid payments put a tentative end in the wild rally. Bitcoin’s macro argument of a weaker dollar is taking a timeout now and that could pave the way for prices to consolidate here. Bitcoin volatility will remain elevated as the one way direction of flows fuel the liquidity crunch. Lower supply with relentless institutional and retail demand has doubled Bitcoin over the last month, but that could quickly reverse.
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