Here's my summary of the key news overnight in 90 seconds at 9 am, including news US fiscal cliff negotiations are taking an unexpected turn.
A few dozen Republicans have joined a bipartisan call to break the impasse between President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner over taxes for the highest- earning Americans. Kay Granger of Texas said that agreeing to Obama’s demand to extend tax cuts for top earners, is “just the right thing to do.” The Republicans signed a letter calling for exploration of “all options” on taxes and entitlement programs, a signal that some rank-and-file members are ready to bargain.
Wall Street is rallying. The Dow is up 1% in mid-day trade. Gold however has taken another hit overnight and has fallen below US$1,700/oz.
In Europe overnight, stronger than expected PMI surveys helped their markets withstand the effects of a relatively weak Spanish auction bond auction.
Greece has scored the worst ranking of all 27 European Union nations in Transparency International's index of state sector corruption, falling below ex-communist Bulgaria as public anger about graft soars during the country's crisis. No wonder the Germans have driven a hard bargain. But people in Finland, Denmark and New Zealand think their public service is the least corrupt in the world, according to these rankings. Australia ranks 7th, the UK and US 17th. China ranks 80th and this is undoubtedly one reason the authorities there have moved to combat land seizures from the nation's 650 million farmers, a move that could ease a major source of social unrest.
Back in the US, Citigroup said it will eliminate 11,000 jobs, about 4% of its work force, and take a $1 billion fourth-quarter charge. Private-sector hiring took a hit in November due to the impact of storm Sandy in the northeastern US but the country's huge services sector continued to expand.
In New Zealand, all eyes will be on Governor Wheeler who reviews the OCR today and fronts up to MPs in a Select Committee hearing early afternoon. Bernard Hickey and Alex Tarrant will be covering this in full from 9am today.