As of 10:18 am AST, the dollar continues its weakening ways in light of job losses …

PairsFederal Reserve as of 4 January 2021OANDA as of 4 January 2021OANDA as of 8 January 2021 10:20 am AST
GBP/USD1.36621.36331.35822
USD/CAD1.27531.27261.26927
USD/CNH6.52506.45526.45624
USD/DKK6.08396.06576.05307
EUR/USD1.22301.22641.22875
USD/INR73.010072.936773.2355
USD/MXN19.892019.838219.8122
USD/JPY103.1900103.02103.53
USD/NOK8.57578.53008.42518
USD/SEK8.20958.20918.18760
USD/CHF0.88410.88150.88217
Sources: Federal Reserve, OANDA
RatesFederal Reserve as of 4 January 2021Bloomberg as of 8 January 2021 10:51 am AST
Federal Funds Rate0.090.08
Prime Rate3.253.25
3-month Treasury0.090.08
2-year Treasury0.110.14
10-year Treasury0.931.10
30-year Treasury1.661.87
Source: Bloomberg

Legal/Regulatory/Political Events Impacting Foreign Exchange Markets

An expected dire jobs report

The U.S. Department of Labor today reported that non-farm payroll employment fell by 140,000 jobs in December 2020. The unemployment rate remained at 6.7%, the same rate as reported in December 2020. Significant losses were in the retail and hospitality sectors, according to the Labor Department. Approximately 10.7 million people are out of work.

Federal Reserve finds perception of quality of life worsening for lower, middle income…

The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta released a summary of a Federal reserve survey assessing the lower and middle income communities’ perception of quality of life during the pandemic. The summary has been reproduced below.

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

For immediate release: November 9, 2020

A national Federal Reserve survey of organizations serving low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities shows that eight months into the pandemic, many aspects of life—from employment to education to public health—are deteriorating.

Perspectives from Main Street: The Impact of COVID-19 on Low- to Moderate-Income Communities and the Entities Serving Them” is the latest survey of government agencies, nonprofits, financial institutions, and other organizations. It was conducted in October and included 1,127 respondents who work on a range of issues within their LMI communities. Respondents represented a mix of U.S. urban, suburban, and rural areas across all 50 states as well as U.S. territories.

Key findings:

  • 55 percent of organizations said income lossjob loss, or unemployment impacts from COVID-19 got modestly or significantly worse in their LMI communities since August; 24 percent said these got modestly or significantly better.
  • 44 percent said impacts on basic consumer needs (changes in needs for housing, food, and other personal needs) worsened since August; 22 percent said things got better.
  • 51 percent indicated that disruptions to business (for example, short- or long-term closures, supply chain disruptions, or reduced demand) worsened since August; 26 percent said these got better.
  • 58 percent reported that impacts on education worsened since August, such as through disruptions to childcare, K-12, and higher education; only 19 percent said things got better.
  • 45 percent said pandemic-related impacts on health worsened; 19 percent said these got better. This includes changes in access to adequate health care and insurance or impacts on mental and physical health.

When asked how COVID-19 has affected their organization or agency, about two thirds said demand for their services has increased as a result of the pandemic. Meanwhile, more than a third noted a corresponding decrease in their ability to provide services in LMI communities. This was similar to findings from the same survey administered in August.

The full survey results from October, as well as previous surveys from August, June, and April, are available at frbatlanta.org/covidsurvey-communities.

The Federal Reserve seeks to promote the economic resilience and mobility of individuals and communities across the United States, including LMI and underserved households. Increasing economic opportunity is not only good for individuals and communities but also is vital to the overall economy. Amid the pandemic, the Fed is deepening its existing outreach to gather useful information as conditions evolve.

Contact: Karen Mracek | 470-249-8348

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s next move.

I can see U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York, doing some damage to the Democratic Party in 2024 or 2028. The Democrats are led by individuals twice America’s median age of 38.2 years. While Ocasio-Cortez was born right smack in the mid-range of Millennials, a generation defined by almost universal use and access to the internet, the growth of online companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon, the terrorist attacks that occurred on 11 September 2001, unaffordable housing, and onerous job competition and declining wage rates as a result of offshoring of jobs.

U.S. House speaker Nancy Pelosi, born in March 1940, and Democratic candidate for president Joe Biden, born November 1942, are members of and born during the tail end of the Silent Generation, a generation defined by an expectation of a hard life. Because they were born on the tail end of the Silent Generation, their life experiences bled into the Baby Boomer Generation, a generation that saw a booming economy, but also witnessed the social unrests that spawned the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s and America’s police actions in southeast Asia.

Initiatives like the Green New Deal and her status as a democratic socialist has helped put and keep the 30-year old Bronxite in the public eye. She also has a strong social media following (8.9 million followers on Twitter; 1.5 million followers on Facebook; and 6.9 million followers on Instagram).

But even with all her social media love, she has to work on her public approval rating if she wants to take over the Democratic Party as a presidential standard bearer in 2024 or 2028. Approximately 44% of Millennials approve of Ms Ocasio-Cortez, while 38% of Generation X and 32% of Baby Boomers give her a thumbs up.

Meanwhile, Senator Kamala Harris, Democrat of California and Joe Biden’s running mate, enjoys a favorable rating of 47%. Many pundits believe Ms Harris will either replace Mr Biden midway through a first term, should he become president, and make a bid for election in 2024 and/or 2028. Ms Harris, 55, while touted as a progressive by the Right, is more moderate than Ms Ocasio-Cortez and could garner more voter support as Democrats get older and face having to make pragmatic decisions regarding household finances.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez has some time to make the adjustments that will increase her favorability ratings while making gains on Ms Harris. Ms Ocasio-Cortez has already shown a willingness to work with establishment Democrats, joining with Chuck Schumer, for example, to publicly object to nominating a replacement of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg on the U.S. Supreme Court before the next election and allowing instead for the next president to do so.

The irony about her joint venture with Chuck Schumer is the possibility that she may make a run in the 2022 primaries against Schumer for his senate seat. Serving as a senator from New York would add more weight to her national standing. She would be in a position to push a President Biden on policy especially where he is falling short on any progressive policy promises.

If Ocasio-Cortez follows the traditional glide path to a Democratic nomination for president and somehow wins the presidency, she could have the opportunity to fill at least three seats on the high court. Samuel Alito will be 78 years old. Clarence Thomas will clock in at 80 years of age. Stephen Breyer will be 90.

America is a trading platform and how the high court treats challenges to domestic commerce regulation could make the difference to sole proprietors who are forced to take the entrepreneurial route to making a living. I would like to see less restriction on an individual’s ability to trade goods and services locally and ensuring the lessening of restrictions on local levels, especially where cities are led by Democratic mayors and/or city councils may require filing challenges to restrictions and taking these challenges to the high court. I have not seen anything in Ms Ocasio-Cortez’s platform where she emphasizes small businesses and lessening restrictions on them. If she were to become president and choose justices that interpreted the Constitution as allowing onerous local regulations on business, such “bench packing” would not benefit citizens who are seeing accelerated changes to the labor markets that are not in their favor.

Yes, the United States electorate has to get through the 2020 elections, but keeping an eye on the politicians who may have an impact on how we trade in the future is important.