NOTABLE MOVES 

As of Wed, Jan 02, 08:00 Singapore Time zone UTC+8

USDJPY, +0.09%, $109.68
EURUSD, -0.07%, $1.1461
GBPUSD, -0.05%, $1.2752
USDCAD, -0.11%, $1.3623
AUDUSD, -0.06%, $0.7048
NZDUSD, -0.09%, $0.6713

S&P500, +0.85%, 2,506.85 (31st Dec Close)
Nasdaq, +0.77%, 6,635.28 (31st Dec Close)
Nikkei Futures, +0.32%, 19,885.0

MARKET WRAP 

  • Thin trading conditions for most of 31st Dec 2018 contributed to another volatile session on Monday, though all 11 S&P 500 sectors did finish in the green. The health care (+1.4%) and consumer discretionary (+1.1%) sectors remained constant leaders, while the real estate (unch) and utilities (+0.2%) sectors underperformed. Stocks jumped out to a gain of 1.0%, helped by another hopeful trade tweet from Trump, but the early advance provided another excuse to sell into strength. The benchmark index would slip into negative territory (-0.1%) at around 11:30 a.m. ET. The S&P 500 quickly recovered and traded in positive territory for the rest of the day, but not with the same confidence that contributed to its strong start. Buying conviction was reserved with no news catalysts or economic data to sway investors, until a last minute swarm of buyers pushed the indices to near session highs.
  • U.S. Treasuries ended the abbreviated bond market session with gains across the curve, despite the positive disposition in the stock market. The 2-yr yield decreased two basis points to 2.50%, and the 10-yr yield decreased five basis points to 2.69%, reaching its lowest level since February.
BLOCKCHAIN & CRYPTOCURRENCY NEWS 

The Iranian government has taken further steps against Telegram’s cryptocurrency development, the Tehran Times reports Dec. 31. Secretary of the Criminal Content Definition Task Force Javad Javidnia has declared that any cooperation with the encrypted messaging app to launch its Gram token will be considered an act against national security and a disruption to the national economy. Iran first banned the app in April when supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that government agencies would no longer use the app. The country’s judiciary subsequently forbade its use altogether. In December 2017, Iran temporarily blocked Telegram and photo-sharing app Instagram in order to “maintain peace” amid widespread protests. Prior to the ban, Iranian officials criticized the app, stating that its initial coin offering (ICO) was potentially “undermining the national currency of Iran.” The go-to messaging app of the crypto industry was also banned in Russia due to concerns over its ICO, with the possibility of a “completely uncontrolled financial system” reportedly leading to the block.

India: Media Reports Central Bank Has Postponed ‘Crypto-Rupee’ Plans

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is pausing its plans to release a digital currency, Indian business news outlet the Hindu Business Line reported on Jan. 1. India’s central bank had originally announced its intentions to consider a central bank digital currency (CBDC) in April of this year, at the time noting the establishment of an interdepartmental group to look into potential advantages and feasibility. In August, RBI confirmed the creation of the group, specifying that it was researching a CBDC that would be backed the rupee for reasons including the cost of printing paper and the rising popularity of using digital tokens. Now, amid confusion over the group’s exact findings, which remain a mystery, Delhi has apparently had a change of heart.

Senator and Crypto Critic Elizabeth Warren Enters 2020 US Presidential Race

United States Senator and cryptocurrency critic Elizabeth Warren has announced her bid for President in 2020, the New York Times reported on Dec. 31. Following her announcement, Sen. Warren made plans to visit the state of Iowa, which hosts the first presidential caucuses in the country in February 2020. Warren is the senior U.S. senator from Massachusetts and has held office in the Senate since 2013. The senator is known for her criticism of cryptocurrencies, having repeatedly expressed concerns that cryptocurrency consumers could be hurt by scam initial coin offerings (ICOs) while also stating that crypto is “easy to steal.”

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