Live news: Argentina’s central bank raises key rate to 40%

What to watch in Asia today

Hong Kong: A number of public activities will be banned in the territory from today, for at least the next two weeks as Hong Kong prepares for the spread of the Omicron variant.

Data: Japan releases monthly consumer spending data for November and India releases its annual estimate of its 2022 gross domestic product. IMF expects the country’s economy to grow 9.5% during the year ending in March.

Earnings: Japanese convenience store operator Lawson and Ryohin Keikaku, the company behind housewares company Muji, both report their results today.

GameStop shares jump on report retailer enters NFT, crypto markets

Video game retailer GameStop, whose shares kicked off the stock trading frenzy even last January, is also set to enter the NFT and cryptocurrency game.

Gamestop will launch divisions focused on developing a cryptocurrency business and a non-fungible token market as part of a turnaround plan. This move was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

GameStop shares jumped 22% in after-hours trading to $ 159.

Gamestop plans to establish cryptocurrency partnerships as well as develop games using blockchain and NFT technology, the WSJ reported.

The retailer’s share price is up more than 600% from a year ago, but down 62% from its high last January. Despite its popularity with retail investors, the company has struggled as the pandemic continues to hit traditional retailers.

US tech stocks hover as investors rate Fed minutes and mixed data

Tech stocks slipped at the end of a wild trading day on Thursday, in which a set of economic data combined with a hawkish tilt from the Federal Reserve clouded the investment outlook for US stocks.

Wall Street’s Nasdaq Composite stock index, which fell 3.3% on Wednesday in its worst session since February, slipped 0.1%.

But the slight drop belies what had been a volatile trading session, with the index dropping as low as 1.2% at one point before climbing back up to 0.7%.

The saw moves followed weak services data, which signaled a continued disruption in the supply chain and higher than expected initial jobless claims. The data initially caused a pause in the abandonment of high-valuation tech stocks which are seen as the near-term victim of a resurgent economy and higher Treasury yields.

However, Thursday’s weaker data contrasted with Wednesday’s figures showing an increase in private payrolls and better than expected manufacturing data. Also on Wednesday, the minutes of the last Fed meeting showed it could raise interest rates and tighten financial conditions faster than expected, helping to push stocks away from rate-sensitive tech companies. interest.

Learn more about Thursday’s market movements here.

Argentina’s central bank raises key rate to 40%

Argentina’s central bank raised its benchmark interest rate for the first time in a year as it seeks to tackle high inflation and strike a new repayment deal with the IMF.

The key Leliq rate will rise to 40%, from 38% previously. Annual inflation in Argentina is around 50 percent.

The bank’s move to raise rates comes as the left-wing Peronist government faces increasing pressure from IMF officials to tighten monetary policy and present a credible restructuring plan of some $ 40 billion owed to the international lender , as part of a record-breaking $ 57 billion bailout in 2018.

In December, fund managers specifically called for interest rates above inflation.

About $ 2.8 billion Argentina owes the IMF matures in late March, which analysts see as a deadline to secure the terms of a new repayment program for the country, which owes $ 18.8 billion. dollars this year and then again in 2022.

Martín Guzmán, finance minister and Argentina’s chief negotiator at the IMF, said this week that the government and the IMF have yet to come to an agreement on a deadline to reduce its budget deficit after 18 months of non-negotiating talks. conclusive.

Argentine dollar bonds fell the most since September at the start of Thursday’s session after Guzmán’s speech suggested a deal in March was not imminent. Credit default swaps widened the most in five weeks.

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