Good morning,

After countless twists and turns and going round and round, some strategy changes and an unexpected last-minute charge to the line, we saw an end to something that not many people believed would happen in the first place…. The 2020 Formula One season drew to a close.

Brexit however, lives to fight another day…

The two leaders have agreed to keep talks alive, though Boris has cautioned that a no deal remains the most likely outcome. Talks will resume today between Michel Barnier and David Frost and it does seem that they’re getting a little closer to working out a dispute mechanism for the level playing field: which is that either party would be able to introduce tariffs on specific sectors if they though that it were being put at a disadvantage by state intervention. If that is the case, then that really just leaves fishing – which if it were an economic only point would be solved in all of thirty seconds but, given the emotion attached to controlling ones own waters, may still be a struggle.

Germany is going into a hard lockdown from Wednesday, with pretty much everything closed except for essential retail until January 10th.  The decision comes as cases there topped 30,000 on Friday and the understandable concern that as festivities ramp up so does the R number. They’re going to something similar to tier three in the UK, whilst also only allowing three days for a slight relaxation for the festive period. As well as continuing their ‘short work’ programme for employees, Germany will compensate businesses affected by the shutdown with up to €500k per month in cash payments.

Across the Pond, there are a few bits of good news to look out for today: There’s $908bn worth of stimulus being presented in Congress today and, rather cleverly, this has been split into two packages. One is for $748bn and contains everything except state and local aid – this is stimulus that most people can get behind and is likely to pass. The second bailout is the contentious one that might get voted down. As such there’s hope that the first one of these could get passed and implemented ahead of Christmas.

Today is also the day that the electoral college cast their ballots and formally make Joe Biden the president in waiting. Normally this isn’t a big deal, but this year it could represent the final nail in the coffin of Trump’s bid to overturn the election. Republican senators are now urging their voters to accept the election outcome and just focus on the Georgia run-off for the Senate, the outcome of which will decide just how much power a Biden administration has to wield.

The vaccine starts rolling out across the US today after the FDA’s emergency authorisation. There was talk of the White House staff being top of the list to get the vaccine, but Trump has said that this won’t be the case and will, much like the UK, be given to healthcare workers and the most vulnerable first.

On the note of vaccines: There is going to be a study undertaken in Russia to see whether a combination of the Oxford Vaccine and the Russian Sputnik vaccine is more effective than just being given one or the other. It sounds strange, but here’s the BBC with the science part.

Staying with Russia: They’re being blamed for a cyber-attack on the US Treasury and Commerce departments, as well as others. The news broke on Friday that US security firm FireEye was itself breached, but the hack could have been going on since the spring and the product that they believe was used in the hack is utilized by all five branches of the US military. The Washington Post has more.

Looking at the week ahead: The market has latched on to the hope that still remains over Brexit and has bought back some of Sterling’s losses. Stock markets have opened higher too. This is all subject to change, but given talks will likely continue throughout the week, we won’t expect too much downward pressure.

Have a great week

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