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Dec 20, 2016

Bloomberg Markets: Five Things You Need to Know to Start Your Day - December 20, 2016

 by Lorcan Roche Kelly

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The Bank of Japan upgrades its economic outlook, there were multiple attacks in Europe, and Italy gets its bank rescue fund together. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about today.

Bank of Japan

The yen was trading at 118.12 to the dollar at 5:09 a.m. ET after the Bank of Japan's first meeting since Donald Trump's U.S. election victory, at which the bank upgraded its assessment of the economy while keeping its policy stance unchanged. The Japanese currency has weakened by more than 10 percent against the greenback since Nov. 8, a move that should help lift inflation.

Terror attacks

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said this morning that her nation must assume that last night's truck crash at a Berlin Christmas market, which killed 12 and injured 48, was a terrorist attack. The incident came within hours of a shooting in an Islamic center in Zurich, which left three injured, and the assassination of Russia's ambassador to Turkey in Ankara. For Merkel, facing an election in Germany next year, the terror attack on her home soil is likely to increase pressure from the right on her immigration policies.

Italy bank fund

The Italian government has paved the way for a potential rescue of the country's troubled banks by seeking permission from parliament to increase the nation's public debt by as much as 20 billion euros ($21 billion). While the new prime minister has wasted no time in facing up to the problems in some parts of the Italian banking sector, analysts are not certain the move will be successful.

Markets mixed

Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific index slid 0.3 percent, while Japan's Topix index closed 0.2 percent higher following the Bank of Japan decision. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index had gained 0.3 percent by 5:23 a.m ET as deal activity pushed the index to its highest level in almost a year. S&P 500 futures added 0.1 percent.

Obama to block oil rights

President Barack Obama is set to use a provision in a 1953 law to
block the sale of new offshore drilling rights
in much of the U.S. Arctic, and parts of the Atlantic. The move, which could come as soon as today, is almost certain to be challenged in court as the law does not include a mechanism for a reversal of the decision by a new president. Meanwhile, Bridgewater Associates founder Ray Dalio has said changes under the Donald Trump administration may be more significant than those brought about by
Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher

What we've been reading 

This is what's caught our eye over the last 24 hours.