Global Markets: Trump, Democrats want to up direct payments

China investigates Alibaba, UK/EU reach trade deal

By MarketsFarm

WINNIPEG, Dec. 24 (MarketsFarm) – The following is a glance at the news moving markets in Canada and globally.

– The US$900 billion deal on pandemic assistance between Republican and Democrat lawmakers in the United States Congress was on the verge of falling apart on Christmas Eve. Earlier in the week, the two parties agreed on direct payments of US$600 to most Americans, less than half the amount of the previous round of payments. Although the White House initially supported this week’s deal, in an about face President Donald Trump denounced the reduced payments and called for them to be hiked to US$2,000. Democrats sided with Trump and attempted to amend the bipartisan deal. However the Republicans vowed to block any changes.

– China’s State Administration for Market Regulation launched a monopoly probe of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. on Thursday. Alibaba has faced increased scrutiny from the regime in Beijing for its growing sway over daily life in China. ”Chinese authorities want to see a smaller, less dominant and more compliant firm,” commented Dong Ximiao of the Zhongguancun Internet Finance Institute to Bloomberg News. The investigation also comes after Alibaba affiliate, Ant, saw its initial public offering flounder last month.

– The United Kingdom and the European Union reached a last minute agreement on trade on Thursday. The deal will replace the current trade pact between the two that’s scheduled to expire on Dec. 31. As the U.K. prepares to leave the EU come Jan. 1, both parliaments must quickly ratify the new agreement to create some measure of certainty for their economies.

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