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Good morning. Here’s what you need to know:
- Asian markets were mixed, with 1.07% gains in Shanghai following reports of a decreasing trade deficit in November. European markets are trading mostly up and U.S. futures point to a higher opening. Follow the action at Money Game >
- Optimism about the global recovery prompted the IEA to revise upward its oil demand estimate. PIMCO’s Mohammed El-Erian also upped his estimate to 3 to 3.5 per cent growth.
- China’s central bank hiked reserves requirements by 500 basis points, the sixth increase this year. Data coming out tonight will show inflation is slowing. See SocGen’s guide to inflation in emerging markets >
- U.S. trade data come out at 8:30 AM. Analysts expect the trade deficit to remain at $44 billion. Update: The number is way better than expected at $38.7 billion >
- The Michigan consumer sentiment survey comes out at 9:55 AM. Analysts expect an improvement to 72.5 from 71.6. Check out Goldman’s bullish targets for 2011 >
- Democrats are close to a tax deal, looking for ethanol credits to sweeten the bargain. The final package will cost at least $858 billion over the next 10 years. How’s that deficit reduction plan going?
- Obama is also compromising on tougher EPA regulations. New regulations on smog and toxic emissions from industrial boilers that were supposd to take effect this month were postponed until at least next summer.
- The latest Wikileaks revelations show that Pfizer used dirty tricks to avoid prosecution in Nigeria. The company blackmailed an attorney general to drop a case involving a controversial meningitis test. No surprise that U.S. corruption is rising >
- Meanwhile, Julian Assange is moving to a special jail cell with internet access. Operation Payback failed to take down Amazon.com. And key people from Wikileaks are ditching Assange to start a new site.
- The Norwegian Nobel Commission is awarding an imprisoned Chinese dissident today, despite protestations from China. Liu Xiaobo will be represented by an empty chair. Check out amazing photos of China’s cities >
- Bonus: Christina Aguilera is supposedly upset about nude photos of her that leaked when her new movie, Burlesque, hit theatres.
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