‘Tis the season for fresh turmoil
Omicron has arrived to (potentially) spoil our Christmas dinners, but we’ll try to keep it together for friends, family, and a sense of normality after nearly two extraordinary years.
When coronavirus first arrived on our shores in February 2020, I can remember distinctly how fast things moved. We went from happily visiting my partner’s elderly grandparents without a second thought one weekend to full throttle lockdown in less than 14 days.
So, who knows what could happen with Omicron. So far, my trip to see family in Cape Town has been unceremoniously kiboshed, but that is about it. I look forward to writing a blog on how I got my money back from the airline. But other than that, things remain ‘normal’.
The next few days will tell us a lot more, so for now let’s plan for more normal with a look at what is coming up in December.
On 1 December we have a fresh meeting of OPEC+ countries to discuss oil production. This is certain to be an interesting one for market watchers as prices have spiked – but Omicron could ruin their sums if they open the taps up now.
The Universal Credit taper rate reduction also takes place on 1 December, while it’s also the second anniversary of Ursula Von Der Leyen taking over as European Commission President.
On 2 December is a particular favourite event of mine – the Foot in Mouth award is announced for the most ‘baffling’ quote of the year by a public figure.
Another really important day for topical reasons is Fuel Poverty Awareness Day on 3 December. This year many households will struggle to keep the heating on thanks to bust energy firms and soaring wholesale prices.
On 8 December Google publishes its annual list of top-trending search terms for 2021. I imagine ‘vaccine’, ‘delta’ and ‘meme stocks’ might get a look in this time round.
Time Person of the Year is announced on 9 December, while 14 December is Christmas Jumper Day (my personal favourite day of the year for lots of Zoom meetings).
Mid-month we have the latest US interest rate decision, on 15 December. Depending on where Omicron is by that stage we could see a chilling of the language from the Fed on rate hikes and tapering. This is followed by both the ECB and Bank of England rate decisions on 16 December.
17 December is an interesting one for markets – so called Quadruple Witching Day, when stock index futures, stock index options, stock options, and single stock futures expire simultaneously. This day comes four times a year and tends to cause heavier-than-usual trading volumes as investors move to adjust their positions.
El Gordo – the largest lottery draw in the world – takes place on 22 December in Spain. The rules are somewhat complex for it but in 2019 there was over EUR2 billion worth of prizes available.
Finally on 31 December the LIBOR rate, which caused so much controversy after the Great Financial Crisis (GFC) comes to an end, to be replaced by SONIA and SOFR.
Here’s to hoping all these dates stay as they are. All the best and wishing you all a happy, healthy, and prosperous Christmas and new year from all of us here are MRM, CCM and Mouthy Money.