Macro Briefing: 20 December 2022

* Putin visits Belarus, raising concern of new front in Ukraine war
* China appears to be facing surging Covid cases
* US worried that new China Covid outbreak will spawn new virus mutations
* Bank of Japan widens 10-year government bond yield range
* Global oil market remains tight: Saudi Aramco, world’s largest oil producer
* Meta may face $12 billion in new fines from European Union
* US homebuilder sentiment continues falling in December:

Japan appears to be abandoning, or at least tweaking, its long-running low-interest-rate policy. “If the currency is down 30% and stays down, and if talented workers want to move abroad, at some point, the [Bank of Japan] has to allow higher interest rates to keep Japan’s government running,” says Adam Posen, president of Peterson Institute for International Economics. “Japan doesn’t have to be growing hugely versus the rest of the world, but it has to have the sense that it’s not rapidly shrinking.”

US stocks fell on Monday, starting week on downshift that suggests the latest rally — the third this year — is vulnerable to setting new lows: