Gold spiked in morning trading in New York after trending downwards overnight, and the dollar dropped into negative territory after late night strength. The top buyers of U.S. government debt, China and Japan, have publicly warned politicians in Washington to start acting like adults to end the shutdown and avoid a default on the trillions in debt the Asian nations are holding. Top finance officials of both nations have had emergency telephone calls with U.S. Treasury officials, stressing their displeasure and worry that the U.S. could not only destroy its own economy, but theirs as well.
It isn’t just the nations and institutions holding U.S. debt that are ready for the tantrums in Washington to stop. Bloomberg reports that the partial government shutdown has already cost the nation $1.6 billion in lost economic output, and is increasing by $160 million a day. This is disproportionately affecting small businesses, as well as the nearly 800,000 trying to pay their bills with no paycheck.
Wall St. opened lower and has stayed in the red, in very volatile conditions. Alcatel-Lucent announced 10,000 layoffs to its global workforce in a last-ditch attempt at survival. Some analysts predict that the intransigence in Washington will continue until the market reacts violently to the nonsense, something that has seemed to be necessary in the past.
U.S. budget shenanigans also weighed on European stocks, as well as an unexpected easing in German manufacturing orders. In Asia, the Nikkei closed in the green for the first time in five sessions, while Hong Kong and Chinese stocks were up on strong holiday spending during the recently concluded week-long holiday.