FED IN FLUX: In a surprise announcement, the Federal Reserve said Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer will resign next month for personal reasons, leaving a fourth vacancy on the U.S. central bank’s seven-member governing board. The unexpected departure of Fischer, a widely-respected economist, adds to a leadership vacuum at the top of the Fed as it navigates a difficult path. It plans to slowly raise interest rates as the U.S. economy grows and unemployment falls, even as inflation remains below target, complicating its future course.
NUCLEAR TENSIONS: North Korea’s nuclear program remains in the headlines, though investor concerns have faded somewhat as the U.S. seeks the toughest-ever U.N. sanctions on the country in a resolution that would go to a vote Monday. Meanwhile, the U.S. military completed placing more launchers for the high-tech U.S. missile-defense system installed in South Korea to better cope against Pyongyang’s threats.
QUOTEWORTHY: “Surprises galore are greeting Asia traders as we digest the astonishing overnight headlines,” said Stephen Innes, head of Asia trading at OANDA. Fischer’s resignation, the debt deal and an unexpected rate hike by Canada’s central bank on strong economic growth “all caught market watchers by surprise,” he said.