Global markets waver after rate hikes in Europe, Asia and US

The Fed and central banks in Europe and Asia are raising rates to slow economic growth and cool inflation that is at multi-decade highs



A currency trader watches monitors at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, on September 22, 2022. Asian stock markets followed Wall Street lower on Thursday after the Federal Reserve delivered another big interest rate hike to cool galloping inflation and raised its outlook for more. — AP
A currency trader watches monitors at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, on September 22, 2022. Asian stock markets followed Wall Street lower on Thursday after the Federal Reserve delivered another big interest rate hike to cool galloping inflation and raised its outlook for more. — AP

By AP

Published: Thu 22 Sep 2022, 5:52 PM

Last updated: Thu 22 Sep 2022, 5:53 PM

US futures moved modestly higher Thursday as central banks in Europe and Asia tightened their monetary policies after another big interest rate hike from the US Federal Reserve this week in what is becoming a global effort to cool spiraling inflation.

Futures for the Dow Jones industrials rose 0.2 per cent and futures for the S&P 500 inched up 0.1 per cent.

Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index fell 1.7 per cent to a two-month low after the Fed raised its key lending rate Wednesday by 0.75 percentage points to a 14-year high. The Fed indicated it expects that rate to be a full percentage point higher by year’s end than it did three months ago.

“The Fed still managed to out-hawk the markets,” Anna Stupnytska of Fidelity International said in a report. “Economic strength and a hot labour market point to a limited trade-off — at least for the time being — between growth and inflation.”

London and Frankfurt declined after Switzerland’s central bank also raised its benchmark lending rate by its biggest margin to date — 0.75 percentage points — and said it couldn’t rule out more hikes “to ensure price stability.” The Bank of England raised its rate by a half-point, as did the Philippines’ central bank. Norway hiked its benchmark rate as well.

Sweden caught almost all economists off guar d this week with a full point hike.

The Fed and central banks in Europe and Asia are raising rates to slow economic growth and cool inflation that is at multi-decade highs.

Traders worry they might derail global economic growth. Fed officials acknowledge the possibility such aggressive rate hikes might bring on a recession but say inflation must be brought under control. They point to a relatively strong US job market as evidence the economy can tolerate higher borrowing costs.

“The Fed’s new economic projections highlight it will tolerate a recession to bring inflation down,” said Gregory Daco of EY Parthenon in a report.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index sank 0.3 per cent to 3,108.90 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo slid 0.6 per cent to 27,153.83. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng tumbled 1.7 per cent to 18,134.63.

South Korea’s Kospi sank 0.6 per cent to2,332.31 and India’s Sensex opened down 0.2 per cent at 59,304.34.

New Zealand, Bangkok and Jakarta rose while Singapore declined.

The yield on the 2-year Treasury, or the difference between the market price and the payout if held to maturity, rose to 4.09 per cent on Wednesday from 3.97 per cent late Tuesday. It was trading at its highest level since 2007.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury, which influences mortgage rates, crept back to 3.55 per cent from 3.56 per cent.

Fed chair Jerome Powell stressed his resolve to lift rates high enough to drive inflation back toward the central bank’s two per cent goal. Powell said the Fed has just started to get to that level with this most recent increase.

The US central bank lifted its benchmark rate, which affects many consumer and business loans, to a range of three per cent to 3.25 per cent. That is the fifth rate hike this year and up from zero at the start of the year.

The Fed released a forecast known as a “dot plot” that showed it expects its benchmark rate to be 4.4 per cent by year’s end, a full point higher than envisioned in June.

U.S. consumer prices rose 8.3 per cent in August. That was down from July’s 9.1 per cent peak, but core inflation, which strips out volatile food and energy prices to give a clearer picture of the trend, rose to 0.6 per cent over the previous month, up from July’s 0.3 per cent increase.

The global economy also has been roiled by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which pushed up prices of oil, wheat and other commodities.

In energy markets, benchmark US crude gained 89 cents to $83.83 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1 to $82.94 on Wednesday. Brent crude, the price basis for international oil trading, advanced 86 cents to $90.69 per barrel in London. It lost 79 cents the previous session to $89.83.

The dollar declined to 141.42 yen from Wednesday’s 143.46 yen.

The yen had fallen to a 24-year low against the dollar after Japan’s central bank left its key lending rate unchanged, then moved higher following an intervention by the bank in the foreign exchange market.

The euro fell to 98.63 cents from 99.09 cents.

The major Wall Street indexes are on pace for their fifth weekly loss in six weeks.

On Wednesday, the Dow fell 1.7 per cent and the Nasdaq composite lost 1.8 per cent. — AP


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