A massive week in monetary policy, with some 16 central banks holding meetings and possibly the first rate hike from a developed nation — Norway. Not to say others will follow any time soon; the Federal Reserve for instance may strees its own rate rises remain distant. Others such as Switzerland and Japan are likely to stay resolutely dovish.
In the meantime, other sagas are focusing investors’ minds. Chinese property developer Evergrande’s inexorable journey towards default is pummelling Hong Kong stocks (mainland markets are shut) and has taken yields on Chinese junk bonds to 14%, the highest in almost a decade.
So it’s a firmly risk-off on Monday with European and U.S. equity futures down 1%, following Friday’s dismal session when the S&P 500 plunged nearly to one-month lows and the VIX volatility gauge surged to a one-month high.
Much of that is, of course, down to concerns for economic growth and inflation, the debt ceiling wrangling in Congress and persistently high COVID caseloads.
Which takes us to the other issue of the day — spiralling gas prices and the potential impact on inflation.
Already, these have forced some power producers out of business and shut fertiliser plants in Britain. Knock-on effects look inevitable, on sectors ranging from slaughter houses to supermarkets, alongside higher winter heating bills.
Pressure is growing on authorities — Britain is planning measures to shield businesses and consumers and U.S. manufacturers are urging curbs on liquid gas (LNG) exports. Politics enters the picture too — EU lawmakers have demanded authorities probe Russia’s Gazprom (MCX:GAZP) for market manipulation.
British wholesale gas prices soar https://graphics.reuters.com/GLOBAL-GAS/jnvweyxqmvw/chart.png