European stock markets steadied Friday with traders digesting news of record-high eurozone inflation that reinforced expectations of a European Central Bank interest rate hike this month
The dollar, the safe-haven currency, jumped one percent against the pound on rising expectations of a recession, while oil rebounded on tight supplies.
Eurozone inflation accelerated to another record high in June, official data showed Friday, fuelled by rising energy and food prices amid Russia’s war in Ukraine.
The EU’s Eurostat data agency said annual consumer price inflation in the 19 countries that use the euro soared to 8.6 percent in June, up from the prior record of 8.1 percent in May.
“Today’s figures bolster the European Central Bank’s intended decision to start raising interest rates at its next Governing Council meeting in July,” noted economist Pushpin Singh at research group CEBR.
The ECB stated last month that it will deliver its first interest rate hike in more than a decade in July to combat inflation.
Eurostat added Friday that core inflation — stripping out volatile components like energy and food — slowed to 3.7 percent from 3.8 percent, helping equities to calm heading into the weekend pause.
Earlier Friday, Asian stock markets closed lower after another Wall Street selloff.
Read more in: Interest rates expected to triple this year and ECB already admits recession of almost 2% in 2023
New York stocks opened little changed.
Data showing US consumers — the backbone of the world’s top economy — were growing increasingly reticent about spending dealt a fresh blow, with New York’s S&P 500 index suffering its worst first-half performance since 1970.
With the war in Ukraine showing no sign of ending — keeping energy costs elevated — there is an expectation that borrowing costs will continue to rise and send economies into recession.
Losses across world markets this week come after a rally last week fuelled by hopes that an economic slowdown or signs of recession would lead central banks to ease off their monetary tightening drive.
But comments from top finance chiefs, including Federal Reserve boss Jerome Powell, suggest they are willing to endure the pain of a contraction as long as they can rein in prices — which are rising at their fastest pace in 40 years on both sides of the Atlantic.
“Investors know that inflation is high and is likely to push higher,” City Index analyst Fiona Cincotta told AFP.
“Instead, the market’s obsession is turning from inflation to recession fears. Given the steep declines in stock prices this week, much of the bad news is priced in for now, until it starts again next week,” she added.
The grim global economic outlook has also weighed on bitcoin, which has dropped back under $20,000.
Key figures at around 1330 GMT
London – FTSE 100: UP less than 0.1 percent at 7,174.12 points
Frankfurt – DAX: FLAT at 12,780.98
Paris – CAC 40: UP 0.1 percent at 5,928.80
EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.4 percent at 3,441.87
New York – Dow: FLAT at 30,747.54
Brent North Sea crude: UP 2.4 percent at $111.68 per barrel
West Texas Intermediate: UP 2.6 percent at $108.53 per barrel
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 1.7 percent at 25,935.62 (close)
Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 0.3 percent at 3,387.64 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng Index: Closed for a holiday
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.0404 from $1.0484 Thursday
Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2010 from $1.2178
Euro/pound: UP at 86.66 pence from 86.09 pence
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 135.48 yen from 135.72 yen