Marketmind: Apocalypse now?

·2 min read
Governor of the Bank of England Andrew Bailey addresses the media on the Monetary Policy Report, in London

A look at the day ahead in markets from Dhara Ranasinghe.

Bank of England boss Andrew Bailey is sorry for an "apocalyptic" view of the world, saying that monetary policy faces its biggest test in 25 years with surging inflation exacerbated by war in Ukraine and China's COVID lockdowns.

Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell, who warned last week that taming inflation will "include some pain", and European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde speak later on Tuesday.

No wonder markets are so volatile -- swinging one way one minute on a view that surging inflation will bring aggressive rate hikes in major economies to swinging the other way the next on fears that all this inevitably raises recession risks.

A heavy hint from Australia's central bank that another rate hike is coming in June is lifting the Aussie dollar today.

But in general, it's that growing fear of recession risk - heightened by Monday's gloomy China data - that holds sway. U.S. 10-year Treasury yields are down almost 30 basis points from 3-1/2 year highs hit just over a week ago.

For now stocks markets are stable. Yet, first quarter euro zone GDP numbers, U.S. retail sales and industrial production data later pose a new test for fragile sentiment.

Economists polled by Reuters forecast retail sales rose 0.9% in April versus a 0.5% gain a month earlier.

Data out early on Tuesday shows Britain's unemployment rate fell to its lowest since 1974 at 3.7% in the first three months of this year, which could bring some comfort to policymakers.

Finally, while sentiment is largely risk off, commodity prices continue to surge -- wheat futures and other agricultural goods prices shot up on Monday. No doubt, there's no shortage of sources of angst right now.

U.S. retail sales https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/dwvkryxdypm/Pasted%20image%201652306123735.png

(Reporting by Dhara Ranasinghe, editing by Karin Strohecker)

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