A breathless line-up of central bank decisions from the United States to Japan, Britain to Switzerland and Brazil to South Africa will keep markets spellbound in the days to come.
Forward-looking purchasing managers’ indexes from a host of countries will provide clues on how wobbly global growth really is. And will Ukraine’s lightning counter-offensive change the trajectory of its conflict with Russia?
Here is a look at the week ahead in markets:
FULL ON FED
A key Federal Reserve meeting has become even more important after stronger-than-expected inflation data raised expectations for how aggressive policy makers will need to be to tame consumer prices.
A 75-basis-point rate increase is priced in for Wednesday, but some are preparing for a full percentage point hike – a move unthinkable just days ago.
Fed chair Jerome Powell’s take on the pace of monetary tightening, economic resilience and sustainability of inflation will be crucial – as will signs of how the balance sheet unwind is proceeding. Some worry the process, in which the Fed cuts its balance sheet by US$95-billion a month, could hurt market liquidity and weigh on the economy.
Next up is Thursday’s Bank of Japan (BOJ) decision. The rate gap between the U.S. and Japan is set to yawn beyond 3 per cent with the BOJ universally seen clinging to unprecedented easing.
That level fuelled the carry-trade fad before the global financial crisis. Some warn it’s set to ramp up again, putting additional pressure on a yen already at 24-year lows, as the proverbial Mrs. Watanabe unleashes some of the quadrillion yen (US$7-trillion) piled under her mattress.
The currency’s precipitous, almost weekly slide against the dollar even provoked the BOJ’s weak-yen-proponent governor, Haruhiko Kuroda, to warn of “unfavourable” rapid moves.
The central bank recently called lenders to ask about exchange rates, considered one of the final steps before a currency intervention. Analysts see little chance this would succeed though, with yen weakness very much of the BOJ’s own making.
The Swiss National Bank meets also on Thursday and is expected to deliver another big rate hike – a move that could see Swiss rates turn positive for the first time in eight years.
BACK TO BUSINESS
The ability of the Bank of England (BoE) and Britain’s new finance minister, Kwasi Kwarteng, to manage an economy in decline faces a major test.
The BoE is set to raise interest rates on Thursday – by 50 basis points or maybe even 75 basis points - to fight inflation. On Friday, Mr. Kwarteng is expected to give his first fiscal statement to deliver on new Prime Minister Liz Truss’ pledge to reverse April’s increase in social-security contributions and a planned corporation tax rise. Tax cuts could stoke price rises.
Opposing directions of monetary and fiscal policy underscore the challenges for Britain, which has the highest inflation rate among the world’s big rich countries and faces a recession. Traders, who recently pushed sterling to a near four-decade low, are watching closely.
The first snapshot of business activity in September across the world is out on Friday. No doubt closely watched purchasing managers’ indexes (PMIs) from a host of major economies will likely confirm what many now suspect: The world economy is careening towards a recession.
The euro zone PMI is already below the 50-marker that separates contraction from expansion – a sign the bloc may enter a recession earlier than previously thought as the energy shock and tighter monetary policy bite. With Italy’s Sept. 25 election looming, the bloc’s economic outlook is much in focus.
Governments’ efforts to soften the blow of soaring energy prices may help ease recession worries. Then again, for some observers, markets need to start taking recession risks more seriously.
Ukraine’s recent lightening counter-offensive – which according to Kyiv has liberated some 8,000 square kilometres of territory – brought fresh momentum to Europe’s first war in seven decades.
Russian forces suffered a stunning reversal with Ukraine’s special forces in the northeastern region of Kharkiv forcing them into a sometimes rushed and chaotic withdrawal.
The events have sparked rare expressions of dissent against President Vladimir Putin from elected representatives in Russia.
Markets are trying to gauge how Russia might react and how the fallout from the latest events could play out in global markets, especially energy prices, with Europe already bracing for a recession.