Markets fall as US inflation exceeds expectations

Equities were sharply lower last week as the US inflation release for August surprised to the upside. The headline annual rate fell to 8.3%, however core prices rose 0.6%, twice the 0.3% forecast, writes Ian Slattery. 

Consumer price inflation came in below expectations for July, and many expected similar results last Tuesday when the US CPI figures for August came to print. Therefore, the upside surprise led equities to their worst sell off in over two years with the S&P 500 falling 4.3% on the day.

The US retail sales figures for last month were also released on Thursday and came in higher than expected with a 0.3% rise MoM. Whilst this is broadly positive for the US economy, many investors see this as an indicator of how aggressively central banks will raise rates. This led to a sell-off in risk assets and markets have priced in a 1/3 chance that the Fed will raise rates by a full percentage point this month.

Given the expectation of rapid monetary tightening, the yield on the interest rate sensitive two-year treasury note 3.90% on Friday, its highest level since 2007. The benchmark 10-year yield also rose for the 7th week in a row.

Within the eurozone, inflation and the health of the economy continue to guide the market with the broad eurozone index down 4.5% last week, as investors displayed concerns over volatile energy prices and tightening central bank policy.

Within the UK, retail sales for August were released on Friday which came in far lower than expected dropping by 1.6%. This is the biggest fall since December 2021 and underlines increased recession risk within the UK economy.

The key EUR/USD rate finished the week below parity, as the dollars safe haven status continued to be utilised. Enduring dollar strength is partly a result of policy tightening by the Fed but is also a function of the US economy’s perceived greater resilience in comparison to Europe’s.

Equities

Global stocks were down last week by -4.5% in euro terms and -5.5% In local terms. Year-to-date global markets are down -8.8% in euro terms and -19.5% In local terms. The US market, the largest in the world, was down -4.9% in euro terms and -5.8% in local terms.

Fixed Income & FX

The US 10-year yield finished at 3.45% last week. The German equivalent finished at 1.78%. The Irish 10-year bond yield finished at 2.36%. The Euro/US Dollar exchange rate finished at 1.00, whilst Euro/GBP finished at 0.88.

Commodities

Oil finished the week at $84 per barrel and is up 27.8% year-to-date in euro terms. Gold finished the week at $1,663 per troy ounce and is up 3.6% year to-date in euro terms. Copper finished the week at $7,869 per tonne.

The week ahead

Wednesday 21st September

Federal Reserve Interest Rate decision published.

Thursday 22nd September

Bank of England interest rate decision release

Friday 23rd September

Global PMI data is released.

Sign Up Here

For promotional offers, news, updates and access to exclusive reports from Zurich

By pressing the submit button you are providing your consent to receive email communications from Zurich Life and other Zurich Group Companies
Indicates required field

...  Sending Answer, please wait ...

Your answer has been successfully submitted. Thank you for your participation.

An error has occurred attempting to submit your answer. Please try again.

X
Customers Resources

Insurance resources

Do you have home, car, farm, van or business insurance?

Life resources

Are you a pensions, savings, investments or protection customer?