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Concerns that higher interest rates could be the "new normal" are unsettling global markets

Olusegun Enujowo


European shares faced their fourth consecutive day of decline, with the Stoxx 600 benchmark falling by over 0.4%. Despite the ECB's dovish stance, investor confidence falls off; many believe that central banks have limited scope for interest rate cuts in view of stubborn inflation. Investors are waiting for the publication of important inflation data (consumer price index for the Eurozone and Germany) later this week. 

US equity futures are trading 0.2% - 0.3% lower in early US pre-market trading after a slight decline. US Treasury yields remain elevated, but show signs of stabilizing. The 10-year rate achieved a 16-year peak on Monday. 

FED officials emphasized the potential for further US interest rate hikes. Some analysts suggested that the interest rate scenario remains tight and US interest rates might escalate to 7%, an alarming scenario that could surprise consumers and enterprises. On another front, Moody’s Investors Service cautioned that a potential US government shutdown could negatively impact America's credit rating, keeping investors attentive to an impending month-end deadline.

Asian markets displayed noticeable strain, particularly in China where property anxieties continue. The Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong descended to its November levels, and mainland metrics declined, mirroring the region's negative sentiment. The Chinese property sector, already under pressure, saw more distress as Evergrande missed a debt payment and faced executive detentions.

Crude oil prices witnessed a slight downturn (for a second day) as fears grow that spiraling oil prices may greatly influence inflation, thus pressuring policymakers. Oil prices react sensitively on rate hike expectations. Meanwhile, hedge funds amplified their bets on oil, anticipating a demand surge due to dwindling supplies. 

Oil is currently trading lower, with the WTI Crude trading below $89/barrel. Gold also continued to decline below $1,915 and remains pressured from sky-high yields.

Key events today:

US House Price Index - 13:00 UTC+0 

US CB Consumer Confidence, Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index - 14:00 UTC+0 

US API Crude Oil Stock Change - 20:30 UTC+0

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