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LGT Navigator: Inflation, interest rates and the economy remain in focus

August 19, 2022

On Wall Street, the latest and mixed economic data from the US did not provide any new impetus. Overall, investor sentiment remains fragile, with inflation, the further actions of central banks and the question of how this will affect the global economy still pointing the way ahead. Meanwhile, inflation in the eurozone climbed to a new record high of almost nine percent. This increases the pressure on the European Central Bank to push ahead with the interest rate turnaround on September 8. The Norwegian central bank reacted once again by raising its key interest rate sharply. The focus will now turn to the annual central bank meeting in Jackson Hole at the end of next week.

Inflation, interest rates and the economy remain in focus

On the New York Stock Exchange, the indices closed nearly unchanged on Thursday. The Dow Jones Industrial went out at 33,999.04 points +0.06% higher than the previous day, while the S&P 500 gained +0.23% to 4,283.74 points. Also on the Nasdaq, the indices trended sideways yesterday. A positive impetus was provided, for example, by the network equipment manufacturer Cisco, which performed better than expected in the last quarter thanks to easing supply chain problems.

Performance of stock markets in the Asia-Pacific region was mixed on Friday in the face of a subdued Wall Street. In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index goes into the weekend virtually unchanged at 28,939 points. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng gains just +0.4% and in Shanghai, the Composite Index trades slightly lower.

Regional US industrial barometer surprises positively

The Philly Fed index of the Federal Reserve of Philadelphia surprised positively in August with an unexpectedly strong increase of 18.5 to plus 6.2 points. Analysts had expected only a slight improvement to minus 5 points. This was the first time in five months that the business climate in the industrial region around Philadelphia had brightened. 

US housing market in recession

In the US, existing home sales fell by just under -6% in July compared with the previous month and for the sixth month in succession. On an annualized basis, seasonally adjusted sales totaled 4.81 million – the lowest level since May 2020. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), housing construction in the US is in recession.

Inflation in the eurozone continues to accelerate

The cost of living in the euro area countries continued to rise at a high level in July. With an increase from +8.6% in June to +8.9%, the inflation rate reached a new high since the introduction of the euro in 1999. The main driver remains energy prices, which have risen by almost +40% over the year. In addition, inflation accelerated for food and beverages as well as for services, as Eurostat explained. The core rate, excluding energy and food prices, which are often prone to volatility, was +4.0% in July, up from +3.7% a month earlier. Price inflation was strongest in Estonia, up more than +23%.

The euro continued its downward movement and fell below 1.01 against the US dollar – the lowest level since mid-July.

Norway's central bank braces itself against inflation with sharp interest rate hike

Norway's central bank tightened the reins once again, raising its key interest rate by 50 basis points to +1.75% - the highest level since March 2012. Norges Bank's fifth rate hike had been expected. The central bank is holding out the prospect of a further rate hike in September in its fight against high inflation.

Turkish central bank lowers key interest rate despite massive inflation

Despite an inflation rate of almost 80%, Turkey's central bank cut its key interest rate by 100 basis points to +13.0%. The move was not anticipated in the financial markets and came as a surprise. As a result, the Turkish lira came under pressure against the US dollar and the euro.

Economic Indicators August 19

MEZ Country Indicator Last period
08:00 UK Retail Sales (July, m/m) -0.1%
08:00 GE Producer Prices (June, y/y) +32.7%


Earnings Calender August 19

Country Company Period
SZ PSP Swiss Property H1
US Deere & Co Q2
US Foot Locker Q2


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