During the week ahead the market is likely to look towards a number of key market themes and events which have the potential to dictate financial market moves.
The economic calendar is focused around the Federal Reserve and Bank of England rate decision, although the UK economy releasing CPI inflation data will be a focus point.
Federal Reserve Rate Decision
Fed Chair told the US Congress the Fed is prepared to increase the pace of rate hikes, if the totality of the data were to indicate that faster tightening is warranted.
However, fears over the US banking sector and the wider economy have even led some to suggest that the Fed might hold or even cut rates on Wednesday.
Cutting rates would be an overreaction. It would send the message that there is a wider problem, which could spook markets. I suspect we are likely to see a 25 basis points hike this week.
Powell recently noted that the latest economic data have come in stronger than expected, which suggests that the ultimate level of interest rates is likely to be higher than previously anticipated.
So basically, the Fed continues to anticipate that ongoing increases in the target range for the federal funds rate will be appropriate in order to attain a stance of monetary policy that is sufficiently restrictive to return inflation to 2% and that restoring price stability will likely require a restrictive stance of monetary policy for some time.
The main point of contention is with borrowing costs to the highest since 2007 and small banks in trouble has it spooked the Fed enough to stop hiking rates.
Bank of England interest rate decision
The Bank of England voted by a majority of 7-2 to raise interest rates by 50 basis points to 4.0 percent during its February meeting, pushing the cost of borrowing to the highest level since late-2008.
It was the 10th consecutive rate hike amid policymakers’ efforts to combat high inflation and despite the risks of an expected economic recession this year.
Meanwhile, the central bank dropped its pledge to keep increasing rates “forcefully” if needed and said inflation had probably peaked, suggesting it might start reducing the pace of rate increases soon.
Markets expect the BoE to raise interest rates by 25bp. However, it’s possible that rates will stay at 4% as the Bank could look to settle market jitters.
The recent volatility caused by SVB’s failure created a ripple effect that spread to Europe, with Credit Suisse having to secure emergency funding from the Swiss central bank.