Risk Sentiment Sours on FOMC Minutes; Natural Gas Hits Record High; UK Inflation Exceeds 10%

  1. Yesterday’s release of the minutes of the most recent FOMC meeting show that several members are concerned about the potential impact of the continuing rate hikes on growth, but there is a clear consensus that the hikes must continue until inflation falls considerably lower. The S&P 500 Index and the NASDAQ 100 Index have both traded lower since this release. Major Asian indices such as the Japanese Nikkei 225 Index have also traded lower over the Asian session.
  2. US Natural Gas futures traded at a multi-year high yesterday above $9.50. Trend traders may be interested in going long here.
  3. In the Forex market, the Japanese Yen is the weakest major currency, while the US Dollar is the strongest. The Australian and New Zealand Dollars are also weak.
  4. British CPI (inflation) data yesterday showed inflation still coming in higher than expected, unlike recent data releases in the USA and Canada. Annualized UK inflation has reached 10.3%, the highest of any G7 nation, sending the GBP/USD currency pair lower and the EUR/GBP currency cross higher. However, the Pound gained against the Japanese Yen.
  5. US Retail Sales data came in very slightly lower but Core Retail Sales showed a healthy advance of 0.4%, showing there is considerable life in the consumer economy.
  6. The Australian unemployment rate fell unexpectedly to 0.4%, but fewer net new jobs had been created than expected.
  7. Daily new coronavirus cases globally dropped last week for the fourth consecutive week.
  8. It is estimated that 67.4% of the world’s population has received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccination, while approximately 7.6% of the global population is confirmed to have contracted the virus at some time, although the true number is highly likely to be much larger.  
  9. Total confirmed new coronavirus cases worldwide stand at over 598.2 million with an average case fatality rate of 1.08%.  
  10. The rate of new coronavirus infections appears to now be most significantly increasing in Chile, South Korea, The Marshall Islands, Moldova, and Tonga.  

Steve Walker

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