Russia-Ukraine Diplomatic Talks, Fed Rate Hike
- US futures and European stocks rose on Monday, driven by Russia and Ukraine’s diplomatic efforts.
- But reports that Russia has asked China for military assistance have tempered gains.
- The Fed and Bank of England are due to announce rate hikes after their policy meets this week.
Most global indices rose Monday as investors looked to progress in diplomatic talks between Russia and Ukraine and awaited rate hike announcements by central banks later this week.
Russian and Ukrainian officials on Sunday provided their most upbeat assessment of talks yet that might end the ongoing war.
Ukraine has said it’s willing to negotiate, but not surrender, or accept any ultimatums. Russian delegate Leonid Slutsky said he expects progress to grow into written agreements in the coming days.
US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman also said Russia was showing signs of willingness to engage in substantive negotiations.
But equity gains have been tempered, as US officials said Russia has asked China for military assistance and economic aid to help with its invasion.
Furthermore, Russia’s war has now moved closer to NATO nations, with the bombing of a military base that killed at least 35 in Western Ukraine on Sunday, just a few miles from the Polish border. This has prompted fresh worries that a wider escalation is still possible, said Susannah Streeter, markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.
Notably, the US is expected to convince China not to supply arms to Russia at a high-level meeting in Rome on Monday.
The week ahead is a big one for central banks, including the Federal Reserve’s highly-anticipated policy meeting Tuesday and Wednesday, at which it is expected to raise rates for the first time since December 2018.
Before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, some analysts thought a 50-basis point hike was likely this week.
“The problem is that by delaying such a move, they may have to do more later,” Deutsche Bank strategist Jim Reid said.
Futures markets show investors are pricing in between six and seven rate hikes of 25 basis points each in the US this year, and six in Britain as the war in Ukraine fans inflationary pressures.
The Bank of England is expected to lift rates for a third time in a row to 0.75% Thursday, and to signal more to come.
Asian equities mostly traded lower. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng led losses with a 4.9% slump, led mainly by losses in the Hong Kong-listed shares of Chinese companies. Shares in the Shanghai Composite fell 2.6% after the southern Chinese tech hub Shenzhen entered a week-long lockdown to slow an outbreak of COVID-19.
Major manufacturers like Apple suppliers Foxconn and Umicron, as well as Toyota are cutting output.
Brent crude dipped below $110 a barrel, as traders looked towards diplomatic efforts in Russia and Ukraine and new lockdowns in China threatened to dent demand.
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