La Gaceta De Mexico - Stocks diverge, ruble slides tracking economic unrest

Stocks diverge, ruble slides tracking economic unrest
Stocks diverge, ruble slides tracking economic unrest / Photo: © AFP/File

Stocks diverge, ruble slides tracking economic unrest

Europe's top stock markets rose Thursday after a mixed Asian showing, as traders assessed chances of a global recession in the wake of runaway inflation.

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Analysts warn that interest rate rises by central banks aimed at curbing the highest consumer price rises in decades could push the world economy into a downturn.

Bucking the trend on borrowing costs however, Russia's central bank on Thursday slashed its key interest rate following an emergency meeting, as authorities seek to rein in the ruble which has surged in value following the invasion of Ukraine.

The ruble, which Wednesday hit a seven-year dollar high, was down nearly three percent after Russia cut its interest rate to 11 percent from 14.

The ruble has been buoyed by capital controls and high energy prices amid the Ukraine war.

In the United States, central bankers stressed their "strong commitment and determination" to bring raging inflation under control via further large interest rate increases, according to the minutes of the latest policy meeting released Wednesday.

With US inflation rising at the fastest pace in nearly four decades, the Fed's policy committee early this month hiked the key rate by a half point -- the biggest increase since 2000.

Most members said similar increases "would likely be appropriate at the next couple of meetings", according to the minutes.

"The Fed's minutes were hawkish but... with policymakers sounding optimistic and in control," noted Victoria Scholar, head of investment at Interactive Investor.

Across Asia on Thursday, stock markets were mixed after Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's warning that the world's number two economy was in some ways worse off now than during the early days of the pandemic.

It comes as China persists with a zero-Covid policy to eradicate the fast-spreading Omicron virus variant.

The economic agony caused by lockdowns and other strict containment measures has hammered growth across China and knocked global supply chains.

Recent economic data has shown that a series of pledges by Beijing to kickstart growth has essentially fallen flat owing to a lack of concrete action, while analysts said the easing of the Covid policy was the only thing investors wanted to see.

There is a general feeling among commentators that China's economic growth will fall well short of the government's target this year.

- Key figures at around 1030 GMT -

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.1 percent at 7,533.65 points

Frankfurt - DAX: UP 0.6 percent at 14,088.70

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.7 percent at 6,342.31

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.6 percent at 3,698.83

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.3 percent at 26,604.84 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: DOWN 0.3 percent at 20,116.20 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.5 percent at 3,123.11 (close)

New York - Dow: UP 0.6 percent at 32,120.28 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.0714 from $1.0685 on Wednesday

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2613 from $1.2579

Euro/pound: UP at 84.94 pence from 84.89 pence

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 126.69 yen from 127.26 yen

Brent North Sea crude: UP 0.7 percent at $114.86 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: UP 0.9 percent at $111.31 per barrel

Y.A. Ibarra--LGdM