Mar 4, 2022 3:03:31 PM
Weekly Market Wrap 04/03/2022
The war continues in Ukraine as Russia attempts to takeover major cities within the country. On Thursday night, Russia gained control of the Zaporizhzhia power plant, the largest nuclear plant in Europe. The ongoing conflict, paired with increased sanctions on Russia have accelerated fears of disruption to global oil supplies, sending prices to decade highs this week. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell gave investors much sought after clarity around the Fed’s move after confirming that he would support a 0.25% rate hike in the March meeting.
The S&P 500 fell 1.29% to 4,328 this week whilst the Dow fell 1.51%. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell told Congress on Wednesday that he would support a 0.25% rate hike in March, effectively ending investor concerns that tightening could begin with a 0.50% raise. However, Powell did reinforce that the Fed are willing to move more aggressively in order to combat persistent high levels of inflation if required in the future. US nonfarm payrolls data released on Friday showed strong jobs growth in January with 678,000 jobs created against consensus of 467,000. However, the strong economic data failed to turn futures positive as ongoing concerns about Ukraine lingered. President Biden announced sanctions targeting Russian oligarchs, Kremlin officials and their families in a bid to “maximise the impact on Putin and Russia”. These sanctions included freezing any assets in the US and blocking any US property from use.
The FTSE 100 ended the week down 5.70% at 7,01, the worst weekly fall for the index in over a year. Last night’s attack has been viewed as an escalation from what was already a worrying situation. Pressure continued to mount on the already 30-year high cost of living for UK consumers, as oil prices pushed higher, making the outlook for the UK economy look significantly less appealing. The UK has moved to ban all Russian ships from any UK ports and will seek to detain any Russian vessels. Additionally, the government has announced sanctions on a number of Russian oligarchs, including former Russian deputy prime minister Igor Shuvalov. Foreign secretary Liz Truss declared that the aim is to “cripple the Russian economy”.
European markets sold off this week. The Euro Stoxx 50 ended the week down 9.08%, the Dax fell 9.10% and the CAC 40 lost 8.96%. The continued geopolitical uncertainty has driven investors away from risk assets in Europe. Sanctions imposed on Russia threaten to cause a continued rise in energy and gas prices for consumers, which could hurt the recovery of the Eurozone economy, as well as interfere with the European Central Bank’s monetary policy timeline. The European Union this week removed seven Russian banks who are closely connected to the war, from the SWIFT payment system. This move essentially cuts these banks out from a significant portion of the global financial system. There is also speculation that the EU could target further sanctions towards Russian energy, (the source for half of EU imported energy).
The US 10-Year Treasury yield has fallen 0.14% to 1.84% this week. Investors moved back towards traditionally safer assets as the outlook for the global economy is still unclear after western nations continued to push harsher sanctions onto Russia.
Brent Crude pushed past the seven-year highs set last week, gaining 15.07% this week to reach $112 per barrel. Russia’s contribution to the global oil supply is expected to be significantly reduced due to the ongoing conflict and sanctions from the west, increasing fears of a supply shortage.
Gold rose 2% this week to $1,954, as investors rotated to safe haven assets as war and inflationary pressures drove equities lower.
The Week Ahead
Monday – Germany Retail Sales
Tuesday – Eurozone GDP; Japan GDP
Wednesday – China CPI
Thursday – ECB Interest Rate Decision; US CPI
Friday – Consumer Sentiment Index
*Price changes as of last week’s close unless stated otherwise.