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October 18 2021 5:39 PM ˚

Global stocks struggle with inflation and growth outlook

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LONDON — World stock markets turned in mixed performances Wednesday as the outlook for inflation and growth were in the spotlight.اضافة اعلان

Asia fell as a slowdown in US consumer inflation failed to overcome Covid concerns, with Hong Kong dragged by a collapse in casino firms as Macau unveiled a planned crackdown on the sector.

Frankfurt and Paris equities also slid in afternoon eurozone deals, although London nudged higher despite data showing that UK annual inflation spiked to a nine-year peak of 3.2 percent in August.

That came one day after news that US inflation slowed to 5.3 percent in August from a 13-year high.

Wall Street opened mostly higher, but the Dow was flat.

Markets have seesawed this year over concerns that central banks will end Covid support measures to tame inflation.

Policymakers insist elevated prices will be temporary -- but investors appear unsure.

“Inflation is certainly becoming a growing concern, with expectations for tapering and rate hikes,” OANDA analyst Craig Erlam told AFP.

“The recent softening in the US is providing some relief but the Fed is still expected to taper this year and further tightening won’t be that far behind.” 
Erlam added that inflationary concerns could “act as a headwind for equity markets in the final months of the year”.

After a bright start to September, most equities around the world have also gone into reverse in recent sessions as confidence is shaken by the Delta coronavirus variant.

A number of countries have faced a worrying jump in new cases that have forced some, including China, to reimpose tough containment measures. Those could cause another economic slowdown.

“We have seen increased signs of risk aversion across the financial markets in recent days, possibly because of fears over a slowdown in economic growth and rising inflation -– or in other words, stagflation,” said ThinkMarkets analyst Fawad Razaqzada.

Investors are also having to grapple with a range of other issues including China’s regulatory crackdown on private enterprises, including the high tech sector.

Asian markets were under pressure, with below-par retail sales data a further indication that the pace of growth in China’s economy continued to slow in August.

Hong Kong led losses, with Macau casino operators collapsing as they became the latest to fall into China’s regulatory crosshairs.

Anxiety meanwhile runs high over a possible default by Chinese property giant Evergrande, whose debts stand at more than $300 billion.

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