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Fed Chairman Powell Signals More Rate Hikes as Market Reacts to Global Central Bank Actions

Market Update - Daniel Ang The Accidental Trader Traders Academy International 4

In today’s daily market update, we’ll explore the recent developments in the financial markets, focusing on the impact of Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s hawkish stance, central bank rate hikes, economic indicators, and the performance of various asset classes.

Fed Chairman Powell’s Hawkish Remarks and Market Response:
The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq closed higher overnight as Fed Chairman Jerome Powell reinforced a hawkish outlook during his testimony before the Senate Banking Committee. Powell emphasized that the Federal Reserve’s tightening cycle is not yet complete, signaling the likelihood of future interest rate hikes. However, he also provided reassurance that the Fed would exercise caution in its approach.

The Fed Governor, Michelle Bowman, echoed Powell’s sentiment earlier in the session, further reinforcing the expectation of more interest rate hikes. Financial markets responded to these remarks, with a 77% probability priced in for another 25-basis point rate hike at the conclusion of the Fed’s July meeting.

Economic Indicators and the Fed’s Dampening Efforts:
On the economic front, jobless claims remained steady at a 20-month high, highlighting ongoing challenges in the labor market. Additionally, the Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index recorded its 14th consecutive monthly decline. This suggests that the Fed’s efforts to temper the economy are starting to yield the intended effects, potentially cooling down inflationary pressures.

Equity Market Performance:
The Dow Jones Industrial Average experienced a marginal decline of 4.81 points, or 0.01%, closing at 33,946.71. Conversely, the S&P 500 gained 16.2 points, or 0.37%, reaching 4,381.89. The Nasdaq Composite showed significant growth, adding 128.41 points, or 0.95%, to settle at 13,630.61. These movements reflect the market’s mixed response to Powell’s remarks and the overall economic landscape.

Currency Market Reactions:
The Dollar strengthened following Powell’s endorsement of further rate increases in the United States, albeit at a “careful pace.” Several central banks worldwide had also recently implemented interest rate hikes, generating concerns about global growth prospects. This led to increased volatility in various currency pairs.

The Sterling experienced significant fluctuations, while the Swiss Franc declined and the Norwegian Crown rose. The Bank of England (BoE), the Swiss National Bank (SNB), and Norges Bank all raised their benchmark interest rates, surprising market participants. The BoE implemented a larger-than-expected 50 basis point rate hike, addressing persistent inflationary pressures in the UK. This move reinforced the notion that surging prices remain a global economic challenge.

Gold and Oil Price Movements:
Gold prices declined to their lowest level in three months, responding to the strengthening Dollar and rising bond yields. Powell’s indication of further rate hikes as a means to control inflationary pressures contributed to the downward pressure on gold. The price of gold for August delivery closed at $1,923.70/oz, marking its lowest point since March 14.

Crude oil futures experienced a significant drop of about 4% as concerns about the economy and fuel demand outweighed the positive impact of a surprise draw in U.S. oil supplies. The BoE’s unexpected rate hike further contributed to market worries. Brent futures settled at $74.14 a barrel, down $2.98 (3.9%), while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down $3.02 (4.2%) at $69.51.

Cryptocurrency Market Performance:
Bitcoin (BTC) continued its upward trajectory, registering a fourth consecutive day of gains. It rose 0.37% to $30,119, reaching its highest level since mid-April. BlackRock’s plan to create a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) provided a boost to the cryptocurrency despite ongoing regulatory scrutiny in the United States. As of early Asia trading, Bitcoin is currently trading around the $30K mark.

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