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Market Outlook: How will the latest inflation figures affect central banks?

  • US Federal Reserve minutes due tonight
  • Norges Bank policy announcement tomorrow

Risk appetite bounced back last week. Sweden’s OMXSPI all-share index gained 2.5% between August 5 and August 12, while in America the S&P 500 rose by 3.2%. The STOXX Europe 600 index was also upbeat, closing 1.2% higher for the week.

Last week the price of Brent crude was mainly USD 95-100 per barrel, but on August 15 and 16 it dropped to around USD 93/barrel, its lowest level since before the Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24. Weak economic growth in China is one reason for sagging global crude oil prices.

The United States

US Federal Reserve minutes due tonight

This evening, Swedish time, the focus of attention among macroeconomists will be on the newly-published minutes of the Fed’s last monetary policy meeting. The US central bank delivered a 0.75 percentage point key interest rate hike on July 27; although the minutes of the meeting may well look hawkish, the question is whether last week’s US inflation figures (an 8.5% year-on-year July increase in the consumer price index, down from 9.1% in June) may pave the way for a rate hike of only 0.50, instead of 0.75 points, at the Fed’s next scheduled meeting in late September.

The Nordic countries

Norges Bank policy announcement tomorrow

Another macroeconomic high point this week occurs on Thursday, August 18, when Norway’s central bank delivers its next monetary policy announcement. Although Norges Bank signalled slightly more cautious key interest rate hikes in its July policy announcement, most analysts have adjusted their key rate expectations upward. After the latest Norwegian inflation figure (CPI rose 6.8% year-on-year in July, up from 6.3% in June), we agree with the consensus view that Norges Bank will raise its key rate by 0.50 points.