Bassanese Bites: Cuba and Volcker – March 07 2022

Global markets

The intensification of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – along with Putin’s nuclear talk – saw world oil prices surge 26% last week to US$115 a barrel, which in turn saw global equities decline by 2.4%. Grain/food prices are also moving higher. All that said, the decline in equities was perhaps not has bad as might have been expected given some are openly debating the risk of a global nuclear war! The S&P 500 was down only 1.3% over the week, while local stocks rose – helped by strength in the mining sector.

The one saving grace for equities last week was Powell’s confirmation that at least the Fed won’t be raising rates next week by more than 0.25%. U.S. February payrolls on Friday also surged by much more than expected – though wage growth, for a change, was surprisingly benign. It’s what Keating might have called a “beautiful set of numbers”. Could it be that wages are now high enough, and COVID fears low enough, to cajole more back into the U.S. workforce?…..

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