Overall, it was a negative week for markets globally. Worries over tighter central bank policy in the US and fears that economic growth could be peaking weighed on investor sentiment. This comes at a time when the highly contagious delta variant continues to disrupt supply chains and add to uncertainty.
Last week’s performance – major stock markets
|Euro Stoxx 50
US: Federal Reserve officials suggest tighter policy to come
Policymakers from the US Federal Reserve signalled that the central bank may start to tighten policy in the coming months. Talks of more restrictive policy come at a time when there are some worries that US economic growth may be peaking. Last week the Commerce Department reported that retail sales in the US fell 1.1% in July, a greater fall than market consensus forecasts.
Japan: Economic growth lagging that of major developed counterparts
Japan’s economy expanded by an annualised 1.3% in the second quarter. However, the rebound in Japan’s GDP has been considerably weaker than seen in other major developed economies and highlights how the country continues to struggle to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
China: Increased focus on regulation of technology giants
A sell-off in the shares of Chinese technology giants deepened after the industry was hit with a fresh round of proposed regulations. Data released in the week showed that in July, Chinese economic activity slowed more than expected, whilst continued coronavirus outbreaks caused by the delta variant, and heavy flooding, acted as a drag on retail sales and consumer services.
Europe: economic growth continues to rebound
The EU’s economy grew by 2% in the second quarter of the year compared with the previous quarter. Employment grew by 0.6%. The euro area annual inflation rate was 2.2% in July, up from 1.9% in June. The reading represents the highest rate in nearly three years.
UK: inflation ticks lower
The latest inflation data from the Office of National Statistics showed that inflation in the UK rose less than expected in July. The 2% reading is in line with the Bank of England’s inflation target. Transport costs contributed to the largest upward contribution, while clothing and footwear, and a variety of recreational goods and services, applied the largest downward pressures.