Briefings

Archive March 2022

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Week InAdvance: March 28, 2022

Sun Mar 27 ICYMI: British Summer Time and European Daylight Saving Time began. | Mon Mar 28 U.S. budget proposal. | Tue Mar 29 Joint WCO-WTO webinar. | Wed Mar 30 House hearing on stock exchange oversight. | Thu Mar 31 OPEC+ meetings. CFTC chair in the House. | Fri Apr 1 Europe-EU virtual summit with China. U.S. jobs report. | Sat Apr 2 Muslim month of Ramadan begins.
 
Brussels and Beijing hold a virtual summit as the war in Ukraine grinds into a second month. The European Union is expected to reinforce the U.S. warning that China would face serious consequences if it tried to cushion the blow of sanctions against Russia. 
 
March consumer price readings from major European countries are in focus after the European Central Bank warned that eurozone inflation could reach 7.1% under a “severe” scenario.
 
The U.S. budget proposal on Monday will include new economic assumptions as the nation enters a new phase of the coronavirus response and grapples with high inflation.
 

Week InReview: March 25, 2022

Boxed in.
 
President Biden called for Russia’s removal from the G20 group of major economies.
 
WHITE HOUSE officials are increasingly worried that Russian President Vladimir Putin may lash out as Russian troops find themselves bogged down in Ukraine and sanctions begin to bite. Senior officials said Putin’s tendency when boxed in is to escalate rather than back down. Their view is that the Russian leader’s choices could include the blanket bombing of Ukrainian cities, or the use of chemical or even tactical nuclear weapons. In other news, Biden called for Russia’s removal from the G20; Europe rejected Putin’s demand for natural gas payments in rubles; and NATO called on China not to send military aid to Russia.

Week InAdvance: March 21, 2022

Mon Mar 21 SEC may propose new climate disclosure rules. Powell speech. | Tue Mar 22 Bloomberg Equality Summit. | Wed Mar 23 Sunak’s ‘Spring Statement’. Powell at virtual BIS innovation summit. | Thu Mar 24 NATO chiefs meet. | Fri Mar 25 Daylight Savings Time begins in the EU and the U.K.
 
With the war in Ukraine into its fourth week, NATO members meet in Brussels to discuss further actions to stop Russian aggression. Attention will be on U.S. President Joe Biden, who’ll join in person on Thursday. 
 
After the Federal Reserve lifted interest rates and signaled hikes at all remaining meetings this year, we’ll hear again from Chair Jerome Powell, who speaks at the 38th Annual NABE Economic Policy Conference in Washington on Monday.
 
On Wednesday, we’ll get a clearer picture of the U.K.’s response to inflation and growth issues when Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak delivers his “Spring Statement” to Parliament, outlining the government’s public spending plans and priorities. 

Week InReview: March 18, 2022

Powell believes U.S. economy is tough enough to cope.
 
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell wants to get a grip on inflation without snuffing out the economic recovery from the pandemic. Photo: Jacquelyn Martin | Associated Press
 
The Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the first time since 2018 and outlined a plan to hike six more times this year, sparking recession fears. Even so, it doesn't expect inflation to decelerate toward 2% for at least a couple of years. And remember all the bonds it's been buying during the downturn? It plans to reduce its balance sheet containing all those assets, but hasn't set a firm plan yet.

Week InAdvance: March 14, 2022

Mon Mar 14 U.K. annual "shopping basket" review. | Tue Mar 15 Elizabeth Holmes back in court. | Wed Mar 16 FOMC rate decision. | Thu Mar 17 ‘ECB and Its Watchers’ in Frankfurt. BOE rate decision. | Fri Mar 18 Bank of Japan monetary policy decision.
 
The economic toll of the war in Ukraine, including an unprecedented surge in commodity prices, will be the background of policy decisions for three of the world’s most influential central banks: the Federal Reserve, the Bank of England and the Bank of Japan.
 
Fed Chair Jerome Powell has already said he’ll recommend a 25 basis-point increase on March 16. If confirmed, it will be the first hike since December of 2018. Powell also reaffirmed that the Fed is on track to proceed with a series of rate increases to curb the highest inflation in decades, though Russia’s invasion of Ukraine means it will move “carefully.” 
 
In the U.K., the BOE announces its rate decision on March 17. Money markets are betting on more than 100 basis points of hikes by June. That implies two 25 basis-point hikes and one 50 basis-point hike over the next three meetings. 
 
Central banks in Japan, Indonesia and Taiwan also meet. And investors will be watching for any announcement of stimulus by the Chinese central bank after officials set the aggressive growth target of 5.5% for the year at the National People’s Congress.

Week InReview: March 11, 2022

Fact or fiction?
 
Photo illustration: Tim Robinson | WSJ
 
THE CHALLENGE of determining the credibility of online news has gotten a lot harder. Russia's invasion of Ukraine, unfolding in real time on traditional and social media, has demonstrated that anyone can be misled.
 
A media professor publicly put himself in the penalty box after retweeting a pair of out-of-context photos on Ukraine, as well as a false report on Russia’s progress into Kyiv.
 
If bogus reports can fool someone who understands – and teaches – the ways of social-media platforms, is there any hope for the rest of us?
 
— The Wall Street Journal

Week InAdvance: March 7, 2022

Mon Mar 7 China's NPC continues. CERA Week in Houston. | Tue Mar 8 International Women’s Day. Apple new product event. | Wed Mar 9 SEC meets on cyber, AI, governance. | Thu Mar 10 February U.S. CPI data and weekly jobless claims. ECB rates decision, Lagarde briefing. | Fri Mar 11 G7 meets on Ukraine situation. 2nd anniversary of WHO declaring Covid-19 a pandemic. | Sun Mar 13 U.S. daylight savings starts, clocks go forward one hour.

Week InReview: March 4, 2022

Powell on the Hill.
 
Fed Chair Jerome Powell arriving to begin testifying Thursday in Washington. Photo: Tom Williams/Press Pool
 
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell is making the fight against inflation his top priority over the risks from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, backing a quarter-point interest-rate rise later this month.
 
In more than three hours of testimony on Wednesday, Powell was peppered with questions about prices from lawmakers with constituents worried by the rising cost of living. The Fed chair suggested that if inflation doesn’t start to ease, the central bank may have to get tough. Stocks climbed after Powell said the economy is expanding with enough force to withstand rate hikes.
 
In his second day of testimony on Capitol Hill, Powell cautioned that the Ukraine war could accelerate China’s moves to develop alternatives to the current dollar-dominated international payments infrastructure. Oh, and the central bank is still planning to raise interest rates.

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