Sell-off gathers momentum

It was a fairly timid start to the week but the sell-off accelerated around the open on Wall Street, pushing Europe well into negative territory at the end of the day.

Omicron relief has been replaced by interest rate angst over the past week and that may take some time to pass. We’re seeing data from the US at the moment that appears to show supply issues abating, which should allay temporary inflation pressures, but more permanent pressures – like wages rising – which will concern central banks.

There’s been an acceptance recently that inflation isn’t going to return to target soon or without action, thanks largely to an extremely tight labour market. Lower participation and higher rates of job availability and resignations are leading to higher wage demands and businesses have little choice but to accept it.

Central banks will be hoping it’s a temporary phenomenon but they’ve been wrong in the recent past about the persistence of price pressures. This is understandable given the new world we all now live in but it also means more surprises will likely come this year and policymakers can’t be particularly confident in their assumptions.

Earnings season could provide a welcome distraction from interest rate anxiety that’s reverberating through the markets at the moment. While there are concerns about the pace of tightening and risk of prolonged higher levels of inflation, the economy is also performing well, and reporting on the fourth quarter should reflect that.

Bitcoin key support under pressure

Bitcoin is continuing to struggle on Monday and is dangerously close to a significant break below USD 40,000 which could dampen the outlook in the coming weeks. The cryptocurrency has really fallen out of favour as markets have moved into higher interest rate mode and it’s desperately in need of some positive news. It’s hard to see what that will be in the short run, especially with broader market sentiment turning more negative. Time to be that safe haven so many desperately want it to be?

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar:

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Craig Erlam

Craig Erlam

Former Senior Market Analyst, UK & EMEA at OANDA
Based in London, Craig Erlam joined OANDA in 2015 as a market analyst. With many years of experience as a financial market analyst and trader, he focuses on both fundamental and technical analysis while producing macroeconomic commentary.

His views have been published in the Financial Times, Reuters, The Telegraph and the International Business Times, and he also appears as a regular guest commentator on the BBC, Bloomberg TV, FOX Business and SKY News.

Craig holds a full membership to the Society of Technical Analysts and is recognised as a Certified Financial Technician by the International Federation of Technical Analysts.