Stocks mostly slide; pound hits 37-year dollar low
Stock markets mostly slumped Friday, while the British pound tanked to a 37-year dollar low as weak UK retail sales stoked global recession fears.
Sterling slid to $1.1351, the lowest level since 1985, on news that British retail sales tumbled by far more than forecast in August as shoppers faced rampant inflation.
Sales by volume dived 1.6 percent last month, more than triple expectations.
Eurozone and Asian stock markets tumbled but London pushed into positive territory as the weak pound boosted exporters.
Sterling has hit a series of 1985 lows in recent weeks, also as the US Federal Reserve implements aggressive hikes interest rate hikes.
‘Markets in pain’
“Markets are in a lot of pain, and the UK’s retail data has made things only worse for traders as it clearly pointed out one thing: an imminent recession,” said AvaTrade analyst Naeem Aslam.
“When you look at the sterling against the dollar, it seems like there are no buyers out there.”
Elsewhere, Frankfurt equities dived 1.5 percent and Paris shed 1.2 percent as investors digested confirmation of record-high inflation in the eurozone.
“Data for August confirm that price pressures are very strong and broad-based” with eurozone inflation at 9.1 percent, said Capital Economics analyst Jack Allen-Reynolds.
“The European Central Bank will need to continue hiking interest rates aggressively at forthcoming meetings.”
The ECB had last week hiked its key rate by a historic 75 basis points, and markets expect a similar-sized move at the October policy meeting.
Asian equities also dropped Friday, tracking Wall Street losses as investors express concern over persistently high consumer prices and the increasing likelihood of further interest rate hikes.
The Fed and Bank of England are widely expected to ramp up borrowing costs next week.
The US central bank has lifted borrowing costs by 75 basis points at each of its last two meetings.
Asian investors meanwhile shrugged off brighter data from powerhouse economy China.
China’s factory output and retail sales beat expectations in August, new data released on Friday showed, despite the economy being hammered by Covid-related curbs, heatwaves and a deepening property market slump.
– Key figures at around 1030 GMT –
London – FTSE 100: UP 0.1 percent at 7,292.21 points
Frankfurt – DAX: DOWN 1.5 percent at 12,764.90
Paris – CAC 40: DOWN 1.2 percent at 6,082.93
EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 1.1 percent at 3,502.91
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 1.1 percent at 27,567.75 (close)
Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 2.3 percent at 3,126.40 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng Index: DOWN 0.9 percent at 18,761.69 (close)
New York – Dow: DOWN 0.6 percent to 30,961.82 (close)
Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.1388 from $1.1467 on Thursday
Euro/pound: UP at 87.59 pence from 87.21 pence
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $0.9974 from $1.0001
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 143.25 yen from 143.45 yen
Brent North Sea crude: UP 0.4 percent at $91.18 per barrel
West Texas Intermediate: UP at $85.21 per barrel
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