No respite from the R word

A look at the day ahead in European and global markets from Anshuman Daga

Recession worries are once again haunting markets.

With euro zone business activity contracting for a second straight month in August, though slightly less than expected, investors are not in any mood to price in a potential upside.

Surveys on Tuesday showed that the global economy is increasingly at risk of sliding into recession, with consumer spending held hostage to soaring inflation and rising global borrowing costs.

Those looking for some kind of silver lining could — maybe — find it in remarks from European Central Bank board member Fabio Panetta, who pointed out on Tuesday that a recession would mitigate inflationary pressure.

The ECB has only increased rates once, back to zero.

In the United States, a cocktail of a red-hot labour market and rapid price rises means the Fed remains primed to keep on hiking rates even if growth takes a hit.

On Wednesday, Asian equity markets fell for an eighth straight session, while the euro remained under pressure and near a two-decade low of $0.99005.

Investors, who have been building up expectations of the Fed taking a less hawkish stance, now expect it to reinforce its pledge to bring inflation down with the focus squarely on chair Jerome Powell’s speech the annual central bank gathering in Wyoming this week.

Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank President Neel Kashkari said on Tuesday his biggest fear is inflation will be more persistent.

And just as Europe seeks to ditch Russian imports over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, Norway’s energy minister said the country aims to retain its current high gas production level until the end of the decade.

After repeatedly striking new records, the price of European gas has nearly tripled this year.

On the corporate front, it seems there’s no end to the stand-off between HSBC (HSBA.L) and its largest investor, Ping An Insurance Group (601318.SS).

A senior executive from the Chinese company defended its call to spin off HSBC’s Asia business, saying it cared about investment returns from its large stake in the bank.

Key developments that could influence markets on Wednesday:

Economic data: U.S. durable goods

Riksbank deputy governor speaks at DNB bank event, Iceland interest rate decision