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FTSE 100 index set to near 7100 despite inflation worry

·2-min read
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

The FTSE 100 Index was set to have a near brush with the 7100 mark today despite jitters over global inflation ahead of key US data on prices.

Britain’s blue chip index was set to rise 16.2 points to 7099.1 in early trading, according to futures trading on the IG platform. The market has not closed above 7100 since 2 June.

That was despite modest falls on the US Dow Jones industrial average last night.

All eyes are on the US consumer prices index data due out later today on what will be an edgy session amid fears of nasty surprises on the upside.

Markets have been gripped for months by concerns that the US central bank will increase interest rates or rein in its quantitative easing programme to keep a lid on inflation. Other central banks would be likely to follow suit.

The Federal Reserve has been tempering fears of such a tapering of its stimulus programme. The policy has been working, with yields on the US 10 year Treasury bond falling last night to their lowest since March 4.

CPI in the US jumped to 4.2% last month - well ahead of expectations, largely due to big rises in used car prices and energy costs. That could have been a one-off.

CMC Markets said the expectation for today’s May number was for a rise to 4.7%, but anything above that could provoke a serious reaction from markets. Bond yields would probably spike, shares fall and the dollar rise.

Markets were also in a holding pattern today ahead of the European Central Bank’s policy meeting later today. It will not making any changes to its stimulus programme but its new macroeconomic projections could give more clues about the direction of travel.

Asian shares edged slightly higher this morning, with the Nikkei in Japan up 0.4% and China up 0.9%.

Key to the ECB messaging to markets will be its views on how badly Covid variants are likely to affect the economic recovery there. While vaccinations have been picking up, programmes are still behind the US and UK. Meanwhile, travel bans will hit Mediterranean economies as tourists stay away.

Any spillover in price rises being seen in China and the US could also be a factor.

ECB president Christine Lagarde is expected to start her press conference just as the US CPI data comes out.

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