Inflation worries slammed global stock markets late in the second quarter, aborting a budding recovery. Collectively, world markets lost...
Inflation worries slammed global stock markets late in the second quarter, aborting a budding recovery. Collectively, world markets lost $840 billion, after June’s $3 trillion loss wiped out gains from April and May, according to S&P senior index analyst Howard Silverblatt.
Emerging stock markets shed 1.6 percent, less than developed markets’ 2.5 percent decline. Excluding the United States, developed markets lost about 2.9 percent.
In the first half of 2008, some of the high fliers from 2007, like China and India, saw the biggest losses, while commodity-rich countries like Brazil and Canada managed to post gains.
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Oil’s relentless rise and climbing food prices hurt stocks and even contributed to riots in some parts of the world.
Merrill Lynch global-equity strategist Michael Hartnett says the firm raised its consumer-price growth forecast for emerging markets to an annualized rate of 8.4 percent, from a prior estimate of 5 percent.
Higher prices in developing economies could cause workers to demand higher pay, says Payden & Rygel Chief Economist Thomas Higgins. This, in turn, could cause prices to rise for the goods they produce, which are sold all over the world.
Central banks in some large developing economies like India, Brazil and South Africa recently raised interest rates to try to stem surging prices. Some analysts think the European Central Bank might do the same at its meeting today.
“We consider the ECB’s threats to do what it will take to ensure price stability to be credible and, what is more, a July hike could place pressures on other central banks, especially the Fed, to follow suit,” Barclays economists wrote in a note.
While interest-rate increases can curb inflation, the higher cost of money could crimp global economic growth and a market recovery.