Europe equities slip before trio of rate decisions

AFP , Thursday 23 Mar 2023

Europe's stock markets opened lower Thursday before interest rate calls in Britain, Norway and Switzerland, after the US Federal Reserve hiked borrowing costs despite banking-sector turmoil.

People walk past the facade of the Swiss National Bank, in Zurich, Switzerland, on Thursday, March 23, 2023. (AP)


London's benchmark FTSE 100 index of major blue-chip companies fell 0.4 percent to 7,534.83 points before the Bank of England rate call at 1200 GMT.

In the eurozone, the Paris CAC 40 index shed just 0.1 percent to 7,122.38 and Frankfurt's DAX also dropped 0.1 percent to 15,195.94.

The Swiss National Bank will announce its latest rate decision at 0830 GMT, followed by Norges Bank at 0900 GMT.

The Fed ramped up its rate Wednesday by a quarter-point to tackle soaring inflation, delivering the ninth straight increase.

Asian markets mostly rose Thursday, brushing off a Wall Street slump on hopes the latest Fed hike would be one of its last in the current cycle.

The Fed news came one week after the European Central Bank delivered a hefty half-point increase for the 20-nation eurozone.

With simmering tensions in the banking sector blamed on steep rate hikes over the past year, pressure has been building on central banks to halt monetary tightening campaigns.

Yet inflation remains stubbornly high, partly as a result of fallout from the Ukraine war, and is seen as threatening a global recession this year.

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