China rate cut drives stock markets rebound in Asia and Europe

"Markets have been looking for an excuse to bounce, and a China rate cut provided the reason," IG analyst Chris Beauchamp told AFP.

Published: 20th May 2022 06:33 PM  |   Last Updated: 20th May 2022 07:44 PM   |  A+A-

A man watches a screen showing Russian President Vladimir Putin on the facade of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building in Mumbai, India. (Photo | AP)


Asian and European stocks rebounded Friday on China's interest rate cut, after sinking the previous day on fears that sky-high inflation would spark a global downturn.

"Markets have been looking for an excuse to bounce, and a China rate cut provided the reason," IG analyst Chris Beauchamp told AFP.

"It isn't much when set against the broader (rate) tightening we are seeing globally, but equities do look a bit stretched to the downside in the short term."

China's central bank announced it would lower its five-year loan prime rate -- a key interest rate governing how lenders base their mortgage rates -- to 4.45 percent from 4.6 percent.

That injected optimism among traders that it could boost the world's second-largest economy from Covid-induced stupor.

The news comes in contrast to other major central banks -- like the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of England -- that are raising borrowing costs to combat rocketing consumer prices.

ALSO READ | FDI inflow into India hits all-time high of USD 83.57 billion in 2021-22

European equities were buoyed Friday also by a surprise jump in UK retail sales last month, despite the nation's inflation striking a 40-year peak of nine percent.

"European markets are staging gains to round up a hectic week for markets," said Victoria Scholar, head of investment at trading firm Interactive Investor.

Markets had taken a beating Thursday on intensifying recession worries.

Wall Street has faced the brunt of selling, suffering its worst batterings in two years over the past couple of sessions.

Downcast earning reports from retailers have heightened market uncertainty at a time of rising interest rates, surging energy prices, China's Covid lockdowns and Russia's ongoing war on Ukraine.

Rollercoaster ride

"It has been a rollercoaster ride for markets this week after Thursday's bloodbath when US equities suffered their worse session since 2020 with that negativity reverberating across global stock markets," added Scholar.

World oil prices edged lower as traders paused for breath at the end of a volatile trading week.

In Paris, EDF shares rose two percent to 8.46 euros despite announcing even more delays and vast cost over-runs for its planned giant nuclear plant in southwest England.

The French energy giant revealed Thursday that the cost will balloon to as much as £26 billion -- and not begin generating electricity until June 2027.

Hinkley Point C, which aims to provide seven percent of Britain's total power needs, had previously been expected to cost up to £23 billion with a start-up date of one year earlier.

EDF said in its statement that there would be no additional cost to British consumers.


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