Stocks are starting off the day on a sour note thanks to economic concerns in China, Russia, and elsewhere. Gold, silver, and crude oil are all lower as well, while Treasuries are mixed and the dollar is flat.
On the news front...
The People’s Bank of China cut a benchmark interest rate by 15 basis points to 2.5%, the biggest reduction since 2020, amid more evidence of a slowing economy there. New reports on consumer spending, factory output, and investment all missed estimates, while separate data showed rising unemployment. All of that contributed to a lousy tone for stocks globally.
Meanwhile, Russia’s central bank RAISED its benchmark rate to 12% from 8.5% in a bid to stop the country’s currency from tanking further. The Russian ruble recently fell to its lowest rate against the dollar (100 rubles per $1) since the country invaded Ukraine. Argentina is experiencing a similar crisis, with the peso plunging the most since 2015 this week amid political turmoil, surging inflation, and declining government bond prices.
Finally, here in the US, the Federal Reserve is currently expected to skip a hike at its next meeting Sept. 19-20. Interest rate futures markets are also pricing in a cut or two in 2024, but it’s worth noting that predictions get squishier the farther out in time you go. Central bankers will have a chance to steer the debate later this month at the annual Jackson Hole Economic Symposium in Wyoming. It runs from Aug. 24-26.
Former President (and current 2024 Republican candidate) Donald Trump has been indicated again, this time by a state grand jury in Georgia. The indictment covers 19 people and includes 13 charges against Trump, all tied to his alleged attempt to overturn the voting results in Georgia. Trump has until Aug. 25 to report for arraignment on the charges, which he denies.