By Laura Curtis
Powell’s speech due, Macron has hopes for the G-7, and Hong Kong is causing global worries. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about today.
You may have heard by now that Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is going to speak in a place called Jackson Hole and that investors are hoping for assurance of further interest-rate cuts. And just when we thought folks couldn’t get more antsy, three regional Fed presidents have pushed back against the idea that the U.S. needs more policy easing. A fourth said he wanted to avoid taking further action “unless we have to,” foreshadowing a sharp debate among officials ahead of September’s meeting.
French President Emmanuel Macron has high hopes for the Group of Seven meeting he’s hosting this weekend. The burning Amazon and the slowing global economy are on his list of things to tackle, but a spate of local issues may stand in the way of a unified response from policy makers. President Donald Trump is facing domestic criticism for a whole array of comments this week. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has to balance his bond with Trump while he’s at odds with European allies over Brexit. Italy has lost its PM. Germany risks recession. But maybe there is hope! A couple of meetings this week sparked *a little* optimism for an orderly exit for the U.K. from the European Union, for example. And if heads of state can’t agree on anything, it looks like the fashion industry can. Giants representing more than 30% of the industry’s output, including Nike and Chanel, have signed a pact to eliminate disposable plastic packaging and transition to 100% renewable energy by 2030. It’s one of several private sector accords set to be unveiled at the summit.
Harvard University economist Carmen Reinhart is worried about Hong Kong. Three months of political turmoil could prove a tipping point for the world economy and it won’t necessarily take a dramatic event to do some significant damage, Reinhart told Bloomberg TV’s Kathleen Hays. Anti-government protests are pressuring Hong Kong’s economy, which was already being squeezed by China’s slowdown and the trade war. Reinhart’s not alone. Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren said Hong Kong’s crisis is on his global worry list as problems there “could spill over in a broader sense into international markets.” The days ahead could be crucial for Chief Executive Carrie Lam. Students driving the demonstrations are set to return to universities and schools in the first week of September.
Ahead of the monetary festival, it’s risk-on. Shares in Hong Kong posted a 0.5% gain while the Topix index closed 0.28% higher. Europe’s Stoxx 600 Index is up this morning. S&P 500 futures are higher. The yield on 10-year Treasuries was 1.640% and gold was little changed.
The Jackson Hole symposium continues after Powell with European Central Bank Director General Frank Smets on a panel at 12:55 p.m. Eastern time and Bank of England Governor Mark Carney at 3 p.m. And the fun continues Saturday with Bank of Australia Governor Philip Lowe and Bank of Israel Governor Amir Yaron.