Share Prices & Company Research


25 May 2023

Market Round-Up

The United States finds itself at a crossroads as the nation's debt ceiling once again takes centre stage. In the run-up to the US debt ceiling deadline on June 1st, uncertainty remains high as politicians appear to be at a standoff over how to tackle this complex issue, putting the nation's financial future at stake. The debt ceiling provides a statutory cap on the amount of money the federal government can borrow to meet its financial obligations, aiming to prevent the accumulation of unsustainably large deficits that have the potential to drag the nation into periods of economic instability and high inflation.

While the current limit is set at a staggering $31.4tn, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen issued a warning to Congress and the public stating that the US Treasury, the world's largest borrower, could hit the so-called X-date – when the US would default on its payments or be unable to meet its full spending obligations – as soon as June 1st. With a potential default on the cards, it has raised serious concerns about the country's ability to honour its financial obligations. Failure to raise the debt ceiling in a timely manner could have severe repercussions, including a default on debt payments, a downgrade of the country's credit rating and a potential destabilisation of global financial markets as Yellen later went on to stress. The political landscape surrounding the debt ceiling debate remains tense, both Republicans and Democrats remain at a stand-off due to their differing ideologies and priorities. However, with more talks planned financial markets are holding their breath in the run-up, with economists warning of the potential economic fallout if an agreement cannot be made in time.

UK inflation rate data continues to surprise as headline figures came in above 10% in March. But despite twelve consecutive rate hikes, the Governor of the Bank of England, Andrew Bailey, told the British Chambers of Commerce that the UK is experiencing a wage price spiral, as the spread of rapid price rises from energy and food are feeding into general wages and goods prices.

The phenomenon of a wage price spiral occurs when wages increase, leading to higher production costs for businesses. In response, companies raise prices to maintain profit margins which in turn erodes the purchasing power of consumers. As consumers experience a higher cost of living, they demand higher wages to compensate, initiating another round of the spiral. If the wage price spiral remains persistent, breaking free from the cycle would likely require a careful balancing of wage growth, productivity, and monetary policy to ensure stable and sustainable economic conditions for all, which is easier said than done.

It appears as if key indicators such as core inflation, wage movements and labour market activity is possibly a lot stickier than anticipated. Andrew Bailey mentioned that, while there were signs of the labour market starting to loosen, it was happening more slowly than the Bank had predicted only months before. Furthermore, he said that while the initial impacts of high energy prices were wearing off, headline inflation is likely to fall but it will be the “second round effects” which are unlikely “to go away as quickly as they appeared.” This warning could suggest that inflation may take much longer to fall than initially expected, meaning interest rates could stay higher for longer as the Governor pledges to raise interest rates as far ‘as necessary’ to bring inflation down.

Please note that this communication is for information only and does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell the shares of the investments mentioned. The value of investments and any income derived from them may go down as well as up and you could get back less than you invested.
Market Round-Up

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