Written by Ilaria Massei.

Last week’s focus was once again on Central Banks. Despite the Federal Reserve’s largest interest rate increase since 1994, the Fed’s Chair Jay Powell warned that a US recession is “certainly a possibility”. He argued that the US has been resilient to action a tougher monetary policy trying to avoid a downturn. However, this depends on factors that can no longer be controlled, such as rising commodity prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and further disruptions to supply chains.

The European Central Bank (ECB) warned the Eurozone that food prices will keep rising at near-record rates for at least another year. The Economic bulletin published by the ECB on the 23rd June stressed the fact that “already existing price pressures in the food sector have intensified following the Russian invasion of Ukraine”. One of the main points to be considered is that Russia exports more than a quarter of the fertiliser of the Eurozone’s consumption, however the Eurozone’s direct dependence on the region involved in the war is overall limited. Additionally, reduced supply from Russia and Ukraine can be compensated by greater supply from other countries. However, this solution could lead to higher prices and will likely increase inflation pressures in the upcoming months.

Elsewhere, the Bank of Japan (BoJ) is sticking with its ultra-loose policy which consequently is weakening the yen against the dollar. However, the BoJ made it clear that its policy is not going to change, but it will pay attention in case of further developments. Russia is now at risk of default as the deadline for payment on Russia’s foreign debt has passed. Russia has reserves, thanks to oil exports, but many sanctions are excluding Russia from the global financial system, and this could possibly lead the country to default.

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