European stocks lower as inflation concerns mount By

European stocks lower as inflation concerns mount

© Reuters.

By Peter Nurse – European stock markets traded lower Tuesday after regional inflation data pointed to more interest rate increases from the European Central Bank, overshadowing any goodwill generated by the new trade deal between the U.K. and the European Union. 

At 03:45 ET (08:45 GMT), the in Germany traded 0.3% lower, the in France dropped 0.4% and the in the U.K. fell 0.4%.

France and Spain both released hotter-than-expected consumer price data for February earlier this session, increasing the pressure on the European Central Bank to deliver more interest rate hikes, potentially weighing on growth in the region.

jumped 6.2% from a year ago, up from 6% in January, while the equivalent number in rose to 6.1% year-on-year, a faster pace than the 5.9% during the 12 months to January.

Another 50-basis point at the ECB’s upcoming meeting in mid-March is widely expected, and the markets are currently pricing in another 75 basis points of moves in the Eurozone before the end of the summer.

This news has added to the downbeat mood among investors as markets become increasingly wary of a further rise in borrowing costs, not only in Europe but also in the U.S., the world’s major growth driver.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced late Monday that the U.K. has struck a deal with the European Union on post-Brexit trade rules for Northern Ireland on Monday, seeking to resolve the tensions caused by trading rules for the only part of the U.K. that has a land border with the EU.

In the corporate sector, Bayer (ETR:) stock fell over 4% after the German pharmaceutical and biotechnology giant expects revenue and profit to fall this year, hurt by higher costs.

Ocado (LON:) stock slumped over 8% after the online grocer reported a worse-than-expected annual , suffering from rising living costs that led shoppers to rein in spending.

Santander (BME:) stock rose 0.5% after the Spanish banking group revealed new profitability targets and pledged to return a bigger share of earnings to investors.

Oil prices edged higher Tuesday, but the benchmark contracts are still on course for monthly losses amid concerns further U.S. interest will hit demand in the world’s largest economy.

Attention later in the session will fall on the latest U.S. oil stocks data due from the industry group, ahead of the official data from the on Wednesday for further clues on crude demand in the world’s largest consumer of energy.

By 03:45 ET, futures traded 0.8% higher at $76.28 a barrel, while the contract rose 0.7% to $82.58. Both contracts are on course to drop over 4% this month.

Additionally, fell 0.5% to $1,816.15/oz, while traded 0.1% higher at 1.0614.

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