Temporary Fixes Push the FTSE 100 Over 7,000 Mark

Written by: Susannah Streeter | Hargreaves Lansdown

A series of temporary fixes to ominous global problems has pushed the FTSE 100 back over the psycologically important 7,000 mark but there’s a chance the nuts and bolts may weaken again, and the wheels could fall off the recovery.

The deal to settle a domestic bond payment due to be made by the crisis hit Chinese property group Evergrande, seems to have calmed nerves among investors and stopped immediate contagion to other sectors. Mining stocks, which were among the worst hit on Monday when fears mounted that a collapse of the firm was imminent, are among the top risers today on the FTSE 100. Worries about the immediate impact on demand for raw materials for construction have subsided but with another debt payment due to be made by Evergrande on an overseas bond tomorrow, the myriad problems facing the group are far from over.

In the UK, the latest supply chain crisis has been patched up, with the government stepping in to pay the operating costs for a major CO2 producter. CF industries shut two sites that produce 60% of the UK's commercial carbon dioxide supplies, because of soaring gas prices. Again this may just be a kludge with only three weeks of financial support guaranteed and now the energy regulator OFGEM is warning that more energy suppliers could go to the wall. It’s clear the crisis in the energy sector is far from over, and companies will be forced to absorb costs, hitting margins or pass rises onto customers, fuelling inflation concerns.

With weaknesses in supply chains exposed, and concerns rising that a possible property price meltdown in China could spread, all eyes are on the Federal Reserve, with hopes that the central bank will soften the blow of any monetary tightening. Although the Federal Open Markets Committee is forecast to say it’s discussed easing off from the pedal of quantitative easing towards the end of the year, no firm decision is expected. There is a growing consensus that inflation may not be as transitory as first thought, but a sluggish jobs situation, stubbornly high covid infection rates and concerns about dragging economic growth are likely to stop a fast acceleration away from the era of ultra cheap money.

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