All eyes are on Jerome Powell

Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board Jerome Powell speaks during a press conference at the Federal Reserve in Washington, DC on February 1, 2023.

Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

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Fed Chairman Powell will speak later today. Markets don’t know what to expect.

  • US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will testify before Congress as a week full of economic data releases awaits. This includes February’s jobs report, which will show if the Fed’s aggressive rate hikes are starting to cool the economy – especially after January’s searing report.
  • Stocks in the United States were mixed, with investors bracing for more hawkish comments from Powell – the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up 0.12% while the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.11%. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 ended its session flat with mining stocks leading the losses.
  • Iran claims that 8.5 million tons of lithium have been discovered in one of its western provinces. The metal, known as the ‘white gold’ for the electric vehicle industry, saw prices soar last year due to increased demand before seeing a drop in electric vehicle sales and a slowdown in activities.
  • China’s conservative growth target, released over the weekend, shows the government recognizes there are more headwinds for the economy ahead.
  • PRO Over the past decade, these three stocks are the only ones in the MSCI World Index to post positive annual returns, as selected by CNBC Pro.

Good morning. This is Jihye Lee writing to you from Singapore. Today I am replacing Yeo Boon Ping, who is on leave.

All eyes will be on Powell who will testify today and Wednesday. What he says will guide traders as well as lawmakers on how the U.S. central bank views the state of inflation and how far its campaign of aggressive hikes has come – and importantly, where markets will head. from here.

Treasury yields rose slightly, after peaking at over 4% last week.

Powell is almost certain to face tough questions from Congress. He will likely be asked how much high interest rates have hurt the economy as global markets face a slowdown in business.

Iran claims to have discovered the second largest known lithium reserve in the world, after that of Chile. Iran says it has found a deposit of 8.5 million tons of metal. But whether the EV industry will benefit from this claim is highly debatable. While such a large deposit could drive down lithium prices, bringing this product to market would depend on Iran’s export capacity. The country’s economy has been crushed by heavy sanctions and a plummeting currency.

And finally, we turn to International Women’s Day. Moody’s Analytics in a recent report said it might take the world 132 years to close the gender pay gap. And when it does, the world will see a $7 trillion economic boost, or an additional 7% to global GDP of untapped potential.

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