EXCELSIOR Financial Editorial – March 2022

March 01, 2022

Quick take on the war in Ukraine:

The economic sanctions inflicted on Russia have led to dramatic price increases in all commodities. Oil and natural gas have hit multi year highs while food staples such as wheat have smashed record highs.  This leaves the world with an ever-increasing bill for energy and food.  Inflation which was already rampant is now set to be prolonged at very high levels for another 6 months at least.

To counter inflation, the US Federal Reserve is expected to increase interest rate by 0.25% in March in what is expected to be a series of hikes in the coming months that could see US rates at around 1%.  The ECB on the other hand will have to wait before increasing rates so that it can support its economies which are facing a slowdown due to the war and sanctions.

On the financial markets front war headlines are dominating sentiment, however based on historical data, US stocks are expected to take three weeks to reach a bottom and another three to recover from their prior levels. The median loss is around 6%.  As for the increase in rates, it is largely thought to be priced in due to the market weakness prior to the conflict and so will likely be a non-event once it is official.