Asian stocks mixed as investors await U.S. profits, inflation

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The annual inflation rate in the U.S. accelerated to 8.5% in March 2022, the highest since December 1981, from 7.9% in February and market forecasts of 8.4%.

Energy prices increased 32%, namely gasoline (48%) and fuel oil (70.1%), food prices jumped 8.8% (most since 1981), shelter (5%), and new vehicles (12.5%). Excluding volatile energy and food categories, the CPI rose 6.5%, the most in 40 years.

NFIB Small Business Optimism Index in the United States declined for a 3rd straight month to 93.2 in March of 2022, the lowest since April of 2020, from 95.7 in February. The percentage of owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months decreased to -49%, the lowest level on record.

Investors have been selling government debt in anticipation of an aggressive looming policy tightening cycle as major central banks seek to tame inflation, currently running at records levels in Europe and 40-year highs in the US. The US yield on the 10-year note surged above 2.83%, its highest level since December 2018. Germany's 10-year Bund yield, the benchmark for Europe, jumped to 0.87%, its highest level since July 2015.


Annual inflation rate in India increased to 6.95% in March 2022, the highest since October 2020, and above market forecasts of 6.35%. The inflation stayed above the 2% to 6% tolerance limit of the central bank for a third month in a row. The Reserve Bank of India recently revised upwards its inflation forecast to 5.7% for FY 2022-2023 from 5.3%


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