European Stock Futures Lower; Recession Fears Mount

European Stock Futures Lower; Recession Fears Mount
© Reuters.

By Peter Nurse – European stock markets are expected to open lower Monday, starting the new week on a negative note as investors fret about a potential global recession and tightening monetary policies.

At 02:00 ET (06:00 GMT), the DAX futures contract in Germany traded 0.5% lower, CAC 40 futures in France dropped 0.4%, and the FTSE 100 futures contract in the U.K. fell 0.4%.

Recession fears are growing in Europe, exacerbated by the news that Russian state energy giant Gazprom (MCX:GAZP) said it will halt natural gas supplies to the continent for three days at the end of the month.

Gas prices in Europe are already near five-month highs, adding to inflationary pressures which are weighing heavily on Europe’s businesses and consumers.

With this in mind, Eurozone flash PMIs will be watched closely this week for recession risks. The August numbers, due on Tuesday, are likely to show another month of contraction in business activity after the final composite PMI index slumped to a 17-month low in July.

The People’s Bank of China lowered its benchmark interest rates for a second consecutive week earlier Monday, as the country’s government attempts to revive an economy hit by a property crisis and a resurgence of COVID-19 cases.

However, interest rates are going the other way in Europe and the U.S. The ECB is expected to hike rates by another 50 basis points in September, but there remains uncertainty over the path of the Federal Reserve’s rate hikes this year.

Investors will be eagerly awaiting Fed Chairman Jay Powell’s speech in Jackson Hole, Wyoming on Friday for possible answers about how high U.S. interest rates may go and how long they will need to stay at elevated levels to bring inflation back under control.

In corporate news, Credit Suisse (SIX:CSGN) will be in the spotlight after the Swiss lender on Monday named Dixit Joshi as Chief Financial Officer and Francesca McDonagh as Group Chief Operating Officer, another top management reshuffle following the appointment of Ulrich Koerner as chief executive last month.

Oil prices fell Monday on reports indicating that a deal reviving a nuclear agreement between Iran and the Western powers was close to being agreed upon, potentially lifting sanctions on crude supply from the Middle East country.

Qatar news organization Al Jazeera reported over the weekend that such a deal was ‘imminent’, while the White House confirmed that the leaders of the United States, Britain, France, and Germany discussed the plans over the weekend.

An agreement could result in the release of over 1 million barrels of oil per day of supply into the market on short notice.

By 02:00 ET, U.S. crude futures traded 1.5% lower at $89.09 a barrel, while the Brent contract fell 1.5% to $95.25. Both benchmark contracts fell about 1.5% last week on a stronger dollar and demand fears.

Additionally, gold futures fell 0.4% to $1,755.40/oz, while EUR/USD edged lower to 1.0030.