The year 2022 on world markets will largely be determined by the tightening of monetary policy in the United States, and the first week of the new year confirmed this. The minutes of the Fed's December meeting published last week showed a significant tightening of the position of the regulator's representatives – Fed members believe that the rate can be raised as early as March, and also see a faster reduction in the balance sheet as appropriate. Representatives of the regulator believe that the current economic conditions are already in many ways conducive to tightening the labor market, some even noted the recovery of the labor market already sufficient for such actions, although the majority still expects further improvement in the labor situation. Against this background, it is worth noting the publication of December labor data in the United States, which came out ambiguous. On the one hand, employment in December increased by only 200 thousand. The Bloomberg consensus forecast assumed an employment growth of 450 thousand, and the actual growth rate of the indicator was the lowest since the beginning of 2021. Nevertheless, in many respects such weak employment growth is explained by seasonal adjustment, and the unemployment rate in December fell more than expected. Thus, the indicator has updated the next lows since the beginning of the pandemic, dropping to 3.90% against the expected 4.10%. The unemployment rate continues to approach a historic low of 3.40%, and labor statistics have further increased fears in the market of an imminent tightening of the PREP in the United States. As a result, on Friday, the yields of ten-year US treasuries at the moment exceeded 1.80% per annum - the maximum since the beginning of the pandemic. Today they have returned to these levels again.
This week, the dynamics in the market will continue to be determined by expectations for the actions of regulators - investors will follow the statements of representatives of the Fed and the ECB, as well as the publication of price data in the United States for December. Statistics published last week showed an increase in inflation in the EU to 5.00% YoY. As a result, the topics of price growth in December updated the historical maximum, while analysts expected a slight slowdown in price growth. The situation on the supply side also has high inflation in the United States. The December business activity indices indicated a slight easing of logistical problems, however, the further deterioration of the epidemiological situation again intensified disruptions in logistics chains, which does not lead to a significant slowdown in price growth. The FAO World Food Price index fell in December for the first time since July, but food inflation remains at elevated levels. Against this background, US inflation data is likely to continue to bring the Fed rate hike closer, intensifying the negative in the markets.
The main event for the oil market in early 2022 was the OPEC+ meeting. However, as expected, it was decided to stick to the current plan to increase production. Nevertheless, the cartel lowered its forecasts for a surplus in the oil market, which allowed Brent crude futures to exceed the level of $80/bbl. Moreover, against the background of interruptions in the supply of black gold from Kazakhstan and Libya, quotations were close to $83/bbl. However, at the end of the week they declined from these levels, today Brent futures are growing by 0.35% and are trading around $82.05/bbl. The main negative for oil this week may be related to the potential strengthening of the dollar amid expectations of a tightening of the PREP in the United States. However, in the absence of a significant strengthening of the dollar, Brent futures may still exceed the levels of $83/bbl– - the quotes may be supported by another weekly decline in oil reserves.