U.S. Equity Markets declined on rising inflation fears and lower consumer sentiment, ending Friday’s session lower, led by the Dow which closed with a loss of 0.86%. Consumer Sentiment fell drastically in early July, with one-year inflation expectations hitting a 13-year high. Meanwhile, Retail Sales posted a surprise rise in June thanks to demand for restaurants and clothing stores. Energy stocks were largely down due to ongoing uncertainty over the oil production disagreement between OPEC’s de facto leader Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Investors are worried the agreement to control supply could fall apart. That could result in member countries unloading inventory at will, over-supplying the market. European Markets closed lower. U.S. President Joe Biden said the White House COVID-19 team was working on when to lift restrictions on visitors from Europe. This has been a complaint of European Union Member States as they are willing to let Americans travel to their countries. These comments came on the heels of a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. European vehicle sales increased by 13% in June, marking the fourth-straight month of gains. This was another sign of the industry’s ongoing rebound as consumer demand recovers. Supporting this was commentary from the organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (“OPEC”). Its monthly oil report projected global oil demand would surpass 100 million barrels per day in the second half of 2022. In Asia, The Bank of Japan opted to maintain its current monetary policy. But Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said the outlook remained uncertain, and that it wouldn’t hesitate to offer additional economic support. China’s state-run media outlets also made dovish comments. They talked up the potential for the central bank to further ease monetary policy, adding it would use multiple tools to ensure ample liquidity. Conversely, the Bank of Korea struck a different tone. Governor Lee Ju-yeol said the central bank could hike interest rates later this year, as the country’s economy continues to recover. He said the rebound necessitates the removal of support measures put in place to boost demand. Elsewhere, Gold fell 0.97% declined on slight improvements to the dollar, while Bitcoin rose 0.50% on reports that Bank of America approved Bitcoin futures trading for some clients.
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