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Chair of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell testifies during a House Financial Services Committee hearing.

Reuters

There’s no party like a rate hike party

Rate hikes will continue … until morale declines or a recession hits. That’s the message market watchers expect, despite slowing inflation, from the Bank of Canada’s next meeting on July 12. The Canadian economy has stayed hot despite the Bank’s effort to cool it with increased interest rates, including a 25-point increase in June.

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Traders react to Fed rate announcement on the floor of the NYSE in New York.

Reuters

US economy’s slowing growth

The US economy grew by just 1.1% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2023, suggesting that the Federal Reserve’s tightening of monetary policy to stamp out inflation is indeed slowing down the biggest economy in the world.

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Annie Gugliotta/ GZERO Media

What We’re Watching: Three ways to address inflation … with varying degrees of success

Erdonomics: Growth > stability

Turkey has long had a hyperinflation problem, but that doesn’t mean that its central bank has sought to raise interest rates to bring prices down. In fact, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose unorthodox economic approach has been dubbed Erdonomics, has even sought to lower interest rates during inflationary times. Why?

Central to his approach is the belief that economic growth trumps all, including price stability. So Turkey’s central bank has been unwilling to raise interest rates to reverse hyperinflation, and Erdogan has even called himself an “enemy” of interest rates.

As the Turkish president explains it, keeping interest rates low – and static – stimulates demand, driving economic growth.

But that hasn’t panned out. Inflation in Turkey soared to a quarter-century high of 85% in October – largely due to roaring food and fuel prices. Crucially, analysts think the official number was closer to 186%, meaning prices would have almost tripled. As a result, the average Turk has far less disposable cash to inject into the economy. What’s more, Turkey has seen its currency, the lira, plummet a whopping 90% since 2008.

What do Turks think of the cost-of-living crunch? They will get to weigh in on May 14, when the country heads to the polls. Erdogan is facing a united opposition that has been pushing the message that he has wrecked the economy.

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Russian reservists recruited during a partial mobilization of troops attend a ceremony before departing to the Russia-Ukraine conflict zone, in the Rostov region, Russia October 31, 2022.

REUTERS/Sergey Pivovarov

What We're Watching: Russian draft goes online, abortion pill ruling, US inflation slows, Taiwan gets new presidential candidate, Biden bets big on EVs

Russia’s digital draft

If you’re a young male citizen of Russia, it just got harder for you to hide from the war in Ukraine. The State Duma, Russia’s parliament, approved legislation on Tuesday that allows the government to send a military summons online instead of serving the papers in person. The upper house swiftly passed it into law on Wednesday.

“The summons is considered received from the moment it is placed in the personal account of a person liable for military service,” explains the chairman of the Duma’s defense committee, though the Kremlin insists no large-scale draft is imminent. If the person summoned fails to report for service within 20 days of the date listed on the summons, the state can suspend his driver’s license, deny him the right to travel abroad, and make it impossible for him to get a loan.

The database that provides names of potential draftees is assembled from medical, educational, and residential records, as well as insurance and tax data. Thousands of young Russians have already fled their country. Many more may soon try to join them.

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Car drivers queue to fill their fuel tank at a TotalEnergies gas station in Nice as petrol supplies are disrupted by a strike of French refineries and depots, France, March 20, 2023.

REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

Hard Numbers: French oil refinery blockades, China’s mRNA milestone, Moscow comes to Bali, IMF tweaks rules for Ukraine, TikTok hearing

13: As French protesters continue to strike and block oil refineries in response to the government’s recently passed pension reform, 13% of petrol stations around the country are running short on gas. What’s more, a lack of shipments from LNG terminals is raising fears of shortages – and elevated prices – across Europe.

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The Federal Reserve building is pictured in Washington, U.S.

REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo

SVB collapse & interest rates: What’ll the Fed do?

US markets rebounded Tuesday, temporarily calming fears that the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank might trigger a domino effect that makes both investors and ordinary Americans lose confidence in the banking system. But the uncertainty ain’t over yet.

With the stakes so high, who you gonna call? No, not those guys. We mean the Federal Reserve.

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US President Joe Biden grapples with inflation.

GZERO Media

Why job and wage growth in the US are freaking out investors

The jobs report for November came in hot Friday, revealing that wage and job growth in the world’s largest economy remain robust. Sounds like a good thing, right? Well, not when the US economy is reeling from decade-high inflation.

Markets cooled on Friday morning – and then recovered slightly – as investors got spooked by news that the US economy added 263,000 jobs in November while average hourly wages jumped 5.1% year-on-year, a key component of inflation. For context, between 2010-2019 average monthly job gains in the US came in at around 183,000. November’s unemployment rate, meanwhile, remained stubbornly low at 3.75% despite recent aggressive efforts by the US Federal Reserve to cool an economy set on fire by dual nightmares: the pandemic and war in Ukraine.

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Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell arrives to testify before the US Senate.

Tom Williams via REUTERS

What We're Watching: US Fed's next move, China's stimulus, Chile's president needs a win

All eyes on Powell at Jackson Hole

Updated Aug. 26:Heard of Jackson Hole, Wyoming? That's where all the economic bigwigs from around the world are gathering for an annual three-day event focused on the state of the global economy. In a stark departure from his position throughout much of the pandemic that inflation would be “transitory,” US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said in a keynote address Friday that there would be “some pain” for households and businesses in the months ahead, noting that inflation continues to soar. Powell also said it’s likely that we’ll see a “softening of labor market conditions,” suggesting that record low unemployment – the current silver lining of the economy – could tick upwards. Indeed, the Fed chair sought to defend his track record to economists and central bankers, many of whom have been critical of him for waiting too long to raise interest rates. Many observers took Powell’s address as a sign that the Fed will continue to tighten monetary policy in the months ahead as inflation tops 8% over the previous year. What's more, some economists say the Fed could soon raise rates as high as 4% (its current target rate is 2.25-2.5%), sparking fears of a sharp recession. Still, inflation is mild in the US compared to parts of Europe, particularly the UK, where inflation is estimated to hit a whopping 18.6% early next year.

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