In Asian Equity Markets stocks retreated on Thursday in line with a global selloff, as markets were spooked by more aggressive noises from U.S. policymakers about the need for tighter monetary policy, which also kept the dollar near a two-year peak. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.53 percent and Japan’s Nikkei lost 1.9 percent. Also on investors’ minds was growing economic strains in China, which is grappling with new outbreaks of COVID-19. Chinese blue chips shed 0.9 percent, and Hong Kong stocks lost 1.3 percent, weighed by declines in large Chinese tech firms.

In Currency Markets the dollar hovered near a two-year high against a basket of currencies on Thursday, after meeting minutes showed the Federal Reserve preparing to move aggressively to head off inflation. The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback against six majors, touched its highest since May 2020 overnight at 99.778 and held nearby at 99.575 in early Asia trade. Commodity currencies retreated from recent highs as oil prices have dipped and the euro touched a one-month trough of $1.0874. It recovered to $1.0911 in morning trade. Sterling was pinned at $1.3076.

In US Equity Markets main indexes fell on Wednesday, with steep declines in tech and other growth stocks, after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s March meeting sharpened investors’ focus on the U.S. central bank’s plans to fight inflation. The Dow fell 0.42 percent, to 34,496.51, the S&P 500 lost 0.97 percent, to 4,481.15 and the Nasdaq Composite fell 2.22 percent, to 13,888.82. In company news, JetBlue Airways shares fell 8.7 percent as it mounted a vigorous defense of its unsolicited $3.6 billion bid to acquire ultra-low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines.

In Commodities Markets oil futures fell sharply on Wednesday after large consuming nations said they would release oil from reserves to counter tightening supplyand hawkish minutes from the U.S. central bank that bolstered the dollar. Brent crude futures settled down 5.2 percent, at $101.07 a barrel, while U.S. crude fell 5.6 percent, to $96.23 a barrel. Spot gold was 0.1 percent lower to $1,921.60 per ounce. Among other precious metals, spot silver fell 0.7 percent to $24.15 per ounce, platinum edged 0.3 percent lower to $965.20 and palladium rose 0.4 percent to $2,247.53.

In European Equity Markets stocks fell almost 2 percent on Wednesday, as investors grappled with the twin worries of aggressive U.S. interest rate hikes potentially hurting growth and more Western sanctions on Russia further stoking inflation. Breaking a three-day winning streak, the pan-European STOXX 600 index fell 1.5 percent to log its worst day in nearly a month. Losses were broad-based, with technology and travel stocks the biggest drags. Election nerves also continued to grip investors, with French stocks falling 2.2 percent after marking their worst session in nearly a month on Tuesday.

In Bond Markets selling gripped the U.S. Treasury market on Wednesday, pushing yields to multi-year highs as traders braced for the Federal Reserve to cut its bond holdings and deliver aggressive interest rate hikes to tame inflation in coming months. Two-year Treasury yields were last up around 5 basis points on the day at 2.57 percent, having hit 2.60 percent, the highest since January 2019. Five-year yields rose to around 2.79 percent, the highest since December 2018, and benchmark 10-year yields climbed as much as 6.6 bps to a three-year high of 2.633 percent.

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