End of an era

Business

A look at the day ahead in European and global markets from Tom Westbrook

The death of Queen Elizabeth II and a frantic session of rate hikes and spending plans on Thursday seems likely to subdue trade into the weekend. Elizabeth’s son, Charles, is King.

Elizabeth was crowned in a nation exhausted by victory in World War Two and reigned for 70 years. Sterling is perhaps a mirror on the long decline of empire over that time; pegged at $2.80 in 1952, it touched a 37-year low of $1.1407 this week.

It may yet fall further, as Britain borrows big to pay for energy subsidies economists think might cost 100 billion pounds or more.

In markets, however, King Dollar fell back in the Asia session after a hawkish hike from the European Central Bank, which flagged more to come.

ECB President Christine Lagarde will make another press appearance today after a meeting of European finance ministers in Prague. Europe’s energy ministers also meet on Friday for discussions on how to deal with soaring power prices.

Plans for a price cap on Russian gas seem to be struggling for traction.

Asian markets found reasons to be cheerful, including relatively benign Chinese inflation data, which leaves authorities more room for policy support. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares (.MIAPJ0000PUS) was set to round out the week with the best gains in a fortnight.

Key developments that could influence markets on Friday:

EU energy ministers’ meeting, Canadian employment data, Federal Reserve speakers Esther George, Christopher Waller and Charles Evans