Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome Powell speaks during a news conference at the Federal Reserve in Washington, DC, on February 1, 2023.
Saul Loeb | Afp | Getty Images
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Fed Chair Powell will speak later today. Markets don’t know what to expect.
What you need to know today
- U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell will testify before Congress as a week packed with economic data releases lies ahead. That includes February’s jobs report, which will show whether the Fed’s aggressive rate hikes are starting to cool the economy – especially after January’s hot report.
- Stocks in the U.S. were a mixed picture as investors braced for more hawkish commentary from Powell – the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose slightly by 0.12% while the Nasdaq Composite dipped 0.11%. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 ended its session flat with mining stocks leading losses.
- Iran says 8.5 million tons of lithium have been discovered in one of its western provinces. The metal, known as “white gold” for the electric vehicle industry, has seen prices skyrocketing in the last year on higher demand before seeing a drop in EV sales and slower business.
- China’s conservative growth target, released over the weekend, shows the government is recognizing that there are more headwinds for the economy ahead.
- PRO For the past decade, these three stocks are the only ones in the MSCI World Index to have seen positive yearly returns, according to screening done by CNBC Pro.
The bottom line
Good morning. This is Jihye Lee writing to you from Singapore. I’m sitting in today for Yeo Boon Ping, who is on leave.
All eyes will be on Powell testifying today and Wednesday. What he says will guide traders as well as lawmakers on how the U.S. central bank is viewing the state of inflation and how far its campaign of aggressive hikes has come – and most importantly, where markets go from here.
Treasury yields rose slightly, after peaking above 4% last week.
Powell is almost certain to face tough questions from Congress. He’ll likely be asked how badly high interest rates have hurt the economy, as global markets face a slowing business environment.
Iran claims it’s discovered the world’s second-largest known lithium holdings, after Chile’s. Iran says it found a deposit of 8.5 million tons of the metal. But whether the EV industry will benefit from that claim is very much in question. While a deposit that large could drive down lithium prices, bringing that commodity to market would depend on Iran’s capacity to export. The country’s economy has been crushed by heavy sanctions and a plunging currency.
And finally, we look ahead to International Women’s Day. Moody’s Analytics in a recent report said it may take 132 years for the world to close the gender pay gap. And when it does, the world will see an economic boost of $7 trillion – that’s an additional 7% to the world’s GDP of untapped potential.
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