European Stock Futures Lower; German CPI Puts Focus on ECB Meeting

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European Stock Futures Lower; German CPI Puts Focus on ECB Meeting
Credit: © Reuters.

By Peter Nurse

Investing.com - European stock markets are expected to open lower Tuesday, with investors wary ahead of the release of key economic data while the ongoing Ukraine conflict looks set to intensify.

At 2:05 AM ET (0605 GMT), the DAX futures contract in Germany traded 0.7% lower, CAC 40 futures in France dropped 2.9%, and the FTSE 100 futures contract in the U.K. fell 0.7%.

Global stock markets have struggled of late on concerns that soaring inflation will cause central banks to tighten monetary policy sharply, weighing on economic growth.

The European Central Bank is set to hold its latest policy setting meeting on Thursday, and ahead of that German consumer price inflation came in earlier Tuesday at 2.5% on the month in March, up a massive 7.3% on the year.

The U.S. inflation equivalent number is due later in the session, and investors are bracing for price gains running at their highest level in four decades. This will be the last time the Federal Reserve will see official consumer price index data before its May meeting.

Elsewhere, data released earlier Monday showed the U.K. unemployment rate fell to 3.8% in February, from 3.9% the previous month, while the claimant count in March dropped 46,900.

Also of interest later in the session will be the German ZEW economic sentiment index , which is expected to show a drop in confidence in the Eurozone’s largest economy in April, with the war in Ukraine weighing.

This conflict looks set to intensify, with Russia said to be amassing troops in the eastern Donbas region of Ukraine for a new assault on the port of Mariupol. Capturing this city would allow Moscow to attempt to encircle the main Ukrainian force in the east.

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer said, following talks in Moscow on Monday, that an offensive in the east was "being prepared on a massive scale."

The French market remains in a state of uncertainty with incumbent Emmanuel Macron set for a tight run-off against right-wing leader Marine Le Pen in France's presidential elections.

Oil prices rose Monday, rebounding after recent losses after China eased some of its COVID-related lockdowns and OPEC warned it would be impossible for it to replace lost Russian supply.

The Chinese financial hub of Shanghai announced Monday the partial easing of lockdowns after some areas reported no new infections for 14 days, lifting some of the worries about oil demand from the world’s largest importer.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries warned that losses from Russian sources due to sanctions could be as much as seven million barrels per day, adding that the volume will be “impossible” to replace.

This follows a meeting between OPEC and European Union officials, with the EU currently drafting proposals for an oil embargo on Russia in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine.

Investors now await U.S. crude oil supply from the American Petroleum Institute , due later in the day.

By 2:05 AM ET, U.S. crude futures traded 2.4% higher at $96.55 a barrel, while the Brent contract rose 2.1% to $100.59. Both benchmarks dropped around 4% on Monday, after recording last week their second consecutive losing week.

Additionally, gold futures rose 0.5% to $1,957.70/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.1% lower at 1.0869.

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