Monday, February 6, 2023
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China reopening, economy in focus

LONDON — European markets closed higher on Friday as investors hope for a Chinese economic recovery as Covid-19 restrictions ease as they assess the prospects for a global recession.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index tentatively closed at 0.8%, while construction and equipment stocks contributed 1.7% to lead gains. Oil and gas stocks offset previous losses to finish the session on a marginal note.

US stocks moved between gains and losses on Friday as concerns about continued rate hikes persisted.

After a relatively quiet week for European stock markets, a host of major risk events are on the agenda next week, including the next monetary policy meetings of the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of England.

The Fed is expected to issue a rate hike of 50 basis points – smaller than the last four 75 basis point hikes – but investors are increasingly concerned about whether the central bank can avoid a recession next year in its bid to contain inflation.

The Hang Seng index led gains in Asia-Pacific as China’s inflation rates were roughly in line with expectations.

In remarks published by state media on Thursday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said the easing of the country’s covid policies could boost the economy.

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