FED IS PEOPLE-DEPENDENT

Markets have had to contend with slowing global trade and growth, collapsing EM currencies, commodity prices and equity markets topped off by Brazil’s credit rating downgrade to junk status and a surprise renminbi devaluation.

Perhaps most problematic has been policy-makers’ lack of direction and vision. The US is gripped by election fever and the ever growing list of presidential candidates. The Chinese government and central bank have multiplied policies to deal with slowing growth and wild stock-market gyrations, so far with seemingly limited success. The eurozone – still reeling from the Greek debacle – is divided about how to deal with an immigration and refugee crisis. The UK is pondering the implications of a newly elected extreme left-wing opposition leader and a likely referendum on EU accession while the Bank of England blows hot and cold on whether to start thinking about hiking rates. On the other side of the world Australia has got its fifth prime minister in five years.

But it’s arguably the US Federal Reserve’s lack of a unified message which has kept markets on tenterhooks ahead of Thursday’s policy meeting.

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