EU: The European Central Bank’s monetary policy meeting will take place in Frankfurt. The rising cost of living is likely to dominate the meeting, but most economists expect the bank to stick to its timetable for keeping interest rates unchanged while it steadily reduces asset purchases over the course of this year. Consumer prices in the eurozone rose by a record 5.1 per cent in January.
UK: The UK’s Bank of England will also make its interest rate decision. Andrew Bailey, BoE governor, is predicted to announce a rise in rates from 0.25 per cent to 0.5 per cent. If it goes ahead, it would be the first back-to-back interest rate rise since 2004.
PMI: IHS Markit publishes purchasing managers’ index data for services in the eurozone, France, Germany, Italy and the UK. Last week, services businesses in the eurozone reported that tightened coronavirus restrictions had weighed on demand — particularly in consumer-facing and hospitality sectors — while staff absenteeism due to Covid-19 infections also limited activity.
Infineon Technologies: Europe’s largest chipmaker releases third-quarter results on Thursday. Infineon almost doubled its profits in the three months to the end of September, as the German group benefited from demand for semiconductors amid global bottlenecks. The Munich-based company said earnings for the period came in at a record €464mn, up from €245mn in the previous quarter.
BT: The UK telecoms company also publishes third-quarter results. BT posted a 3 per cent drop in revenue to £10.3bn in the six months to the end of September and a 5 per cent decline in pre-tax profit to £1bn as its enterprise and multinational services divisions declined.
Markets: Futures for the Euro Stoxx 50 and the FTSE 100 were down 0.4 per cent and 0.2 per cent, respectively, following a mixed day for Asia-Pacific equities in which Australian and Japanese markets declined and South Korean stocks rose. In the US on Wednesday, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite closed 0.9 per cent and 0.5 per cent higher, respectively, but some companies, including Facebook parent Meta, suffered heavy losses as after-hours earnings releases disappointed investors.