Weekly Market Recap

25 September, 2023


Our Multi-Asset Solutions team produce a weekly market recap which aims to summarise the previous week’s major events and developments that may impact markets. They try to include points that may aid you in your decision making or conversations with clients. This is supplemented by a market data sheet, offering a summary of financial market performance. Last week’s summary is below. 

Economic and political backdrop

The US

As expected, the Federal Reserve (Fed) left its short-term lending benchmark at a target range of 5.25% to 5.50%, the level set at the previous meeting in July, and its updated Summary of Economic Predictions continued to show one more rate hike in 2023. However, policymakers surprised markets with an outlook for rates in 2024 that was notably higher than expected, and their rate prediction for 2025 also increased. In addition, the central bank raised its growth forecast, an acknowledgment that the economy has been more resilient than expected.

Apart from the Fed meeting, it was a relatively light week for economic news. Weekly initial jobless claims came in lower than predicted, falling to the lowest level since January, further reinforcing views that the labour market remains strong.


The Swiss National Bank (SNB) defied expectations and kept its key interest rate at 1.75% – the first time it has not hiked since March 2022. The SNB said that more increases were still possible if it became clear they were necessary to maintain price stability over the medium term. As expected, Sweden’s Riksbank raised its policy rate by 25 basis points (bp) to 4.00% and kept the door open for another increase in November.

Eurozone orders dropped the most in almost three years, causing private sector output to contract for a fourth consecutive month, purchasing manager surveys compiled by S&P Global showed. The seasonally adjusted HCOB Flash Eurozone Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), which combines activity in the manufacturing and services sectors, was 47.1 in September, up marginally from 46.7 in August (a reading below 50 indicates contraction). Manufacturing continued to shrink the most, while services sector activity decreased for a second month running.

The UK

The Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England (BoE) voted 5-4 to keep the key interest rate unchanged at 5.25% as economic growth slows – the first pause since December 2021. BoE Governor Andrew Bailey stressed that borrowing costs could rise again if there is evidence of more persistent inflationary pressures.

The decision to halt policy tightening came a day after official data showed that annual inflation in the UK slowed to 6.7% in August from 6.8% in July. Measures of underlying inflationary pressures also declined but remained well above the BoE’s 2% target.


At its September meeting, as widely anticipated, the Bank of Japan (BoJ) kept its short-term interest rate at -0.1% and that of 10-year Japanese government bond (JGB) yields at around zero percent. It also left unchanged its 50bp allowance band set on either side of the zero percent yield target, as well as sticking to the 1% cap it effectively adopted in July when it tweaked its policy of yield curve control (YCC) to allow yields to rise more freely. The yield on the 10-year JGB trended upward over the week to 0.74% from 0.71%.

The BoJ maintained its pledge to add stimulus without hesitation if needed. It is continuing with monetary easing under the current framework because sustainable and stable inflation, accompanied by wage growth, is not yet in sight. When the central bank is in a position to achieve this goal, it will consider scrapping its YCC policy and modifying the negative interest rate, according to Governor Kazuo Ueda.

Japan’s core consumer price index (CPI) rose 3.1% year on year in August, slightly ahead of consensus expectations. Core inflation has continued to slow, however, mainly because of the government’s economic measures pushing down energy prices. The BoJ anticipates that the year-on-year rate of increase in the CPI is likely to decelerate, before it is projected to accelerate again moderately, as the output gap (which measures the difference between an economy’s actual and potential output) improves and as medium- to long-term inflation expectations and wage growth rise.


On Thursday, China's cabinet, the State Council, pledged to accelerate measures to consolidate the country’s recovery and continue supporting growth in 2024, state media reported. Senior officials acknowledged that while China faces economic challenges, historical trends suggest that the economy is set to improve over the long term. In a sign of investors’ concern about the health of China’s economy, China recorded capital outflows of USD 49 billion in August, the largest since December 2015, which pushed the yuan to a 16-year low against the US dollar, according to Bloomberg. In response to the deteriorating growth signals, Beijing issued a flurry of pro-growth measures in recent weeks aimed at stimulating consumption and reviving the moribund property market.

In monetary policy news, Chinese banks left their one- and five-year loan prime rates unchanged after the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) kept its medium-term lending facility rate on hold the prior week, when it also reduced the reserve requirement ratio (i.e. the total amount of cash banks must hold as reserves) for the second time this year. The PBOC’s head of monetary policy, Zou Lan, said the central bank had ample policy room to support China’s recovery, raising expectations that there could be more easing following this month’s pause.


On Tuesday, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) published the minutes of the September monetary board meeting. The board evaluated both the option of raising its policy rate by 25bp and the option of keeping the rate unchanged. The conclusion was that the latter one was stronger, noting the value of “allowing more time to see the full effects of the monetary tightening”. The board also stated that “inflation was still too high and was expected to remain so for an extended period” and indicated the intent to stay “data dependent”. The minutes were perceived by the market as balanced-to-slightly hawkish.

All Australian state government budgets for 2023/24 were released on Wednesday. Collectively, state government deficits are expected to widen in 2023/24, and narrow modestly from then.


Last week, the MSCI All Country World Index (MSCI ACWI) retreated -2.7% (11.5% YTD).

In the US, the S&P 500 Index closed with a loss of -2.9% (13.9% YTD) as investors reacted to hawkish forecasts from the Fed’s latest meeting and rising US Treasury yields. The S&P 500 Index recorded its largest one-day loss in six months on Thursday on its way to a third-straight losing week.

In addition to concerns about higher interest rates, worries about the impact of the United Auto Workers’ strike and the potential for a US government shutdown may have also weighed on markets. Meanwhile, selling could have been exacerbated by tax-loss harvesting as fiscal year-end approached for some investors.

Growth stocks fared worse than value stocks, while large-cap shares outperformed small-caps. The Russell 1000 Growth Index returned -3.4% (25.3% YTD), the Russell 1000 Value Index -2.6% (2.7% YTD) and the Russell 2000 Index -3.8% (1.9% YTD). Over the week, the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell -3.6% (27.0% YTD).

In Europe, the MSCI Europe ex UK Index decreased -2.0% (9.9% YTD) as central banks signalled that interest rates will stay high for some time to come. Higher oil prices and poor business activity data also clouded the economic outlook. Major country stock indexes fell. Germany’s DAX Index lost -2.1% (11.7% YTD), France’s CAC 40 Index dropped -2.5% (14.2% YTD) and Italy’s FTSE MIB Index slipped -1.0% (25.4% YTD). Switzerland’s SMI Index moved down -1.5% (5.9% YTD). The euro was little changed versus the US dollar, ending the week at USD 1.07 for EUR.

In the UK, the FTSE 100 Index retreated -0.4% (6.2% YTD), supported by a depreciation of the British pound versus the US dollar. The pound ended the week at USD 1.22 for GBP, down from 1.24. A weaker UK currency helps to bolster the index, which includes many multinationals with overseas revenues. The more domestically focused FTSE 250 Index was down -0.9% (1.2% YTD).

Japan’s stock markets fell over the week. The Nikkei 225 Index dropped -3.4% (25.7% YTD), the broader TOPIX Index decreased -2.1% (27.4% YTD) and the TOPIX Small Index lost -1.3% (21.7% YTD). Sentiment was dampened by the US Fed signalling that it planned to keep interest rates higher for longer to combat persistent inflation. In contrast, the BoJ matched expectations of no change to its monetary policy, dashing hopes that the central bank would hint at an exit from negative interest rates.

Continued monetary policy divergence between the hawkish Fed and the dovish BoJ weighed on the yen, which weakened to JPY 148.4 against the US dollar, from JPY 147.9 the previous week. As speculation about potential intervention in the foreign exchange markets to prop up the yen continued, Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki said that the government would respond to excessive currency volatility without ruling out any options. In his view, the operations last year to buy yen and sell the US dollar had been effective, to a certain degree.

In Australia, the S&P ASX 200 Index dropped -2.9% (5.3% YTD) as a result of the hawkish tone from both the Fed and the RBA and continued weakness in China equity markets. Australian government bond yields shifted notably higher with the curve staying largely unchanged. The Australian dollar remained stable versus the US dollar.

MSCI Emerging Markets Index closed the week down -2.1% (3.3% YTD), with a positive contribution to performance from the stock market of China and a negative contribution from those of Taiwan, India, South Korea and Brazil.

Chinese equities rose as investors grew more optimistic about the country’s economic outlook. The Shanghai Stock Exchange Index gained 0.5% (4.1% YTD) and the blue-chip CSI 300 Index added 0.8% (-1.2% YTD). In Hong Kong, the benchmark Hang Seng Index declined -0.7% (-5.5% YTD).

No major indicators were released in China during the week. However, official data for August released the prior week provided evidence of economic stabilisation in the country. Industrial production, retail sales and lending activity rose more than forecast last month from a year earlier, although fixed-asset investment grew less than expected as the drop in property investment worsened.

In Türkiye, the central bank held its regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday and, as expected, raised its key policy rate, the one-week repo auction rate, from 25.00% to 30.00%. While this is well above the 8.50% level, where it was as recently as May, year-over-year inflation is currently around 60%, so real (inflation-adjusted) interest rates are still well below 0%.

T. Rowe Price sovereign analyst Peter Botoucharov is encouraged by Türkiye’s return – albeit at a measured pace – to a more orthodox monetary policy stance. To build on this progress, he believes that Türkiye needs the lira to be more stable in the foreign exchange (FX) market. This would reduce the attractiveness of FX-protected bank deposits, reduce the pass-through effects of a weak lira to inflation, and limit the government’s fiscal costs due to increased sovereign debt denominated in non-lira currencies.

However, Botoucharov notes that there is still the risk that President Erdogan’s unorthodox policy views – for example, he has openly opined in the past that high interest rates cause high inflation – could resurface. Also, Botoucharov acknowledges that there are still extensive macro prudential regulations in place that are not allowing more normal functioning of the local interest rate markets and the FX market.

In Peru, the central bank began a monetary easing cycle on 14 September, cutting its key policy rate – the reference rate – from 7.75% to 7.50%. This 25bp rate cut was in line with broad expectations, though some had expected policymakers to take no action.

According to T. Rowe Price emerging markets sovereign analyst Aaron Gifford, the post-meeting statement continued to highlight declining inflation and inflation expectations, with the central bank’s forecast of inflation reaching its 1% to 3% target range by early next year still intact. With regard to economic growth, central bank officials highlighted that the impact of the El Nino weather phenomenon has been worse than expected, even though some leading indicators are turning up a bit. In terms of forward guidance, policymakers said that their rate cut decision “does not necessarily imply a sequence of interest rate reductions” and that the pace of easing would be data dependent. However, Gifford continues to expect incremental rate cuts until the reference rate reaches a neutral stance – neither stimulative nor restrictive.

Last week, the Bloomberg Global Aggregate Index (hedged to USD) returned -0.3% (1.7% YTD), Bloomberg Global High Yield Index (hedged to USD) -0.6% (6.1% YTD) and Bloomberg Emerging Markets Hard Currency Aggregate Index -0.6% (2.1% YTD).

The prospect of the Fed keeping short-term rates higher for longer along with healthy economic growth signals helped send longer-term US Treasury yields higher. The 10-year US Treasury yield increased 11bp during the week, up to 4.44% from 4.33% (up 56bp YTD) and reaching a 16-year high. The 2-year yield increased 7bp, up to 5.11% from 5.04% (up 68bp YTD).

Eurozone government bond yields increased after European Central Bank (ECB) officials said another interest rate increase could not be ruled out and after the Fed indicated that rates are likely to remain higher for longer. However, the move moderated later in the week after a surprise decision by the BoE to keep short-term interest rates on hold as well as weak eurozone PMI data. Over the week, the yield on the 10-year German government bund increased 7bp, ending at 2.74% from 2.67% (up 17bp YTD).

UK gilt yields decreased, with more notable moves at the shorter-maturity end of the yield curve. The yield on the 10-year gilt decreased -11bp, to 4.24% from 4.35% (up 58bp YTD).

In the US investment-grade corporate bond market, spreads (yield premiums relative to Treasuries) remained relatively stable despite the risk-off environment in the equity market. Meanwhile, the primary market for high yield bonds remained busy, with more deals expected amid strong demand for new issues.

Yoram Lustig, CFA
Head of Multi Asset Solutions,

Michael Walsh, FIA, CFA
Solutions Strategist


Niklas Jeschke, CFA
Solutions Analyst


Eva Wu,
Solutions Analyst



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