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Marketmind: China steals the show before US inflation

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A look at the day ahead in European and global markets from Sonali Desai

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) managed to liven up the wait for Tuesday’s highly anticipated U.S. consumer price inflation (CPI) data by lowering a short-term lending rate for the first time in 10 months.

Several analysts had been expecting a cut to the one-year medium-term lending facility rate on Thursday, when the PBOC is widely expected to roll over maturing loans. Tuesday’s 10 basis-point reduction to the seven-day reverse repo rate, however, promptly removed any lingering doubt about China’s policy bent toward stimulus in the face of persistently weak economic data.

The move had little broader impact on markets in the run-up to tonight’s U.S. CPI release and this week’s major central bank decisions. It did spur a rally in China’s benchmark 10-year government bonds, though, and sent the beleaguered yuan to six-and-a-half-month lows – without doing much to boost local stocks, in a worrying reflection of what’s increasingly being dubbed a loss of confidence in Chinese growth prospects.

Elsewhere in Asia, stocks tracked Wall Street’s higher close and the U.S. dollar was on the back foot on expectations of a pause in the U.S. Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike cycle on Wednesday.

In corporate news, Intel is in talks with SoftBank Group’s Arm to be an anchor investor in the chip designer’s initial public offering, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters on Monday.

Europe’s calendar highlights include UK employment data, Germany’s ZEW survey for June and final May inflation data, and Bank of (BoE) Governor Andrew Bailey’s parliamentary testimony.

BoE policymaker Catherine Mann struck a typically hawkish note in comments on Monday, and Bailey is likely to face challenging questions on persistently sticky inflation as the market continues to price around 100 bps of rate hikes to 5.50%, including a 25 bps move next week.

In the U.S., CPI data is likely to dominate market interest and factor into the Federal Open Market Committee’s (FOMC) deliberations as it begins a two-day meeting.

Key developments that could influence markets on Tuesday:

UK employment data, German ZEW survey and CPI

BoE Governor Bailey testifies to House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee

ECB’s Pablo Hernandez de Cos and Andrea Enria speak at separate events

U.S. CPI, FOMC begins two-day meeting

(Reporting by Sonali Desai; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

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