By Peter Nurse
Investing.com - European stock markets traded higher Friday, ahead of Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's widely-anticipated speech which could offer clues on the U.S. central bank's monetary tightening plans.
Investors are eagerly awaiting Powell's speech at the Jackson Hole symposium , at 10:00 ET (14:00 GMT) for any insight into how aggressively the Fed still plans to raise .
Policymakers have in recent weeks emphasized how important it is for the Fed to get inflation under control, but recent data has also pointed to a cooling U.S. economy and they run the risk of pushing the world’s largest economy, and main growth driver, into recession.
These growth worries are even more pronounced in Europe, as the continent struggles to cope with an energy crisis as gas prices soar in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
These concerns are weighing on sentiment, with the forward-looking Gfk German consumer climate index falling to -36.5 for September, a record low, and a hefty drop from the downwardly revised -30.9 seen the previous month.
Additionally, Britain's energy regulator Ofgem raised its cap on domestic energy bills to a record 3,549 pounds ($4,189) from Oct. 1. That amount is expected to go even higher in January as the U.K. competes with other nations for limited gas supplies, and represents a significant jump from the current cap of 1,971 pounds.
Earlier Friday German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said he’ll reassess the country’s levy on consumers to help fund aid for suppliers as gas prices surge, amid an outcry over corporate profits in the sector.
Oil prices rose Friday, on course to end the week with strong gains at the prospect of a further tightening of global supply.
The prospect of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, led by Saudi Arabia, cutting output has boosted sentiment this week, outweighing the likelihood of the return of Iran to oil markets should it clinch a nuclear deal with the West.
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