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Picture: 123RF/BLUE BAY
Picture: 123RF/BLUE BAY

A week dominated by two major themes — central banks and locally, Eskom.

As expected, the US Federal Reserve raised rates 75 basis points as Fed Chair Jerome Powell sounded suitably hawkish on curbing inflation in his news conference, but also dropped guidance on the size of the next rate rise and noted that “at some point” it would be appropriate to slow down.

Since the Federal Reserve began what is now the fastest pace of rate hikes since 1981, it has provided meticulous detail about its future plans to tighten monetary policy. On Wednesday, that changed, with chairman Jay Powell announcing that the US central bank would balk at offering an official running commentary on its quest to stamp out soaring inflation.

By shaking hands so far, policymakers have tried to manage investor expectations and avoid periods of extreme market volatility. But the Fed has been set on fire by laying out its plans piece by piece, only to hastily change course as inflation spiralled further out of control.

And President Cyril Ramaphosa announced his long-awaited electricity plan to wide acclaim.

To put the week into perspective Michael Avery is joined by Warwick Lucas, head of Galileo Securities, Isaah Mhlanga, chief economist at Alex Forbes, and Raymond Parsons, professor in the School of Business and Governance at Northwest University.

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