Market Wrap: St. Louis Fed Pres. Calls for Quicker Rate Hikes and US Closes Kyiv Embassy

Market uncertainty continues to mount as St. Louis Fed President calls for quicker rate hikes and tensions build between Russia and Ukraine


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key takeaways

  • St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard said the Fed should increase interest rates more quickly than previously stated
  • In a sign of worsening tensions in Ukraine, the US has relocated its Kyiv embassy to western Ukraine, causing more fear in the markets

The St. Louis Fed president calls for faster rate hikes

James Bullard, the president of the St. Louis Federal Reserve, called for a more rapid approach to interest rate hikes Monday, proposing a 100 basis point increase by July 1.

Bullard noted that the Fed's "credibility was on the line" and that the last few months indicate that inflation is showing no signs of slowing.

"It was really October, November, December, January that called into question any idea that this inflation was naturally going to moderate in any reasonable time frame without the Fed taking action," said Bullard.

US Embassy in Ukraine relocated

More uncertainty was added to the market when Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the US Embassy in Ukraine would be relocated hundreds of miles away to Lviv, a city on the Polish border.

“We are in the process of temporarily relocating our Embassy operations in Ukraine from our Embassy in Kyiv to Lviv due to the dramatic acceleration in the buildup of Russian forces,” Blinken said in a statement Monday.

The market has been dancing on impending rate hikes for some time. The added pressure from a potential conflict between Ukraine, Russia and NATO nations has only added more stress to an already uncertain market.

The S&P 500 continued its fall and dropped by as much as 1.16% during the day. It ended the day down just 0.38% after a slow climb back. The Nasdaq and Dow followed a similar pattern of volatility during the day but closed only slightly down or neutral. Crypto, which has maintained a degree of correlation to equities, remained largely flat through the day with bitcoin dropping around 0.6% intraday but ending the day up 0.77%.

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Going forward

The likelihood of steep rate hikes seems to be getting higher and higher as inflation continues upwards. This alone could result in a volatile period in the markets. Should the tension between Russia and Ukraine amount to anything serious, the markets are in for a very bumpy ride.

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