Ukraine has dominated the news this week and tossed financial markets around like twigs in a tsunami. Yet the consequences of the Russian invasion to this point remain almost exclusively on the people of Ukraine.
Stocks plunged, gold soared, oil spiked. But by the end of the week they returned to not all that far from where they began. For something with such seemingly profound geopolitical implications, markets pretty much remain on the course already laid out for them.
Such geopolitical drama may be far more important in other spheres than in financial markets. In the latter realm, inflation and interest rates remain the main story, no matter how consequential military events may be elsewhere. The events of this week have prompted media speculation that the Fed may retreat from the inflation front, but it looks to me more like wishful thinking from Wall Street. The financial elite are desperately casting about for any rationale to forestall removal of the monetary accommodation that has been so helpful to its bottom line. For the time being, however, comments from various Fed officials indicate they remain unmoved.
As well they should. Easy money can stoke inflation, but it cannot cure war.