Weekly Outlook

Our rundown on the most interesting and market-impacting stories this week.

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Chinese tech companies bullish on the metaverse

Despite the regulatory risks, Chinese tech companies are doubling down on their bets on the metaverse, ranking in the top among companies filing for NFT and metaverse-related trademarks and patents. In 2021 and 2020, Tencent filed a total of 4085 patents while Baidu filed 3094, taking second and third places respectively behind Samsung. In China, a surge in filings for Metaverse trademarks beginning in late 2021 has resulted in a reported 16,000 applications pending approval. Major companies with filings include Huawei Technologies and Netease. The Chinese government has a wary view of NFTs and the metaverse, seeing them as possible enablers of illegal activity.

Nuclear worries hit Europe

The latest concern arising from the Russian-Ukrainian conflict is nuclear as news emerged that Europe’s largest power plant, the Zaporizhzhia plant in south-east Ukraine, was under attack from Russian shelling. Ukraine’s foreign minister has demanded an immediate ceasefire after a power unit at the plant was hit. A fire at the plant has prompted escalating concerns about the threat of a nuclear disaster many times more severe than Chernobyl. Asian markets have tumbled at the news, with the Hang Seng index and the Nikkei 225 both dropping over 2%. Meanwhile, crude oil prices continue on their ascent after surging past the $100 mark on Wednesday.

Fed Chairman Powell says tapering should have begun sooner

In a meeting with the Senate Banking Committee, Fed Chair Jerome Powell has said that, in hindsight, the Fed “should have moved earlier” to pull back on pandemic economic stimulus in response to rising inflation – which it dismissed as “transitory” at the start of 2021 when numbers began rising. Consumer prices have seen their highest increase in 40 years, prompting policymakers to begin discussing a series of rate hikes, as well a reduction in the Fed balance sheet.

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