The US economy added a surprising 528,000 positions, defying all expectations of a slowdown

London (AFP) - Stock markets slid Friday as a much stronger-than-expected US jobs report raised the prospect that the Federal Reserve will maintain its aggressive monetary policy to combat inflation.

Official data published Friday showed the US economy added 528,000 positions, defying all expectations of a slowdown.

Friday’s data also showed US wages jumped, which will add to inflation concerns and likely push the Fed to raise rates aggressively again next month.

The Fed has previously said its decision will be guided by data.

Markets fell after the “absolutely monster” jobs report “with wages also up strongly” leaves “the Fed with all the ammo it needs to keep on hiking a lot more”, analyst Neil Wilson told AFP.

“Those betting on the Fed relenting soon have been caught out by today’s report,” he added.

Wall Street stocks were lower with the Dow and S&P falling 0.4 percent and 0.8 percent respectively, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite was down nearly 1.3 percent after 1530 GMT.

The dollar gained against other major currencies.

Officials have said the US economy remains healthy despite four-decade high inflation and a sharp lift in borrowing costs.

The jobs data “make a mockery of claims that the economy is on the brink of recession”, said Michael Pearce, senior US economist at Capital Economics, said.

“All the details appear to support continued aggressive rate hikes from the Fed,” he said in a note.

In Europe, London equities ended the day down 0.1 percent one day after the Bank of England unveiled a half-point interest rate hike and forecast UK inflation topping 13 percent on surging domestic energy bills.

The BoE’s rate increase followed more aggressive monetary policy from the European Central Bank and the Fed as authorities crack down on rampant inflation in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Back in the eurozone, Frankfurt stocks slipped 0.6 percent and Paris also sank 0.6 percent at the close of trading.

- ‘Stagflation awaits’ -

“The dire warnings from the BoE are impossible to ignore as other central banks desperately try to avoid a similar fate,” OANDA analyst Craig Erlam told AFP.

“It seems only a matter of time until others are forced to accept that a recession is the price to pay for getting inflation under control.”

He added: “A period of stagflation now awaits the UK – and others may not be far behind as the crushing impact of energy prices wreaks havoc on living standards and saps demand.”

Stagflation is a toxic mixture of stubbornly high consumer prices and low economic growth.

India’s central bank on Friday lifted borrowing costs for the third time in four months to the highest level since summer 2019.

Asian equities mostly rose Friday, with Taipei surging on easing concerns over a conflict with Beijing – even as China conducts its largest-ever military exercises around Taiwan in response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit earlier this week.

Oil prices rose later Friday, one day after WTI crude fell to the level where it had stood before the Ukraine conflict sent the market soaring.

- Key figures at around 1530 GMT -

New York - Dow: DOWN 0.4 percent at 32,592.91 points

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.5 percent at 3,641.20

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.1 percent at 7,439.74 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX: DOWN 0.6 percent at 13,573.93 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.6 percent at 6,472.35 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.9 percent at 28,175.87 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: UP 0.1 percent at 20,201.94 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 1.2 percent at 3,227.03 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.0154 from $1.0246 Thursday

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2045 from $1.2160

Euro/pound: UP at 84.28 pence from 84.26 pence

Dollar/yen: UP at 135.38 yen from 132.89 yen

Brent North Sea crude: UP 1.7 percent at $95.75 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: UP 1.7 percent at $90.05 per barrel