This article explores three key topics in the world of finance: the successful IPO of British chip designer Arm, the European Central Bank’s decision to raise interest rates, and the increasing prominence of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).
Arm, owned Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, had a highly successful initial public offering, with shares jumping 25% on its first day of trading. This IPO raised almost $5 billion, making it the largest US listing in nearly two years. The positive reception of Arm’s IPO is expected to boost confidence in the overall IPO market, with upcoming offerings from Instacart and Klaviyo serving as further tests of investor appetite.
The European Central Bank (ECB) raised interest rates 25 basis points, signaling a potential end to its tightening cycle. While inflation remains high in the eurozone, reducing price pressures due to a weakening economy led the ECB to continue raising rates. However, market reactions were mixed, with the euro falling against the dollar but equities showing limited response. Analysts suggest that the ECB’s rate hikes may be nearing their peak.
In addition to managing interest rates, central banks worldwide are exploring the development of CBDCs. These digital currencies would provide a government-controlled alternative to cryptocurrencies and existing digital payment methods. CBDCs offer benefits such as enhanced transparency and government control over monetary policy. However, concerns exist about the potential power ceded to Big Tech companies and fintechs in the payment space. Critics argue that CBDCs could enable an ESG (environmental, social, and governance) agenda and undermine financial privacy.
Overall, these developments in the financial landscape highlight the ongoing push for digitalization and the complex balancing act faced central banks in managing both inflation and economic growth.
– FT News Briefing podcast episode: ‘Digital cash and culture wars’ (transcript)
– FT’s Frankfurt bureau chief, Martin Arnold
– FT’s banking and fintech correspondent, Siddharth Venkataramakrishnan