Investors are keeping a wary eye on the release of consumer inflation in the United States as a spike in prices raises the prospects of an interest rate hike as soon as next year

London (AFP) - World stock markets wavered and the dollar was mixed Wednesday as investors awaited key US inflation data that could play a major role in the Federal Reserve’s plans to tighten monetary policy, dealers said.

Traders were to digest also minutes from the Fed’s most recent gathering and the start of the US earnings season, while tracking global energy crunch fears.

Oil prices declined Wednesday, having rallied to multi-year peaks on tight supplies earlier this week.

“All eyes today on the US CPI inflation number, minutes from the Fed’s last meeting and the start of earnings season with numbers due out from JPMorgan,” said analyst Neil Wilson.

“Fed minutes will tell us more about how much inflation is a worry – we know the taper is coming, the question is how quickly the Fed moves to tame inflation by raising rates.”

With the world’s top economy well on the recovery track, the US central bank has already signalled it will begin to wind back the massive financial support put in place at the start of the pandemic.

But supply chain bottlenecks, surging demand fuelled by reopenings and spiking fuel costs have sent inflation soaring in recent months, putting pressure on bank chiefs to act to prevent prices from running out of control.

An extended period of higher-than-targeted inflation is ramping up expectations that the Fed will have to lift interest rates after it has finished tapering its massive bond-buying programme.

In Europe on Wednesday, London stocks slid 0.2 percent around midday with miners hit by commodity demand fears.

Investors shrugged off news that the UK economy rebounded by 0.4 percent in August from July.

In the eurozone, Frankfurt’s main stocks index won 0.7 percent and Paris gained 0.3 percent.

Asian indices also traded mixed as concerns over a global energy crunch jangled nerves.

Tokyo, Sydney, Manila and Taipei edged down, though there were gains in Seoul, Singapore, Mumbai, Jakarta and Wellington. Hong Kong was closed because of a typhoon in the city.

Shanghai rose after better-than-forecast export data and ahead of Thursday’s release of China’s inflation data.

- Key figures around 1050 GMT -

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.2 percent at 7,114.65 points

Frankfurt - DAX: UP 0.7 percent at 15,249.95

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.3 percent at 6,565.35

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.5 percent at 4,076.55

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.3 percent at 28,140.28 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.4 percent at 3,561.76 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: Closed because of typhoon

New York - Dow: DOWN 0.3 percent at 34,378.34 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1567 from $1.1530 at 2100 GMT

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3630 from $1.3588

Euro/pound: DOWN at 84.80 from 84.86 pence

Dollar/yen: UP at 113.57 yen from 113.31 yen

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 0.5 percent at $82.97 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 0.5 percent at $80.25 per barrel