At the beginning of the month, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq in the US crossed the important 200-day line, but inflation and labour market figures in mid-February led to disillusionment. The global economy is proving to be more robust than expected at the beginning of the year, not least thanks to the opening up of China. In particular, the US labour market remains very strong. As a result, inflation remains higher and more persistent than had been hoped. This is pushing up expectations for interest rate peaks in the US and Europe (currently 5.3% in the US; 3.9% in the ECB) and out the timeframe (Q1/Q2 2024) for key rates to be lowered again. Interest rates will not fall again for some time. As a result, equities and bonds weakened in the second half of February, particularly in the US, while Europe proved more resilient. This is a trend we have seen since September 2022. March remains an exciting month as central banks will decide on their future monetary policy and much will depend on how the markets react.