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Marketmind-Swinging between bank fears and rate risks

Traders work on the floor of the NYSE in New York

A look at the day ahead in U.S. and global markets from Mike Dolan

Markets seem caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.

Easing concerns about bank stability this week have merely re-introduced interest rate risk, reining in any suggestion of a runaway relief rally as the first quarter closes on Friday.

While nerves persist over March bank failures and contagion fears, central banks are still faced with punchy growth and inflation and will likely switch attention back to cooling that down once they're assured banks can take the strain.

While a possible credit crunch from the whole disturbance may do that job for them, the overall impact on new lending and confidence is as yet unclear.


The extent to which depositors and the public at large have been spooked by the episode may be at least partly revealed by March U.S. consumer confidence numbers out later on Tuesday.

But interest rate markets are already correcting as signs of stability in the banking arena emerge.

The chance of another Federal Reserve rate hike in this cycle has moved back to 50% - up from just 30% early on Monday - and two-year Treasury yields regained a foothold back above 4%. Stress-related dollar demand ebbed somewhat.

The mood shift followed Monday's news that regional lender First Citizens BancShares had scooped up the assets of failed peer Silicon Valley Bank - sending First Citizens' stock price up more than 50% and lifting U.S. regional bank stocks at large as regulators backstopped the deal.

U.S. Treasury undersecretary for domestic finance, Nellie Liang, is due to tell Congress later on Tuesday the government will continue to prevent contagion in the banking sector as warranted and ensure Americans' deposits are safe.

Fed Vice Chair for Supervision Michael Barr said the banking system is "strong and resilient" but the Fed was reviewing its actions leading up to the collapse of SVB and how to tighten rules on banks going forward.

Stocks were have been buoyed by developments but gains remain tentative and Wall St futures were in the balance ahead of Tuesday's open.

European banks also rose 1%, adding to Monday's 1.4% gain. Swiss bank UBS climbed 1.5% after CEO Ralph Hamers said the bank sees its government-orchestrated takeover of Credit Suisse as a growth opportunity, in an internal memo seen by Reuters.

The European Central Bank's top supervisor Andrea Enria said on Tuesday he was concerned by a sudden unexplained selloff in Deutsche Bank shares late last week, which showed investors were on edge and could be spooked by moves in the relative small and illiquid market for credit default swaps.

Enria called for CDS to be centrally cleared.

But in illustration of the conundrum facing central banks over whether to focus on inflation or banking stress, Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey signalled on Monday that rate-setters would not be swayed unduly from the inflation fight.

"With the Financial Policy Committee on the case of securing financial stability, the Monetary Policy Committee can focus on its own important job of returning inflation to target," said Bailey, who added in testimony to the British parliament on Tuesday that there was no obvious stress in the UK system.

Elsewhere, crypto shares were hit on Monday after the Commodity Futures Trading Commission said crypto exchange Binance and its CEO and founder Changpeng Zhao have been sued by the CFTC for operating an "illegal" exchange and a "sham" compliance program. Bitcoin slipped back below $27,000 on Tuesday.

Shares of BP added 1.9% after the British oil firm and Abu Dhabi National Oil made an offer to jointly acquire 50% of Israeli offshore natural gas producer NewMed Energy for around $4 billion.

And China spent $240 billion bailing out 22 developing countries between 2008 and 2021, with the amount soaring in recent years as more have struggled to repay loans spent building "Belt and Road" infrastructure, a study published on Tuesday showed.

Key developments that may provide direction to U.S. markets later on Tuesday:

* U.S. March consumer confidence, Richmond Fed Feb business survey, Dallas Fed service sector survey, Fed wholesale and retail inventories, Feb trade balance, US Jan house price index

* U.S. Federal Reserve Vice Chair for Supervision Michael Barr speaks; Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey and other BoE policymakers testify to parliament on banking turbulence; European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde speaks

* U.S. Treasury auctions 5-year notes

* U.S. corporate earnings: Micron Technology, McCormick, Walgreens Boots Alliance

(By Mike Dolan, editing by Christina Fincher, Twitter: @reutersMikeD)