Stocks in biggest weekly loss since 2020 on interest-rate worries



(New throughout, updates prices, market activity and comments)

* BOJ an outlier as leading central banks raise rates

* Investors' recession fears grow

* Lagarde comments soothe euro zone debt markets

By Koh Gui Qing

NEW YORK, June 17 (Reuters) - World stocks on Friday closed out their steepest weekly slide since the pandemic meltdown of March 2020, as investors worried that tighter monetary policy by inflation-fighting central banks could damage economic growth.

The U.S. Federal Reserve's biggest rate hike since 1994, the first such Swiss move in 15 years, a fifth rise in British rates since December and a move by the European Central Bank to bolster the indebted south all took turns roiling markets.

The Bank of Japan was the only outlier in a week where money prices rose around the world, sticking on Friday with its strategy of pinning 10-year yields near zero.

After sharp early losses, world stocks .MIWD00000PUS steadied somewhat to ending Friday's session down by just 0.12%. The weekly slide of 5.8% was the steepest since the week of March 20, 2020.

Wall Street's Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI slipped 0.13%, the S&P 500 .SPX added 0.22%, and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC jumped 1.43%.

For the week, the S&P 500 dropped 5.8%, also its biggest fall since the third week of 2020.

"Inflation, the war and lockdowns in China have derailed the global recovery," economists at Bank of America said in a note to clients, adding they see a 40 percent chance of a recession in the United States next year as the Fed keeps raising rates.

"We look for GDP growth to slow to almost zero, inflation to settle at around 3% and the Fed to hike rates above 4%."

The Fed on Friday said its commitment to fight inflation is "unconditional". Fears that its rate hikes could trigger a recession supported Treasury prices and slowed the rise in yields, which fall when prices rise. Ten-year Treasury yields US10YT=RR retreated to 3.22944% after hitting an 11-year high of 3.498% on Tuesday.

Southern European bond yields dropped sharply after reports of more detail from ECB President Christine Lagarde on the central bank's plans.

"The more aggressive line by central banks adds to headwinds for both economic growth and equities," said Mark Haefele, chief investment officer at UBS Global Wealth Management. "The risks of a recession are rising, while achieving a soft landing for the U.S. economy appears increasingly challenging."

In Asia, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS fell to a five-week low, dragged by selling in Australia. Japan's Nikkei .N225 fell 1.8% and headed for a weekly drop of almost 7%.

JAPANESE YEN DIVES

Bonds and currencies were jittery after a rollercoaster week.

Overnight in Asia, the yen JPY=EBS tanked after the Bank of Japan stuck to its ultra-accomodative policy stance. The yen fell 2.2% by late Friday, bolstering the U.S. dollar =USD , which rose 0.73% against a basket of major currencies.

Sterling GBP=D3 fell 1% in New York as investors focused on the gap between U.S. and UK rates. The Bank of England is opting for a more moderate approach than the Fed.

"If a central bank does not move aggressively, yields and risk price in more in the way of rate hikes down the road," said NatWest Markets' strategist John Briggs.

"Markets may just be continuously adjusting to an outlook for higher global policy rates ... as global central bank policy momentum is all one way."

Slower growth could dent fuel demand, so U.S. crude CLc1 fell 6.42% to $110.04 per barrel and Brent LCOc1 was at $113.30, down 5.43% on the day.

Gold XAU= was off 0.8% at $1,841.13 an ounce, weighed down by a firmer dollar.



World FX rates YTD Link
Global asset performance Link
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Editing by Lincoln Feast, Angus MacSwan, David Evans and David
Gregorio



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