- Minutes released Wednesday from the FOMC's last monetary policy meeting showed that central bank policymakers see the U.S. recovery from the coronavirus-induced downturn as "highly uncertain."
- Geopolitical tensions remain on the agenda after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Russia and China not to contravene the reimposition of UN sanctions on Iran
European stocks are set to open sharply lower after the U.S. Federal Reserve struck a pessimistic tone over the country's economic recovery prospects.
Britain's FTSE 100 is seen falling around 82 points to 6,030, Germany's DAX is expected to tumble by around 168 points to 12,809 and France's CAC 40 is set to drop by around 75 points to 4,902, according to IG data.
Minutes released Wednesday from the Federal Open Market Committee's last monetary policy meeting showed that central bank policymakers see the U.S. recovery from the coronavirus-induced downturn as "highly uncertain."
Stocks in Asia Pacific retreated in overnight trade after Wall Street turned negative on the back of the Fed's apprehension, while China held its benchmark lending rate steady.
Geopolitical tensions remain on the agenda after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Russia and China not to contravene the reimposition of UN sanctions on Iran. Pompeo has been instructed by President Donald Trump to trigger the measures at the UN Security Council in New York on Thursday.
Meanwhile, White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow told CNBC on Wednesday that Trump wants to prevent China from accessing some of the proceeds from the sale of TikTok's U.S. operations. Kudlow admitted that would be "unusual" for the U.S. Treasury to receive some form of payment.
In Europe, protesters continued to gather in Minsk on Wednesday evening in defiance of an order from Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko for the streets to be cleared by police forces. Demonstrations against the president have now continued for a week and a half since the country's election, which the European Union has dismissed as illegitimate.
Swiss drugmaker Roche has linked up with U.S. biotech firm Regeneron to develop a Covid-19 antibody cocktail.
On the data front, euro area construction output figures for June are expected at 10 a.m. London time on Thursday.
The European Central Bank's July monetary policy meeting accounts are published at 12:30 p.m. and will be scrutinized by investors for further hints on how policymakers intend to steer the bloc's economy through the pandemic.
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