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GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks, euro slip as ECB gets set to hike rates

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·5 min read
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(Adds oil settlement prices, comment)

* Europe gets signal of first ECB rate rise in a decade

* Yen stuck at 20-year low against dollar

* China shares stumble on Shanghai's new COVID-19 curbs

* Graphic: Global asset performance http://tmsnrt.rs/2yaDPgn

* Graphic: World FX rates http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh

By Herbert Lash and Marc Jones

NEW YORK, June 9 (Reuters) - U.S. and European shares slid and euro zone borrowing costs hit an eight-year high on Thursday after the European Central Bank signaled it would hike interest rates next month for the first time since 2011, a move some said was too slow.

While the ECB decision was widely expected, the possibility of a larger hike from September weighed on sentiment at a time when the euro zone economy is grappling with slowing growth and soaring inflation.

Markets have focused for months on how fast central banks move to curb inflation. Investors now expect the Federal Reserve to hike rates by 50 basis points next week, especially if U.S. CPI data on Friday confirms an elevated inflation reading.

But central bank rate hikes also suggest trouble and have put investors in a bind, as they could spark slowdowns. The ECB said inflation would remain "undesirably elevated" for some time.

Bill Papadakis, a macro strategist at Lombard Odier, said markets see the ECB's policy rate peaking above 2% and portend slower growth.

"We think this would make monetary policy restrictive, and doubt that the euro region's economy could sustain such tight conditions, given its present challenges," Papadakis said.

The ECB's steps to tackle inflation were perceived as dovish after the Reserve Bank of Australia earlier this week hiked more than expected and amid signs the Fed will sharply raise rates, said Joe Manimbo, senior market analyst at Western Union Business Solutions.

"The ECB struck a somewhat less hawkish tone and as a result, we've seen the euro zigzag," Manimbo said. "The fact that the ECB is sticking to a gradual rate hike path has been underwhelming for euro bulls."

The euro fell 0.86% to $1.0622 against the dollar, as the dollar index rose 0.653%. But bond yields across southern Europe rose sharply after the ECB flagged a string of rate hikes would ensue.

"The ECB seems to be about six months behind the Fed at least in terms of action and probably attitude, too," said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Cresset Asset Management LLC.

With euro zone inflation at a record-high 8.1%, the ECB had already flagged a series of moves, including ending its long-running asset buying program at the end of June.

The ECB spelled out plans to raise rates a quarter point next month and probably half a point again in September, which would be the first 50-basis-point move in 22 years.

Bond dealers pushed Germany's 10-year government bond yield - the main proxy for European borrowing rates - to its highest level in eight years at 1.47%. The bund was later unchanged to 1.436%.

Yields on the 10-year U.S. Treasury notes rose 1.3 basis points to 3.042%.

The ECB also published new forecasts that raised this year's inflation projections to 6.8% from 5.1% previously, but cut its growth outlook to 2.8% from 3.7% due to sky-high energy and food prices.

With questions about how fast the ECB and other central banks need to move still unanswered, concerns about inflation and the impact on the economy sapped risk appetite.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 1.36% and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe shed 1.39%.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.97%, the S&P 500 lost 1.26% and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.63%.

European stocks were already on the defensive, led by miners, as China imposed new COVID-19 lockdown measures in Shanghai, while the financials sector fared marginally better with banks soon able to charge higher lending rates.

Asian stocks fell overnight. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan lost 0.5%, with Australian shares finishing down 1.4% and Seoul's KOSPI flat. Hong Kong's Hang Seng turned around from small gains to fall 0.7% and Chinese A-shares fell 1%.

The other focus for investors was the declining Japanese yen, which dropped to a 20-year low against the dollar of 134.56 before paring some losses. It also neared crucial levels against China's yuan which are highly sensitive for Asia.

A widening policy divergence has weighed on the yen, with the Bank of Japan remaining one of the few global central banks not signaling higher rates at present.

Oil prices dipped, just off three-month highs, after parts of Shanghai imposed new lockdown measures and as strong gains in refined products contributed to an ongoing bullish backdrop for crude oil.

U.S. crude futures fell 60 cents to settle at $121.51 a barrel and Brent settled down 51 cents at $123.07.

Gold prices as higher Treasury yields and a firm dollar dimmed bullion's appeal.

U.S. gold futures fell 0.2% to $1,852.80.

(Reporting by Herbert Lash and Marc Jones; Additional reporting by Andrew Galbraith in Shanghai; Editing by Jane Merriman, Lisa Shumaker and Alex Richardson)