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Business Lookahead: rocks and hard places

STORY: From tough rate decisions in the US and UK, to a wary eye on wobbly banks, these are the business and finance stories to watch out for in the coming days.

The Federal Reserve has to juggle stubborn inflation and a banking crisis at a two-day policy meeting that ends Wednesday.

A week ago all bets were on another half-percentage point rate hike.

After the turmoil following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, some now expect half that much or no increase at all.

Credit Suisse this week won a $54 billion lifeline from the Swiss central bank amid fears over its survival.

That’s bought some calm for markets, but investors remain on edge.

They will watch for signs that the bank has a lasting solution to its woes. Some see a merger with local rival UBS as one possibility.

The Bank of England might wrap up a 17-month campaign of raising rates.

While inflation remains high, there are some signs that it is starting to ease.

The bank also has to weigh up the country’s fragile economy, and the banking market turmoil.

Japanese policymakers will be watching prices too.

New numbers are due Tuesday, with core inflation already at twice the central bank’s 2% target.

The coming days may also see hefty pay raises agreed upon as part of the annual wage round at big firms.

But all eyes will remain on the global banking sector.

After rescues for Credit Suisse and troubled US lender First Republic, the question is whether the crisis is solved, or set to get worse.

Central banks may be on the hook once more if turbulence mounts again.