Inflation fears weigh on stocks, oil

Inflation fears are weighing ever more heavily on markets.

On Wednesday (May 19) the UK became the latest country to report numbers that worried traders.

Inflation there more than doubled in April, rising by 1.5%.

That was higher than analysts expected, and up from 0.7% the month before.

Clothing and footwear prices surged as shops reopened.

A jump in electricity and gas charges also added to the rise.

The Bank of England hopes it's just a temporary blip, but says price rises will go above its 2% target.

There's a similar story in the euro zone, where numbers Wednesday showed annual inflation hitting 1.6%.

It all mirrors signs of rising prices in the U.S., and comes as a recovering global economy stokes demand.

That has markets worried that central banks will soon have to start tightening policy.

Europe's benchmark Stoxx 600 fell more than one percent from the open as a result.

The worries showed up on commodity markets too, with copper and oil prices falling.

International benchmark Brent crude was down around 1.5% early Wednesday.

Traders said monetary tightening could crimp growth, and thus demand for commodities.

For now, most central bankers still bet that the rise in inflation will prove short lived.

But some investors are taking money out of riskier assets, just in case that's not right.