February 14, 2022
“ECB officials are pushing back against rate hike speculation saying it’s unrealistic to think the bank might hike in June. Wednesday brings the release of the FED January meeting, when the central bank signalled a march rate Hike.”
Tim Hallinan – Trading Director
US officials warned that Russian forces remain on the brink of invading Ukraine as Joe Biden failed to make a breakthrough during an hour-long phone call with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. The US president made a last-ditch attempt to persuade Putin not to attack Ukraine as governments began to withdraw diplomatic and military personnel from the country. Biden warned Putin that western countries would respond to an invasion with “severe” economic sanctions, but the White House said that his efforts had not changed the Kremlin’s position and an imminent attack remained a “distinct possibility.” US officials warned on Friday that Russia could launch a full-scale attack as early as this week. Putin agreed to consider some of Biden’s suggestions which the US hopes will satisfy Russia’s security grievances with NATO, Ushakov added. But he complained that Ukraine’s western backers were increasing the chance of open conflict by supplying it with sophisticated weaponry and modernising its armed forces. The US state department said most of its staff would leave its embassy in Kyiv, while American citizens would be offered emergency assistance from the western city of Lviv.
Boris Johnson announced the creation of two freeports in Scotland on Monday as he attempted to move on from questions about his leadership by focusing on domestic policy priorities. The UK prime minister is hoping the week-long parliamentary recess will give him some respite after facing intense pressure from backbenchers in recent weeks. Tory MPs are waiting for the Metropolitan Police’s investigation into the “party-gate” scandal to conclude before deciding whether to call for a no-confidence vote in his leadership. The police’s inquiries are not expected to be concluded until early March, according to those with knowledge of the process. The prime minister hopes to shore up his position with several announcements designed to appeal to backbench MPs. Steve Barclay, Number 10’s new chief of staff, pledged on Sunday that the Johnson government would “step back” and favour “a smaller state.” The plans for two Scottish freeports, special economic zones that benefit from lower taxes, follow the eight announced in England last year. The government said the programme would add £24bn to the UK economy and encourage £25bn of private sector investment.
Sterling is weaker than most major currencies in the early morning trade. UK financial regulators have warned banks looking to use artificial intelligence to approve loan applications that they can only deploy the technology if they can prove it will not worsen discrimination against minorities, who already struggle to borrow. Up to a quarter of a million of Britain’s poorest households stand to miss out on chancellor Rishi Sunak’s £200 reduction in October’s energy bills because of how they pay for electricity. Nearly two million households, often amongst the most vulnerable in the country, have old prepayment energy meters in their homes to which credit cannot easily be applied. The UK universities’ pension scheme has set new interim targets for reductions in carbon pollution to spur progress towards achieving a goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions across its portfolio by 2050. Britain believes that Russia’s powerful FSB spy agency has been given the task of trying to engineer coups in Ukraine’s major cities in the immediate aftermath of any invasion launched by the Kremlin. Boris Johnson will hold talks with world leaders this week in an attempt to bring Russia “back from the brink” of war, as the Ukraine crisis enters a “critical juncture.”
Euro is stronger against sterling and weaker against the dollar this morning. Ukraine could drop its bid to join NATO to avoid war with Russia, in what would amount to a major concession to Moscow in response to the build-up of Russian troops on its borders. Olaf Scholz, German chancellor, is preparing to launch an attempt to deter Vladimir Putin from further invading Ukraine, as US officials warned Russia was on the brink of launching an attack on its western neighbour. Scholz will travel to Kyiv today before arriving in Moscow tomorrow, where the German leader is expected to urge Putin to de-escalate the situation. Meanwhile, Germany and Spain called on their citizens to leave Ukraine. The German foreign ministry said it was relocating a consulate in the eastern city of Dnipro to Lviv. European printers have warned that industries such as food and consumer goods could suffer significant disruption to their supply chains because of a growing shortage of paper. Many businesses are already feeling the effect of paper shortages and a quadrupling of some prices in the second half of last year. Asset manager Abrdn was recently forced to delay a vote on a £ 1.5bn deal, after struggling to produce the printed documents it is required to send out to shareholders.
The dollar is well bid against most major currencies overnight. President Joe Biden has moved to freeze about $7bn in assets held in US financial institutions by the Afghan central bank in the wake of the Taliban takeover, as he vowed to direct $3.5bn to humanitarian aid and preserve the rest for families of victims of the September 11 terror attacks. The busiest U.S.-Canada border crossing reopened late Sunday after protests against COVID-19 restrictions closed it for almost a week, while Canadian officials held back from a crackdown on a larger protest in the capital, Ottawa. The crossing normally carries 25% of all trade between the two countries, and the blockade on the Canadian side had disrupted business in both countries, with automakers forced to shut down several assembly plants. Meanwhile, President Biden responded to American frustration with pandemic restrictions, saying that it was still too soon to end measures like indoor mask mandates, while suggesting that other restrictions may soon be able to end. The governors of Maryland and New Jersey defended their moves to ease Covid restrictions, saying on Sunday that falling coronavirus cases in their states justified a change even as new cases and deaths remain fairly high in some regions of the United States.
Stocks slid Monday and commodities including crude oil surged as geopolitical risks over Ukraine rippled through global markets, supporting demand for havens such as sovereign debt and the Swiss franc. An Asia-Pacific equity index fell over 1%, with markets from Japan to China and Hong Kong, which is also facing a Covid outbreak, in the red. Energy stocks bucked the trend, climbing as oil added to an eight-week winning run. Palladium and wheat, both of which see significant portions of the global supply coming from Russia or Ukraine, advanced. European gas prices jumped. European futures slid and those for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 were steady after Wall Street losses Friday. Treasury yields edged higher, while bonds in Australia and New Zealand rose. The dollar was steady. Tensions over Russia’s military build-up near Ukraine are entering a potentially decisive week, with the US warning an invasion may be imminent and President Vladimir Putin accusing America of failing to meet his demands. A deterioration in Ukraine could stoke concerns about price pressures if supplies of Russian energy and Ukrainian grain are disrupted.
Main Economic Data/Central Banks/Government (All Times CET)
8:30 a.m.: Switzerland Jan. producer & import prices
11:30 a.m.: Germany sells bills
1:00 p.m.: Turkey sells bonds
5:15 p.m.: ECB’s Lagarde speaks
Germany’s Scholz travels to Ukraine for talks with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy
So-called freedom convoys protesting vaccine mandates are expected to arrive in Brussels
EIA releases monthly Drilling Productivity Report
Earnings include Recruit Holdings, Tokio Marine, Kirin, Kubota, Arista, Japan Tobacco, Japan Post Bank, Adani Enterprises, Dai-ichi Life, Capgemini, Michelin, Continental Resources, Advance Auto Parts