March 1, 2022
“Following its crash to an all-time low, the ruble has regained some stability this morning. Meanwhile, the US dollar has resumed its rise against major peers as traders react to the rapidly developing situation in Ukraine.”
Tim Hallinan – Trading Director
The White House has sent a high-level delegation of former officials to Taiwan to send a message of reassurance and to remind China not to step up pressure on Taipei while the US is focused on the war in Ukraine. Former chair of the US joint chiefs of staff, Michael Mullen, is leading the delegation, which includes Michèle Flournoy, a former top Pentagon official. In addition to the show of support for Taipei, the delegation will urge Taiwan to intensify long-needed efforts to bolster its own defences. The decision to send a delegation comes amid concerns that Beijing might be emboldened by Russian aggression and attempt to take advantage of the American focus on Ukraine to boost pressure on Taiwan, over which China claims sovereignty. Glaser said the delegation would give the US another opportunity to encourage Taiwan to implement defence reforms and strengthen its own deterrence, particularly as China studies the conflict in Ukraine to see what lessons could be drawn for any possible future attack on Taiwan.
The UK home secretary Priti Patel has resisted pressure to significantly ease requirements for Ukrainians seeking to enter Britain as they flee Russia’s invasion. Patel told the House of Commons on Monday that she was creating a “bespoke humanitarian route” for British nationals and Ukrainian residents in the UK to bring over their family members. However, in a statement during Home Office questions, Patel went little further than a concession offered by the prime minister on Sunday that Ukrainians resident in the UK would be able to bring over “immediate” family members fleeing Russia’s invasion. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has estimated that 500,000 people have fled Ukraine for neighbouring countries since Russia’s assault began on Thursday. The UK has only one operating consulate in Ukraine, in the western city of Lviv, which is only issuing visas to the families of British nationals with residency in Ukraine.
Sterling is well bid against most major currencies overnight. The UK government is working through a “hit list” of Russian oligarchs with links to President Vladimir Putin as it seeks to impose sanctions on them, foreign secretary Liz Truss said on Monday. Business groups have called on the government to bring in lower tax and higher investment measures to stimulate economic growth and revive faltering productivity ahead of the chancellor’s spring statement in March. Householders are discovering the stark reality of rising energy bills as emails from suppliers reveal how much more they will pay from April. Energy companies are required to send notices to their customers about an increase, stating in clear financial terms how much more they will pay. Travellers in London are being warned to brace for severe disruption to Tube services. The London Underground will be crippled on Tuesday and Thursday.
Euro is stronger against the dollar and weaker against sterling this morning. A bonfire of EU shibboleths on the economy, conflict, finance, energy supply, migration, and even the bloc’s future shape and size, has been lit by the conflict raging in Ukraine. Combined with freezing most of Russia’s foreign exchange reserves, the EU has made a political decision to force a deep recession on the Russian economy, with the hurt and pain that will be felt by Europeans as a result becoming a political irrelevance. At least nine people have been killed and 37 injured after Russian forces launched multiple rocket strikes on the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv in what appeared to mark a change in tactics by Moscow towards bombing civilian areas. Italy’s EU harmonized consumer inflation probably accelerated to 5.5% year on year in February. EU members dropped the demand for visas altogether, allowing Ukrainians to come to the EU for up to three years visa-free.
The dollar has weakened against most major currencies in the early morning trade. The US has taken its most aggressive step yet to cripple Russia’s economy and financial system, announcing a ban on transactions with Russia’s central bank and new sanctions on the Russian Direct Investment Fund and its chief executive Kirill Dmitriev, a key ally of President Vladimir Putin. US lawmakers are planning legislation to outlaw the controversial bankruptcy manoeuvre called the “Texas two-step” to prevent large companies from abusing the Chapter 11 process, the chair of the Senate judiciary committee has said. Meanwhile, investors are bracing for turmoil in the market for mortgage loans backed by the government as the Federal Reserve begins to sketch out its plans to shrink its $9tn balance sheet. The number of new people getting vaccinated in America has steadily declined, according to Centres for Disease Control and Prevention data.
Stocks and oil made gains Tuesday amid a lull in the intense volatility sparked by the war in Ukraine and the sanctions placed on Russia. The Stoxx Europe 600 index edged higher at the open, with earnings back in focus. US contracts gained after the S&P 500 came off its lows to close with a modest decline Monday. Treasuries slipped back after surging during the Wall Street session on risk aversion and month-end rebalancing. The dollar was little changed. Oil pushed higher as traders balanced the possible release of emergency stockpiles against fears of disruption to Russian energy exports. President Vladimir Putin has announced countersanctions, while officials also introduced some capital controls to try and stem a ruble plunge. There’s a growing risk that Russia’s stocks and bonds could be kicked out of major investment benchmarks as they become increasingly hard to trade. Markets have been whipsawed by the conflict and steps to isolate commodity-rich Russia.
Main Economic Data/Central Banks/Government (All Times CET)
8:30 a.m.: Deputy Gov. Bache receives Norges Bank Watch Report
8:30 a.m.: Sweden Feb. Swedbank/Silf Manufacturing PMI
9:00 a.m.: Czech 4Q GDP
9:00 a.m.: Poland Feb. Markit Manufacturing PMI
9:00 a.m.: Hungary Jan. PPI
9:15 a.m.: Spain Feb. Markit Manufacturing PMI
9:30 a.m.: Czech Feb. Markit Manufacturing PMI
9:45 a.m.: Italy Feb. Manufacturing PMI
9:50 a.m.: France Feb. Markit Manufacturing PMI
10:00 a.m.: Eurozone Feb. Markit PMI
10:00 a.m.: Norway Feb. DNB/NIMA Manufacturing PMI
10:30 a.m.: U.K. Jan. Consumer Credit, Mortgage Approvals
11:00 a.m.: Italy Feb. CPI
12:30 p.m.: ECB’s Panetta speaks
2:00 p.m.: Germany Feb. CPI
7:30 p.m.: BOE’s Saunders speaks
8:00 p.m.: BOE’s Mann speaks
OPEC+ meets via videoconference to discuss Ukraine-Russia risks and progress toward a renewed Iran nuclear deal
Bloomberg to publish crude-export tanker tracking for February
IEA holds an extraordinary ministerial meeting
Earnings include Bayer, Beiersdorf, Swiss Life Holding, Symrise, Zalanda, Croda International, Hellofresh SE, Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Var Energi, Osram Licht, Manchester United
Pre-market U.S. earnings: Baidu, Domino’s, Kohl’s, Target, Horizon Therapeutics, AutoZone, Healthcare Trust of America