March 14, 2022
“The Japanese yen hit a five-year low against the dollar this morning, as traders brace ahead of a Federal Reserve policy meeting this week. Inflation levels are likely to rise further in March as global sentiment turns negative over Russia’s war against Ukraine.”
Sam Cornford, Partner – Head of Trading
US officials confirmed today that Russia had requested military equipment and other assistance since the start of the invasion. Russia has asked China for military equipment to support its invasion of Ukraine, sparking concern in the White House that Beijing may undermine western efforts to help Ukrainian forces defend their country. The revelation comes as Jake Sullivan, US national security adviser, heads to Rome for talks with Yang Jiechi, China’s top foreign policy official. In his meeting with Yang, Sullivan plans to make Washington’s concerns clear while mapping out the consequences and growing isolation China would face globally if it increased its support of Russia, one US official said, without providing details. Sullivan also told that Washington believed China was aware Russia was planning some action in Ukraine before the invasion took place, although Beijing may not have understood the full extent of what was planned.
Boris Johnson is leading the effort to engage Saudi Arabia in the current energy crisis, a senior minister said today, following reports that the British prime minister would seek to persuade the oil producer to increase output. Boris Johnson is poised to travel to Saudi Arabia next week for talks on oil as he attempts to move the UK away from dependence on energy supplies from Russia. Although Downing Street insists the trip is not finalised or confirmed, the prime minister is facing calls from Tory MPs to intervene to urge the Saudis to release more oil. The potential trip has emerged as fuel prices at the pumps have reached record levels, topping £1.60 a litre for petrol and £1.70 for diesel, according to the RAC’s latest figures. The UK has always maintained a positive and constructive relationship with Saudi based on dialogue, and senior Conservatives are confident that Mr Johnson could broker an oil deal, which could be crucial to easing the energy crisis.
Sterling is stronger against the dollar and weaker against euro this morning. The number of British manufacturers raising prices has hit its highest since at least 2000, which underscored the inflation challenge facing the Bank of England. UK financial regulators have ordered banks to contribute to a crackdown by western governments on oligarchs and companies with links to Russian president Vladimir Putin, by sharing information on how individuals and businesses subject to sanctions move their money around the world. Britain’s main government funding agency for research at UK universities has suspended grant payments to projects involving scientists in Russia following the invasion of Ukraine. British households will be offered £350 a month to provide accommodation for “tens of thousands” of Ukrainian refugees expected to come to the UK under a new visa programme unveiled by ministers. UK households face a £38bn hit to their budgets from an expected doubling in electricity and gas bills following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Euro is well bid against most major currencies overnight. Russia’s finance ministry said on Monday it had approved a temporary procedure for repaying foreign currency debt but warned that payments would be made in roubles if sanctions prevent banks from honouring debts in the currency of issue. Ukraine’s leader, Volodymyr Zelensky, expressed tentative hope about a diplomatic push for a ceasefire even as Russian forces continued to shell his country’s cities overnight, leaving hundreds of thousands of civilians trapped in siege conditions. At least 35 people were killed and more than 130 injured in a Russian missile attack on a base in western Ukraine, just ten miles from the border with Poland. The deadly missile barrage, which devastated a base northwest of Lviv, drew the conflict close to NATO’s border and showed Moscow expanding its war effort to parts of Ukraine that so far have escaped bombs and shelling. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people rallied Sunday in cities across Europe to protest against Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine.
The dollar is weaker than most major currencies in the early morning trade. Donald Trump tore into Joe Biden during his first rally since the State of the Union where the former president said his successor is crawling on his knees and begging other countries for oil because the US cut off Russian energy following its invasion of Ukraine. US gasoline prices at the pump edged lower over the weekend after reaching all-time highs last week following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Retail gasoline prices fell for the second straight day on Sunday to $4.325 per gallon, below a record of $4.331 hit on Friday, according to American Automobile Association data. The Federal Reserve is ready to boost rates of interest for the first time since 2018, however it faces a dilemma over how aggressively to tighten financial coverage, as conflict in Ukraine threatens to dent development and worsen the best inflation in 40 years. Former US president, Barack Obama, has tested positive for a mild case of Covid-19.
Stocks in Europe climbed along with US equity futures on Monday as negotiators from Russia and Ukraine prepare for a new round of talks. A global bond rout deepened, with the five-year Treasury yield cresting 2% for the first time since 2019. The Stoxx Europe 600 index climbed around 0.6% at the open, with insurers and banks leading the advance. Basic-resources stocks fell as crude oil declined. Contracts on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 rose, signalling a rebound from last week’s drop. The 10-year Treasury yield climbed to its highest level since July 2019 and yields across the euro regions also jumped. The flattening US Treasury yield curve, and a 12% drop in global stocks this year, signal worries that receding stimulus and higher costs for energy, grains and metals may throttle the world economic recovery. Investors are also waiting to see if Russia defaults on its international debt after losing access to almost half of its foreign-exchange reserves.
Main Economic Data/Central Banks/Government (All Times CET)
8:00 a.m.: Sweden Feb. CPI
8:45 a.m.: France Jan. trade balance
9:00 a.m. Czech Republic Jan. retail sales
9:00 a.m.: Spain Jan. retail sales
4:30 p.m.: U.S. to sell 13-week bills, 26-week bills
UK’s annual review of the CPI basket
BP launches annual energy outlook
Earnings include Prada, Talanx, Vail Resorts, Coupa Software, Gitlab, Phoenix Group, Absa, ERG