March 4, 2022
“The Euro fell to its lowest since May 2020, oil prices soared above $114 a barrel and global shares plunged as major cities in Ukraine are suffering relentless missile bombardment from Russia and a fire broke out at Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.”
Sam Cornford, Partner – Head of Trading
Joe Biden announced sanctions on several Russian oligarchs and government officials in the US administration’s most extensive step to tackle Vladimir Putin’s business allies and inner circle following the invasion of Ukraine. The move on Thursday targeted individuals including Russian billionaire financier Alisher Usmanov, Nikolai Tokarev, the chief executive of energy company Transneft, and Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman. Speaking before meeting with his cabinet at the White House on Thursday, Biden said the move was part of the “severe economic sanctions” being levied on Moscow, which were already having a “profound impact.” The White House also announced the state department would implement visa restrictions on 19 Russian oligarchs and 47 of their relatives. The US also imposed sanctions on Kirill Dmitriev, the chief executive of Russia’s most prominent sovereign wealth fund, the Russian Direct Investment Fund.
The UK will miss its net zero carbon targets because the government has failed to introduce “credible plans” to drive investment in key alternative technologies, such as heat pumps, a parliamentary report has warned. Ministers have not yet explained how the transition will be funded or what policies and financial incentives they will use to deliver on their targets to reduce emissions, the study by the House of Lords industry and regulators committee said. The report urged the government to review its opposition to the use of state borrowing, warning that the amount that can realistically be raised via surcharges on energy bills would not be enough to pay for the net zero transition. Piling costs on to energy bills would also put unfair pressure on consumers already bearing the brunt of soaring energy prices and would fall disproportionally on low-income groups, the committee said.
Sterling is stronger against euro and weaker against the dollar this morning. The British government is seeking financial advisers to raise billions of pounds for the proposed Sizewell C nuclear plant in Suffolk as ministers close in on a tacit agreement with Beijing to remove Chinese state-backed energy group CGN from the £20bn project. UK foreign secretary Liz Truss is pushing for emergency legislation to speed up the process of sanctioning Russian oligarchs with links to President Vladimir Putin following the invasion of Ukraine. The UK prime minister has threatened to activate the override mechanism and suspend part of the UK-EU accord covering post-Brexit trade with the region due to concerns that its implementation is too onerous and disruptive to trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Euro is weaker than most major currencies in the early morning trade. Russian forces have seized control of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, after an overnight shelling attack that sparked a major fire at the site in south-eastern Ukraine. Russia subjected the Ukrainian port of Mariupol, and the cities of Chernihiv and Kharkiv, to relentless missile bombardment on Thursday as civilians bear the brunt of a war that Vladimir Putin has declared will be won “whatever happens.” Residents of Mariupol have told that they are trying to survive a relentless barrage of Russian shelling that has smashed residential districts and cut off power and water supplies. As Russian troops slowly advanced on Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, some people in Moscow were attempting to flee to destinations abroad that have not banned flights from Russia, stomaching soaring prices in the rush to escape.
The dollar is well bid against most major currencies overnight. The Biden administration will grant temporary deportation relief and work permits to tens of thousands of Ukrainians who are already in the United States but unable to return to Ukraine due to the military conflict with Russia. Meanwhile, lawmakers in New Jersey’s largest city have voted to suspend the licenses of gas stations branded with the name of a major oil company based in Moscow. The Labour Department’s closely watched employment report is expected to show labour market conditions tightening further, with the unemployment rate resuming its downward trend and a shortage of workers continuing to drive up wages. The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said some 93% of the US population live in locations where COVID-19 levels are low enough that people do not need to wear masks indoors.
Stocks fell Friday and US futures trimmed earlier losses after Ukraine said a nuclear-plant fire caused by Russian shelling of the area was extinguished. Investors also awaited monthly US jobs data. S&P 500 contracts edged lower, after earlier sliding as much as 1.7% following news of the fire. European equities also saw moderate losses after an earlier slump in futures, with bond proxies such as utilities in the green. An Asian equity index declined to the lowest since 2020. The latest escalation in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sent jitters through the market before sentiment eased, as local emergency services said the blaze was contained, and Ukraine told the International Atomic Energy Agency there had been no change reported in radiation levels. Russian troops have occupied the site of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.
Main Economic Data/Central Banks/Government (All Times CET)
8:00 a.m.: Germany Jan. trade balance, current account balance
8:00 a.m.: Sweden 4Q current account balance
8:45 a.m.: France Jan. industrial, manufacturing production
9:00 a.m.: Hungary Jan. industrial production
10:00 a.m. NATO foreign ministers meeting
10:00 a.m.: U.K. Feb. new car registrations
10:00 a.m.: Italy 4Q GDP
10:30 a.m.: IAEA holds briefing on Ukraine power plant
11:00 a.m.: Eurozone Jan. retail sales
11:00 a.m.: Greece 4Q GDP
12:00 p.m.: Ireland 4Q GDP
12:30 p.m. NATO’s Stoltenberg holds a press conference
2:30 p.m.: U.S. Feb. non-farm payrolls
3 p.m. Foreign Affairs Council
5:30 p.m. Blinken holds a press conference in Brussels
7:00 p.m.: Baker Hughes U.S. rig count
UN’s FAO food price index
Earnings include Dassault Aviation, OTP Bank, Hibbett
CEO Tim Cook to speak at Apple’s annual shareholders’ meeting