The price of WTI Crude Oil shoots to a new 8-year high above $109.
- Seven days into the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it has become clear the Russian military operation is still performing poorly and that Ukraine has been able to mount a much more successful defense than had been widely expected. However, there are signs of more determined and ruthless action from Russian forces in some areas, with Kharkiv under assault from a Russian paratroop landing. Kiev continues to hold out but a long Russian military column is close to the city. There are reports that the city of Kherson may fell to the Russians overnight.
- Western nations have imposed sanctions on Russia and the Russian central bank, which are biting hard. Ordinary Russians are finding it difficult to make payments, access their savings, or convert rubles to foreign currency. Several companies, such as Apple, have halted sales within Russia, and the Russian government has banned anyone from taking more than $10k out of the country. It seems likely that the Russian stock market will not open for several days, with foreigners already banned from selling Russian stocks. Almost every western nation has closed its airspace to Russia while almost every NATO country is sending weaponry to Ukraine for the purpose of fighting the Russian invasion. In his State of the Union speech a few hours ago, President Biden offered moral support to Ukraine but no further concrete measures such as a boycott of Russian oil.
- The stock and Forex markets have broadly stabilized, but certain commodities produced in Ukraine and Russia such as Wheat and Corn have risen strongly, while Crude Oil continues its very strong upwards movement towards a new 8-year high price with the $110 level in sight. This high price of crude oil is triggering fears over its potential effect on economic growth. In the Forex market, the New Zealand and Australian dollars are the strongest currencies, while the Japanese yen and the Swedish krona are the weakest.
- Australian GDP data shows a quarterly increase of 3.4%, slightly lower than the 3.5% which had been widely expected.
- Today will bring releases of the ADP forecast for US non-farm payrolls and the Bank of Canada’s Rate Statement and Overnight Rate.
- Daily new coronavirus cases globally seem to have peaked six weeks ago, showing that the omicron variant wave is in strong decline almost everywhere.
- It is estimated that 63.1% of the world’s population has received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccination.
- Total confirmed new coronavirus cases worldwide stand at over 438.9 million with an average case fatality rate of 1.36%.
- The rate of new coronavirus infections appears to now be increasing only in Brunei, Cambodia, China, Iceland, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.