In this recap, the world markets were mostly lower, with renewed anxiety over tensions between Russia & Ukraine, despite Russia’s claims to seek diplomatic lines to resolve the conflict. A German army convoy reached Lithuania on Thursday, bringing almost half of the planned reinforcements for the country’s German-led NATO battlegroup, amid fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. At the same time, German Air Force Eurofighters arrived at a military airbase in eastern Romania as part of a deployment to NATO’s eastern flanks in response to Russia’s military buildup in the region.
On Friday, Canadian police started arresting protesters as part of an operation to end a 3-week blockade of Ottawa by 100’s truck drivers that crippled movement in the capital & prompted Prime Minister Trudeau to take emergency powers. The drivers, joined by 1000’s demonstrators & some 400 vehicles, turned the streets around Parliament into a noisy party zone, since 1st arriving on Jan. 28, in what has become 1 of the worst crises to hit Trudeau since he assumed power in 2015. Canada authorized banks to freeze protesters’ accounts without a court order.
FBI Launches New Virtual Asset Unit Focuses on Blockchain/Seizure of Virtual Assets Including Cryptos, which means regulation.
The surge in energy prices hit the Eurozone’s trade balance hard moving it into a seasonally unadjusted trade deficit of 4.6B Euros ($5.22B) in Dec., from a surplus of 28.3B Euros ($32.14B) a year earlier as exports rose +14.1% while imports skyrocketed +36.7%. Adjusted for seasonal swings, the Eurozone trade deficit was even larger at 9.7B Euros in Dec, up from a 1.8B gap in Nov & surpluses throughout the rest of 2021. It boosted the EU’s energy trade deficit to 276.7B Euros ($314.25) in 2021, up from 157.2B ($178.53) in 2020.
Travelers from 59 countries will need to register to enter Europe in 2023; Laser-based system could reduce trips to Mars to just 45 days; new Google restrictions to reduce tracking of third-party applications; Blackstone consolidated as the largest residential & commercial landlord in the US; Musk still owns the largest stake in Tesla despite his stock sale; Virgin Galactic open ticket sales to the general public for the first time; Moderna shares have fallen 30% in one month; avocado prices have doubled in the U.S.