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March 6: Food Crisis has arrived, Energy war, Russian Wealth Collapses (Recap Ep165)

In this week’s recap, the US markets closed lower this week, with oil prices surging to multiyear highs, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continued to roil markets. Euro & Asian markets ended far lower due to the Russian-Ukraine crisis. Latin American markets ended mostly positive. The food crisis begins in Europe and Asian countries.

The American Petroleum Institute (API) estimated there was a surprise draw this week for crude oil of 6.1M barrels after a prediction of a build of 2.79M barrels. U.S. crude inventories have shed some 80M barrels since the start of 2021 & about 22M barrels since the start of 2022. Global crude stockpiles are also low & could fall even lower should Russia’s crude oil exports be curtailed with sanctions. Futures contracts of 23 main commodities climbed +4.1% on the day alone. Crude oil April/May futures on Wednesday morning: (U.S.) +5.79% at $109.40 & (Brent) +5.74% at $111.00.

The economic turmoil over President Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine eliminates some 1/3 of the wealth of Russia’s 20 richest billionaires. The impact of Western sanctions on oligarchs, along with the collapse of the Russian ruble & economy, as well as worldwide outrage over events in Ukraine, have resulted at the end of an era, for an entire class of Russian elites globally. Russia’s top billionaires have lost over $80B in wealth in recent weeks, with even more to come, as sanctions & seizures escalate.

On Wednesday, U.S.-based Ford Motor announced it will reorganize operations, to separate its electric & internal-combustion engine businesses into separate units within the automaker. The move is expected to streamline its growing electric vehicle business & thereby maximize profits. It’s a similar strategy to how Ford is operating its Ford Pro commercial vehicle business under CEO Jim Farley’s Ford+ turnaround plan. Shares up +4.55 in the pre-market at $17.46.

The world’s 3 largest shipping lines have all suspended non-essential deliveries to Russia, joining a growing list of companies shunning the country amidst Western sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine. Danish shipping giant Maersk, Switzerland-based MSC & France’s CMA CGM all announced on Tuesday, that they will no longer take bookings for goods from Russia & were suspending most deliveries to the country.

Scientists in Australia plan to bring the Tasmanian tiger back; Canada becomes the first Western nation to ban Russian crude oil imports; Russian oligarchs move yachts as the U.S. looks to “hunt down” and freeze assets; U.S. mortgage rates fall on Ukraine-Russia crisis; Putin loses the support of longtime ally Viktor Orban; Finnair’s share price ended Monday down by -20.35%; Shares of European defense companies rose sharply; Russian banks removed from the SWIFT system and the ruble reaches an all-time low.

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