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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