“After delegates from Ukraine and Russia met yesterday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Russia’s demands were becoming ‘more realistic’ and that ‘any war ends with an agreement’.”
US President Joe Biden has been banned from entering Russia in response to sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine. Mr Biden has not visited Russia since 2011, when he was vice president to Barack Obama. His trip to Moscow included talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Senior White House officials make up the bulk of the 13-name “stop list”, which also features Hillary Clinton. The former presidential candidate visited Russia a handful of times when she was secretary of state but has not been since 2012. Russia’s foreign ministry said it would still maintain official relations with Washington and make high-level contact with those on the list if necessary. The US has itself announced sanctions on 11 Russian defence leaders and signalled that it could levy sanctions against Alexander Lukashenko, the President of Moscow-allied Belarus.
Boris Johnson began a visit today to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia where he will try to persuade the UK’s Gulf allies to step up oil production and ease pressure on energy prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The war in Ukraine and sanctions on Russia have roiled energy markets, driving crude prices close to $100 a barrel and ratcheting up pressure on OPEC members to raise output. Johnson on Tuesday said his trip to the Middle East is part of a broader effort to wean Europe off Russian energy; the UK plans to phase out imports of Russian oil by year-end, while also looking at reducing gas imports from Russia. Saudi Arabia and the UAE pump more than 13 million barrels of oil a day between them and are both key members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which has resisted calls from the US, Japan and European nations to accelerate production increases. OPEC is in an alliance with Russia that’s known as OPEC+.
Sterling is stronger against the dollar and weaker against the euro this morning. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson defended on Wednesday his decision to visit Saudi Arabia where he is seeking increased supplies of oil, saying ties with the country were very important and promising to raise human rights issues. Johnson said the West had made a mistake in allowing itself to become dependent on Russian oil and gas, and that had effectively allowed Putin to hold them to ransom. However, his visit has drawn criticism from lawmakers and campaigners, coming days after Saudi Arabia executed 81 men in its biggest mass execution in decades. Asked about criticism of Saudi Arabia’s human rights record, Johnson said, “I’ve raised all those issues many, many times over the past … and I’ll raise them all again today.”
The euro is well bid against most major currencies overnight. Russia’s invasion neared the three-week mark and the number of Ukrainians who have left the country amid Europe’s heaviest fighting since the Second World War eclipsed three million. After delegations from Ukraine and Russia met again yesterday via video, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said early today that Russia’s demands were becoming “more realistic”. The two sides were expected to speak again today. “Efforts are still needed, patience is needed,” he said in his nightly video address to the nation. “Any war ends with an agreement.” He appealed for more weapons and more sanctions to punish Russia and repeated his call to “close the skies over Ukraine to Russian missiles and planes”. He said Russian forces on Tuesday had been unable to move deeper into Ukrainian territory but had continued their heavy shelling of cities.
The dollar is weaker than most major currencies in the early morning trade. After Moscow’s military failed to rapidly secure control of key cities including Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, it has resorted to increasingly brutal attacks on civilian targets — and western officials have stepped up warnings that Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, might resort to the use of chemical weapons as well. While Biden has warned Russia would pay a “severe price” for any chemical weapons attack in Ukraine, the US and its allies have not detailed how they would react to such a move. NATO officials say they have adopted an approach of “strategic ambiguity”, thereby removing Putin’s ability to select his possible options based on a known response. A collection of well-connected lobbyists and lawyers in Washington have made millions of dollars over the past eight years by working for Russian clients with links to the Kremlin, according to a Financial Times analysis.
Ballinger & CO. Morning Report- 16th March 2022
GBP>EUR – 1.1896
GBP>USD – 1.3066
EUR>USD – 1.0983
GBP>CAD – 1.6621
GBP>AUD – 1.8060
GBP>SEK – 12.445
GBP>AED – 4.7987
GBP>HKD – 10.222
GBP>ZAR – 19.717
GBP>CHF – 1.2279
· 9:00 a.m.: Spain Jan. house transactions
· 10:00 a.m.: Italy Feb. CPI
· 10:15 a.m.: Denmark to sell bonds
· 11:00 a.m.: Norway to sell bonds
· 11:30 a.m.: Germany to sell bonds
· 12:00 p.m.: Portugal Feb. PPI
· 12:00 p.m.: Riksbank’s Ingves speaks
· 2:00 p.m.: Poland Jan. current account
· 3:30 p.m.: EIA US oil inventories
· 5:00 p.m.: Russia March 11 CPI
· 7:00 p.m.: FOMC concludes two-day meeting
· Finnish PM Marin meets German Chancellor Scholz in Berlin
· Ukraine’s Zelenskiy delivers virtual address to US Congress
· IEA’s monthly oil market report
· Earnings include Inditex, E.ON, CK Infrastructure OMV capital markets day
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