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- European equities opened little changed, flattish tones for the most part.
- Eurostoxx flat, Germany DAX -0.1 percent, France CAC 40 flat, United Kingdom FTSE flat & Spain IBEX -0.1 percent.
- US futures aren’t indicating much either, with the S&P 500 down 0.1 percent.
- Today’s trading has a more sluggish feel to it as we get things going in Europe.
- According to Zelensky, there is a possibility that he and Putin will not meet. Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky’s Remarks The question is not whether or not negotiations will take place.
- The question is how powerful you will be at the bargaining table.
- That isn’t exactly a confident statement that dialogue will end the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
- The good news is that, for the most part, markets have already moved on from all of the shenanigans here.
- AUD/USD climbs above 0.7600 to its highest level since June last year.
- The pair is trading up to its highest level since June last year, up nearly 100 pips on the day to 0.7635 at the time of writing.
- The technical momentum is entirely with buyers right now, following the RBA’s earlier today provision of a good platform for a break above the October highs around 0.7555.
- If the charts are to be believed, there won’t be much of a push towards 0.7800 in the near future.
- As things stand, the market is bringing forward rate hike expectations, with most analysts now predicting a June rate hike after previously expecting the RBA to act in August.
- The chances of a move during the May meeting have also increased, which is keeping the Aussie underpinned for the time being.
- The market may have underestimated the RBA’s potential shift in rhetoric, which we certainly got today, albeit in a subtle way. This has fueled the AUD/JPY rally, which is aiming for a tenth straight week of gains.
- Russia’s sanctions will be tightened by the EU.
- The EU will ban all coal imports from Russia;
- The EU will ban exports to Russia of semiconductors, high-tech machinery, LNG extraction technology, and other equipment; the export ban is worth €10 billion per year;
- The EU will ban imports from Russia of wood, cement, rubber, and chemicals; the import ban is worth €5 billion per year; and
- The EU will add dozens of other Russian individuals to the sanctions list.
- According to EU sources cited by Reuters, the measures are in place.
- The specifics are thought to be still being worked out, particularly the coal ban, as there is still some disagreement on the subject. Even if it does not specifically mention oil or gas, it is at least a first step by the EU in attempting to punish Russian energy.
- More on the US Treasury’s decision to bar Russia from using USD accounts.
- The US Treasury has stated that it will not allow any USD debt payments to be made from Russian accounts at US financial institutions.
- On a case-by-case basis, the Treasury Department had been allowing the Russian government to use foreign currency reserves held by the Russian central bank at U.S. financial institutions to make coupon payments on dollar-denominated sovereign debt.
- According to a US Treasury spokesperson, the US government decided on Monday to deny Moscow access to the frozen funds.
- The move was intended to force Moscow to make the difficult decision of whether to use the dollars it has access to for debt payments or for other purposes, including supporting its war effort, according to the spokesperson. If Russia does not comply, it will face a historic default.
- Biden is putting more pressure on Russia.