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- Five days after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it has become clear that the Russian military operation is malfunctioning and that Ukraine was able to mount a much more effective defense than expected. The Russian operation lost momentum and failed to secure any city except on the Black Sea coast. President Putin sacked and replaced the Russian Chief of Staff.
- Western nations have imposed sanctions on Russia and the Russian central bank, which will fight today to allow the heavily weakened Russian ruble to float freely. The ruble has already plunged to a record low. President Putin was personally sanctioned and some Russian banks were removed from the SWIFT payment network. However, Western nations continue to buy Russian oil. It seems likely that the Russian stock market will not open for several days foreigners are already banned from selling Russian stocks.
- More European countries have not only closed their airspace to Russia, but the EU has announced that it will send weapons to Ukraine (probably overland via Poland) and the British Foreign Secretary even said she would be happy to see British citizens volunteering to fight for Ukraine. The Russians in retaliation announced a higher level of nuclear readiness.
- Ukraine and Russia will hold diplomatic talks today as the United Nations General Assembly prepares to hold an emergency session on Ukraine. Ukrainian President Zelenskyy said he did not expect much from the talks with Russia.
- After rallying late last week, markets opened more nervously as tensions between Russia and the West rose significantly over the weekend. Most major stock markets are trading well at Friday’s close, while crude oil and, to a lesser extent, gold are rising strongly again. In the Forex market, it seems that the situation is boosting the US dollar and weakening the euro. The Swedish and Norwegian kroner are particularly weak which is likely compounded by Russia’s threat of military consequences if Sweden joins NATO.
- Today, the Reserve Bank of Australia will release its rate and cash rate statement. The Bank should maintain its cash rate at 0.1%.
- New daily coronavirus cases worldwide appear to have peaked six weeks ago showing that the variant omicron wave is falling sharply almost everywhere.
- An estimated 62.7% of the world’s population has received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.
- The total number of new confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide stands at over 436 million with an average case fatality rate of 1.37%.
- The rate of new coronavirus infections now appears to be increasing only in Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, China, Iceland, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
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