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EMEA Morning Briefing:Ukraine Risks, Soaring -2-

The war in Ukraine has added urgency to the Biden administration's monthslong search for new oil supplies, as it seeks to contain surging energy prices through talks at home and diplomacy abroad with friends and foes alike.

The rush to fill gaps from Russia's rapidly shrinking contribution to the global energy markets has led the White House to oil-rich nations in the Middle East, countries under U.S. sanctions and private-sector oil giants meeting this week in Houston. But the quest has been complicated by several factors, including President Biden's vow to take a tougher line against Saudi Arabia over human-rights abuses, domestic political pressure and post-pandemic supply-chain disruptions.

   
 
 

Biden's Digital Dollar Could Rile Banks and Crypto

The Biden administration's plan to study whether to launch a digital dollar may bring together some strange bedfellows: banks and crypto companies.

It isn't yet clear what the administration's statement seeking to "explore a U.S. Central Bank Digital Currency" and its potential to work "in a manner that protects Americans' interests" might mean in practical terms. A CBDC could work in a number of different ways. But both traditional deposit-taking lenders and some upstart digital currency companies have had worries about what would happen if U.S. dollars become digitized in ways that might enable them to move or be stored independently or on a government-owned network.

   
 
 

Can Investors and Central Bankers Rule Out a Russia-Fueled Recession?

When not even a war deters central banks from tightening monetary policy, investors should know they are on perilous ground.

On Thursday, the European Central Bank said it would scale down its bond buying faster than previously planned, opening the door to interest-rate increases later this year, even though its president, Christine Lagarde, admitted that "economic activity could be dampened significantly" by the war in Ukraine. The ECB cut its baseline projection for eurozone economic growth in 2022 from 4.2% to 3.7%, with a more "severe" scenario bringing it down to 2.3%.

   
 
 

Nickel Market Freeze Extended to Sort Out Big Trading Loss Amid Ukraine War

London's nickel market will stay closed at least until next week, giving the London Metal Exchange more time to resolve a crisis caused by a huge loss-making trade originating in China.

The LME paused trading in nickel Tuesday, the first time it had suspended a market since 1985, and canceled trades executed before the suspension. The exchange late Thursday extended the freeze through the end of the week.

   
 
 

Russia Ramps Up Ukraine Attacks in Effort to Seize Strategically Key Port City

Moscow launched a fresh assault on the besieged southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol on Thursday, a day after one of its planes bombed a maternity hospital, illustrating how Russia is ramping up a violent push to take strategic towns, at a high cost for civilians.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, after a meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart on Thursday, said the hospital was a legitimate target because it was held by "local radical militias," though Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters "we don't have clear information" about the incident.

   
 
 

China's Tech Giants Dive on Concerns Over Consumption Slowdown, U.S. Regulations

Shares of China's largest tech companies dived Friday, extending a steep overnight selloff on Wall Street following renewed concerns over China's slowing consumption and the potential risk of U.S. delistings.

JD.com took the hardest hit, with shares slumping as much as 18% by midday, after the e-commerce giant, in its latest earnings call late Thursday, guided for macroeconomic pressures on China's retail sector in early 2022 amid rising raw-material prices and recent local Covid-19 outbreaks.

   
 
 

Write to paul.larkins@dowjones.com

   
 
 

Expected Major Events for Friday

06:00/FIN: Jan Balance of Payments

07:00/GER: 4Q Labour cost index

07:00/DEN: Jan External trade (provisional figures)

07:00/DEN: Jan Balance of payments (provisional figures)

07:00/TUR: Jan Balance of Payments

07:00/UK: Jan Index of Production

07:00/UK: Jan UK trade

07:00/UK: Jan Index of services

07:00/GER: Feb CPI

07:00/TUR: Jan Industrial Production Index

07:00/UK: Jan Monthly GDP estimates

08:00/HUN: Jan Preliminary External Trade

08:00/SVK: Jan Foreign trade

08:00/CZE: Jan Industry, Construction

08:00/SPN: Feb CPI

09:00/ITA: 4Q Labour Cost Index

09:30/UK: Feb Bank of England/Kantar Inflation Attitudes Survey

10:00/CRO: Jan Foreign Trade

10:00/MLT: Jan International Trade

11:00/POR: Jan International trade statistics

12:30/UK: Feb NIESR Monthly GDP Tracker

15:59/UKR: Feb CPI

15:59/UKR: Feb PPI

15:59/UKR: 4Q GDP

All times in GMT. Powered by Kantar Media and Dow Jones.

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This article is a text version of a Wall Street Journal newsletter published earlier today.

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

March 11, 2022 00:26 ET (05:26 GMT)

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