Brian Jacobsen provides perspective on the Russia-Ukraine war and other key topics of the current week—plus, his thoughts about what the week ahead may hold. Here’s his report for the week of April 9–16, 2022.

The week that was

Russia-Ukraine update:

  • Actions:
    • President Putin appointed General Dvornikov as head of military operations in Russia’s war on Ukraine. Dvornikov was accused of bombing civilian neighborhoods in Syria when Russia was backing the repressive regime of Syria’s President Assad.
  • Sanctions:
    • The European Union is working on a Russian oil embargo.
    • President Biden said Putin is committing genocide and pledged more aid to Ukraine.
  • Negotiations:
    • Austria’s chancellor, Karl Nehammer, visited Putin. The chancellor said he was pessimistic but that he told Putin to end the war and raised the issue of war crimes being committed by Russia.
    • Putin said talks are at a “dead end” and that the invasion is going as planned. Officials are still holding talks.
  • Earnings reporting season has begun! Coming into this season, at the index level, companies within the S&P 500 were projected to have an average earnings-per-share increase of 4.45% year over year, according to FactSet. Sales were projected to rise 10.81% year over year.

Economics:

  • There were some notable economic events in China:
    • China’s inflation numbers came in a little hotter than expected for March.
    • Exports in March rose more than expected, increasing 14.7% year over year.
    • The government said it will start easing Shanghai’s COVID-19 shutdown even as the outbreak worsens because of their concern about the economic fallout from the restrictions.
  • U.S. inflation numbers for March were high but in line with expectations. It’s possible that this is as bad as it gets now that food and fuel prices have come down from their March highs. We could see a little less pain going forward. Core inflation, which strips out food and energy, was tame compared with what we’ve seen since September. Inflation will be supported by services, especially rents, for the next year. Other components, like durable and nondurable goods, could help bend the inflation curve lower. Households have to deal with higher food, fuel, and financing costs. Food and fuel costs are a function of the dynamics in Ukraine. Financing costs are moving higher with the Federal Reserve’s policy pivot. Higher food, fuel, and financing costs can test how resilient the economy really is.
  • New Zealand’s central bank hiked its policy rate by 50 basis points (bps; 100 bps equal 1.00%).

Politics:

  • French President Macron will face off against Marine Le Pen (a far-right candidate) in France’s presidential election on April 24.
  • The European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union (EU), will accelerate Ukraine’s EU membership negotiations.
  • Pakistan’s prime minister, Imran Khan, lost a no-confidence vote in the Parliament of Pakistan and was removed from office. The Parliament elected Shehbaz Sharif, a member of the center-right Pakistan Muslim League, as the new prime minster.

The week to come

Thanks for reading, stay informed!

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