With newsflow out of Ukraine having become a firehose, with market moving headlines firing every minute, traders can be forgiven if they have just given up following the narrative. To help out, here is a snapshot of all the latest market-moving news out of Ukraine over the weekend and overnight, courtesy of Newsquawk:
- US Secretary of State Blinken said the US and allies are in active discussions regarding a Russian oil import ban and reports later stated the US is weighing acting without allies on a ban of Russian oil imports, although the timing and scope of any ban is still fluid, according to Bloomberg.
- US House Speaker Pelosi said the House is exploring legislation to ban the import of Russian oil.
- Japan is in talks with the US and Europe regarding a Russian oil embargo, according to Kyodo.
- Russian Kremlin spokesman Peskov said there will be a reaction to the economic banditry they are seeing and that a ban on Russian oil risks the most serious market impact, while Peskov added that NATO is aware it cannot get directly involved in Ukraine. Kremlin also stated that companies will return to Russia and invest one day.
- Russia said it is to service and pay Russian bonds fully on time but stated that payments on debts to foreign residents will depend on limits imposed by foreign states.
- American Express (AXP) suspends operations in Russia and Belarus which is due to the Russian attack on the people of Ukraine. Visa (V) and Mastercard (MA) are also to suspend operations in Russia in which Visa noted that all transactions initiated with Visa cards issued in Russia will no longer work outside the country and Mastercard said cards issued by Russian banks will no longer be supported by its network. However, Russia’ s largest lender Sberbank noted that the Visa and Mastercards it issued will continue to work in Russia, according to Tass.
- Banks in Russia are rapidly trying to move to the Chinese UnionPay's system and its own Mir network after Visa and Mastercard suspended operations in Russia
- VTB Bank is preparing to pull out of Europe, according to FT.
- PwC is to separate its Russian firm from the rest of its global network which affects 3,700 partners and staff in the country.
- TikTok limited services in Russia due to the 'Fake News' law and Netflix (NFLX) also decided to suspend its service in Russia.
- Moody’s downgraded Russia’s sovereign ratings from B3 to CA; Outlook Negative, while it cut Ukraine’s sovereign rating two notches from B3 to Caa2.
- Ukraine introduced export licences for key agricultural commodities including wheat, corn and sunflower oil.
- Russia will stop invasion if Ukraine agrees to the following demand: constitutional amendment ruling out membership of any blocs (NATO); Ukraine must recognize Crimea as Russian, and Donetsk and Lugansk as indepenent states.
- Russia-Ukraine discussions to commence at 12:00GMT/07:00EST on Monday, according to Russian State TV citing Belta; Russian delegation has arrived for the discussions; subsequently, Ukraine Presidential Adviser says new talks with Russia will start at 14:00GMT/09:00EST.
- Russian & Ukraine Foreign Ministers are to meet in Antalya, Turkey, according to the Turkish Foreign Minister; meeting will occur on Thursday.
- Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kuleba said he doesn’t see progress in peace talks with Russia but have to continue talking, while he talked to US Secretary of State Blinken about providing more weapons to Ukrainian fighters and implementing more sanctions against Russia. Furthermore, US Secretary of State Blinken said unprecedented pressure on Russia will increase until the war with Ukraine is brought to an end, according to Reuters.
- Russian President Putin warned that they would consider any third-party declaration of a no-fly zone over Ukraine as participation in the armed conflict and said western sanctions are akin to a declaration of war, while he added there is no reason to declare martial law in Russia.
- Russian President Putin held a call with Turkish President Erdogan in which Putin said Russia is ready for dialogue with Ukraine and foreign partners, while he added that the military operation in Ukraine is going according to plan and any attempt to draw out the negotiation process will fail.
- Russian President Putin and French President Macron held a call on Sunday in which Putin told Macron that he agreed to talks between the IAEA, Ukraine and Russia to ensure security at nuclear sites.
- Russian Defence Ministry said the use of airfields of other countries by Ukraine airforce may be considered as participation of those countries in the conflict, according to Interfax.
- Russian Foreign Ministry said Britain has chosen to move towards open confrontation with Russia and that Russia will respond which will undoubtedly undermine British interests in Russia.
Third Party remarks
- UK Deputy PM Raab said sanctions are not a war crime and that talk of Russia using nuclear weapons is rhetoric and brinkmanship, while he added that China and India have to step up.
- UK parliament is to vote on sanction measures after the government put forward a series of amendments to the economic crime bill to crack down on corrupt elites and further ramp up pressure on Russian President Putin’s regime, according to Reuters
- UK Chief of Defense Staff Admiral Radakin said Russian lead forces have been decimated and it is not inevitable that it will succeed in taking over Ukraine, according to the Times.
- New Zealand announced sanctions on Russian oligarchs and published a travel ban list of 100 people. PM Ardern said they will stop superyachts, ships and aircraft from entering New Zealand territory, while sanctions will prevent Russian people and companies from moving money and assets to New Zealand to avoid other sanctions.
- Russian ambassador to the IAEA says Russia is favourable to the suggestion from IAEA Chief Grossi of a threeway meeting on Ukraine.
- Ukrainian President Zelensky said Russian forces are preparing to bombard Odessa city and that it will be a war crime; subsequently, Ukrainian staff suggest that Russian ships have struck Ukrainian troops' position in the Odessa region, according to Al Jazeera News.
- Russian military is to hold fire and open humanitarian corridors in several Ukrainian cities at 10:00 local time (07:00GMT/02:00EST) on Monday, while corridors from Kyiv, Mariupol, Kharkiv and Sumy will be opened at French President Macron's request, according to IFAX.
- Subsequently, the Ukraine Deputy PM says humanitarian corridors are still yet to open and they rejected the proposed corridors to Belarus.
- Russian Ministry of Defence said the Security Service of Ukraine and Azov neo-nazi militants are preparing a provocation with possible radioactive contamination of the area near the city of Kharkiv, according to Sputnik.
- IAEA said it was informed by Ukraine that the Zaporizhzhya nuclear plant management is under orders from the commander of Russian forces that took control of the site last week, while it stated that some mobile networks and internet was switched off by Russian forces at the site so that reliable information cannot be obtained through the normal channels.
- US is talking to Poland about a deal to send Soviet-era aircraft to Ukraine in return for American F16 jets.
- US officials said Russia is recruiting Syrians for urban combat in Ukraine, according to WSJ.
- UK PM Johnson spoke with Ukrainian President Zelensky and told him he would work with partners to provide further defensive equipment.
- IAEA and Iran issued a joint statement regarding resolving outstanding questions raised by the IAEA regarding three nuclear sites in which Iran will provide written explanations including related supporting documents to questions raised by IAEA that have not been addressed by Iran on the three locations by March 20th. IAEA will then submit any questions regarding the information provided by Iran within two weeks after that and the sides will then meet within a week in Tehran following the IAEA's submission of any questions on such information.
- IAEA chief Grossi said the exchange with Iran was very fruitful and noted that they have several important matters they need to resolve together, while he added that it would be very difficult to imagine the 2015 nuclear deal would be revived if safeguard issues are not resolved. Furthermore, Iran’s nuclear chief said they are very optimistic about resolving nuclear issues with the IAEA and that the remaining issues will be resolved in 3-4 months.
- Iran’s government said Russia’s new demands for guarantees from the US are not constructive for nuclear deal talks after Russia recently placed new demands on the table for written guarantees from the US that sanctions on Moscow would not damage its cooperation with Iran.
- North Korea fired at least one projectile into the East Sea that was suspected to be a ballistic missile, while North Korea later confirmed that it tested a recon satellite on Saturday.
- IAEA Chief Grossi says, at N. Korea's Yongbyon site, they are observing the construction of an annex to the reported enrichment facility, purpose of this yet to be determined.