A Spark Of Life.
News Items. 3/3/2022. Part 2.
1. The French presidential campaign’s big news: “Marion Maréchal is to join Eric Zemmour this weekend, according to an exclusive in Le Figaro. The decision has been taken months ago, but now it is time to put it into action, just 5 weeks ahead of the first round in the elections. With this decision Marine Le Pen's niece will destroy the Le Pen dynasty, depleting the Rassemblement National party, and perhaps even endangering Le Pen’s chances of getting into the second round. The moment Maréchal joins Zemmour, she will define the future of the far-right in France. This will not be with her family. Maréchal has been out of politics for five years. Despite her absence, she still preserved her image as a hopeful and future RN party candidate. Some wanted her to run in this 2022 elections, but she concluded this is not the time for her to lead that battle. Still, instead of staying out of politics, she decided to put her fate behind Zemmour. Maréchal is much closer to Zemmour in terms of vision and strategy than to her aunt. Maréchal had advocated an alliance of the right early on, but her aunt would not have it. This is one of the reasons why she retired from politics, biding her time. But the family betrayal she is about to commit may come back to compromise her ambitions later. (Source: eurointelligence.com)
2. Vladimir Putin has told Emmanuel Macron that Kyiv’s “refusal to accept Russia’s conditions” means “the worst is still to come” in Ukraine, saying Moscow was aiming to take “full control” by diplomatic or military means, according to the Elysée. As the number of refugees fleeing the conflict passed a million and Russian forces, backed by heavy shelling, advanced on cities and key ports in the south and east, Russia’s president said in a 90-minute call to his French counterpart he was “prepared to go all the way”, the senior French official said. Putin – who initiated the call – repeated that Moscow’s objective was the “neutralization, demilitarization and de-Nazification” of Ukraine, the official said, adding that Macron had responded that Putin was making a “major mistake” that would cost Russia dearly over the long term. “There was nothing in what President Putin said to reassure us,” the French official said. Macron had told the Russian president he was “lying to himself” and his country would end up “isolated, weakened and under sanctions for a very long time.” (Source: theguardian.com)
3. Eurointelligence: “When we heard about the central bank sanctions last week, we were flabbergasted. It was not so much that the possibility had escaped us. The US previously imposed this type of sanction on Iran. The reason we did not think it was possible is the foreseeable boomerang effect when deployed against an economy with large reserve holdings. We now think we understand what happened. The west did not think this through. It is a perfectly legitimate goal to stop a dictator from waging war. But the imposition of central bank sanctions will have an unbelievably toxic effect on how central banks hold reserves in the future. It raises questions about the fiat money system and fractional reserve banking. Money is not a physical commodity. It is an institutional promise. The sanctions mean that this promise has become subject to political discretion. By breaking that promise, we have defaulted. The Russians and many other countries will draw the conclusion that there are only three safe assets left: renminbis, gold and bitcoin. Dollars and euros are the dodgy money, because they can be withheld.” (Source: eurointelligence.com)
4. FAZ informs us that the Swift sanctions are essentially dead in the water. Only seven banks, representing a quarter of the Russian banking sector, are subject to the sanctions. What happened is that once this sanctions list went through the mill of talks with member states, only this pared-down lists survives. The EU originally promised to hit 70% of the Russian banking system. One reason for the exclusion of Sberbank is the deposits held by savers in the bank’s EU subsidiaries. It would have triggered massive deposit insurance claims. The reduced ambitions embed an important piece of hard information. It is telling us that EU member states will not be ready to impose transactional sanctions on Russia in areas deemed vital to the EU economy, especially the import of Russian gas, oil and coal. What this will also tell us is that we have no means to crush the Russian economy, as Bruno Le Maire suggested. Vladimir Putin has run into big problems with his military campaign. But he will be able to finance the war. (Source: eurointelligence.com)
5. Global commodity prices are on track for the biggest weekly rally in more than 50 years and Europe’s natural gas prices have hit a new record, as the war in Ukraine triggers “exceptional moves” in raw materials from oil to wheat. Highlight text The S&P GSCI index, a broad barometer for the price of global raw materials, has jumped 18 per cent this week, leaving it on track for the sharpest rise on records dating back to 1970, according to Refinitiv data. It is now at its highest level since 2008. US oil prices hit the highest level since 2008 on Thursday. Everything from wheat to aluminum and coal has also soared, in a move that will have profound effects on global businesses and consumers. (Source: ft.com)
6. Top Iranian leaders will meet on Saturday with the international official in charge of investigating their nation’s past nuclear activities, suggesting a potential solution to one of the key remaining issues preventing a reboot of Tehran’s atomic agreement with world powers. Iran has demanded the International Atomic Energy Agency conclude its stalled probe of past nuclear work as part of an agreement to reactivate the 2015 accord, which capped the Islamic Republic’s atomic program in exchange for sanctions relief. IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said Wednesday that he’s nevertheless “optimistic” that his inspectors can find a solution that preserves his agency’s independence while advancing the possibility of a deal. (Source: bloomberg.com)
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