Spring training postponed.
1. Russia could invade Ukraine at any time and might create a surprise pretext for an attack, the United States said on Sunday, as it reaffirmed a pledge to defend "every inch" of NATO territory. Russia has more than 100,000 troops massed near Ukraine, which is not part of the Atlantic military alliance, and Washington - while keeping open the diplomatic channels that have so far failed to ease the crisis - has repeatedly said an invasion is imminent. Moscow denies any such plans and has accused the West of "hysteria." (Source: reuters.com)
2. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is preparing to launch a fresh attempt to deter Vladimir Putin from further invading Ukraine, as US officials warned that Russia was on the brink of launching an attack on its western neighbor. His actions came as western nations continued to withdraw diplomatic and military personnel from Ukraine and airlines cancelled flights to the country. Some European countries are preparing to receive a flood of refugees in the event of military action. Scholz will travel to Kyiv on Monday before arriving in Moscow on Tuesday. The German leader is expected to urge Putin to de-escalate the situation on the Ukraine border, a senior government official said. He will also convey “how grave the consequences of an attack would be” in terms of sanctions on Russia, and stress “that one should not underestimate the unity of the EU, US and UK.” (Source: ft.com)
3. The threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine is shaking up a fragile global oil market, pushing prices closer to $100 a barrel as traders calculate that supplies will struggle to cushion the effect from any significant disruption in Russian fossil fuel exports. Demand for oil has outpaced production growth as economies slowly rebound from the worst of the pandemic, leaving the market with a small buffer to mitigate an oil-supply shock. Russia is the world’s third-largest oil producer, and if a conflict in Ukraine leads to a substantial decrease in the flow of Russian barrels to market, it would be perilous for the tight balance between supply and demand. Those dynamics have led traders in recent days to price in a sizable geopolitical risk premium, according to analysts. Crude oil prices, which haven’t topped $100 a barrel since 2014, jumped to an eight-year high on Ukraine concerns Friday. (Source: wsj.com)
4. Stockpiles of some of the global economy’s most important commodities are at historically low levels, as booming demand and supply shortages threaten to fuel inflationary pressures around the world. From industrial metals to energy to agriculture, the rush for raw materials and food staples has been reflected in futures markets, where a large number of commodities have flipped into backwardation — a pricing structure that signals scarcity. Problems are particularly acute in metals, where spot prices of several contracts on the London Metal Exchange are trading higher than those for later delivery, as traders pay large premiums to secure immediate supply. “This is the most extreme inventory environment,” said Nicholas Snowdon, analyst at Goldman Sachs. “It’s a completely unprecedented episode. There is no supply response.” (Source: ft.com)
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