Morning Report

February 21, 2022

“Led by the South Korean won and the Indian rupee, Asian currencies solidified this morning due to plans by Biden and Putin to hold a summit on the Ukraine prices.”

Tim Hallinan – Trading Director

Main Headlines

US president Joe Biden and Russia’s Vladimir Putin agreed to a proposal by France’s Emanuel Macron to hold a US-Russia summit on Ukraine, the French Elysee Palace and the White House said. Both Biden and Putin, whom Macron spoke to in separate phone calls on Sunday, have “each accepted the principle of such a summit,” the Elysee said in a statement early Monday. The summit can only be held if Russia does not invade Ukraine. Washington confirmed it is “committed to pursuing diplomacy until the moment an invasion begins,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov are also scheduled to meet on Thursday. The Elysee said the content of the proposed US-Russia summit will be planned by Blinken and Lavrov. Early on Monday, the White House said Biden would participate in a virtual G7 leaders’ meeting held on February 24 to discuss the situation regarding Russia and Ukraine. Earlier on Sunday, Macron and Putin agreed to intensify the search for solutions to the Ukraine standoff during a nearly two-hour phone call.

Asking prices for UK homes jumped in February, driven by strong demand for property in London and elsewhere and a shortage of housing stock. The price of homes coming to market rose by £7,800 between January and February, climbing to £348,800, according to data from Rightmove, the UK’s largest online property portal. The 2.3 per cent rise marked the largest monthly increase since the company started tracking national prices in 2001. Data shows that the average asking price of houses had risen by nearly £40,000 in two years since the pandemic started, compared to just over £9,000 between 2018 and 2020. Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property data, said that “high demand and a shortage of available stock” had supported the asking-price rise. Benn Hudson, managing director at the estate agent Hudson Moody in York, north-east England, said a lack of housing stock was currently its “biggest challenge.” The housing market is also supported by low borrowing costs. Separate data by the Bank of England reported that the borrowing rate on the outstanding stock of mortgages fell to 2 per cent in December, a record low.


Sterling is stronger against the dollar and weaker against euro this morning. Britain and the EU are due today to agree at a key “stocktaking meeting” to keep talking on reforms to post-Brexit trade rules with Northern Ireland, as both sides try to avoid splits during the Ukraine crisis. The Queen has tested positive for Covid-19, ahead of the expected ending of all coronavirus restrictions in England in the coming days. Meanwhile, Boris Johnson will later today outline England’s long-term strategy for “living with Covid”, with proposals expected to include a scaling back of testing provisions and the scrapping of the legal requirement to self-isolate following a positive test. Tens of thousands of homes remained without electricity a day after one of the worst storms in a generation struck the UK, bringing record-breaking winds which claimed at least 12 lives across northern Europe and wrought widespread disruption and destruction. Insurers warned the clean-up from Storm Eunice could cost hundreds of millions of pounds.


Euro is well bid against most major currencies overnight. German producer prices jumped 25% on the year in January, pushed up mainly by higher energy prices, official data showed on Monday.
Five energy groups are suing four European governments for almost €4bn over the stymying of coal, oil and gas projects as climate change concerns rise, using a secretive process based on an international energy treaty. France is leading a western diplomatic drive to defuse the explosive crisis between Moscow and Kyiv. Russia’s threats to invade Ukraine are forcing China to strike a balance between Xi Jinping’s growing support for Vladimir Putin and Beijing’s self-interest in the region’s stability, according to analysts. The crisis, sparked by Vladimir Putin’s decision to concentrate 190,000 Russian troops near the Ukraine border, remains volatile. Storm Eunice has claimed the lives of at least five people on mainland Europe, after it whipped through the UK and Ireland on Friday, bringing chaos to millions.


The dollar is weaker than most major currencies in the early morning trade. The US embassy in Russia has cautioned Americans to have evacuation plans as the crisis over Ukraine deepens, citing the threat of attacks in Moscow and along the border with the neighbour Russia seems likely to invade. The move drew a rebuke from the Russian foreign ministry. The US Department of Agriculture is resuming inspections of avocados from Mexico, the US Embassy in Mexico City announced Friday. The move allows the US to resume imports of the popular fruit, which had been halted for nearly a week. Federal Reserve officials squelched what had been rising market expectations for an aggressive initial response to 40-year-high US inflation, signalling that steady interest rate hikes should be enough to do the trick. Meanwhile, it adopted a new set of investing and trading restrictions for its senior officials, barring a wider range of activities than was proposed last fall in the wake of an ethics scandal that shook confidence in the US central bank’s integrity.


US equity futures rose, and Asian stocks pared losses Monday as traders evaluated the possibility of a summit on Ukraine between President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. Nasdaq 100, S&P 500, and European contracts erased falls to climb about 1%, while an Asia-Pacific equity index came off its lows but stayed in the red. Markets are being whipsawed by Russia’s troop build-up near Ukraine and efforts at diplomacy to bring both sides back from the brink of war. Demand for havens eased, taking gold below $1,900 an ounce. Treasury futures slipped – cash Treasuries won’t trade because of a US holiday. Bond yields in Australia and New Zealand stayed lower in a sign of ongoing investor caution. Key Federal Reserve officials at the end of last week backed raising interest rates in March to curb the hottest inflation in 40 years. Meanwhile, bets on an aggressive, 50 basis-points Fed lift-off next month have diminished. In Hong Kong, Chinese technology stocks sank on concerns about more regulatory curbs on the sector.

Main Economic Data/Central Banks/Government (All Times CET)

8:00 a.m.: Germany Jan. PPI
9:15 a.m.: France Feb. Markit PMIs
9:30 a.m.: Germany Feb. Markit PMIs
9:30 a.m.: Riksbank publishes minutes from Feb. 9 meeting
10:00 a.m.: Euro zone Feb. Markit PMIs
10:00 a.m.: Poland Jan. retail sales, construction output
10:30 a.m.: UK Feb. Markit PMIs
3:00 p.m.: Israel Feb. Base Rate
5:15 p.m.: Fed’s Bowman speaks to ABA community bankers
EU foreign ministers meet in Brussels
UK, EU discuss reforms to post-Brexit trade rules
S&P Global Platts London Energy Forum
US markets closed for President’s Day

Corporate Events

Earnings include Williams Companies, Anglo American Platinum, Riyad Bank, Sun Communities, ICON, Sasol, APA, Faurecia, Galp Energia
Rystad Energy hosts its annual event during International Energy Week


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