Morning Report

February 24, 2022

“Moscow launched a full-scale invasion, with Russian forces firing missiles at several Ukrainian cities. Global stocks and US bonds dived this morning, accompanied by soaring oil and gold prices.”

Sam Cornford, Partner – Head of Trading

Main Headlines

President Biden has condemned Russia’s ‘unprovoked and unjustified attack,’ after Vladimir Putin ordered an invasion of Ukraine and told Ukrainian service members to ‘lay down their arms and go home.’ On Tuesday, US president Joe Biden announced a ban on participation in the secondary market for any Russian bonds issued after March 1, part of a flurry of new sanctions against Russia, as he accused President Vladimir Putin of launching an invasion of Ukraine. The EU followed suit on Wednesday with its own ban on the sale or purchase of new Russian debt. US investors were already barred from directly lending to Moscow. A ban on buying new Russia dollar debt has been in place since 2019 and Biden outlawed participation in the primary market, where new bonds are sold, for rouble-denominated debt last year. But the new curb in effect closes a loophole that allowed western lenders to indirectly finance the Russian state.

Rishi Sunak will position himself as a Thatcherite chancellor, setting out his vision for lower taxes, budgetary responsibility, and a greater emphasis on the private sector to underpin improved economic performance for the UK. Having been a chancellor that has so far raised taxes, overseen the largest peacetime budget deficits, and accepted prime minister Boris Johnson’s willingness to intervene in the economy, Sunak will give a lunchtime speech setting out his ambition for a radically different Conservative economic policy. The chancellor is due to outline his plans in the Mais lecture, delivered every year by a prominent figure in economics or finance, and will reprise his theme from October’s Budget that he aspires to lower taxes in the UK, in a speech that will appeal to the traditional right of the Tory party. Sunak has become exasperated by critics who claim that “tax cuts will always pay for themselves”; his aides say the remark was aimed at Labour, but it will also be seen as a rebuke to those on the Tory right who make that argument.


Sterling is stronger against euro and weaker against the dollar this morning. UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has told the City of London to prepare to implement a tough new wave of financial sanctions if Russia launches a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, as Labour urged the prime minister to “get on with it.” Hundreds of pounds a year will be cut from the take-home pay of graduates following a government decision to lower the repayment threshold for student loans in England, hitting middle earners most while benefiting those on higher pay. The UK culture secretary has been accused of putting British news organisations in Russia at risk after she called on the media regulator to review Moscow-based television station RT’s presence in the country. Self-isolation rules will remain in place for NHS England staff despite the government removing the legal requirement for the general public to self-isolate following a positive Covid-19 test from Thursday.


Euro is weaker than most major currencies in the early morning trade. For the second time this week Vladimir Putin addressed Russians from a wood-panelled room in the Kremlin as he laid out his justifications for the start of a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which is possibly the largest military attack in Europe since the second world war and one that he had likely long planned. Meanwhile, Western leaders issued a volley of condemnations and threatened reprisals against Vladimir Putin after the Russian president ordered troops into Ukraine. The EU is set to hold an emergency summit in Brussels this evening, which will have to find a response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s authorised ‘special military operation’ in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine early Thursday local time. The EU will “swiftly adopt” fresh sanctions against Russia following its decision to fully invade Ukraine, European Council President Charles Michel said in a statement on Thursday morning. Ukraine closed its airspace to civilian flights, while Europe’s aviation regulator also warned against the hazards to fly in bordering areas of Russia and Belarus, because of military activities.


The dollar is well bid against most major currencies overnight. The largest ever US sale of offshore wind development rights, for areas off the coasts of New York and New Jersey, attracted a record $1.5 billion in bids on Wednesday, supporting President Joe Biden’s plan to create a new domestic industry. Republican Senator Ted Cruz said on Wednesday he would lift his holds on President Joe Biden’s State Department nominees now that the Democrat has ended his waiver of sanctions on the company behind the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline. US Supreme Court justices on Wednesday struggled over whether to let Republican state officials defend an immigration rule crafted by former President Donald Trump’s administration to bar permanent residency for immigrants deemed likely to need government benefits. The US Supreme Court turned away a challenge to Maine’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers, rebuffing for the second time a group of plaintiffs who sought a religious exemption.


Global stocks and equity futures tumbled this morning while bonds and oil soared as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to order a military attack on Ukraine cast a pall over global markets. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 contracts slid about 2% and 2.5% respectively, signalling the latter, tech-heavy gauge faces a bear market. The Stoxx 600 Europe index shed some 3% and Asian equities fell to the lowest since 2020. Russian shares slumped the most on record after a trading suspension ended. Russian forces assaulted targets across Ukraine after Putin ordered an operation aimed at demilitarizing the country. Putin said Russia doesn’t plan to “occupy” its neighbour, but that action was necessary after the US and its allies crossed Russia’s “red line” by expanding the NATO alliance. Crude and European natural gas surged on possible risks to Russian energy exports, with Brent oil scaling $100 a barrel for the first time since 2014. The flight to safety saw the U.S. 10-year Treasury yield fall to 1.91%. The cost of everything from oil to grains to metals has ballooned on worries that raw-material flows will be disrupted by the unfolding crisis.

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

8:45 a.m.: France Feb. consumer confidence
9:30 a.m.: Hungary one-week deposit rate
10:00 a.m.: Italy Dec. industrial sales
10:30 a.m.: South Africa Jan. PPI
11:00 a.m.: Italy to sell bills
1:30 a.m.: Riksbank Deputy Governor Per Jansson speaks
2:00 p.m.: Russia Feb. 18 gold, Forex reserve
2:15 p.m.: BOE’s Bailey gives welcome address at the First Annual BOE Agenda for Research Conference
2:30 p.m.: U.S. 4Q GDP, initial jobless claims
5:00 p.m.: BOE’s Broadbent moderates panel
5:00 p.m.: ECB’s Schnabel speaks
7:00 p.m.: BOE’s Pill speaks
Sunak gives annual Mais lecture at Bayes Business School

Corporate Events

Earnings include American Tower, Alibaba, Hong Kong Exchanges, NetEase, Singapore Airlines, Intuit, Royal Bank of Canada, Vale


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