Complete Intelligence


BBC: How are sanctions affecting Russia?

This podcast is owned and originally published by BBC here:

The BBC’s Business Matters podcast covers a range of topics, including the positive economic signs in the US, the Russian tech brain drain, and the potential for a new plug to be the secret to a green transition.

Guests Emily Eng, NPR’s Beijing correspondent, and Tony Nash, founder and CEO of the financial forecasting platform Complete Intelligence in Houston, provide their insights on these topics.

They discuss the impact of economic sanctions on Russia and how the country is responding to them, including increasing exports to China and reducing its crude oil supplies by 500,000 barrels per day to push up prices.

The conversation also touches on a controversial proposal by the European Commission to seize Russian assets to help rebuild Ukraine.

Additionally, the podcast covers the announcement by the US federal government that all new garages and four courts built in the country will have to include charging points for electric vehicles and its potential impact on accelerating EV adoption.



Hi there. Welcome to Business Matters. My name is Ed Butler, and today, despite all the political rows we’ve been hearing about a potential debt default, there are more positive economic signs from the United States. This week, we read the tea leaves with a former presidential economic adviser and hear about the new incumbent in that job. Also, we consider the Russian tech brain drain, and why a new plug could be the secret to a green transition.


This will definitely help accelerate EV adoption. Charging is one of the things that really does stand in the way of someone’s decision about going electric.


All the latest on electric vehicles in the States coming up in the show, and I’m going to be joined throughout the program by two guests on opposite sides of the world. Emily eng is NPR’s Beijing correspondent, although she is based in Taiwan at the moment. Hi, Emily, can you hear us?


Yes, I can. Good morning.


Great to have you on the show. Tony Nash. He’s the founder and CEO of the financial forecasting platform Complete Intelligence in Houston, Texas. Hi, Tony.


Hi, Ed. Thank you.


Great to have you both with us. Tony Nash this is obviously a function of, to some extent of the economic sanctions that we’ve been talking about, those applied against Russia. I mean, the funny thing about this is to some extent Russia hasn’t done that badly in the last twelve months, at least initially. I mean, that’s what the headline data is telling us. You look further into the future, I mean, are you seeing a kind of more serious decline potentially with Russia now because of what’s been applied against it?


Sure, there are a couple of things to look at. First, in the four weeks in January, Russia exported more crude oil than during any four-week period in 2021. So they are recovering their export capacity to places like India, China, parts of Africa, and other places. So, you know, it really hasn’t necessarily hurt their crude exports. When you look at imports, they’ve really substituted, say, the west for China. Their imports from China have grown by, I think, $8 billion a month. It’s got to be more than that, but I saw some numbers recently, but they’ve substituted imports from China. So in terms of trade, they’ve really turned eastward and southward instead of westward, which is just a natural response to sanctions. So where they’ve hurt is domestically in terms of things like industrial production of, say, machinery and domestic goods outside of, say, coal and oil and gas.


What the west, of course, has tried to do most recently is apply these caps on Russian crude exports. Now you’re saying that they’re getting around those or are they simply selling a larger amount of crude but at a lower price?


They’re getting around them. They haven’t hit the price cap yet. The crude is trading, or what has been trading at, I think, a $20 discount to the price cap. So they’re not even hitting the price cap. There’s a $20 discount to Euros crude. What Russia on its own, announced last week is that they’ll reduce their supplies by 500,000 barrels per day. So Russia is, on its own, taking barrels off the market as a way to push up crude prices. So the volume and the price caps really aren’t having an impact necessarily on crude itself. Of course, the Russian economy is being hit. Of course the isolation, of course other things are impacting Russia. I’m not trying to say that there are no impacts at all, but in terms of that natural resources, trade, and some of the import substitution, they’re actually doing okay.


Yeah, import substitution. This is the thing, and it’s a fascinating subject, actually. I was suddenly trying to dig into this, and it’s really complicated. But Tony, one last tantalizing thought on this. An element we understand, what Bloomberg is reporting that may be part of these new sanctions from the EU is to force banks to report more information on what Russian central bank assets they are actually holding. Because of course, the EU and other countries want to know how much has been frozen in Western bank accounts that used to belong to the Russian state budget. Now, this is seen possibly as a first step towards a controversial move touted by the European Commission, not just to freeze Russian assets, but to actually seize them, to use them to start rebuilding Ukraine or to at least pay Ukraine back for the damage that’s been caused. I mean, gosh. Do you think that that could be something we’ll be looking at in the next few weeks?


I think as a threat, I guess useful as a threat, but as an actual policy, I think it would be very difficult to execute and justify. Usually, these things are seized for years or decades. Sorry, frozen for years or decades, not necessarily seized. So I think that could be a very problematic policy to carry out.


Because it would set precedents.


Yes, that’s right.


For western countries, I suppose. Okay.


And the banking system that supports Russian assets or sovereign assets, would be dangerous for people like Russia going forward.


Tony Nash, thank you for now but stay tuned to this because this is big news. If you’re a car owner who wants to buy an electric vehicle, maybe you’ve got an electric vehicle already, especially if you’re in the US. The Us federal government has said that from now on, all charges that are used in the garages and the four courts around the states must be American made and have to be usable for all-electric vehicles. That means that Tesla, which has had most of the existing charging points, they have to carry, adapters, allowing other cars to use them. I spoke earlier about this with Alexis and John of Business Insider in Detroit. Well, Tony Nash, there you are in the big oil state, famously, there Texas. How is EV adoption going in the States?


It’s great. I’m sorry. It’s great. A lot of my neighbors have EVs, and I think it’s probably not as dense as, say, San Francisco or something. But we do have a lot of EVs here in Texas.


You’ve got a lot of territories to cover, though, don’t you? I mean, if you’re a driver. We do, and I have an electric vehicle. Every time I’ve gone 100 miles down the road, of course, I’m starting to sweat at the thought that, you know, at some point I’m going to have to refuel, otherwise I’m going to stop on the highway. Tony Nash are you confident that the move to electric vehicles is going to move as fast as some politicians, I suppose particularly politicians in Europe, are saying that we can sort of phase out the internal combustion engine in the next few years and rely entirely on electric vehicles? It’s going to require an awful lot of infrastructure. An awful lot of rare earth. Exactly, that’s right.


A lot of infrastructure. I mean, I understand the aggressive plans, but I just don’t think it can happen on that time scale. So it seems to me that maybe add ten years to it and sure, that makes sense. And to be honest, ten years in terms of adoption, in terms of building this stuff is really just the blink of an eye. So sure, I think it’ll happen, but I think it’s going to take a bit longer than people right now believe.


Right, it’s going to take longer, but that’s going to leave, I guess, a lot of politicians with egg on their faces, isn’t it?


That won’t be the first time. Quite true. Especially American politicians. Won’t be the first time.


Quite true. evelyn professor Jason Furman. Tony Nash, obviously he’s speaking in an upbeat way. He’s a supporter of the Democratic cause. Are you sensing a slightly kind of warmer, more positive mood in the US right now over its economic performance?


I think the mood is tentative because inflation is affecting everything. So if we look at that retail sales number, if you look at it in inflation-adjusted terms, we actually saw a decline of retail sales by 2.3%, and it was the fifth consecutive year-on-year decline. So five months in a row we’ve seen negative retail sales if we adjust for inflation. So I think inflation really covers everything. One of the things that the professor said that I’m not really sure is right is he says the White House can’t do anything about inflation. So we have Janet Yellen, who is a Treasury Secretary reporting to the White House, who is spending $140,000,000,000 a month from the treasury general account, and it’s offsetting all of the work that the Fed is doing. So the treasury is actually putting $140,000,000,000 into markets every month to keep markets booming. When the Fed is raising interest rates and selling off its balance sheet. So the US Treasury is actually and literally offsetting all of the good that the Fed is trying to do.


It’s interesting because we got Lyle Brainer coming from the Fed right this week to the White House as an economic advisor. You’re seeing that the political executive and the Fed are basically in conflict.


Absolutely. And Lail Brainerd is very smart. She’s fantastic. But she is very much a dove. She’s very much a loose monetary policy believer. And so what Janet Yellen is doing at the Fed in terms of pumping money in through the treasury general account, Lail Brainerd would be an absolute supporter of. And so we have to be very, very careful of inflation. All of these stimulatory activities really hurt your average worker. So there’s a concept called core inflation which really takes out everything energy, food, and so on and so forth. And really all it’s reflective of is service industry wages. Okay? So what we like to see is a headline number which will say 6% or something and what we’ll talk about is a core number which may be 1.2%. All that really means is that your hourly workers are being squeezed by inflation. So when the headline exceeds the super core inflation rate it just means that your hourly workers are being squeezed. And so it’s a really tough environment for wage workers.


Okay? It’s a tough environment. The bigger issue perhaps. Meanwhile, Tony, we still have this debt default issue, don’t we? We’ve been hearing about it in the headlines. Yet another cliff edge approaching in the United States. The wearyingly inevitable to some people kind of confrontation between Republicans and Democrats in Congress.


Yeah, I think what’s happened is the US has not actually had a budget for years and my understanding is what is trying to be negotiated is for the US to actually start doing an annual budget again that gets approved by Congress which is their constitutional role. One of the other items that I know are under discussion is this Treasury general account issue. Kind of profligate spending from the treasury to support markets. So there are some issues. It’s not just about the full faith and credit of the US. Of course, nobody wants the US to default but we’ve had some pretty ugly spending patterns for the past well as far as I can remember and I think some of that is just being discussed to come under control. So the US won’t default but it’s going to take some time to come to an agreement.


Yeah, indeed it will. We’re probably just going to be talking about it for weeks and weeks and weeks.


Well, I don’t think people realize there are thousands of protests in China every year. It’s not rare to have protests in China. Some of them are local workplace protests. Some of them are bigger. There was a protest east of Wuhan a few years ago about the location of I think a plastics factory or something like that. And there was one in Guangdong about, I think, an incineration plant or something, probably four or five years ago. But there are thousands of protests in China. It’s good that this is happening, and it’s a good discussion to have, and it’s good that Western media are able to view it. So every society has protested and every society has disagreements, and China is no different. Yeah, but there are older people, and even during the COVID lockdowns, the aunties in the buildings were yelling at the people, bringing food to them, and yelling at the police. So there is a difference in the age population in China. So I just don’t find any of this surprising, whether it’s a protest or a deference to old people.


What are they yelling down at the government? I mean, is this an escalation in the sense of the language, perhaps the boldness of some of the protesting and the way it’s being put?


They’re not saying, down with the CCP. Right? So if Beijing will let local governments take the flak for local issues, that’s not all that abnormal. It’s not a daily occurrence, but it’s not all that abnormal. If they were shouting down at the CCP, of course, that protest would have been squashed, but local governments and local government officials always take the hit for these types of issues. That’s normal in China.


Okay, Tony and Emily and Tony Nash, I suppose workers, you know, if they did kick up a fuss, for example, at a handful of Starbucks stores, they are still, particularly they’re still potentially vulnerable to just being fired, aren’t they? I mean, how protected are they from that kind of retaliatory action if they were to try and organize just on a shop-by-shop basis?


Yeah, I honestly don’t know. I think that would have to do with the contracts they negotiate. As your guest said, unionizing is one thing, but getting a contract is a whole different level. So I think her interview is very interesting. And what’s really interesting to me is what is leading to this desire to unionize. People obviously don’t feel like they’re getting fair pay and fair benefits, and that’s something that really needs to be looked at across companies.


Yes. And that is what seems to be a legacy of the pandemic, partly, wasn’t it? People went home, they were kind of laid off or furloughed for often long periods, they reflected, and there is a kind of militancy that seems to have left as a legacy.


What’s interesting to me is Starbucks is supportive of this, but they’re also the company that people want to unionize under. Right? And so they have the orientation toward doing that, but they’re not providing on their own the benefits and the pay that would keep people from unionizing. So I just think it’s an interesting circular discussion. Tesla is a different story. They’re an auto company in different parts of the country, automakers are highly unionized. So I don’t think it should be any surprise to Musk that that’s happening in Taiwan.


Thank you so much for all your thoughts, your words, and your wisdom. And to Tony nash there at Complete Intelligence in Houston, Texas. My name is Ed Butler.

Week Ahead

The Week Ahead – 16 May 2022

The number one issue for Americans is inflation. As long as this is a top consideration, the pressure will be on the Fed to bring it down. Sam has been pretty consistent with 3 x 50 rate hikes in May, June, and July. What changed in trading today? Is everyone still bearish? Samuel Rines explains.

Also, what’s next for crypto? Luna fell from $90 last Thursday to $0.00005952 on Friday. Their circulation went from 4 billion yesterday to 6.5 trillion today. Watching the crypto fallout is terrible – lots of people have lost lots of money in this supposedly immutable “currency”. Albert Marko explains what happens next.

Lastly, is China really falling apart? We’ve seen some unsettling posts over the past several weeks out of China. From lockdowns to port closures to gossip that Xi Jinping has been sidelined.

Key themes:

  1. Is everyone a bear now?
  2. What’s next for crypto?
  3. Is China really falling apart?

This is the 18th episode of The Week Ahead, where experts talk about the week that just happened and what will most likely happen in the coming week.

Follow The Week Ahead experts on Twitter:


Listen to this episode on Spotify:


TN: Hi and welcome to the Week Ahead. I’m Tony Nash, and as usual, we have our team, Sam Rines and Albert Marko. Tracy, who’s not with us today.

Before we get started, I’d like to ask you to subscribe to our YouTube channel. It helps us a lot get visibility, and it really helps you get reminded when a new episode is out so you don’t miss anything.

Gosh. Big week for everyone. I wish I had fallen asleep a week ago and just woken up now after Friday’s trading. But it’s been a big week all around for everyone.

Guys, we really have a lot to talk about this week. We’re covering the markets. Is everyone a bear now? That’s one of our big topics that we’ll have Sam lean on. Next is what’s next for crypto? A lot of action on crypto, a lot of scary things happening with crypto and then some news out of China or speculation out of China. We’re asking, is China falling apart?

So Sam, let’s start with you first. I guess one of the most relevant items I’ve seen circulating and it was in your newsletter today is the top issues for Americans on the screen right now.

It’s clearly inflation. As long as that’s a top consideration. The pressure on the Fed to bring inflation down is huge. So you’ve been pretty consistent with three times 50 basis point hikes for May, June and July. What’s really changed in trading today? And is everyone still bearish?

SR: Yeah. I mean, everyone still seems to kind of be floating a little bearish, but I kind of like to go back to the number one concern is inflation. We shot ourselves in the foot and then the second one is getting shot in the head, right. It’s violent crime and crime. You add those two together and it’s even larger portion of inflation. So it’s safety and food. Right.

People like to eat and they want to be able to eat and they want to feel safe. I think it’s that simple. Those should be the top two concerns in this type of environment when you have the data pointing towards continuing higher inflation numbers and continuing crime.

On the is everyone a bear front? I think it’s a little complicated, right.

Because if you look at the flows into and out of indices and into and out of fixed income, and when you look at the flows, it’s easy to kind of say everyone’s a bear. Right. Pouring money into Treasuries, taking money out of indices. But at the same time, underneath the surface, you really want to be careful on what you’re a bear on and what you’re not.

There’s a lot of things that can still make money in this environment, oil, food, etc. can still make money. And there’s a lot of things that are probably still going to get torched. Anything that’s a little high beta is probably not the place you want to be for the whole time. Tradable but unlikely to be a long-term type trade.

TN: Like, I noticed some of the techs coming back today, and that’s great. And I hope people don’t lose more there. But is that something that you would consider kind of be careful if you’re going back in type of trade?

SR: Some of it. Not all of it. There’s a lot of tech that actually looks fairly attractive here, whether it’s from a valuation perspective or whether it’s from a very long term perspective.

A lot of stuff re-rated, re-rated fast, and it looks attractive. And there’s a lot of stuff that looks like it’s probably going bankrupt. Right. I wouldn’t be trying to bottom tick Carvana.

AM: Actually to expand on that, Sam, about who’s a bear and bears or Bulls or whatnot. I kind of think that we have to separate the higher great institutions versus the retail dip buyers that are just looking for that get rich, quick return. Many of the institutions, the ones I’ve talked to, are absolutely still bearish. They don’t see real value in this economy until the market until 3700.

Coincidentally, one of the hedge fund guys told me at 3500, you have an actual financial crisis in the United States just because everything’s leveraged up. So I don’t think that the Fed was even going to want to afford or going down past the 38, 3700, in my opinion.

SR: In 100% of that, Albert. Right. You have to separate those two teams of people. Right. The dip buyers are going to try every single time to get rich quick. Real long term allocators are going to take their time here. They’re not going to rush and, those are very large positions they have to take. And they don’t get to move in and call it for two or three weeks. They have to move in for very long periods of time.

So it’s Albert’s point. I don’t think that should be underrated, period.

AM: You can just look at the valuations of some of these companies that are still out in the stratosphere, like one of the ones I’ve recommended, Mosaic, Tight and Tire. They’re just ten fold of what they were in 2020. How do you buy these things? You can’t buy these things.

TN: Right. We’ve seen a lot of chatter about margin calls over the past week and a half. Obviously, that’s been scary for the first wave of kind of people going in. But when that second wave hits, when does that start to hit that second wave? Once we go 3800 or lower? So is that when things get really scary?

AM: Actually, I think part of the margin calls happened this week, today, actually Friday. I think a lot of guys had a liquidate positions and cover shorts and whatnot. And we got a little bit of a squeeze of a rally. I didn’t really feel like a Fed was pumping just thought like people short covers and people trying to get stuff off the board.

TN: Right.

SR: 100%. That’s where I think. I don’t think you want to be in front of a wave of liquidation for let’s call it sun and Ark, right? You do not want to be in front of either one of those two right now, period.

TN: Yeah, it was nice to have a Green Day, but it didn’t necessarily feel like a strong Green Day.

Okay, guys, let’s move on to crypto. Albert, I think you’re the man here. You’ve talked about crypto for a long time. It’s bad. This week is bad. And we’ve got a chart for Luna.

Luna fell from $90 last Thursday to 5, 10 thousand of a cent today, I think. Their circulation went from 4 billion yesterday to 6.5 trillion today. So it doesn’t sound very immutable to me. So the watching crypto fallout, it’s been pretty terrible. Lots of people have lost lots of money and people are questioning and cynical about words like immutable now.

This is something that I think experienced people have expected. But what happens next? Do we have a clearing out of some of these currencies? Do people just hold at 5, 10 thousand of a cents? Do we see some of these actually become currencies or is it all just going to get regulated and kind of thrown out the window?

AM: Well, are they going to be currencies? No, they’ll never be currencies. The dollar is going to be the currency of the world status for trade for the remainder of our lifetimes, whoever is alive today. That’s just the basic fundamental fact that you have to come to grips with.

This is like part one of the closing call for cryptos in my opinion. They got a good dose of the reality that when things need to get liquidated, you’re not liquidating residential towers in Miami on your portfolio. You’re liquidating some Ponzi scheme cryptos that are in your pocket that your clients really made you get into to begin with.

From the retail side, as much as I want to gloat, because I’ve been saying that this was going to happen for years, it’s really not that funny because you had guys out there pushing these crypto things and saying the dollar is dying, gold is dying, digital future, blah, blah, blah. Look at this chart, look at that chart. But the reality is there are nothing but pump and dump schemes. And people lost a lot of money.

I had a friend that goes to school, his daughter goes to school with my daughter. And he told me months ago I put everything to Litecoin for the College fund. I tried to reason with this guy.

TN: Please don’t do that.

AM: Yeah, well, community college for that kid.

TN: Albert, they’re following the lead of some, analysts are credible. They have a credible history and they’ve really started pushing this stuff. Now they’ve dialed it back. But some people who had previously been credible analysts were pushing this stuff.

AM: They’re liars. They’re all liars.

SR: Had been.

AM: They’re trying to get services sold and people to watch their YouTube channels and get subscriptions up. So of course you’re going to go and sit there and try to pump crypto to the retail crowd because they don’t know any better, right?

SR: And anyone who looked if you really dug into the Luna situation, you could understand very quickly how that could unwind in a way that was dramatic. This wasn’t even constructed as well as a pre 2008 money market fund. At least you knew what the money market fund held behind it and how it was going to actually return money to you.

With Tether, it’s supposed to be a crypto ish money market fund. We still don’t know what that actually holds. The whole thing to me is regrettable to Albert’s point, right. The two of us kind of got picked on when we giggled off paying for oil in crypto earlier this year. But the two of us have been kind of like, “no, not so much.” So while it’s tempting to kind of have that little bit of a cocky grin.

It’s a really sad situation and there’s a lot of money that got shredded very quickly there.

TN: Very quickly in less than a week. It’s insane how much money. If anybody who follows me on Twitter knows that I invest in some Doge last year, stuck with it for a few months, got out I did it because it was a joke of a coin. Everyone knew it was a joke of a coin. I wanted to be on part of the joke, and I made some money at it. And that’s it, right? That’s it. You can’t necessarily think of this stuff as a serious investment because it’s so highly unregulated and people engage in this pump and dump stuff.

AM: Yeah. We can have a conversation on this for hours. This is actually at the heart of the problem of the US economy at the moment. All these gig employee, all these gig employees service industry and jobs and whatnot, they left work got into crypto. Got stimulus checks, sat at home, kept getting unemployment, not going to work, and now we’re stuck with the labor shortage in reality. I don’t care what the Fed says and what Yellen says about the market. The labor market is good. The labor market is absolute trash right now. We have no workers anywhere right now. And because. Yeah, this is part of it.

TN: So that’s a good question. With crypto, kind of at least temporarily, maybe permanently dying, does that help the employment picture? Does that help people come back to market even a little bit?

AM: People had tens of thousands of dollars in a Coinbase account that are now $500. They’re going to have to go back to their jobs. And that’s just the reality of it. If you want me to go even a step further, this is probably the intent of the Fed and the treasury is to start eliminating this excess money, forcing people back to work.

SR: Yeah. Oh, 100%. In one of my notes this week that Tony, I think you saw, I sent out the video from SNL of Jimmy Carter saying, hey, get 8% of your money out of your account and light on fire. Guess what? The Fed just did that for millennials.

TN: Yeah.

SR: It’s that simple. The Fed just lit at least 8% of millennial money on fire, generally. Right. And it’s unlikely to come back that quickly. And I think if it wasn’t a direct policy, it was a side effect that the Fed sitting there going, oh, well, that works.

AM: I guarantee I talk to a lot of people. It was a direct policy. I don’t care. I’ll throw the Fed under the bus. They deserve to be thrown under the bus anyways.

TN: Well, yeah, it is where it is. And I would assume more regulations coming at some point because people will scream, especially with Coinbase.

I think it’s Coinbase or one of the exchanges saying that they’re going to undo a lot of the trades over the last two or three days.

AM: Okay.

TN: There are no regulations at all.

SR: Just call them the LME.

TN: Yeah, exactly. So crypto is the LME now, and it’s insane. So a lot of consumer protections are going to be talked about. A lot of regulations going to come in. I think that party is pretty much over.

AM: Yeah. Once the regulations started coming in from Congress and different governments in the world, they’re going to see how false their idea of decentralization really was.

TN: Yeah. Okay, guys, let’s move on to China. We’ve seen a lot over the past few weeks and really gossipy stuff about China. But today I saw a note from Mike Green on Twitter, which is on screen talking about Xi Jinping and Li Kaqiang, and Xi basically being sidelined on May 4.

I also saw another tweet yesterday, a guy going through Shanghai during the lockdown. If you haven’t seen it, the first of the thread is on the screen now. Check it out. It’s really interesting.

China is empty and it’s really sad.

So we’ve seen these really unsettling posts over the past several weeks out of China, from lockdowns to port closures to gossiping Xi as sidelined. So to you guys, what does that all mean? Is it something you’re taking seriously? Do you think it’s something that will have immediate effects? What does that look like to you?

AM: China. China is a big quagmire in itself. It’s such a large country. You’re going to have all sorts of rumors of Xi being sidelined and unrest in different cities like Shanghai and whatnot. But the Chinese are pretty pragmatic. They know that things are not going really well. So they’re going to have to lift off they’re going to have to lift off some of these just draconian policies with locking down people because it’s going to really hurt their economy. And part of it’s probably because they’re fighting inflation, too. They’re trying to cut down demand until supplies catch up. I mean, they got problems over there with inflationary issues.

TN: Also with the deval, with the port closures, with a lot of other stuff that’s happening there, their economy is already host. Right. They’re definitely not hitting 5.5, which is their target this year. And I think they’ll be lucky to have a zero growth year.

But I think Albert, on the political side, a lot of this kind of theater that we’re seeing play out on Weibo and Twitter and other things. Do you think this is plausible?

AM: Of course it’s plausible. I mean, you have the vultures circuit around Xi right now. They want him out. You have one elite group keeping him in power. But most likely have three or four other elite groups within the CCP that want him out. There’s no question about that. He can’t even go out in public.

TN: That’s an important thing that many people don’t think about is there are parties within the party. The CCP is not a unified party. There are factions within the party. Many Westerners don’t understand that. There are definitely factions within the party, and they’ll stab each other in the back in a second.

AM: There’s factions everywhere you go. People try to, China as a one rule or one party, one system, but even the United States, you have the Tea Party, the Freedom Caucus, the Progressive, so on and so forth. I mean, it’s all fragmented no matter what you do.

TN: Yeah, Sam. So China is second largest economy, ports closed, people in their houses, all of that stuff. So how long can they do this before it affects everybody or has it already started doing?

SR: Oh, it’s already affecting everything. The supply chains are already completely ruined because of it. There’s no question about that. I think the real question is what happens when they reopen, right?

We’ve got oil sitting at $109 and half a China is shut down. That is something that doesn’t, I mean, it’s kind of scary, right? You have a bunch of people that aren’t using as much as they should be right now. You begin to spin that back up. That could be a really interesting scenario overall. I don’t know.

AM: You know, Sam, that actually loops back to what you were talking about the Fed trying to fight inflation. No matter what policy they come up with, there’s still supply chain shortages and labor and everything that no matter what they do, they can’t fix.

SR: Their host. It’s an amazing world where you have half the Chinese, let’s just click through. Half the Chinese economy is shut down. You have the US dollar sitting at 105, 106 somewhere in there, and you have oil sitting at 110. Anybody who’s saying oil prices look a little toppy here might want to look at what happens when the dollar falls and China’s going.

AM: That’s what we’re going to have inflation in the five to 7% range for the next 18 months. I can’t say lower than that.

TN: 18 months, you say?

AM: 18 months. How are they going to get it lowered? China opens and then what? You know what I mean? And then you still have shortages everywhere. I mean, go to some of the stores. They have baby formula shortages.

On any given day, you have small materials you need from the home short. Everywhere. That’s going to create artificial inflation. On top of that, you have wage inflation. How do you get that down?

SR: The only way you get it down is having less employees. Look at Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley has started laying people off, and that’s not getting enough. It’s more than just Carvana.

AM: And then that’s the thing. Later in this year, Democrats and Joe Biden can have a real big problem unemployment numbers, starting to creep up. They can’t hide that forever with the BLS manipulation.

SR: Look at the household number. The household number is already not looking great. And that’s the one that they choose not to hide for a reason. Yeah, sure, the establishment is up, but you look at that household number and it’s printing negative already, guys.

TN: Yeah. One more thing I want to cover is this has to do with China shut down and it has to do with the possibility of political instability in China. So there are two separate issues. The newsletter today talked about reshoring.

So these things seem to provide more instability and a lack of reliability of Chinese sourcing. So what are you seeing to support the reshoring argument?

SR: Oh, lots of things. I mean, you have Hyundai. That’s likely to announce a pretty big factory next week in Georgia. You have everyone from Micron to a bunch of other call it higher tech firms beginning to announce that they’re moving back here. They’re building here and they’re going to manufacture here or they’re going to manufacture in Mexico. One of the other.

If you want to have China like characteristics without supply chain issues, you go to Mexico and that re regionalization trend. That’s the theme of mine. Is beginning to pick up steam and it’s going to pick up much more steam, in my opinion.

North America is going to be basically, in my opinion is going back to being the world’s, not manufacturing hub, but the world’s high end manufacturing hub. If you want something that it’ll be like big Germany.

AM: Yeah, I mean that’s just the most logical thing to do is to start putting your supply chains closer to your luxury consumers and you have to do that. But I’ve been high on the Canadian economy and the North American economy.

I think Europe absolutely they’re in deep trouble at the moment. So is Asia. But Europe especially.

TN: On the reshoring note, guys, if Germany can’t get power, will we start to see some German manufacturing firms potentially moving to the US?

SR: You already make AMGs here. Mercedez Ben’s AMGs.

TN: Yeah.

SR: They’re made in Alabama. But they’re made in Alabama.

AM: Yes. But Tony to your question, actually, I do have a colleague that works for Austrian driven outfit and they have been buying factories in the United States specifically for this reason. It’s the only place that people are going to be buying things or has money at the moment. Their entire export industry in China is dead and they’ve sat there and been lackadaisical and never sat there and tried to put their networks back into Africa where the real emerging market should be focused on Africa. It’s going to be bigger than Asia anyway.

SR: Let’s also be honest, they just got done pulling out of Africa in some ways. A couple of decades ago. They missed that boat.

TN: They did. And so did the Americans. So. Hey guys, thank you very much. Really appreciate this. If you’re watching please like and subscribe have a great weekend and have a great week ahead. Thank you.

AM: Thanks, Tony.

SR: Thanks, Tony.


Gazprom To Halt Gas Supplies To Poland

This podcast first appeared and was originally published at on April 27, 2022.

Russian company Gazprom says it will halt gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria from Wednesday morning. Poland currently depends on Russian imports for around half of its gas. The country’s deputy foreign minister Marcin Pzydacz tells us his government was already been prepared for this move. Plus, the World Bank’s latest commodities report makes sobering reading, suggesting that high food and fuel prices could blight the global economy for years to come. We hear from its author, World Bank Senior Economist Peter Nagle. With Elon Musk poised to take over at Twitter, the European Union’s Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton tells us that the firm will be welcome to operate in the EU under new management, providing it adheres to the bloc’s rules. As Delta Air Lines reveals that cabin crew will be paid for boarding as well as flight time in a landmark announcement, the president of the Association of Flight Attendant Sara Nelson says unionization efforts by airline staff forced the company’s hand. And the BBC’s Ivana Davidovic investigates urban mining, the process of reclaiming raw materials from spent products, buildings, and waste. Throughout the program we’re joined live by Zyma Islam, a journalist with The Daily Star newspaper in Bangladesh, and by Tony Nash, chief economist at AI firm Complete Intelligence, based in Houston, Texas.

Show Notes

EB: Joining me today to help discuss all of this to guests from opposite sides of the world, Tony Nash, chief economist at the AI firm Complete Intelligence in Texas. Hi, Tony.

TN: Hi, Good Evening.

EB: Good to have you with us. Tony Nash in Texas, what do you think is interesting, isn’t it, because this could I don’t know, it could go two ways, just politically. It’s an interesting move from Moscow to, if you like, preempt European sanctions against Moscow by cutting off the supply to Europe.

TN: Yeah. I think the further this goes along, the more I like people buying oil and gas from Texas, since that’s where I live. So we’ll take that. But for Poland, less than I think, about 10% of their electricity mixes from gas. So it wasn’t a majority gas driven market anyway. So they were very smart to put resources in place, alternatives in place. And, of course, it hasn’t been cost free. It’s taken a lot of resource to get that in place, but it’s good for them. And being on the border with Russia, they have to be prepared for anything.

EB: Yeah. I mean, gas is obviously very important during the winter months and we’re entering spring. So maybe European countries are feeling the crunch a little bit less strongly. Nonetheless, the question does remain, is Germany especially willing to cut off the oil? The oil is by far the bigger element, isn’t it, in terms of Russian revenue from its energy exports? And that’s the thing that Europe is resisting so far. Do you think we are pushing in that direction?

TN: I think if the fighting continues, they’ll have to. The problem is they don’t really have alternatives right now. And so that’s their dilemma is Europe did not diversify when they should have, and now they’ll pay much, much higher prices. So that will eat into European economic growth and it will really hurt consumers. So I think Europe is in a very difficult position. That’s obvious. But a lot of it is on some level, I wouldn’t say completely their own making, but they had opportunities to diversify, which they didn’t take.

EB: Yeah. I mean, Tony, everyone wants to get their LNG from Qatar and they all from the United States. There are going to be some pretty wealthy Qatari and American exporters of LNG, even if they can meet the demand next year.

TN: All of my neighbors in Houston are benefiting. I’m not in the oil and gas sector, but they are certainly benefiting from this.

EB: Let me bring in Tony there. I mean, we saw a story this week, Indonesia, for instance, banning the export of some palm oil food protectionism could be a thing. We’re not really talking about that yet. But those countries I mean, Bangladesh neighbor, India, will it start cutting off its exports when it starts to see global prices rising and perhaps being more pressure on its domestic supply?

TN: Yeah, it’s possible. And we also have a situation where the US dollar is strengthening and emerging market currencies are weakening. So these ad commodities are becoming more expensive in US dollar terms for sure. But it’s an accelerated inflation rate in emerging market currencies. So one would hope that, say countries like China, who are suffering with this, who devalued their currencies in a big way over the last week, would start to put pressure on Russia to resolve the conflict so that both Russia and Ukraine can start exporting food commodities again.

EB: Tony Nash, what do you think? I’m forgetting the unicorn thing. Could officials come down that hard on Twitter, a new, less regulated Twitter platform under Elon Musk?

TN: Well, let’s assume that he obviously doesn’t understand the technology is regulating 100 million Europeans could turn on their VPNs tomorrow and access Twitter from a pop outside of Europe in 5 seconds. It would be no problem at all. So Twitter could unilaterally shut down in Europe and they’d still have 100 million customers on the European mainland. So he has a fundamental misunderstanding of the technology that he’s supposedly regulating. But what I don’t think he also understands is Twitter has people like Rouhani from Iran and Vladimir Putin and Chinese people who deny that they have a million Muslims in prison and all this other stuff. So why is he not cracking down on Twitter for allowing those guys to have a voice when he’s worried about Elon Musk, who is a loud guy, but he’s a pretty middle of the road guy, seemingly. So I just don’t understand why there’s so much hyperventilating about Elon Musk. I don’t get it.

EB: So you’re along with, I guess certainly a large number of Republicans in Congress right now who are saying bring it on. We’re delighted that this takeover is happening because we imagine we’re going to see a much less regulated platform.

TN: Let’s take another view. Let’s take Jeff Bezos, who owns The Washington Post. Right. It’s a media platform, and it’s had some really questionable practices over the past few years. So why aren’t media regulators in Europe looking at The Washington Post? They’re just not. And so I think if Musk is really going to have Twitter be in the center and not moderate except for things that are illegal, then more power to them. It’s in the spirit of the US law from the 1990s that said that internet content publishers can’t be sued because they’re not Editors. They’re only publishers. So I think it’s more in the spirit of the 1990s Internet regulation than anything that’s out there today.

EB: Tony Delta in Atlanta, that’s not a million miles from where you live, is it? Do you have sympathy for the flight attendants here?

TN: Yeah. It’s insane. I never knew about this. So no wonder the flight attendants are less than cheerful when we arrive on board.

EB: Especially for the check in bid, right?

TN: Exactly. It’s just insane. They’re in uniform, they’re working. Why they’re not paid. I just think that’s insane.

EB: The unionization drive does seem to be gathering a bit of pace in America, doesn’t it, right now. And we mentioned we’ve referenced all those other companies. It’s the mood of the moment. Yeah.

TN: Well, labor has the strong hand right now, and wages are rising. And when labor has the strong hand, you see more unionization. So it’s just a natural course.

EB: But it has been decades during which Union participation in the state certainly has gone down, isn’t it? I mean, since I’m in the 70s wasn’t right.

TN: But if we look at the rate of baby Boomer retirement, we have a lot of people going out of the workforce right now. And so we do have tight labor markets because of it. And that’s really part of what’s pushing the strength on the side of labor. And so this stuff is demographic.

EB: And it’s typical when it comes to technology. I mean, I have a personal take on this. I went to Acra in Garner in 2015 to the famous Agbog blushy central dump there, which is an extraordinary place. It’s one of the largest of its kind in the world. Miles of waste, all kinds of things. They’re burning cables just to extract the copper from the tubing and the wiring. But the air, I mean, it took me 24 hours just to feel my lungs clear from that place. It’s an extraordinary thing, isn’t it, Tony Nash, don’t you think it’s strange that the market around the world, the free market, hasn’t found a system whereby the value of old units is recycled efficiently?

TN: Yes. So if I want to recycle electronics here in my local town, I take it to a center and I have to pay them to take it. So they’re taking gold and platinum and other great stuff out of there, but I have to pay them to take my recyclable electronics.

EB: Is that why? I mean, do you understand the economics of that? Because you’d think that supply and demand would suggest that if there were a competitive value in the goods that they’re extracting, there would be competition and therefore there would be people offering lower prices or perhaps even paying you for your old stuff?

TN: Yeah, I understand the competition of it, but I think I just want to get rid of the stuff. And I think that’s what they realize is they can charge people just to get rid of old computers or phones or whatever, and then they get money on both sides.

EB: The big corporations, Tony, have a bigger responsibility here. I mean, they’re the ones producing the stuff. They’re the ones, I guess, I don’t know, paying for the extraction of some of these rare Earth metals and everything else. Some of the toxic stuff coming from places like Russia, Latin America, the DRC, and those are the things that are then being spat out and causing all kinds of pollution.

TN: Sure. I would think, for example, the phone manufacturers and the mobile carriers would have an incentive to collect the old phones from people.

EB: Yeah, but do you think regulators should be doing more here?

TN: I don’t really know. I think regulation tends to kind of contort things like this, And I think for something like this would potentially create an unintended economic opportunity. So we heard about the person in Bangladesh who collects used items in Singapore. I lived there for 15 years. We had somebody called a Karen Gunn person who would collect used electronics and other things and buy our house. So whether it’s that local person or whether it’s an Assembly Or a disassembly location, say, near my house, Those are people who are focused, who are specialized on what they’re doing. I do think, though, that the people who create this actually should have some sort of incentive, not from government, but from their customers to collect this stuff Once they’re finished with it, because it’s costing me money to get rid of it, but I’m paying them for it.

EB: Okay. A couple of minutes left in the show. I’m going to ask you both now for a quick thought about the things that have caught your eye most in the area, the news stories that have caught your attention. Tony, tell us in Texas what’s catching you up there?

TN: It’s really hard to follow that. So in Texas, one of the things that’s happening and this is not new, but it’s becoming more and more common is if you take your car out somewhere, Even in just a normal neighborhood, to, say, a shopping Center, It’s pretty common for someone to come even in the middle of the day and steal the catalytic converter off of your car. You go into a restaurant or a shop and you come out and someone has taken the catalytic converter off your car, which is a key part to muffling sound, and they do it for the precious metals in that piece. So that’s becoming very common here again. It’s happened for years, but it’s becoming much more intense Because of the prices of precious metals.

EB: Yeah, unauthorized recycling. We can full circle Tony Nash and Zimmer Islam in Texas and Bangladesh, respectively. Thanks to you both and thanks to you all for listening. This has been business matters as my name’s Ed Butler. Take care. Bye.


Business and Market Discussion

This podcast was originally published in

Surging energy and food prices in the United States have sent inflation to a 40-year high. Consumer prices rose 8.5% in March, the fastest annual gain since December 1981. The monthly rise was 1.2%, the fastest jump since September 2005 and a sharp acceleration from February’s 0.8% increase. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin says peace talks with Ukraine have reached a “dead-end” and he accused Ukraine of deviating from agreements reached in Turkey. He said Russia’s “military operation” will continue, blaming Ukraine for “inconsistency in key issues” from talks and “fake claims” about war crimes.

The World Trade Organisation said that global trade could be cut almost in half and is expected to grow by 2.4% – 3% in 2022, lower than its previous estimate of 4.7% in October due to the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. The WTO said the war could lower global GDP growth by 0.7-1.3 percentage points to somewhere between 3.1% and 3.7%. 

Sri Lanka said yesterday it will temporarily default on its foreign debts amid its worst economic crisis in over 70 years. The country was due to pay a US$1bn international sovereign bond in July, part of a total of US$7bn of debt payments due this year. Sri Lanka’s foreign reserves stood at US$1.93bn at the end of March. 

Shanghai saw a drop in new Covid cases on Tuesday after ten straight days of record highs. The financial hub reported 23,342 new local cases for the day, compared with just over 26,000 the day before. However, it was being reported on Tuesday that authorities were backing away from lifting restrictions in several thousand low-risk areas. Residents can move around within their compounds but are still barred from venturing out onto the streets if their surroundings belong to higher-risk areas. Officials ordered another round of mass testing, at least the seventh in 10 days, in the highest lockdown zones. 

On today’s Money Talk we’re joined by Dickie Wong from Kingston Securities, Carlos Casanova of UBP and Tony Nash, Founder & CEO & Chief Economist at Complete Intelligence.

Show Notes

PL: This is Radio Three Money Talk. Good morning. It’s eight in Hong Kong. Welcome to Money Talk on Radio Three. From me, Peter Lewis. Here are the top business and finance headlines for Wednesday, 13 April. Surging energy and food prices in the United States have sent inflation to a 40 year high. Consumer prices rose 8.5% in March, the fastest annual gain since December 1981. The monthly rise was 1.2%, the fastest jump since September 2005 and a sharp acceleration from February’s zero 8% increase. Russian President Vladimir Putin says peace talks with Ukraine have reached a dead end, and he accused Ukraine of deviating from agreements reached in talks in Turkey. He said Russia’s military operation will continue, blaming Ukraine for inconsistency in key issues and fake claims about war crimes. The World Trade Organization said that global trade could be cut almost in half and is expected to grow by 2.4% to 3% in 2022, lower than its previous estimate of 4.7% in October due to the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Wto said the war could lower global GDP growth by zero 7% to 1.3 percentage points. Sri Lanka said yesterday will temporarily default on its foreign debts amid its worst economic crisis in over 70 years.

The country was due to pay a $1 billion international sovereign bond in July, part of a total of $7 billion of debt payments due this year. Sri Lanka’s foreign reserves stood at just under 2 billion at the end of March, and Shanghai saw a drop in new covert cases on Thursday after ten straight days of record highs. The financial Hub reported 23,342 new local cases for the day, compared with just over 26,000 the day before. However, it was being reported yesterday that authorities are backing away from lifting restrictions in several thousand low risk areas. On today’s Money Talk, we’re joined by Dicky Wong from Kingston Securities, Carlos Casanova of UBP, and Tony Nash, founder and CEO at Complete Intelligence. The moderation in core CPI initially prompted a rally in stocks on Wall Street and sent US Treasuries higher. But stocks then gave up their gains as the session wore on, with the S Amp P 500 and Nasdaq falling for a third day. The S Amp P 500, which was up 1.3% at the high of the day, closed a third of a percent lower at 4397. The Dow relinquished a gain of over 360 points to close 88 points lower at 34,220, and as the composite index, which was up 2%, declined zero 3%, ending at 13,372.

In Europe, the regional Stock 600 index fell a third of a percent. Deutsche bank and Commerce Bank led losses for the index, with both falling more than 8% after an undisclosed shareholder unloaded roughly 5% stakes in both German banks. London’s footsy 100 dropped null. .6% and it was a volatile day for mainland China and Hong Kong stocks, which opened higher before plunging late morning and then staging a drastic rebound in the afternoon session with reports that the China National team was actively supporting the market. The rebound came amid calls from China’s market regulator that firms buy back shares and ask major shareholders to support stock prices amid a sluggish stock market. The Hangsting index had slipped half a percent by lunchtime to a four week low before rebounding to close 111 points, or half a percent higher at 21,319. Tech index was up two and a half percent in the morning session before dropping zero 8% at lunchtime and then rebounding to close 1.4% higher. The Shanghai Composite recovered from losses of 0.8% to close one and a half percent higher at 3213. $0.10 advanced 3.6% added 4.2% after China approved new online gaming titles for the first time since July.

In the commodities markets, brewing crude oil rose almost 6% to $104.87 a bowel. Gold is up close to 1% at $1,966 an ounce. The yield on the benchmark ten year treasury notes fell five basis points to two point 73% after hitting two point 83% early in the session. And in the currency markets, the US dollar is stronger this morning. The Euro is trading at $1.08 and a quarter cents. The Bucks at 125.5 Japanese yen Sterling is worth one point $0.30 and Hk$10.19, and the Chinese yuan is at six point 38, versus the dollar in offshore markets. Bitcoin this morning is about 1% firmer at $40,100. Around Asian stock markets this morning. In Australia, the SX 200 up about zero. 1%. Stocks in Japan have now opened the nicate 225, about three quarters of a percent higher. The Cosby in South Korea is half a percent higher, but futures markets pointing to a loss of about 70 points for the Hang Sein at the open this morning. Fine. Let’s welcome our guests. We have with us Dicky Wong, head of research at Kingston Security this morning, Dickie

DW: Good morning, Peter. How are you?

PL: I’m well, thank you. And also with us, Carlos Cassanova, senior Asia economist at UBP. Morning to you, Carlos.

CC: Good morning, Peter.

PL: And over in Texas, in the USA, we have Tony Nash, founder and CEO and chief economist at Complete Intelligence. Thanks for joining us again, Tony.

TN: Thank you, Peter.

PL: Let’s start in the US with those inflation numbers. Surging energy and food prices in the United States have sent inflation to 40 year high. Consumer prices rose eight and a half percent last month. That’s the fastest annual gain since December 1 981. The monthly rise was 1.2%, the fastest gain since September 2005. Excluding food and energy, core CPI increased 6.5% on an annualized basis in line with expectations, core inflation rose zero. 3% for the month energy prices, they were up 32% year on year food prices, they jumped 8.8%. And shelter costs, which make up about a third of the CPI, rose by 5%. Tony, you’re over there in the US, so let’s start with you. It’s hard to find very much good news in this data. But who do workers blame for this?

TN: I think a lot of Americans really do see inflation rising as Joe Biden has been in office. It’s accelerated during his tenure. So whether it’s his fault or not, he’s sitting in the seat while it’s happening. There is a lot of resource from the White House going into saying that this is Putin’s inflation responsibility, claiming that inflation didn’t really accelerate until the war started. But again, if we look back to the rapid acceleration of inflation, it really started, I guess you could say maybe October. But we’ve been at this for a year or so. I think Americans working level, Americans, whether they’re working class, blue collarly workers, they’re obviously the hardest hit by this. And for workers at those levels, it’s really looking at the political issues, not something that’s happening on the other side of the world.

PL: So what can Joe Biden do to try and bring inflation under control? What are people expecting to do?

TN: Well, I think one of the really easy things that he could do, which I’m in Texas. So this is a very biased view, but since Joe Biden has come to office, he’s put a lot of restriction on the drilling and transport of oil and gas. And so there could be a lot of alleviation of energy prices if the White House would remove the regulations that they put in place on the drilling and transport of oil and gas. The White House also killed a pipeline of Canadian crew or a pipeline from Canada that would transport heavy crude to American refineries, which is what’s needed for petrol or gasoline here. And Americans actually don’t necessarily use the light sweet crude that’s refined or drilled, say in Texas. They use the heavy sour crew that say from Canada and from Venezuela. So the pipeline from Canada would have been very helpful to keep prices stable in the US, energy prices stable in the US, but that was killed literally on the first day of the Biden administration.

PL: Vicki, what is the impact for markets and particularly out here, US markets? They rallied initially because they took some optimism for the fact that the core CPI had declined slightly from last month, but they lost those gains. How do you think markets are going to respond to this?

DW: Well, in terms of inflation, I guess it’s an overall problem not only in US but basically everywhere else, also in China. And you may say, like Russia invasion of Ukraine intensified the situation of inflation in US, but inflation is already there. It’s already a problem in US. So in terms of the market expectation, I would expect first of all will probably have another rate cut for even 50 basis points in May and continue to high interest rate until the year end. At the year end, maybe the sets and target rates will be like two point 75 even at this really high level compared to one year ago. So in terms of the year car still going on, keep going up there’s no question ask but already probably the market already digest this kind of situation like you asked me have to continue to high interest rate. But in terms of in mainland China is another thing. Even though China official CPI rose by 1.5% in March, still below US CPI or everywhere else in Europe. So expecting that PVoC may have some kind of room to have an outer round of rate card or triple archives.

But in terms of the situation now in mainland China it’s pretty dilemma because if they really want to have another round of fresh cut of interest rate or even triple R may intensify the situation now because the ten year value of the US Treasury is slightly higher than the same period treasury in mainland China. Now it may be some kind of money outflow from mainland.

PL: Is the window of opportunity for the PPO to go and cut rates? Is it closing the worst this inflation data gets? It doesn’t leave them much opportunity, does it?

DW: Exactly. So I don’t really expect a rate cut in the near term but maybe I expect Arrr cut instead of a rate cut because rate cut create a high pressure of capital outflow. We have already seen in March no matter in the bond market, also in the Asia market from the stock connect. So people actually getting money out from mainland China. So this is also another reason why recently the Asian market underperformed even the US market because the capital outflow. So it’s not a good timing for China but then you still have to think about it, what they can do because capital outflow and intensified the situation in Russia and Ukraine. So also create another round serious pressure. The CPI future growth is mainland June.

PL: Let me bring Carlos in. Carlos, this is not an easy situation for central banks to deal with, is it’s? Because this is not demand led, this is a supply shock, correct?

CC: I think what we saw in the market this week was some investors pricing in the probability that inflation was peaking within the next few months. We think it’s a little bit early to say we are expecting around eight to 9% inflation in the US in the coming months and of course then a gradual descent, but it will nonetheless remain significantly higher than expected in 2022. And as Tony was mentioning, this will be front and center with Biden facing elections in the fall. So I do think that central banks around the world are going to be very focused in trying to address the demand side factors or drivers of inflation even as they have very little control over the supply side factors. And on that note, just keep in mind that we have this conflict in Ukraine that’s leading to supply chain disruptions. But we are already seeing disruptions to global shipments through the Port of Shanghai following from the lockdown there. So it is likely that these supply factors will continue to exert pressures in the coming months. So in my opinion, I think central banks will unfortunately remain in this very hawkish trajectory even though they don’t have 100% control.

PL: And what does the PPOC do? That’s probably the one major central bank in the world that would like to ease monetary policy to cope with the slowdown there on the mainland. It’s in a difficult position as well, isn’t it?

CC: Ppoc is in a very difficult position because we’ve seen authorities voice their concerns about the lack of easing quite a few times since the middle of March, and yet PPOC has an east the risk of outflows is real. We saw that China’s premium over the US in terms of its ten year yield is completely gone. So any form of eating will exacerbate potential capital risks. But you have inflation creeping up potentially above the 3% target set by the beginning of the year. So the conditions could turn less accommodative very quickly. So PPO has a narrow window of opportunity in my opinion to deliver stimulus and a triple our card won’t be enough given what is happening in Shanghai, given that we have -40% sales in the housing sector and that accounts for a third of the economy is not going to be enough to get us from where we are now to 5.5% growth by the end of the year. So unfortunately, they should be doing a rate cut even if that exacerbates capital outflows and even if the impact of a rate cut might be more muted as most people remain in some form of lockdown.

So it’s less easy to go out and spend money. I think that is something that PVC has been discussing, but it doesn’t matter. They need all hands on deck in order to reach the fact growth target by the end of the year and really running out of time given that inflation is rising.

PL: Tony, you mentioned energy prices, but of course, food prices are also jumping as well. They were up 8.8% over the period. We’re seeing global trade slow quite dramatically now. And the UN saying that the war in Ukraine is causing a huge leap in food prices. The UN food prices index is at a record high. It was up 13% in March are on consumers feeling that as well. Over in the United States, this rise in food prices?

TN: Yeah, for sure. Americans are feeling the rise in food prices. I think, however, the most acute food price rises will be in places like Lebanon and Egypt and other places that are more directly affected by the Ukraine and Russia war. Here in the US, we do have pressure on wheat and corn prices, corn prices or maize prices. There’s upward pressure on those prices partly because the White House just said they want to add corn to fuel here to in their minds, reduce fuel prices. So there’s pressure on corn both to feed people and for fuel now and of course, with proteins, those prices are up as well double digits. So Americans are feeling it really all around, but not as acutely as some of the people in Europe and the Middle East will as the pressures from, say, Ukrainian and Russian exports hit those markets.

PL: We’ve already had an energy shock in many parts of the world. Do you think we’re heading for a food crisis that we’re going to see shortages, we’re going to see prices soaring, and maybe, as unfortunately always happens in this case, it affects the poorest parts of the world the most?

TN: Yes, it does. And sadly, I think that is the case because places like Ukraine and Russia do provide so much mostly Ukraine provide so much weed and maize and cooking oil to some of these markets. So, yes, I definitely think that that is.

PL: Our Americans questioning President Biden’s support for Ukraine. When you start to see the costs of this mounting. They’ve banned American. They banned Russian oil and gas imports. That’s helping fuel price rises. They’re seeing the price rises in food. Are they starting to question whether or not the US is on the right track supporting Ukraine?

TN: I don’t know. I know that a number of Americans have questioned it from the start, not that they don’t support Ukraine, but Americans are worried about being directly involved, meaning sending troops to Ukraine. I think Americans generally are comfortable sending weapons and supporting with that aid, but not necessarily with the troops.

PL: Okay, Dickie, let’s talk about the lockdowns up on the mainland. There was a slight decrease in COVID cases yesterday, but we’ve had ten days now of record cases in Shanghai. Guangdong, Guangzhou has gone into a partial lockdown as well. Now, what sort of impact is this having on the economy?

DW: Well, that’s so obvious. The big lockdown in Shanghai may give some kind of pressure to not only the first quarter GDP, but indeed the 5.5% annual gain of the GDP. It’s probably not that easy to achieve. So I do see some kind of civil linings because China’s government recently added some of the approval of the online and cellphone gaming. And also when we talk about the first quarter lending also hits record to 1.3 trillion before PVC take any action in the first quarter because last year PPOC cut LPR rate triple R, but not this quarter. So I would expect definitely I do agree that PPOC has to take some kind of action like seriously to treat the problem, especially the lockdown in Shanghai. And 5.5% is not something easy. So they have to no matter fiscal policy, monetary policy, and et cetera regulations has to be used, especially some of the tech companies.

PL: Let me ask you also because I want to ask you about the markets as well. We’re seeing a lot of calls now from Premier Leakage, the State Council to take steps to support the economy and also from the regulators now to support the market the China Securities Regulatory Commission wants shareholders to buy back stock. It wants Social Security funds, pension funds, trusts, insurance companies to increase their investment in the markets. What are your thoughts on this? Isn’t this the regulator going way over their skis here? It’s not the job of the regulator, is it to tell companies to buy back more shares and to put public money into the stock market? Surely this is way, way beyond what the regulator should be doing.

DW: Well but in terms of the mainland market, the HR market, this is probably the regulator will regularly do I know they do it but it’s wrong isn’t it wrong that the regulator should do that?

PL: It’s sort of almost an outrageous abuse, isn’t it? The regulator should be there to make sure the market operates fairly and efficiently to crack down on abuses but not do this?

DW: You may say so but the regulator to mainland because you can see intensifying the tension between China and US never gone and also like recently no recently just yesterday the holding foreign companies accountable action called Hscaa a fresh round of addiction of a lot of Chinese companies like more than twelve companies this is the fourth round already it gives some kind of pressure to the ADR market yesterday in US and definitely some of the ADR may open slightly lower today although the pressure may not be as high as the previous one or the first round of the addiction of the Hscaa but because of the tension of these two countries China may have to do their own thing so in terms of like Green Valley always comment about the stock market and try to interfere with the stock market I will not say good or bad but at least it would be some kind of support to the local Hong Kong stock market so I believe we find support at 21,000 because investors may expect or they will expect like PPOC will take action very soon so it may help to stabilize the overall sentiment in Hong Kong as well as in Asia Carlos.

PL: We’Ve heard Premier Leakage now has issued his third warning about economic growth in under a week what can they do?

CC: Well, we do expect to see weaker growth in March, April and May so those will be the three weakest months I think that in addition to doing more monetary policy and fiscal policy support the big question Mark is will they announce some easing of restrictions or at least provide some degree of regulatory clarity for global investors? On the housing and also tech front there’s a whole debate around this. Recent regulations surrounding dual circulation in China points to some additional regulatory headwinds for some of these companies but I think that the issue is not so much regulation it’s more the lack of visibility so they are likely going to at least provide that in the coming weeks. And of course, if this contraction is bigger than expected in the first half, and I did use the word contraction because I do think that GDP has a chance of actually declining in Q two, then the measure of last resort in order to achieve that growth target would be to effectively inflate the housing sector again in Q four. But we should be back to square one. So I think they will try as much as possible to use more Australian and other channels to try to prop up the economy so that growth doesn’t follow the cliff.

But they are running out of time and we do hope that they will announce something big in April.

PL: Okay, Tony, final word to you. I know all sorts of things go on on the mainland that perhaps wouldn’t go on elsewhere, but when you see the regulator trying to arm twist companies into buying back their own stock and get public funds to get the market back up, what do you make of that, Peter?

TN: It reminds me of June of 2015, if you remember, when markets on the mainland really fell pretty hard. There is pressure domestically in China for people to buy shares for a patriotic reason. Even within the Chinese bureaucracy. There was pressure for Chinese bureaucrats to buy shares. So I think they’re just doing it out loud now and they’re doing it for the companies themselves. But to me, when I first saw this news, it really was an Echo of June of 2015 when markets fell and there was real pressure on Chinese retail investors to buy the dips and to support the market. And a lot of them lost. I knew people there who lost 2030, 40% of their wealth because they were buying patriotically.

PL: Yeah. Okay. Well, that’s a fair warning. Thanks very much. That’s Tony Nash, founder and CEO and chief economist at Complete Intelligence. Dickie Wong, head of research at Kingston Securities, Carlos Casanova, senior Asia economist at UBP. You’re listening to Money Talk on RTHK Radio Three. Let’s take a final look at the markets for today. In Australia, the SX 200 up zero 2%, the Nico two five in Japan rallying as well, up zero 8%. The Cosby is up. A third of the cent in South Korea does look like, though the hangsting is going to fall slightly, about 50 points or so at the Open later on this morning. Thank you very much for listening this morning. Please join me again for the final time this week in a holiday shortened week at 08:00 tomorrow. Stay tuned for covered updates after the news with Jim Gold and Anna Fenton. The weather forecast, mainly cloudy, few showers going to be hot with sunny intervals during the day. Maximum temperature of 29 degrees, mainly fine and hot during the day tomorrow. And on Friday, the temperature right now 25 degrees, 82%. Relative humidity 32 here’s Andy Shawski with the half hour news.

AS: Thank you, Peter. The head of the Government’s policy innovation and coordination office says the authorities have expanded it’s $10,000 subsidy for people who have recently lost their jobs Due to covet. Officials say they have received 470,000 applications for the subsidy. In February. They expected only 300,000 Would apply. Doris Hoe said that’s because more people have lost their jobs.

DH: This is partly because more people were out of employment in March When the unemployment situation was in February and partly because we expanded our scheme subsequently to cover employees working in closed app premises such as affinity centers and beauty salons and who were forced out of work about their employers.

AS: Medical Association President Choi keen says the government initiative giving private doctors access to oralcobid drugs will definitely be effective in preventing severe cobalt infections. Authorities on Monday said that private doctors could request antivirals through a dedicated electronic platform. Doctor choice said this is a sensible arrangement.

DH: The patients usually see the GP first before they go to the emergency Department before they get very ill, so it’s the first stage that the antivirus are infected. So if they are seen at the first stage and given the medication, they will not proceed to a very ill stage so it is effective and useful.

AS: Police in New York are searching for a man who shot ten people at a Brooklyn subway station during the morning rush hour. Six others were also hurt, Mostly through smoke inhalation. None of the injuries are life threatening. The New York city police Commissioner, Ketchen Sewell, gave details of the incident just before 824 this morning.

KS: As a Manhattan bound and train waited to enter the 36th street station, an individual on that train donned what appeared to be a gas mask. He then took a canister out of his bag and opened it. The train at that time began to fill with smoke. He then opened fire, Striking multiple people on the subway and in the platform. He is being reported as a male black, approximately 5ft five inches tall with a heavy build.

AS: The city of Guangzhou has reported 13 new COVID cases. Health officials in the city say the new infections were linked to previous cases, but they warned that transmissions might have been taking place for some time before the new cases were found. And the next few days will be critical. To contain the outbreak, local authorities have been conducting mass testing to screen out patients primary and secondary schools of suspended face to face class.

Week Ahead

The Week Ahead – 28 Mar 2022


We’ve seen so much about oil for rubles, gas for bitcoin, etc this week. Does it represent a fundamental shift for energy markets? And is the dollar dead? The yen fell pretty hard versus the dollar this week. Why is that happening, especially if the dollar is dead?  Bonds spike pretty hard this week, especially the 5-year. What’s going on there and what does it mean?

Key themes from last week:

  1. Oil for rubles (death of the Dollar?)
  2. Rapidly depreciating JPY
  3. Hawkish Fed and the soaring 5-year

Key themes for The Week Ahead:

  1. New stimulus coming to help pay for energy. Inflationary?
  2. How hawkish can the Fed go?
  3. What’s ahead for equity markets?

This is the 12th episode of The Week Ahead in collaboration of Complete Intelligence with Intelligence Quarterly, where experts talk about the week that just happened and what will most likely happen in the coming week. 

Listen on Spotify:

Follow The Week Ahead experts on Twitter:


Time Stamps

0:00 Start
0:34 CI Futures
1:22 Key themes this week
1:48 Oil for rubles (death of the Dollar?)
3:15 Acceptance of cryptocurrency?
5:34 Petrodollar Petroyuan?
7:32 Rapidly depreciating JPY
10:12 Hawkish Fed and the soaring 5-year
11:58 Housing is done?
13:10 Stimulus for energy
15:53 How hawkish can the Fed go?
17:34 What’s ahead for equity markets?


TN: Hi, everyone, and welcome to The Week Ahead. My name is Tony Nash. I’m here with Albert Marko, Sam Rines, and Tracy Shuchart. Before we get started, please, if you can like and subscribe to our YouTube channel, we would really appreciate it.

Also, before we get started, I want to talk a little bit about Complete Intelligence. Complete Intelligence, automates budgeting processes and improves forecasting results for companies globally. CI Futures is our market data and forecast platform. CI Futures forecasts approximately 900 assets across commodities, currencies and equity indices, and a couple of thousand economic variables for the top 50 economies. CI Futures tracks forecast error for accountable performance. Users can see exactly how CI Futures have performed historically with one and three month forward intervals. We’re now offering a special promotion of CI Futures for $50 a month. You can find out more at

Okay, this week we had a couple of key themes. The first is oil for rubles and somewhat cynically, the death of the dollar. Next is the rapidly depreciating Japanese yen, which is somewhat related to the first. But it’s a big, big story, at least in Asia. We also have the hawkish Fed and the soaring five-year bond. So let’s just jump right into it. Tracy, we’ve seen so much about oil for rubles and Bitcoin and other things over the past week. Can you walk us through it? And is this a fundamental shift in energy markets? Is it desperation on Russia’s behalf? Is the dollar dead? Can you just walk us through those?

TS: All right, so no, the dollar is not dead. First, what people have to realize is that there’s a difference. Oil is still priced in USD. It doesn’t matter the currency that you choose to trade in because you see, in markets, local markets trade gasoline in all currencies. Different partners have traded oil in different currencies. But what it comes down to is it doesn’t matter because oil is still priced in dollars. And even if you trade it in, say, the ruble or the yuan, those are all pegged to the dollar. Right. And so you have to take dollar pricing, transfer it to that currency. And so it really doesn’t matter.

And the currency is used to price oil needs three main factors, liquidity, relative stability, and global acceptability. And right now, USD is the only one that possesses all three characteristics.

TN: Okay, so two different questions here. One is on the acceptance of cryptocurrency. Okay. I think they specifically said Bitcoin. Is that real? Is that happening? And second, if that is happening and maybe, Albert, you can comment on this a little bit, too. Is that simply a way to get the PLA in China to spend their cryptocurrency to fuel their army for cheap? Is that possibly what’s happening there?

TS: It could be. Russia came out and said, we’ll accept Bitcoin from friendly countries. Mostly, they were referring to Hungary and to China. Right. And I don’t think that is a replacement for USD no matter what because not every country except for perhaps China really accepts or El Salvador really accepts Bitcoin or would actually trade in Bitcoin. Right.

TN: In Venezuela, by the way. I think. Right. So on a sovereign basis. Okay. So Sam and Albert, do you guys have anything on there in terms of Bitcoin traded for energy? Do you have any observations there?

AM: No, this is a little bit of… This is even a serious conversation they’re having? With El Salvador going to be like the global hub for Russian oil now because they can use Bitcoin?

TN: That would be really interesting.

AM: But this is just silly talk. Every time there’s some kind of problem geopolitically and they start talking about gold for oil or wine or whatever you want to throw out, they start talking about the US dollar dying and whatnot.

I mean, like Tracy, I don’t want to reiterate what Tracy said, but her three points were correct. On top of that, we’re the only global superpower.

TN: Okay.

AM: That’s it.

SR: Yeah. My two cent is whatever on Bitcoin for a while.

TN: Right.

SR: Cool.

TN: I think that all makes sense now since we’re here because we’re already here because we all hear about the death of the petrodollar and the rise of the petroyuan and all this stuff. So can we go there a little bit? Does this mean that the petrodollar is dead? I know that what you said earlier is all oil is priced in dollars. So that would seem to be at odds with the death of the petrodollar.

AM: Well, Tony, in my perspective, the petrodollar is a relic of the 1970s. Right. Okay. Today it’s the Euro dollar. It’s not the petrodollar that makes the American economy run like God on Earth at the moment. It’s the Euro dollar. Forget about Petro dollar. Right. Because it’s not simply just oil that’s priced in it in dollars. It’s every single piece of commodity globally that’s priced in dollars.

TN: And Albert, just for viewers who may not understand what a Euro dollar is, can you quickly help them understand what a Euro dollar is?

AM: They’re just dollars deposited in overseas banks outside the United States system. That’s all it is.

TN: Okay with that. Very good.

SR: And the global economy runs on them. Full stop.

AM: It’s the blood of the global economy.

TN: So the death of the petrodollar, rise of the petroyuan and all that stuff, we can kind of brush that aside. Is that fair?

TS: Yeah. I mean, even if you look at say, you know, China started their own Yuan contract rights, oil contract and Yuan futures contract. But that still pegged to the price of the Dubai contracts. Right. That are priced in dollars.

TN: Let’s be clear, the CNY and crude are both relative to dollars. Right?

TS: Right.

TN: You have two things that are relative to dollars trying to circumvent dollars to buy that thing. The whole thing is silly.

TS: Exactly.

AM: Yeah, of course. Because Tony, the thing is, if China decides to sell all their dollars and all their trade or whatever, everything they’ve got, they risk hyperinflation. What happens to the Renminbi and then what happens in the world? Contracts trying to get priced right.

TN: Exactly. It’s a good point. Okay. This is a great discussion.

Now, Albert, while we’re on currencies, The Japanese yuan fell pretty hard versus the dollar this week. Do you mind talking through that a little bit and helping us understand what’s going on there?

AM: Yeah, I got a real simple explanation. The Federal Reserve most likely green light in Japan To devalue their yen to be able to show up the manufacturing sector in case China decides to get into a bigger global geopolitical spat with the United States. Simple as that.

TN: Great. Okay. So that’s good. This is really good. And I want people to understand that currencies are very relevant to geopolitics or the other way around. Right. Whenever you see currency movements, there’s typically a geopolitical connection there.

AM: Of course. And on top of that, if it was any other time and they started to devalue the currency like this, the Federal Reserve where the President would start calling the currency manipulators. And there’d be page headlines on the financial times.

TN: Right.

AM: And because that didn’t happen, It’s an automatic signal to me that this is what’s happening at the moment. Right.

What’s also interesting to me, Albert, is we’ve seen last week we saw Japan approach the Saudis and the Emiratis about oil contracts. We saw Japan call. There’s a meeting in Japan next week, I think, with China. So Japan is becoming this kind of foreign policy arm, whether we want to admit it or not, they’re kind of becoming foreign policy arm for the US. Because the US is not well respected right now. Is that fair to say?

AM: It’s more than fair to say, I believe Biden’s conference with South Asian leaders was just canceled on top of everything else.

TS: Sorry. And we saw this week Japan and India just signed, like, a $42 billion trade deal. So it kind of seems like they’re smoothing over the rough edges because the United States kind of came after India a little bit earlier about two weeks ago.

TN: Yeah, that’s a good call, Tracy. I think Japan and India have had a long, positive relationship. It’s especially intensified over the past, say, seven or eight years as China has tried to invest in India and the Japanese have kind of countered them and giving the Indians very favorable terms for investment and for loans. And so this is kind of a second part of that investment that was, I think, announced in, say, 2014 or 2015, something like that. And again, as we talked about it’s, Japan intervening to help the US out and obviously help Japan out at the same time. Thanks for that.

Now, Sam. We saw bonds spike pretty hard this week, especially the five year. I’ve got a Trading View source up there on the five year up on the screen right now. So can you walk us through what’s happening with US bonds right now, especially the five year?

SR: Sure. I mean, it’s pretty straightforward. The Fed is getting very hawkish and the market is adopting it rather quickly. And I don’t know how forcefully to say this. The current assumption coming from city is four straight 50 basis point hikes and then ending the year with just a couple of 25. That is a pretty incredibly fast off zero move time, some quantitative tightening, and you’re somewhere around three and a half percent to 4% worth of tightening in a year. That’s a pretty fast move.

So the two year to five years reflecting that the Fed is moving very quickly, you’re likely having the long end of the curve is lagging a little bit. You saw flattening, not steepening this week. The long end of the curve is telling you that the terminal rate may, in fact, actually be at least somewhat sticky around two and a half and might actually be moving a little bit higher. And that terminal rate is really important because that is how high the Fed can go and then stay there. It is also how fast the Fed can get there and how much above it the Fed is willing to go. So I think there’s a lot of things that happened on the curve this week.

TN: Okay. Albert, what’s in on those? Yes, go ahead, Albert.

AM: Oh, I’ve heard whispers that the long bond is going to 2.8% and maybe even 3%. That’s what the whispers have been telling me about that, which is going to absolutely devastate housing.

TN: But that was my actual idea.

SR: Oh, yeah. Housing is done. I mean, you saw pending home sales were supposed to be up a point and down 4%. That’s the first signal. The next signal will be when lumber goes back to $300.

TN: Okay. It seems to me you’re saying by say Q3 of this year we’re going to see real downside in the housing market. Is that fair to say?

SR: Oh, in Q2, you’re going to see real downside in the housing market. Yeah.

TN: Wow.

SR: Pending sales are, I think, one of the most important indicators of how the housing market is going. Right. It’s a semi forward looking indicator. If you begin to see a whole bunch of these homes in the ground stay as homes that are not being built. Right. So if you begin to see just a bunch of pads out there, it’s going to become a significant problem considering a lot of people have already bought the materials to build it off. And you’re going to begin to have some really interesting spirals that go back into some of the commodity markets that have been on fire on the housing front.

TN: Wow. Okay. That’s a big call. I love this discussion. Okay, good. Okay. So let’s move on to the week ahead. Tracy, we’ve had some stimulus announced to help pay for energy. Can you help us understand? Do you expect we’ve seen California and some other things come out? Are more States going to do this or more countries going to do this, and what does that do to the inflation picture?

TS: Well, absolutely. We saw California, Delaware, Germany, Italy talking about it. Japan already. They’re coming out of the woodwork right now. There’s actually too many to list. It’s just that we’re just now this week just starting to see the US kind of joining this on a state to state basis. The problem is that this is not going to help inflation whatsoever. You’re literally creating more demand and we still do not have the supply online. So all of these policies are going to have the opposite of the intended effect that they are doing. Right. It’s just more stimulus in the market.

TN: Do we think there’s going to be some federal energy stimulus coming?

TS: They’ve talked about different options. I mean, really, the only thing that they could do right now is get rid of the federal excise tax, but that’s only really a few cents. And they kind of don’t want to do that because that goes towards repairing roads, et cetera. That doesn’t fit into their plan that they just passed back in the fall. Right. We had infrastructure plan, so they need to pay for that. That’s already passed. So they probably won’t do that.

The other options that they have that they’re weighing are more SPR release, which is ridiculous at this point because they could release it all and it would still not have a long lasting effect on the market. And that’s our national security. It’s a national security issue. And we’re experiencing all these geopolitical events right now. We have bombs in Saudi Arabia. We’ve got Russia, Ukraine. So I think that’s like a poor move altogether.

TN: So if more States are going to come in, is it suspects like Massachusetts, New York, Illinois, those types of places?

TS: Yes.

TN: Okay. So all inflationary, it’s going in the wrong direction.

TS: It’s going to create demand, which is going to drive oil prices higher because we still don’t have the supply on the market.

TN: Okay. Wow. Thanks for that. Sam. As we look forward, you mentioned a little bit about how hawkish the Fed would be. But what are you looking at say in the bond market for the next week or so? Do we expect more activity there, or do you think we’re kind of stabilizing for now?

SR: We’re going into month end. So I would doubt that we’re going to stabilize in any meaningful way as portfolios either head towards rebalancing or begin to rebalance into quarter end. So I don’t think you’re going to see stabilization. And I think some of the signals might be a little suspect. But I do think back to the housing front. I’m going to be watching how housing stocks react, how the dialogue there really reacts, probably watching lumber very closely, a fairly good indicator of how tight things are or aren’t on the housing front.

And then paying a little bit of attention to what the market is telling us about that terminal rate. If the terminal rate keeps moving higher, to Albert’s point, that’s going to be a big problem for housing, but it’s going to be a big problem for a number of things as we begin to kind of spiral through, what the consequences of that are. It will be for the first time in a very long time.

TN: Okay. So it’s interesting. We have, say, energy commodities rising. We have, say, housing related commodities potentially falling, and we have food commodities rising. Right. It seems like something’s off. Some of it’s shortages based, and some of it is really demand push based. So energy stuff seems to be stimulus based or potentially so some interesting divergence in some of those sectors.

Okay. And then, Albert, what’s ahead for equity markets? We’ve seen equity markets continue to push higher. How much further can they go?

AM: Last week they eliminated, I think, up to about $9 trillion inputs, short squeeze, VIX crush. I mean, they went all out these last two weeks. It’s absolutely stunning. From my calculations, I think they expanded the balance sheet another $150 billion. Forget about this tapering talk. There’s no tapering. They just keep on going. How high can they go? That’s anybody’s guess right now. I think we’re like 6% off all time highs. On no news.

TN: So potentially another 6% higher?

AM: Honestly, I know that there’s hedge funds waiting, salivating at 4650. Just salivating to short it there. So I don’t think they can even get close to that, to be honest with you. So I don’t know, maybe 4590 early in the week before they start coming down.

TN: Okay. Interesting. So you think early next week we’ll see a change in direction?

AM: Yeah, we’re going to have to this has been an epic run, like I said, 90% short squeeze, 10% fixed crush. You don’t see this very often. Okay, Sam, what do you think, Sam? Similar?

SR: On equities, I like going into the rip higher. I’m kind of with Albert, but a little less bearish. I think you chop sideways from here looking for a catalyst in either direction. Bonds ripping higher today, yields ripping higher today. Bond prices plummeting. That I thought was going to be a catalyst for equities to move lower. It wasn’t. That kind of gives me a little bit of pause on being too bearish here, but it’s hard for me to get bullish.

TN: Okay.

TS: What’s interesting? I’ll just throw in like, Bama, weekly flows. We actually saw an outflow from equities for the first time in weeks. It wasn’t a lot 1.9 billion. But that says to me people are getting a little nervous up here. Profit taking, as they say on CNBC.

TN: All right, guys. Hey, thank you very much. Really appreciate the insight. Have a great week ahead.

AM, TS: Thanks.

SR: You too, Tony.

TN: Fabulous. Look. I’m married. I’m a man. I don’t notice anything. I noticed the other guys laughed at that. Uncomfortably. That’s great. Okay. I’m just going to start that over, guys. And we’re going to end it.

Week Ahead

The Week Ahead – 21 Mar 2022

This week, we saw a Fed rate rise, crude came back from the stratosphere, and Chinese equities came to life.

As we said last week:

– Sam said “watch the 5 and 7 year” bonds, where we saw serious action.

– Sam also said “grip it and rip it” with equity markets.

– Tracy said that dramatic spikes in crude markets were priced out of the market for now

– Albert called for a volatile week thru the Fed meeting, although we didn’t see the lows he’d expected.

Sam walked us through the Fed decision and what’s happening in the bond markets. He also explained a bit more about his “grip it and rip it” comment and where the leaves us.

LME is talking about banning Russian copper on the exchange. What does that mean for global copper markets, as explained by Tracy? We’re also coming off the nickel scandal at the LME. Are there bigger problems with at the LME – mixing politics with markets?

We saw China equity markets perk up this week. KWEB, the China tech ETF, is up over 40% since Monday. What happened, what is Albert watching and what’s coming for Chinese equity markets?

Listen on Spotify:

This is the 11th episode of The Week Ahead in collaboration of Complete Intelligence with Intelligence Quarterly, where experts talk about the week that just happened and what will most likely happen in the coming week.

Follow The Week Ahead experts on Twitter:



TN: Hi, and welcome to The Week Ahead. I’m Tony Nash. And I’m joined by Albert Marko, Sam Rines, and Tracy Shuchart. Before we get started, I’d like to ask you to like and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

So this week it’s been a really interesting week. We saw Fed rate rise. We saw commodities, especially crude, come back from the stratosphere and we saw Chinese equities come back to life. So it’s been kind of a really weird week.

Last Friday, Sam said to watch the five- and seven-year bonds where we saw some serious action. He also said rip it and grip it with reference to equity markets. So let’s dig into that a little bit today.

Tracy said the dramatic spikes in crude markets were probably priced out in the week before, which we saw bear out this week. And Albert called for an active week before the Fed. We didn’t see the low he expected, but I think very much in line with the volatility he expected this week.

So, Sam, to get started, can you walk us through the Fed’s decision and what’s happening in bond markets?

SR: Yeah. So I think the Fed’s decision is pretty simple to understand on a number of levels. It’s inflation, inflation, inflation and everything else is secondary. When asked multiple times what would knock them off of the call it the inflation war, they made it very clear there was very little that would knock them off that path. So you had a lot of action on seven-year, five-year and a little bit on 10? Not as much as I would have expected, really. But the basic reaction was the Feds going the Fed’s going very hard, very fast, probably would have done 50 if it weren’t for Ukraine and may do 50 at a coming meeting or two if the war in Ukraine doesn’t begin to really spiral into an employment issue in the US. It does not matter about a growth issue, matters about employment issue. So I think that’s really critical.

The two-year looks really well priced to me in light of that situation, quantitative tightening, whatever. That will happen in May. We know that.

TN: We’re convinced it’s happening in May.

SR: We’re convinced it’s happening in May. Yeah. The rhetoric from the Fed is pretty clear that they’re going to go early and they’re going to go fast on quantitative tightening. None of that is great for the longer end of the curve, starting at five s and ending at 30s.

If you want to kind of think about it in terms of ideal perspective, in terms of pricing, it’s probably pretty good. 5s, 7s, 10s, 30s have all priced a pretty interesting growth to inflation narrative that if you begin to have the growth narrative breakdown, if you begin to have the long term inflation embedded narrative breakdown, because the very fast, very good Fed, that’s going to change, and that’s going to push those yields down, prices up pretty dramatically, pretty quickly.

TN: Fantastic. So when you talk about QT in May, I think I bounced back and forth over the past, say month or two months where people are talking about QT, then they’re talking about the possibility of QE, then we’re talking about QT.

So the QT aspect of it, if that happens, which when you say I fully expect it to happen, the main point there is to take money out of circulation, is that right? What is the main point of QT?

SR: What is the main point of QT? Main point of QT is signaling.

TN: Okay.

SR: In my opinion. QE is a pretty big signal to go ahead and buy everything. QT is a pretty good signal that the Fed is serious, right. It’s a seriousness issue. It’s not as dramatic, I think, as it might be interpreted by the financial media in terms of an actual translation to financial conditions or to equity markets, et cetera.

It does tend to knock down multiples, and it probably adds another 25 to 50 basis points worth of tightening this year. But I wouldn’t say it’s a shredding of cash. It’s a shredding of reserves. So reserves never made it in to the market in terms of real usable high power cash. That’s a big difference.

TN: Okay. So when we look at the environment right now versus what you’re expecting for QT in May, are we in kind of an interim opportunistic equity market right now? Are people just kind of trading until the inevitable comes? What’s happening, especially in US equity markets?

SR: What’s happening in US equity markets? That’s a tougher question to answer than you might think. A lot of short covering. That’s the first thing. Second thing is most of the risk seem to be priced as we exited last week. Right.

If you’re going to price the world for World War Three or some sort of big tail risk, that was the time to do it. And you simply didn’t have any of that come to fruition. You had a hawkish Fed, but you didn’t have a Fed that seemed to want to break something really quickly. And it’s pretty obvious that they’re willing to break something at this point, but they didn’t want to break it with a 50 basis point hike or call it three or 3 or 50 basis point hikes. That is one of the reasons why equity markets get a little bit of relief here.

The other side is that the ten year yield dropped. The ten-year yield dropping took some pressure off the Nasdaq for rate increases or interest rate increases that side of things. So Nasdaq outperformed S&P, that’s a pretty important signal. There was some risk on this week.

TN: Great. Okay, Albert, what’s your rate on US equity markets in light of what Sam is talking about with Fed action?

AM: Sam’s right. They want to break something, but they don’t want to be seen as breaking something. I mean, I was dead wrong on the sub 4,000. I completely forgot that Opex was this week. They were not going to pay out $4 trillion and put up just the people. It was just that they probably spent 100 to 150 billion this week to pump this market up and keep it stable up in the stratosphere up here.

I guarantee they spent about at least $100 billion doing that this week. And they just annihilated people. They kept equities up. They are signaling that they’re going to hit inflation hard and fast, just like Sam said. They have to because things are just getting silly at this point.

TN: Okay. And Tracy, in light of what Sam is talking about with QT and more hikes later in the year, do you expect that to have a material impact on commodities over the short to medium term, or do you think they’re still on this strong trajectory that you’ve expected?

TS: Yeah. I think that unfortunately, the Fed cannot subside this with rate hikes because we have, again, real supply demand issues. And so I think the commodities markets, the trajectory is going to continue higher. It doesn’t matter, especially when we’re looking at now we have this Ukraine Russia war, and now we also have 50 million people locked down in China again. And they just closed one of their major ports and manufacturing hubs this week. So supply chains that were sort of beginning to mend, right, after 2020 just got thrown into an entire tail spin once again.

TN: I have a friend in the manufacturing sector who because of the Shenzhen Port close and city close, he got several force majeure letters this week. So that stuff is cascading through industry. We’re not necessarily seeing it in markets yet, but it’s really cascading through industry really quickly. And I think we’re going to start to see that appear in financial statements of companies in the coming months.

AM: That’s important, Tony, because my contention has always been that they’re allowing inflation to run wild because it reduces the amount of rate hikes they actually have to do come May, they might be done with their last rate hikes at that point and start QT just simply on the basis that the supply chains and the economy is struggling.

TN: Right. One thing I want to go back to, Tracy, when you say bullish market and this is my understanding of your statements, but you’re bullish on commodities, you’re not talking about crude going to $140 again next week. This is a medium term play. Is that fair to say?

TS: It’s a medium to longer term play, which I’ve kind of always stated, granted, we had the Russian Ukraine factor come in that push prices to 130 WTI, which was a lot faster than I anticipated. I really liked the fact that we pulled back from that, got some of that geopolitical risk air out of the market, but we’re still on the same trajectory of $150 a barrel over the course of the next year or two.

TN: Right. Okay. Now, while we’re on Russia Ukraine, the LME came out with some news about copper this week and we’re showing that on the screen right now talking about the LME potentially banning Russian copper on the exchange. Can you talk us through that? And what does that mean for global copper markets?

TS: All right, so this is, the LME Commission basically suggested that they ban Russian oil. This has to be presented to the internet. Copper. You said Russian oil.

TN: You meant copper, right?

TS: Copper, yes. Sorry. This has to be presented to the international community for this to actually go through. The problem here is Russia is the 7th largest producer of copper. They account for about 4% of global production. It’s a role on the LME exchange is more significant because they are the third largest exporter of refined copper metal and this is deliverable to the exchange. So this really would send LME markets into chaos. Literally.

TN: Okay, so let’s kind of somehow link that to the LME nickel issues that we saw last week. Okay? Could this, as an exchange, could actions like this impact the credibility of the LME or what does this mean kind of political actions and by “political actions”, I mean there was intervention on behalf of a Chinese entity for the nickel market last week.

There’s potential intervention as a result of geopolitical issues with Russia in the coming weeks. So will we see exchanges get more political and will that impact impact their credibility as an exchange?

TS: Well, that’s the problem, yes. And I do think that it will impact their credibility. The nickel market is essentially broken at the LME rights now, right. They reopened again on Tuesday. They set daily limits at 5%, limit down. They were limited down right away. They raised it to 8% on Thursday, limit down right away, 12% on Friday, limit down right away.

And basically, that’s not because of the fundamentals of the market. That’s because people are running for the hill. They just want out of that contract. Right. And so that is definitely going to be a problem for the LME market going forward.

TN: Are there dangers and we don’t necessarily need to name other markets, but are there dangers of other we’ll say developed market exchanges to kind of make these types? Could we see CBOT or CME or some of these guys start to play these games, too?

TS: I think that’s a difficult question to answer. I do not think that you will see CME do that unless you have some other foreign markets do that first.

TN: Unless a big Chinese state owned entity lose a lot of money.

TS: If we see SHFE do something like that, then I think the United States will. But I do not think you’ll see the CME market actually.

TN: Okay. Yeah. I mean, I’m not sure that some people understand that these exchanges are actually businesses and they have to make business decisions. Right. And some of these business decisions, they’re not completely neutral market participants. Right. In some cases, they get involved in these trades.

TS: They’re there to make money. Right.

TN: They are there to make money. But when politics inserts itself into markets, these exchanges that people think are kind of arms length to the trades, it starts some people wondering about the price. Are they actually getting the right price? Is there really a true market there?

TS: Well, exactly. And that’s exactly what we’re seeing at the LME right now. At the command, so far, we have not seen that at CME yet. But that is to be determined.

TN: Right. Albert, Sam, what do you guys have to say on this?

AM: From my perspective, I can’t really add much to what Tracy said. She’s right on the ball. When it comes to systemic issues, politics gets in the way and protects it. That’s just the way it works. And unfortunately, just seeing what you’re seeing today, which is undermining, it undermines the trust in the entire market overall.

TN: Yeah. It just seems like a problem that’s really hard to get over. Right. Like how long will it be broken and when it’s back, will it snap back? I just don’t know. Sam, do you have any thoughts on this?

SR: My only thought is very similar to Albert’s, in terms of I don’t think anybody’s going to actually trust the LME anytime soon. If you’re going to make a significant trade in a metal, I highly doubt you’re going to want to do it through the LME without having some sort of backup to that position.

TN: Okay, great. Let’s move on to Chinese equities. Albert, we saw China equity markets forgot this week, KWEB, for example, which is a China tech ETF, is up over 40% since Monday. So what happened and what are you watching?

AM: Again, the systemic issues that China is facing in the market, I mean, Hong Kong was about 5% away from just absolutely imploding. They had a new problem where it wasn’t just the foreign money that was leaving the system, but actually the mainland mainland Chinese investors were taking money out, which was something new. And it was to the point where the peg might have even broken. So they had to shore it up by liquidity injections. And the Xi had come out and made those comments citing Hong Kong twice. But I was on Twitter and I was saying, this just can’t happen.

China is completely about to fail market wise. So let’s start picking things, pick the best ETF, pick the best companies out of China. And I mentioned KWEB with you guys, GDS, Chindata, you can throw a dart and pick your Chinese name last week and it went up 40% to 80% at some point.

Same thing. Now I’m kind of trimming my position back, but Chinese housing is at that point right now, where the housing sector accounts for 75% of China’s wealth. They can’t just simply let it deteriorate into nothing where the banks are taking it over. That can’t happen. I mean, Xi would be out in his ass. Sorry about the commentary, but Xi would be out within months if that happens. So I’m going to pick top three Chinese housing names and go for it.

TN: It’s a brave call. It’s a really brave call.

AM: All right.

TN: Do you think there’s room to run with some of these Chinese tech companies or even the broader China market, or do you think the opportunity is really limited to real estate?

AM: Well, no, they can run. The problem that we have now is the Biden administration is starting to target China, assisting Russia and whatnot. So then now you have the geopolitical risks come into the equation and you see these things surge 40% one day, you can easily see a 20% retracement the next day or even more. So that’s why I’m just trimming you take your 60% and be happy with it.

TN: Right. So we talked about Chinese fiscal stimulus, Chinese monetary stimulus. We talked about devaluation. Do the events of the last week move up the time clock for the economic planners in China to get this stuff out the door?

AM: Absolutely. I think they have to even in conjunction with the US, because the US has no fiscal coming so the Chinese have to step up to simulate the economy. Otherwise the entire globe is going into a depression. It’s as simple as that.

TN: Yeah. It’s really. I remember over the past ten years, all the talk about coordinated economic stimulus and all this other stuff since 2008, 2009. And right now we’ve got the Fed pulling back and we’ve got China aggressively moving forward. It’s just a little bit strange. Sam, I guess from a macro perspective, can that work?

SR: It can work depending on how much stimulus is actually put into the system and how it is put into the system. The how is very important in terms of how impactful it will be. Not just domestically for China. But also how impactful it will be beyond their borders.

And what you’d be really concerned about from a macro perspective is how far beyond the borders does that stimulus actually get? That’s where I get interested in it, because if it does begin to move beyond the borders, it’s very positive for Europe. That’s very positive for some US companies. But you have to have a stimulus that isn’t just a transfer to businesses.

You have to have it actually hit the Chinese consumer and hit the Chinese consumer quickly.

TN: Okay. So we’re not just talking about a couple of RRR cuts, which is what they do all the time. It’s kind of the go to. This is the reserve requirement, right?

SR: Yeah. I don’t care if they do RRR cut.

TN: I don’t think many people do, although I think they kind of have to phone that in to show that they’re doing something. I would think it’s more aggressive on the fiscal side, on the TSF, the total social finance side, where they just need to churn the cash out to SMEs, SOEs, big multinational companies, that sort of thing to almost get them to the point where they’re exporting deflation again, of manufactured goods. Does that make sense as an approach, Sam?

SR: I mean, it makes a lot of sense as an approach, but at the same time, you’re locking down due to your COVID zero process or policy. So that process would be really interesting and intriguing. But it’s a question of whether or not it would be effective given the health policy on the other side. So, yes, it would be great, but it would be probably great in three to six months.

TN: Okay, so guys, this is a great point. The COVID zero policy, it feels like much of the rest of the world has come out of this. Right. And China has gone back into lockdowns. Do you think there’s a point at which other markets have an uncomfortable call with China and go, guys, you got to open up because you’re killing the rest of us.

SR: I think they had it. I think they had it. If you look at the way they’re handling the current lockdown, they’re busting people to factories.

There’s a closed loop factory policy. While you have a COVID zero policy and “these places are locked down,” they are busing people to the factories. So I think there’s been a little bit of a let’s move on here.

TN: Okay.

AM: And also want to point out is these lockdowns came suspiciously close to the talks with the US, both with Biden and our glorious blink or Sullivan, the genius Sullivan that we have. But I think it might have been a little bit of a negotiation tactics like if you decide to play hardball with us over Russia, we can just shut down and ding our economy. So I think there was a little bit of that also sprinkle in there, right. A little bit of real politics.

TN: Yeah. Okay, guys. So as we come out of this weird week, what do you expect for the week ahead? Tracy, what are you looking at for the week ahead?

TS: So I think in the commodity markets, we’re still at that point where we’re kind of coming down after that initial knee jerk reaction to Russia, Ukraine. So I expect a little bit of consolidation across markets. Depending. It’s kind of what we’re seeing. So I think the market still be volatile, but like less volatile. I think we’re kind of like at that ripple point where the ripples really big and then we kind of get smaller and smaller.

TN: I think you’re Right. I think the consolidation makes sense. Albert, what are you looking For? It seems to me on the geopolitical side, we’re almost going through almost a geopolitical consolidation a little bit. We’ve had so much drama over the past few weeks, but I almost feel like it’s coming down a bit.

AM: It has been coming down and that’s one of the reasons they’re able to sit there and pump the market so high. I think it was overbought, to be honest with you. I think this market even considering going back to 4500, you’re just going to have every fund out there shorting the heck out of it. So I would see them try to test 4470, 4480, 4490, maybe 4500, but after that, it’s probably downside from there.

TN: Okay. Great. Sam, what are you looking at?

SR: I’m looking at the five-year I think it’s a pretty interesting place to be and I think it’s going to be highly volatile. But that’s the one to watch with inflation and growth expectations beginning to be a little wobbly.

TN: Great. Guys, thanks so much. I really appreciate it. Have a great week ahead.

AM, SR, TS: Thanks.

Week Ahead

The Week Ahead – 14 Mar 2022

This week, we saw commodities skyrocket then drop off. We saw crude oil hit levels not seen since 2008, with gasoline and home heating prices on everyone’s minds. The nickel market broke the LME. Chinese tech and real estate bloodbath. And – despite all of this – Janet Yellen assured us there will be no recession in the US. Quite a week.

As we said last week:

– Tracy called for commodity price volatility – across sectors

– Downside bias in equities with high volatility. Albert predicted 4200-4250 and pretty much nailed it.

– Sam said a Fed rate rise would become boring and talk of QT would disappear.

This episode we talked about mostly the energy commodities with the continuing Russia-Ukraine conflict. Can the US use other alternatives like the West African oil to replace Russian oil? What are the politics around Venezuelan oil and why is it the same as getting Russian oil?How about uranium — and can the US produce it and will the conflict affect rare earths? Is this war the reason for the US’s inflation? How will inflation actually play with voters in this year’s US election? Lastly, what’s happening in Chinese tech and real estate and why there’s a bloodbath and for how long will this continue?

This is the tenth episode of The Week Ahead in collaboration of Complete Intelligence with Intelligence Quarterly, where experts talk about the week that just happened and what will most likely happen in the coming week.

For those who want to listen on Spotify:

Follow The Week Ahead experts on Twitter:



TN: Hi, everyone, and welcome to The Week Ahead. My name is Tony Nash. I’m joined by Tracy Shuchart, Albert Marko, and Sam Rines. Before we get started, I appreciate if you could like and subscribe to our YouTube channel. And also please know that we have a special offer for Week Ahead viewers for CI Futures, which is our market data and forecast platform. CI Futures has about 800 assets across commodities, currencies and equity indices and a couple thousand economic variables. We track our error. We have very low error rates. So we’re offering CI Futures to Week Ahead viewers at a $50 a month promotion. You can see the URL right now. It’s That’s a 90% off of our usual price. So thanks for that.

So these week, guys, we saw commodities skyrocket and then drop off. We saw crude oil hit levels not seen since 2008. With gasoline and home heating prices really on everyone’s minds. The nickel market broke the LME, Chinese tech and real estate. We saw a blood bath there. And despite all of this, Janet yelling assured of us that there will be no recession in the US. So it was quite a week.

So let’s look at last week. Tracy called for commodity price volatility across sectors. So it wasn’t just an oil call, it was across sectors. And we saw that in spades. We talked about a downside bias in equities and high volatility. Albert predicted a 4242 50 range, and he pretty much nailed that. And then Sam said that a Fed rate rise would become pretty boring and talk of QT would kind of disappear. And we’ve really seen that happen over the past week. So, well done, guys. I think we need to really focus on inflation this week. Inflation and quantity prices are on everyone’s mind. Energy is the first kind of priority, but it’s really come across, like we said, nickel and other things.

So, Tracy, let’s start there. We have a viewer question from At Anton Fernandez, Russian oil, if you don’t mind helping us understand the environment for Russian oil and what’s happening there and some of the alternatives, which we’ve covered a little bit before, but also West Africa. Is West Africa viable within that? So if you don’t mind talking to us a little bit about what’s happening in the crude market and also help us with a little bit of understanding of the context of West Africa.

TS: Yeah. So if we look at the crude market in general, what we have been seeing, we’ve seen sanctions from Canada, which is basically political. They haven’t bought anything since 2019. We also saw Australia sanctioned oil, but they had only bought a million barrels over the last year. It’s nothing. The US only 600,000 bpd. That is nothing. And UK is going to take a year to get off oil because it’s 11% of their imports as opposed to 2% of our imports. That said, what we are seeing in this market is a lot of self sanctioning. Right.

So we’re saying we have nine Afromax Russian oil tankers basically sitting aisle because they can’t get insurance and nobody wants to pick up oil right from them. Actually, what is most surprising right now, I have to say, is that looking at Asian buyers, everybody thought that Asian buyers because it would be offered at such a discount, they would be buying this stuff up like crazy. But there was just an auction for SoKo, which is a very popular grade with South Korea, China, Singapore and Hawaii, and there was literally zero bids.

TN: Really? Wow.

TS: The next auction that we need to be looking for is ESPO, which is the most popular grade for China refiners. But if we see a zero bid there, that would be indicative of saying that we’re taking a lot of brush and barrels.

TN: Chinese we’re not seeing any interest there, at least so far.

TS: Right. Which is quite incredible because the Chinese have always decided to be apolitical. Right. And they don’t recognize Unilateral sanctions and they have stressed that. So whatever sanctions that the west has, China says we don’t care about that. We saw that with Iran as well.

TN: Right.

TS: But it’s pretty incredible to see this particular auction go at zero bid. Right. In regards to looking at West Africa, I’ve been talking about this since 2020. Niama is a very interesting place. There’s been a lot of offshore activity there. And so I think that is a place to be looking for. The problem is that looking at offshore projects, they take it’s a seven to ten year timeline, as opposed to something like Shell, which is six months to 18 months. But yes, there’s definitely opportunity.

TN: So is West African crew substitutional with Russian crude?

TS: No, it is not.

TN: Okay. So is it lighter, that sort of thing?

TS: It’s lighter. It’s lighter crude oil, what we’re looking at right now. And this is exactly why the US went to Venezuela and said, we’ll be willing to lift sanctions with you as long as you only sell us oil.

TN: Right.

TS: And the funny thing is that they have a very good relationship with Russia. The problem with this sort of relationship is that we could inadvertently be buying from Venezuela that is actually Russian oil.

TN: Sure. Exactly. So it’s an interesting point on Venezuela. Albert, what are the politics around that we just pick up the phone. Does Lincoln just have a conversation with Venezuela? We send a deputy sect down there, do a deal. How does that work? And is that palatable?

AM: No, it’s not palatable. It’s an absolute joke. Like Tracy said, the Russians have their tentacles all over Venezuelan oil, that you would be self sanctioning yourself from Russian oil globally, but then buying from Venezuela, which is going to be mixed because everybody in the industry knows that if you want to mix oil, you do it in the Caribbean, especially from sanctioned oil from overseas. So it’s not palatable. It’s a joke. I don’t understand what they’re trying to do. It’s just a Wally world at this point.

TN: I guess the thing that I’m continually astounded by is the diplomatic actions of the US administration from Anchorage through this week with Venezuela. They just seem to be tripping all over themselves. What am I missing? Like they just seem to be eroding credibility by the day. Is that fair to say?

AM: It’s more than fair. They’re throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks based only upon their little echo chamber of ideology. And it’s extremely naive ideology when it comes to geopolitics or what they’re doing right now.

You can try to erase Russia and go play and then think that you can go to Iran and cut a deal with Iran, not understanding that Russia is going to sabotage that deal. Right. Like they did just today.

TN: Tight diplomatically. While we’re on this this week, the headline said that the UAE and Saudi declined having talks with Joe Biden this week. Is that true? Is the headline the reality of it? And from the time Biden came into office, he was not friendly to Saudi Arabia. So is this payback from that?

TS: No, I don’t think so. Sorry.

AM: Actually, I think it is that it is payback because you have the Saudis and the UAE that have security concerns with the Houthis and the Iranians. And if you’re sitting there approaching the Iranians playing all nice with them, what do you think MBS is going to do?

TS: I agree with Albert on that respect. I just want to interject that the OPEC + Alliance has mainly tried to stay apolitical. Right. So just because the United States says OPEC produce this much more, Saudi Arabia and UAE, which are both the producers that can produce more than the rest, had come out this week and said no, we’re in this alliance and this is how it is, which is totally understandable.

AM: Yeah, but Tracy, but the problem is OPEC saying that is one thing but not taking his call.

TS: No, I agree with you. I agree with you that we have burned bridges. I’m not disagreeing with you here whatsoever. I’m just taking a different kind of look at this.

TN: Sam, what’s your view on that? I’m not hearing you.

SR: Can you hear me now?

TN: Yes, sir.

SR: I would say the naivety of believing that you’re going to have a JCPOA deal or you’re going to be able to have some sort of comeback in terms of Venezuela. So you add the two of those together and who cares relative to what you need to replace Richmond Oil? I mean, it would be great and fine, whatever, but it’s nowhere near enough simply. Right. But it’s also a political naivety to believe that you’re going to have that type of dialogue and you’re going to have it quickly.

TN: Right.

SR: On the front of Saudi and UAE, I would say it is both an OPEC Plus. We’re not going to blow this up before it blows up on its own from the call it the allies of OPEC. Plus.

It’s also the UAE and Saudi is saying, remember, you want to be friends with us, US.

TN: Yeah.

SR: Don’t pretend you don’t want to be.

TN: Right.

SR: So I would say it’s politics in the best possible way on that front. And on Iran, JCPOA, and Venezuela, it was wishful thinking to think that the Russians were going to say no on both fronts.

TN: Well, and the Chinese. Right. I think there are a number of Venezuela has relationships with both Russia and China.

TS: That’s all I was saying is that OPEC is not going to give up that plus alliance. They’re going to try to stay apolitical. Right. Whatsoever. Do I think that the United States is pushing OPEC to Russia and China? Absolutely. Do you see the huge deal that Saudi Arabia made today? Absolutely. Right.

So they’re looking at investing further into China because they are being pushed away from the United States. So agree on that aspect. But I’m just trying to say that they do try to stay apolitical. If you look at the history of OPEC, Iran and Saudi Arabia have been able to subsist cohesively in the OPEC alliance, regardless of the years of them being enemies and having proxy wars against each other. That’s all I’m saying.

TN: Okay. Let’s move on to the next thing. There are a couple of questions about commodities, Tracy, and let’s just cover these really quickly. We have a question about uranium from @JSchwarz91. Will the US ban or will Russia restrict its uranium and could the US actually start producing uranium on its own? Is that a possibility?

TS: The US won’t restrict uranium. It hasn’t restricted uranium because we actually buy a significant amount of uranium from them. It’s easy to say we can skip 600 barrels per day of oil, but not as easy to do with uranium. We’ve stayed away from that.

Will Russia decide to not sell to us? Again, it’s about money, so probably not unless we really push a button in there. Can we produce that amount of uranium in the United States? Absolutely not.

TN: Interesting. Okay. Let’s also move on to rare Earth. So we have a question from @snyderkr0822. He’s asking about the impact of Russia and Ukraine on the availability of rare earths. Is that a factor or is rare Earth more of a China thing?

TS: That’s more of a China thing. We all have to watch to see if China sides with Russia and see how that market ends up. But really, they’re the largest producer in the world, and that’s who we are largely dependent on for rare earths.

TN: Okay, great. Thanks for that.

Now let’s move on to kind of this war driven inflation narrative that we’ve seen over the past a couple of weeks. We had February inflation come out today, and I feel almost as if we’re being tested as a trial balloon for an inflation narrative that inflation is kind of Russia’s fault.

So, Sam, can you talk us through some of the economics of this? Is inflation a new thing like did it just happened two weeks ago?

SR: No. So the inflation narrative going forward, there’s some validity to Russia being the reasoning behind an increase over a base case. Whatever you want to decide that base case is. But in February, January. December and November, those are not in any way related to Russia generally.

What’s interesting to me is how many people are kind of forgetting that, we kind of had a little bit of a log jam breakup in supply chains beginning to occur. It looks like we were going to get a little bit of respite from that narrative. But now if you looked at what’s going on in the neon market, if you look kind of six to twelve to 18 months down the road, it looks a lot less like we’re going to have that log jam broken up and a lot more like we’re going to have somewhat persistent inflation that there is no way for the Fed to solve. There’s no way for the ECB to solve BOJ, et cetera. You’re just going to have to continue to have this hawkish language to try to tamp down those longer term expectations.

TN: Demand destruction.

SR: Demand destruction. But it’s really hard to destroy demand for semiconductors when they’re in everything from my daughter’s doll to my laptop. It is very difficult to destroy that much demand and create an inflationary environment that is less toxic to the Fed or to the ECB without breaking something.

So if the Fed isn’t willing to break something in the next call it six months. They’re not going to break inflation. And if you print out six months from now, you’re breaking something into a midterm election.

TN: Right.

SR: So I’m so much skeptical on the Fed’s ability to do anything at this point.

TN: Right. That’s a great transition to Albert. So how is inflation playing with voters?

AM: Oh, it’s absolutely nuclear football. Allowing inflation to go this high is just going to be devastating to the Democratic Party and Joe Biden. But I want to go back because I have a couple of contentious things to say. Right.

TN: Please do.

SR: Oh, God! Right.

AM: So everyone is pricing in five, six, seven hikes at the moment. Right. But inflation at the moment has probably taken three of them out of the equation because the money’s gone. It’s erasing money left and right at the moment, from the federal point of view, it’s like, why really get rid of it all? That why really attack it when it’s doing our job for us where we only now have to hike three times. Right.

And on top of that, something even more contentious is everyone knows that once the VIX gets to a certain price, somebody sells it off. Right. Somebody industry. Right. But everybody knows that. And when everyone knows that, the house casino usually moves to a different area. What about oil? What if somebody with a big account has bought oil futures and every time it gets to the 120s or 130s, they just crush it for $1015 and the market rallies again.

So this artificial inflation that obviously we have real inflation just because of wage inflation and supply chain. But there’s a little bit of artificial, artificial aspect to it that I think the Fed has been using. Politically, it’s going to be extremely damaging. But for their point of view is if they can get over it and then get the rate hikes out of the way and then maybe probably start QE later in the summer, They could suck their voters at the beginning of the economy back on track again. I don’t think it’s going to work.

TN: Let’s say a month or so ago there was suspicion that we would be doing QT in say June, July. That’s off the table now because of the money that inflation is taken out of the market, right?

AM: Absolutely.

TN: But we’ll do rate hikes and have QE potentially?

AM: That’s right. That’s my point.

TN: You’re in an insane phase of economic history.

AM: It’s just look around, Tony. What’s not insane at the moment?

TN: Undoing this.

TS: That’s 100% fact.

TN: Undoing this is going to be insane. Okay, speaking of undoing crazy stuff, the Chinese techs and real estate stocks really have some problems this week.

So Albert, Sam, can you guys talk a little bit about that? And we have a tweet showing some stocks from Tencent, Alibaba, JD, other ones down 50, 60, 80%. So what’s happening with the tech blood bath in China?

SR: I’ll just do a quick start. Did you see the numbers coming out of JD? They were horrible. I mean, they were absolutely atrocious. So, yeah, you’re going to get a sell off in tech broadly across the board in China. When your numbers are horrible, then you’re going to have additional pressure put on the potential for delisting in the US and the general call it risk off move in markets. So you’ve got the trifecta of horrible for Chinese tech in a nutshell.

But the JD numbers were absolutely atrocious on a revenue growth line. And there’s no way to save Chinese tech if you’re going to have numbers like that. If you continue to have numbers like that, guess what? Look out, because the bottom is not in.

On the Chinese real estate front, I think Albert has a much better view on this than I do. But I would say if you’re going to have a risk off in tech, good luck having a risk on in real estate.

TN: Sorry. Let me stop you before I move on to real estate. So the tech story, what I’m pulling away from there is that it’s potentially disposable income story at the retail level, at the consumer level, and tells me that China is way overdue with its stimulus. Is that fair to say?

SR: That’s harder to say.

TN: Okay.

SR: I would be very careful in saying that the Chinese consumer is not there. China is coming with stimulus. If you’re trying to hit 5.5 by the end of this year and you’re going into a plum, guess what? You got to hit the pedal.

TN: Well, they better hurry up.

SR: They’ve got time, but they’re going to hit the pedal. And the question is how do they hit the pedal? And it’s got to be the consumer because they’re not going to hit it on real estate.

TN: No, they’re not. Going through some of the real estate.

AM: Yeah, well, I have a couple of points to make on. I have a couple of points about the tech. China tech. What was interesting is Sam is right. JD numbers were horrible. Right. This SEC Delisting thing pointed out five companies. Right. Just five. And the big ones. Gamble is a big one. And whatnot. But why only five? It happened to be the only five that actually did their accounting and submitted their accounting numbers. Right. And would that actually let a snowball effect out to say, Holy crap, they will take down every single Chinese number, Chinese company in the market. That’s why a lot of this actually sold off harder than you think it would sell off.

Going to the real estate market. I mean, 75% of China’s fault is real estate. So unless Xi wants pitchforks and torches coming after him, he’s going to have to stimulate the economy, something to support the real estate market.

TN: Yeah. It seems like it’s going to have to come hard and fast. I could be wrong. But, you know, with.

AM: I think by June. I think by June he’s got to do something. He has to.

SR: Hit through the middle.

AM: Absolutely.

TN: Good. And do you guys have any ideas on what exact forms that’s going to take? I mean, of course they’re new triple R, of course, taking a new infrastructure spending. They do the stuff. They announce it every other year. Are there other forms that you have in mind that will take that?

AM: I don’t, to be honest with you, that is $64 million question. To be honest. That’s a big question. That’s very complex.

SR: Yeah. And if I had the answer to that question, I probably wouldn’t be on this call.

TN: Come on, Sam. We know you would.

SR: I would be on a yacht somewhere.

TN: Yeah, that’s right.

TS: It’s interesting about that. If you look at the energy perspective, they just had a meeting and they totally decided that they’re going back to coal other than anything else. So that to me that signifies we have stress in other markets. Right. We cannot spend the money in other places. So we’re going to go back to what we do best, what we know best. And they also offered, if you look at internal documents that are offering huge discounts for going back into the coal industry or whatever. I just like to.

TN: So there’s still 73% coal for their power generation, something like that?

TS: Yes. So for them, they backtracked on COP. They need the money right now, in other words.

TN: Right. So the whole Paris agreement is a convenient agreement, is that what you’re saying?

TS: Correct.

TN: Okay, very good. It’s good to know that we’re all committed to the future. Okay. So guys, speaking of the future, finally, what do you view for the week ahead? Albert, let’s start with you. Maybe with China. Do you think there’s more to come with the blood bath in China?

AM: I think there’s another week or two to come with China blood bath. And I think that’s going to obviously lean on our equities going into Fed week.

TN: Right.

AM: So yeah, I think we’ll be another down week.

TN: Okay. And guys, what about US equities? Are we on a steady decline down to some number 4300 whatever it is, or are we kind of about there? What do you feel is going to happen over the next week?

AM: I think we’ll be sub 4000 by the end of the week at some point.

TN: Okay.

SR: Yeah. I wouldn’t be anything other than market neutral until immediately following the Fed meeting and then you just rip it to the upside.

TN: Okay.

AM: Yeah. The only thing that I have a concern about is we still have this Ukraine war going on which is giving outrageous headlines and then if the Fed hikes 25 basis points and then extremely hawkish tones while Putin is shelling Kiev.

TN: Right.

AM: It’s hard to rip until after that’s all settled.

TN: So sorry, Sam, in your scenario, are you saying the first half up until say Wednesday we have a pretty quiet market, then Thursday and Friday, things are pretty active to the?

SR: Oh no, I am not saying that you have a quiet market until the Fed. I’m saying you don’t want to take a position period until the Fed and then you either want to grip it or rip it one or the other.

AM: I agree with that one wholeheartedly.

TS: These markets will continue to be volatile until we have some resolution with this Ukraine Russia situation just because of all every day we’re seeing new sanctions against Russia and against commodities within Russia, at least for the commodity sector. I think we’ll continue to see volatility, but over the long term I’m still very bullish commodity.

TN: Okay. So Tracy, Sunday night, futures open, crude traded very high. Do you think there’s a possibility of us seeing another dramatic spike like that in the next week or two?

TS: I think that mostly been priced out of the market. I think that was priced in right. We saw a lot of that risk premium come out of the market, which I was very glad to see. I would personally be happy if we saw it traded in the 90s again before going into high demand season because I do think that we will trade higher on fundamentals. But it scares me when we have these big kick ups due to headlines and geopolitical risk.

So for me right now I would like to see this market come down a little bit. I’d like to see it pull back some and hopefully things will resolve quicker than sooner with this situation. But still going forward, I’m still very bullish this market.

TN: Okay. We didn’t talk at all about nickel and metal’s markets, but we saw the LME close today because of a nickel trade supposedly. Will we see those markets reopen and will we see nickel trade? Is it scheduled to trade again on Monday and is there the potential for commodity specific disruption and markets closing over the next week or two because of the volatility.

TS: There’s been a very high contention discussion right now, especially within the commodities industry. I would just say that it was kind of unprecedented what we saw there and the fact that they canceled all the trades. I would say that hedge funds are kind of backing away from that market right now because they’re skeptical of that market right now. But again, it’s not like I don’t want to say this is going to be the norm or anything like that.

TN: Okay.

TS: I think this was a one off crazy thing. It happened in the aluminum market years ago and you can even look it up on Wikipedia, right.

TN: Okay. Last thing week ahead with bonds. Sam, what are you thinking about bonds? We’ve seen the ten year go back up to about two. Are we going to see that continue to take up?

SR: I don’t know. I think the ten year is a little less interesting than the five year and the seven year.

TN: Okay.

SR: The five year and the seven year are really what you want to watch because if the fed goes 25 and goes really hawkish, it’s the five and the seven that you’re going to get the juice from and the ten and the 30 you’re going to get a little less so watch the five and seven. I think the five and seven are really interesting here. If you want to take a bet on a really hawkish Fed.

TN: Fantastic. Okay, guys. Thanks very much. Really appreciated. Have a great week ahead. Thank you very much.

AM: Okay. Bye.

SR: Thank you. Bye.

Week Ahead

The Week Ahead – 7 Mar 2022

Everyone’s eyes are on the Ukraine-Russia conflict in the past couple of weeks. How do traders make smart decisions in a geopolitically risky environment like this? Tracy Shuchart also explains why the fertilizer market is up 23% last week, what commodities are mostly impacted by the conflict, and how’s China’s energy relationship with Russia? Sam explains the effects on the emerging marketing of the different sanctions on Russia and why China’s exporting deflation is good for the US. Albert elaborates why the conflict is actually a “boom” for China.

This is the ninth episode of The Week Ahead in collaboration of Complete Intelligence with Intelligence Quarterly, where experts talk about the week that just happened and what will most likely happen in the coming week.

For those who prefer to listen to this episode, here’s the podcast version for you.

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TN: Hi and welcome to The Week Ahead. I’m Tony Nash and I’m joined by Tracy Shuchart, Albert Marko, and Sam Rines. Thanks for joining us. Before we get started, I’d like to ask you to subscribe to our YouTube channel. And like this video helps us out to get visibility, helps you get notifications when we have a new video. So if you wouldn’t mind doing that right now, we would be grateful.

Also, we’re having a flash sale for CI Futures which is Complete Intelligence subscription product. We forecast about 800 markets assets, currencies, commodities, equity indices, and a couple of thousand economic variables with a very low error rate. We’re doing a flash sale right now for about $50 a month and you can see the URL right now, It’s a limited time flash sale so please get on that. That’s a 90% off rate on our usual price. So thanks for that.

So this week, guys, we saw commodities mooning. We saw exposure to Russia sovereign. Really a lot of sensitivity to that. Exposure to Russia commercial risk. A lot of sensitivity to that. Obviously the war in Ukraine is on the top of everyone’s mind. But we also had the removal of COVID restrictions in some key US States like New York. We had Joe Biden speak give the State of the Union address without a mask on. All this stuff, easing of national guidelines. So the risk aspect of COVID has gone in the US, but it’s largely gone unnnoticed. So while the war ranges on overseas, at home, we do have some regulation getting out of the way.

A few things we said last week. First, we said that Ukraine would get bloodier and the markets would be choppier. That’s happened. We said that equities would be marginally down. That’s happened and we said commodity prices would be higher and that’s really happened.

So in all of this, guys, the S&P 500 is only down about 15 points over the past week. So when you guys said it would be down marginally with a lot of volatility, you were bang on there. So very good job there.

So our first question today is really a basic one and I’d really like to get all of your different views on this. When we have geopolitical events like we have now, how do you guys make trading decisions? What do you pay attention to? Albert, do you want to get us started?

AM: Yes. Personally I view the market as we’re stuck on repeat right now, especially with the Ukraine and everything fundamentals to me right now. I mean, honestly don’t really mean much. And when we had the jobs number come out and then it was everyone just yawned about it because the nuclear power plants were getting firebound.

So for me I’m looking for the Fed to support the market to a certain degree and looking for geopolitical news events to come out and just scare the bejesus out of people.

TN: Okay. Tracy, what are you looking at? Sorry, Sam. What are you looking at?

SR: Yeah, I’ll jump in there 100% agree with Albert. It’s very difficult to trade when the market is just trading on headlines. It is a straight headline market. And does oil look great here? Yeah, but you get one good headline saying that it looks like tensions with Russia are declining and you’re going to have a $5 gap down in oil and probably get stopped out of your position.

To me, it’s one of those very scary moments for anyone who’s trying to trade in that you never know which way the headline is going to come in next. If you’re playing headlines, you’re going to get in trouble and you’re going to get in trouble pretty fast, unless you’re just getting lucky. So for me, headline driven markets are mostly about selling ball and spikes and getting out of the way on everything else.

TN: Tracy?

TS: Well, being that I mostly look at the commodity markets rather than obviously I look at broader markets. But for what I’m looking at, when I see this sort of volatility in the market, I think that you have to have a fundamental grasp of what is going on and what the trade differences are between countries so that you can kind of position yourself for a market change that is not subject to volatility, meaning that you have to know that the oil market is obviously going to be affected, for example. Right. No matter what dips are going to be bought in this market. So you have to have a conviction that this is going to be affected until something else changes, right?

TN: Yes. Tracy, let me dig in on that a little bit. You said something about Fertilizers. We don’t necessarily didn’t mention a specific company here, but you said something about Fertilizers earlier on Twitter today. Could you use that as an example of the type of analysis that you’re talking about?

TS: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, we saw the Fertilizer market rise 23% today. Russia is the second largest producer of Ammonium, Urea and potash, and the fifth largest producer of processed phosphates. And that country accounts for 23% of the global Ammonium export market. So what we saw in the Fertilizer market was an increase of 23% this week across the globe, not just in the United States, I mean, literally across the globe.

TN: I just wanted to cover this little bit because especially in social media, everyone’s an expert, right. So everyone’s a new political expert. Everyone overnight became a nuclear power expert, all this other stuff. And I just don’t want our viewers to fool themselves into believing that they can play these markets with certainty. But I like what you guys all said about you have to have a conviction. You have to have your stops in place. You have to understand when things are going. And headlines could go either way. So there’s a huge amount of risk out there. Right.

Is there anything else on this? Albert, what are you watching on the ground? How do you get information on the ground if you don’t have people? Are there reliable sources that you look at without having first hand research on the ground?

AM: No. Unfortunately, I don’t. I mean, we’ve come to this point where the nuclear plant attack and all of a sudden people are talking about radiation spikes and so on and so forth. And I actually had to get on Twitter and I’m just like, everybody, relax. Those things can withstand airplanes being hit.

A few bullets isn’t going to do the job. So for me, I personally have context in the region on the ground, both in Ukraine and Georgia. So for me, I get almost on the ground intelligence in real time. So that’s how I’m trading. That’s just the reality of it at the moment. The public is not going to be able to get that information. Right.

TN: Okay. This is great. I really appreciate this, guys. I think this is wisdom that comes from years of trading, but it’s also the reality that comes with dealing with geopolitics on a very intimate level. So thanks for that.

Let’s move on to commodities. We’ve seen commodities, wheat, especially skyrocket this week and last week. So a couple of questions here. Tracy, if you don’t mind starting us off. It seems like every commodity was green this week. I know there are a few that weren’t, but what commodities are impacted most by Russia, Ukraine?

TS: Well, so fertilizer, which I brought up earlier. And then you have aluminum, which was up 14.7% today, or this week. Pardon me. We have copper, 9.34%, neon gas, which is something that most people don’t look at. But Ukraine supplies 90% of the neon gas market for the chip making markets. Then we had Palladium up 37%. Not surprising, Russia supply 43% up that market.

TN: You’ve been talking about Palladium for weeks, though. So anybody listening to you wouldn’t be surprised by this, right?

TS: Right. Not at all. I’ve been talking about this for a very long time. And actually we’re seeing platinum get a little bit of a bid because if you look at the automotive markets, Palladium is a huge thing in a catalytic converter. Right. And so we’re starting to see because prices have been so elevated for the last few years, we’re seeing automakers finally start to retool a bit. And so that’s going to give a little bit of a lift to the platinum markets.

Natural gas obviously is up. Right. We all know about that. Oil obviously up. We have nickel up 9%. The other interesting thing is coal. Russia is a material coal supplier at 15% of the global market. And Europe gets 30% of their imports from the met coal market from Russia and 60% from the thermal coal market. So they’re going to be looking elsewhere for other supplies because they don’t want to have all their eggs in one basket. Where you can have everything in coal and that gas and depend on Russia.

I do want to know on the natural gas market, although there have been rumors Yamal was shut down or whatever. But overall, Jamal is only one pipeline into Europe. Gas supplies have still been consistent and steady this whole time into Europe via different pipelines through Russia.

TN: So weird.

TS: So nobody’s caught off of gas. Right. That’s just weird. They’re on other sides of the war, but one is still supplying the other side energy. I just think that whole thing is very.

AM: Yeah, Tony, you know what concerns me, actually, this is a question for Tracy, too, is like the super spikes in commodities are starting to concern me specifically because of wheat, because obviously that’s food. And once people start getting stressed on food supplies, political problems can happen. I think even today, Hungary decided that they cut off all exports of foods, of wheat and grains because of the concern of spiking prices.

Tracy, where do we see wheat possibly even topping off at this point, especially if Ukraine and Russia go at it for an extended period of time, like, say, three to four weeks?

TS: Yeah. I mean, hopefully they won’t. But as far as that’s concerned, we’re looking at the Black Sea right now because exports are halted, because there’s conflict going on, this is what I think European wheat and US wheat has been limited up literally every day this week. Right.

So that’s going to be a problem that’s going to cause inflation, food inflation elsewhere. And let’s not forget that’s how the Arab Spring started as well. Right. So this is very much a concern globally on a macro sense, on food prices, energy prices, especially when we’re looking at kind of a global downturn in the market. And that’s a whole another discussion we can get in another week, but definitely it’s a concern right now.

TN: Let’s dig a little bit deeper into that. We have a viewer question from @Ramrulez. And Sam, can you take a look at this? The impact of sanctions on Russia, on emerging economies. So where are we seeing impacts of, say, wheat prices? I know Albert brought up Hungary, but what are we seeing in, say, emerging markets and other places that this is already hitting them?

SR: I don’t know that there are places that it’s already hitting, mostly because you’re going to have imported wheat. Wheat right now is being harvested in Ukraine, Hungary, Russia, etc. And that’s going to be more of a late spring summer story when you begin to actually have to import your additional food supplies.

So where would you see it? You’d see it in Egypt. Egypt is a significant importer of both Russian and Ukrainian wheat. You’re going to see it on the cornside, too. It’s worth remembering that Ukraine is a significant exporter of corn. You’re going to see it in Semple our way up, which is going to spill over into other markets because you’re going to have to, if there is no resolution or planting season, you’re going to have to replace some flour, oil with something else. So you’re going to have that issue to deal with as well.

So I don’t know that you’ve seen the spillovers yet. You will see spillovers particularly in North Africa, other significant importers of foodstuffs. The other thing to remember is it could potentially be a marginal benefit to some emerging markets. As you see, net exporters of coal, et cetera, become incremental sources for replacement for both Ukraine and Russia. So I think it’s something to keep an eye on both on the food price front, but also on the front of it’s going to be good for some. It’s going to be very bad for others.

TN: Okay. Thanks for that. Hey, before we move on from commodities, Tracy, I want to roll back to this viewer question we have from @YoungerBolling. Yes. What are the other sources of crude, grade wise, that can replace Russian crude for US refineries? This is a common question, and I’m sure you can answer it very quickly. So where else can people look to get Russian grade crude?

TS: We get kind of the sludgy stuff from them. Right. So the best, most convenient, easiest place to get it from is Canada. Right. We can get some heavier crude grades from Mexico, but they’re having some political problems there and it’s coming up. So really the easiest place we can look to is to Canada. So opening import lines from Canada is really our best option since they’re on our border.

TN: Didn’t the US cancel a pipeline from Canada about a year ago?

TS: Something decided. Yeah.

TN: Okay. Thanks for that. And then moving to another question, we spoke a bit about China last week, and I’m curious for any further thoughts that the panel has on China in light of last week’s, of this past week events. We do have a viewer question to get us started off. It’s from @HJCdarkhorse1. He says perspectives on Chinese Yuan. But before we get into that, Tracy, let’s talk a little bit about China’s energy relationship with Russia. What do you see happening on that front?

TS: Right. First of all, if we’re looking at the oil industry, China is Russia’s largest importer. Right. I think that anything that comes off the market wise via the west, that China will gladly scoop up at a $28 discount that they’re currently offering. Right. That is interesting in that respect.

There are still 1.5 million barrels kind of off the market. I want to stress nobody has sanctioned oil or energy at all so far. UK, EU, US. That said that people are hesitant and anticipating, and it’s hard to get banknotes right now to get those deals going through. But China is definitely their largest trading partner. China definitely loves cheap oil. So we’re going to continue buying from them no matter what.

TN: Are their pipelines between Russia and China?

TS: There are, but not like not enough. Not enough.

TN: Okay.

AM: Did they just cut a deal for a new pipeline that’s going to pretty much be equal. Sorry. That’s for net gas, that equals North Korean, too.

TN: Did they also come to some agreement recently about buying crude in CNY? Did that happen in the past?

TS: No, that was buying jet fuel.

TN: Okay.

TS: What they said is if we’re in your airport, we’ll buy in your currency. If you’re in our airport, you’ll buy in our currency, which is not that big. Literally.

TN: To some people’s dismay, the US dollar is still the currency for energy.

TS: Since we’re talking about currencies, you and I have talked about CNY for a long time. So can you give us kind of some perspectives on that? I know we had a question about that as well.

TN: Sure. So CNY. Chinese Yuan is a controlled currency. It’s not a freely floating currency. There is an offshore currency called CNH that is, we’ll say marginally floating currency that is linked to the CNY. But the CNY is strictly managed by the PBOC. And when you have a managed currency, it’s devalued. Okay. It’s appreciated and it’s devalued.

And so what’s happened over the last two years is the CNY has appreciated dramatically. And a big part of that is so that they can buy commodities, knowing that commodities would spike starting in the second quarter of 2020, China’s appreciated CNY so they could hoard those commodities, which they’ve done. Okay.

What’s happened? Well, Chinese exporters have suffered a bit because of the appreciated CNY. On a relative basis, they’re paying higher prices, but their experts have been up, too. So they’re not hurt too much. But we have a lot of things happening in China with a big political meeting in November to where they’re starting to spend in a big way, fiscal spending. We’ve also expected since probably August of ’21, we’ve been talking about China starting to devalue the CNY at the end of first quarter or early second quarter of this year.

So what that will do is it will make things a lot easier for exporters. And so exporters will be happy. There’ll be a lot of fiscal stimulus, a lot of monetary stimulus. So that just in time for this political meeting, everyone domestically in China is pretty happy. So we expect a lot of stimulus and a devalued CNY is a big part of that.

SR: And just to kind of jump on that really fast, that’s a positive on the US inflation fighting front. It’s significant positive. We are going to get.

TS: If you’re exporting deflation, that’s fantastic.

SR: Exactly. So when China goes back to to exporting deflation instead of exporting inflation, that’s going to be a completely different ballgame from what we’ve seen for the past year and a half.

TN: That’s a very good thing. Okay, guys, anything else on China, Albert? Do you have any anything on China that you want to add?

AM: Honestly for China? I don’t really see people talking about the fact that this entire Ukraine and Russia war has been a boom for China. They’re getting cheaper commodities. They’re getting a tighter relationship with Russia, although it’s going to be debatable that Russia is going to be a shell of what it was after all this. But still for China, they’re sitting pretty at the moment. I mean, any other place in the world where the Russians had their hands in the domestic economies of countries that China also did is now going to have to take a step back and allow the Chinese to get their banks financing different countries projects. It’s going to be unbelievable for China in the next couple of years.

TN: Yeah. I wonder if the Belt and Road is going to rebuild Ukraine. It’s a cynical question, but I think it’s an opportunity for China to do something like that on infrastructure.

AM: They’re going to have to because Russia is going to have nothing left economically. Right.

SR: And to begin with, there was a $1.58 trillion economy.

TN: Right. But it’s a very detailed answer to that simple question. But yeah, I think it is a medium term opportunity for China as well, not just in getting cheap commodities now or discounted commodities, we’ll say now, but also long term for their financial system, for their infrastructure system and other things. Right.

AM: Got you.

TN: Okay. So what guys are we looking forward to in the week ahead? Tracy, what do you see over the next week?

TS: Again, I’m going to say volatility. I think markets are going to be very volatile, just like we saw this last week. We had eight to ten dollar moves in crude oil like the blink of an eye. I think it’s going to continue to kind of see that in the commodities markets until there’s some sort of resolution to this Ukraine-Russia crisis because there’s too many commodity sectors involved in this.

TN: Right. Sam, same for you, but you talk about the kind of twos and ten years a couple of weeks ago, and I’m curious what your observation is there in addition to other things?

SR: Yeah. The front end of the US curve has been nuts this week, and I think you can kind of attribute that back to two reasons. One, we sucked out all of the Russian reserves from being able to participate in the market, period, full stop. You probably have a significant amount of hoarding on the front end from Russian banks. Call it the zero to three year type timeframe. That’s where they typically play. So I think you continue to see volatility there. That’s going to be absolutely insane.

The Fed. I don’t think the Fed is going to be all that surprising. The Fed was really interesting three weeks ago, and now it’s kind of boring. You’re going to get 25 bps. You’re going to get some gangs on QT. Nobody cares. We’ve kind of moved on from that.

TN: That’s interesting, though, right? Two months ago, 25 basis points was catastrophic. Kind of.

SR: Yes.

TN: And now it’s a faded company and nobody cares.

SR: Nobody cares. You had almost 700 jobs. 700,000 jobs created in February. We didn’t even talk about that. Nobody cares. Cool. 700k consecration up, whatever.

To Tracy’s point, I think it’s kind of a moss, right? More of the same. And just until you get some sort of resolution and some sort of clarity on how long we’re going to have these sanctions, this market is this market. It’s going to continue to be highly volatile and there’s no end of it in sight.

TN: Okay. Very good. And then, Albert, I’m going to ask you specifically about equities. So if we’re getting more of the same but we have upward pressure on commodities, what do you think is going to happen domestically with US equities? Do you think we’re going to see more of the same volatility? Do we have a downside bias? Do we have an upside bias? Where do you see things over the next week?

AM: Well, I mean, it’s hard to say that we have an upside bias at the moment with so much volatility. But from all my indications, I think Putin’s going to up the war rhetoric and surgeons in Ukraine, I think equities are going to have to come down to, I don’t know, 4200 4250. Right. And then we start talking to the start talking about the fed like Sam was talking 25 basis points is now the consensus. But I will have to say Jerome Powell said he was hoping that inflation is not a big problem when those meetings come. So don’t be surprised if it’s a 50 basis point hike.

TN: I think as an outlier, you could be right. I think it’s a possibility. I think it’s greater than 0%.

AM: If we’re talking about commodity supersight commodity surging, with all this volatility in this war, how is inflation going to come down in the next couple of weeks?

TN: Well, just ask a very direct question. A 50 basis point hike is intended to kill demand, right?

AM: Yes.

TN: That’s all it’s intended to do is kill demand.

AM: Of course. But from their perspective, you killed demand, you killed inflation. I don’t know if that’s going to, I doubt it’s going to work, but that’s their narrative.

TN: Right. Okay. Very good, guys. Thank you very much. Good luck in the next week and forgot for anybody viewing. Don’t forget about our CIF futures flash sale at and see you next week. Thank you.

TS: Thank you.

AM: Thanks, Tony.

SR: Thank you.

Week Ahead

The Week Ahead – 28 Feb 2022

Last week’s big news is Ukraine and Russia. So in this episode, we want to talk you through some context and what this means for markets in the near term. First, the guys talked about the most surprising thing that happened and then we moved on to answer a few viewer questions like what’s the implication of Russia being disconnected from SWIFT? Will anything change between Europe and China? Will the Russia-Ukraine inspire China to actually invade Taiwan? How disrupted the energy markets will be? And finally, what happens to the world economy – Fed, QE, QT, consumers, etc.?

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TN: Hello. Welcome to The Week Ahead. I’m Tony Nash. And I’m joined by Tracy Shuchart, Albert Marko, and Sam Rines. Before we get started, I’d like to ask you to subscribe to our YouTube channel. And like this video. It helps us with visibility and you get reminded when a new episode is out. So thanks for doing that right now.

We had a lot on this week, especially around Ukraine. So today we’re really focused on Ukraine. We want you to understand the context around Ukraine. We want you to understand what it means for markets. And we’re going to take a lot of your questions that we’ve been gathering off of Twitter.

So just a quick recap of what we said last week. Coming out of last week’s episode, we said it’s not a time to make big decisions. We said to keep risk tight and be careful of volatility. And we said that crude markets would move sideways. So we did kind of come into this assuming risk would be there this week. And obviously, we saw that.

So first, guys, can you walk us through some of your observations of the past week? What are you seeing directly in and around Ukraine or Ukraine, and how is that affecting markets? And as each one of you talk, Albert, I want to start with you, but name something that surprised you most in the past week in markets. Okay. Can you give us a quick overview? I know you’ve got deep networks in that region. So can you talk to us a little bit about what you’re hearing and seeing there?

AM: Well, I mean, concerning Ukraine and the markets. What I was most surprised and a little bit taken aback by was the amount of mainstream media just decorations of World War Three and whatnot then how much it affected the markets? So much so that you have to look at the markets and say what is going on?

Because this is just not normal behavior for markets to respond to a situation in the Ukraine that’s really kind of not really attached to the United States market at the moment. I mean, it isn’t commodities and that’s something Tracy will get into. But it was an overabundance of bad news, just an overdrive. And that’s what actually really took me aback.

TN: Good opportunities out there.

AM: There is absolutely good opportunities. But the problem is the volatility goes way up higher. The VIX exploded. You can’t get into options because they’re just far too expensive. You’re going to get burned doing that. And what do you do? Maybe sitting on your hands is the proper thing to do until things stabilize. But yes, there were actually great opportunities.

TN: What are you hearing on the ground, Albert? I know you’re really close to that part of the world. So what are you hearing on the ground?

AM: Well, the situation is really fluid and really tense at the moment. I think the Russians were taken aback. I know that the Russians were taken aback about the actual veracity of defense by the Ukrainians. Their main objective is to take Mariupol and then take Odessa. That is their number one and number two objective. Their next objective is to take not really to take you because I don’t think they can actually do it unless they want to do some kind of redo of the Chech and guerrilla warfare and just start massacring people. They’re not in that business at the moment. The world’s eyes are on it.

So I think political change, maybe snap elections is what they’re probably going for in Kiev just to surround it, stress the city, stress the residents, force a change where Western governments can’t get a bigger say in the matter on a nation that’s right on the doorstep.

TN: Okay, so I’m seeing on say on social media like TikTok videos of burned out Russian tanks and all these things, and I think it seems to me that Russia is losing the PR war right now and that’s really important in the early days and with different demographics even within Russia. Do you think Russia or Putin kind of underappreciated the impact that social media would have, at least on the early days of this?

AM: Of course, Russia has a vast network globally of PR campaigns in the west. So for him, it’s definitely a concern where you have negative images of Russia, Russia’s military trying to enact power projection. It’s a little bit daunting for him at the moment.

However, from a military strategic point of view, we don’t know exactly what their exact strategy is. Whereas they’re just trying to expand Ukrainian defenses, trying to get the best of their defenses out already. So they have a shortage of supply later on. That’s what most professionals would say is happening.

So we really have to see over the weekend to see what kind of resources have been expended by the Russians trying to take back Mariupol and Odessa.

TN: Do you think the Ukrainians can get stuff resupplied? Do you think they would have any difficulty getting stuff resupplied from the west?

AM: It’s totally up to the west and what they’re going to supply them and how they’re going to supply them. I’m sure that the west have Special Forces sprinkled without inside of Kiev assisting as advisers to the defense forces there. So it just depends on the will of the Europeans at the moment.

TN: Okay, Sam, what have you seen this week in markets that’s kind of gotten your attention or surprise you?

SR: I would say what really caught my attention were two things. One, how quickly Wheat went up and how far it went up and then how quickly Wheat went down and how far it went down.

There were two days where Wheat was just skyrocketing. I think it was 5.5% day followed by negative. I forget where it closed, but a significant negative day in the six to range at a minimum. That really caught my attention.

Ukraine is incredibly important on the wheat front. That’s a pretty important one. And then I would say how quickly and how far gold went. Right. Gold was almost $2,000, and now it’s below where it was prior to the invasion, and it did that all in a day. I mean, that was an incredible move in my book and somewhat shocking. And I think it was kind of interesting when people caught on that if you cut off Russia from being able to really sell, call it dollars, Euros, et cetera, on the market openly, it’s going to potentially have to sell gold if this thing drags out.

So you have an overhang of gold in a war scenario. Not necessarily, I call it a tailwind. I thought that was a really interesting call it knee jerk reaction up in gold, and then kind of a realization of, oh, crap, this might not be the thing to own here.

And then the final thing and I’ll make this one quick is crypto and how war was supposed to be great for crypto. And as the war started, you saw crypto sell off pretty hard. I think it’s interesting on two fronts. One, there’s a significant amount of crypto activity in Ukraine and Russia.

Russia is the second largest country when it comes to providing hash rate to the market for Bitcoin. And if there’s any sort of disruption there, all of a sudden the US could become 50% of the hash rate awfully quickly, which could become an interesting scenario there.

TN: How does the hash rate for people who aren’t crypto experts? How does the hash rate equate to say, the crypto price?

SR: It makes it, call it’s basically an efficiency mechanism where you can either do transactions more quickly, more efficiently, and somewhat of a lower cost. That’s basically what you do.

So if you lower the hash rate, you increase the cost of doing transactions and slow the general system down.

TN: Okay, great.

AM: This is interesting, Tony, because this actually leads into a lot of my arguments against crypto being decentralized, saying, hey, when push comes to shove, governments have control of the networks and the financial system. You can’t get away from that.

TN: Yeah. And if you cut off the electricity supply, it becomes even more difficult.

AM: Nearly impossible. Puerto Rico.

TS: And if you’re Russia that has control of the entire Internet, you can cut off whatever sites that you want. Right?

TN: Right.

SR: Yeah, that’s right. Yeah. It was interesting. There was something floating around yesterday where it appeared that Russia was at least partially geofencing their country from the rest of the world. And if it does that, that could become problematic if it does it in a meaningful way for crypto.

TN: Sure. And taking down the RT site doesn’t help their paranoia there. Right. Tracy, what happened for you over the week? What’s one of your observations that really kind of surprised you?

TS: Well, I mean, to be honest, because I’m focused on the commodity side of everything, pretty much how I saw the markets going or how I pretty much thought how the markets were going to go. Right. I posted a bunch of stuff on Twitter.

TN: You saw all this coming?

TS: No. Well, I didn’t do this. I don’t want to sound like arrogant. I focus on energy, metals, materials, agriculture. And because Ukraine and Russia are such large hubs for all of these commodities, wasn’t really surprising to me that we saw a jump in all of these.

TN: Yeah. Were you surprised the magnitude of the jump?

TS: Yes. And in some respects, I actually expected Palladium to have a bigger jump than it did because Rush is 43% of that global markets and wheat went far beyond bonkers that I thought it was going to go.

Was I surprised about oil? No. On the upside and on the downside today.

TN: Great. Okay, very good. Let’s jump into some of these viewer questions. You guys know that we saw a lot of viewer questions at the start of this.

So the first one I’m going to read out is from Keith Snyder. It’s @snyderkr0822. He says, what would the implications be of disconnecting Russia from SWIFT?

I’ve inspired your knowledge and have to be informed. So there’s been a lot of talk about SWIFT over the past few days. Sam, do you have some insight there on what would happen if Russia was taken out of the SWIFT network?

SR: It would be less bad than it would have been call it three years ago. Russia has somewhat insulated themselves from SWIFT, but not entirely by no means. Right. The SWIFT system can cut you off from dollar denominated, at least dollar denominated transactions.

That’s a pretty important thing, particularly when you’re selling a lot of things that are denominated in dollars. Right. Oil, et cetera. That becomes somewhat problematic. I would say that would be a very significant hit to Russia.

And it would also be a significant hit. And by significant hit, I mean that’s putting you on par with Iran and Cuba. Right. That’s basically putting you at Code E country without saying it. That’s Iran, your Cuba, see you later, bye.

I think that what I would be paying very close attention to is the reaction of European banks. That’s $330 billion worth of Russian liabilities assets on their books. So you’ve got to figure something out there pretty quickly because those books are going to get smacked if you can’t actually get on the SWIFT system.

TN: Okay. And Tracy, if they were taken off a SWIFT on Friday, Germany said that they would be okay with imposing that sanction, how would Germany pay for its electricity?

TS: I mean, Germany said that with a caveat, let’s say, because they did say we’re going to look at this, but we need to look at the implications of this. So obviously the problem there in lies that if you take a Rush off SWIFT, then Europe is screwed energy wise. Right? Unless they choose to scramble and make long term contracts with, say, the United States.

They could go through the United States. They could go through Azerbaijan on the Tap pipeline. They could go through Israel and Egypt if they wanted to, through the Southern gas quarter. I mean, there are options for them.

The problem is that they should have been looking at long term contracts this summer when we already knew that Nordstream Two was going to be delayed.

TN: Four, three, four years ago. I mean, they’ve had this optionality on the table for a long time.

TS: But those options are still on the table for them. But by delaying SWIFT, if you cut Rush off SWIFT, the big problem Europe has to decide is do we cut off SWIFT and hurt ourselves or do we hurt Russia more? And I could argue that both ways. Anybody could argue that both ways. But that’s a big decision that they have to make.

TN: Well, everybody hurts, right? That would not be a sanction that would be pain free for anybody.

TS: Right. Except maybe the US.

AM: Well, Tony, despite the rogue status of Russia, it’s still well attached to the Western financial system. It’s not seen as able or even as aggressive as the Chinese are and detach it from the financial system.

There would be a lot of problems if they were banned from SWIFT. But it’s certainly a valid deterrent if the west wants to actually use it. They keep a lot of their bank and central bank money in the Euro dollar market. So no SWIFT would mean no more Treasuries, but they’d just move into the Euro dollars itself.

Maybe that’s why they were buying gold because of this tension that they saw coming. It’s a risk to their global market.

TN: Sure. Okay, let’s move to China now. We’ve got a few questions on China. We’ve got one from @NathanDallon. He says, does anything in Europe change the situation with China?

There’s another one from Ritesh @chorSipahi, he says question for Samuel Rines and Albert, Ritesh. I’m not taking offense at this. What is the deterrence for China not to invade Taiwan or now to invade Taiwan?

And then we’ve got another one from Rich @rm_ua09. How could China benefit the most out of the Russia Ukraine situation? A, supporting Ukraine in some manner, B, remaining neutral, or C, taking measures to whether Putin.

So there’s a broad spectrum of questions there, guys.

TS: Take the first one, I think, Tony.

TN: Okay, let’s go for it. What happens in Europe?

AM: Well, Europe. I think that the Europeans are going to be actually more dependent on China trade after this because they’re seeing a problem with the Russians politically.

You can’t sit there and tell me that they’re going to be able to support the Russians like they were in trade, whether it’s commodities or whatnot on steel. I mean, name your commodity. Name your.

TN: Chinese already own like 70% of the global steel market. So is it going to make that much of a difference?

AM: It’s, well, I mean, they still diversify. They’re still going to have to play ball in the global trade. So I think at this point, politically, Russia’s poisonous, and then you’re going to have to steer even more towards China.

TN: Right. So, yeah, it seems to me that China could actually use this as an opportunity to distance itself from Russia. Right. If it goes bad, China is very silent right now. And if it goes bad, they could distance themselves from Russia and make some really tight allies in Europe at Russia’s expense. Does that make sense to you guys?

AM: It does to me.

SR: 100%. I think that would be the spare play from China in a lot of ways, because you get two things. You’re going to get tighter ties to Europe, which diversifies you somewhat away from the US even more. It gives you call it a barrier to the United States and whatever the US wants to do, and it also, to a certain extent, raises your profile on the international stage. Right.

TN: That’s key. China really wants to be seen as a credible diplomatic player and I think there’s still a bit of a chip on their shoulder about not being seen as an equal with a lot of the larger Western Nations. So I think your last point is really important.

There seems to be a view that Russia invading Ukraine somehow enables China to invade Taiwan. What are your thoughts on that?

AM: I absolutely disagree with that wholeheartedly. I think the two situations are nothing alike at the moment. I mean, Ukraine is in Russia’s eyes, it’s own territory. Same as is China views Taiwan.

However, Taiwan has a much more active defense military force and more of a backing from not only the US, but Australia, Japan, India. That’s a problem for the Chinese, too. So I think the two. I don’t like to draw a comparison between the two. I don’t think there is anything related to it.

TN: Sam?

SR: I have almost nothing to add beyond that. And I think the one country that’s really interesting in there is India, because India did not step up on the Ukrainian front and India would step up on the Taiwan front.

AM: Yeah. And on top of that, on top of that, let’s just be realistic here. We know that the Chinese probably have military observers inside of Ukraine watching and taking notes.

TN: Sure. How to conduct right now. If you’re a Chinese PLA officer and you’re looking at what’s happening in Russia versus what the United States did in Iraq, what would be your assessment? Russia gives us nothing against the United States.

The United States is a juggernaut. That’s what I think nobody’s even talking about.

TN: Yeah. If Russia didn’t just roll into Ukraine and take it over in 24 hours, what kind of model are they for China?

AM: And that’s on their border, Tony, that’s on their border.

TN: Exactly. No, exactly. So logistically, Russia’s logistic supply chain for their military, it seems like it’s pretty horrific. Their intelligence, like everything. It just seems like a mishmash of let’s just go get them.

AM: They are a professional military force. They have budget problems. That’s what. If they really wanted to go into Ukraine and just smash the place, they could. But the problem is you’d have to kill many civilians in the meantime, which they can’t do that.

So the Chinese are sitting there probably looking at like, what do we do here? Who is this military partner that we’re actually partnering up against the United States? It’s not sufficient.

TN: Yeah. It seems to me that on some level, going back to the social media comment I made, Russia is kind of embarrassing itself. China doesn’t want to be seen allied with someone who’s embarrassing themselves. Right. They’re happy to.

TS: That’s why they’ve been so quiet. They haven’t said nothing.

TN: Yes. And I think China is always looking also looking at how unified is the world’s response against Ukraine. Right. So if they were to go after Taiwan, how unified would the response be?

So going back to what I said earlier, I think China has a real opportunity here to distance itself from Russia, to play nice on Taiwan and really benefit from trade and finance and diplomatic relationships.

AM: 100%.

TN: Tracy, do you have anything else on that on China? Any other thoughts?

TS: No. I think you guys…

TN: Awesome. Okay, very good. Let’s go to the next ones. Okay. Tracy, these are all energy related. So primarily, if we look at this @DaveRubin15, he says, what are the energy implications if Ukraine has no choice but to make this a war of attrition rather than surrender, bleeding Russia out from exposure and can this catalyze an energy super cycle? Okay.

And then we’ve got another one from Giovanni Ponzetto asking, assuming that gas from Russia is kept flowing at the same rate of the past couple of months, will the EU be able to restock gas reserve? So, Tracy, you’re the expert here. Take it away.

TS: All right. So for the first one, there are two extreme scenarios that could happen. Either somebody blows up a pipeline by accident or somebody blows it up on purpose and blames the other side. And if you look at the chart that’s on the screen right now, you can see the choke points where this could easily happen to really hurt gas flows into Europe.

That said, if we look at the role of Ukraine in the gas markets, they’re much smaller today than they were in the 1990s. Right. There was a time when 90% of gas that came from Russia to Europe went through Ukraine. And now it’s about less than a quarter percent.

The other extreme is that Russia just cuts off gas flows entirely. Right. And that hurts EU way more than it hurts Russia because they don’t really actually make that much money selling gas. They make way more money selling oil. They have $640 billion in reserves. They could live without the gas for a few months. And that’s kind of why the US has had problems getting the Europeans on board with sanctions against existing flows from Europe.

In addition, Europe also has other options. They can go again to the United States, Azerbaijan or Israel and Europe.

Now there are about 2.9 million barrels at risk of oil exports that are exported from Russia to the United States and Europe, which is about 30% of their exports. And that would be much more catastrophic than, say, natural gas in the oil markets. But as far as oil flows through Ukraine, it’s very limited. Again, you can see the map.

TN: Okay.

TS: The second question.

AM: Sorry about that. I had a related question for you. How possible is it or how necessary do you think it would be for the Italians to take the initiative and become Europe’s energy hub?

TS: Actually, they really could with Greece. Right. And I’ve been talking about the Southern gas border for a very long time, which branches off, you could go Cypress into Greece and then you could go straight into Italy from the Southern gas corridor.

I think that region is really something you really want to keep an eye on right now. And I’ve kind of been talking about this for a couple of years right now because there’s just so much supply. And although people say that region is geopolitically unstable, so is everywhere. But that’s never really stopped oil and gas flows.

Personally, I think as an investor, I would be looking at that particular area of the world because they really have a lot of gas supply. And now we have pipelines built, and I think it’s more stable than, say, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, that have had a lot.

AM: You know what’s funny, though, Tracy, is every time the Libyans or Egyptians or whoever try to export gas and oil and whatnot, the Russian Wagner conveniently shows up.

TS: Conveniently shows up. Right. Exactly.

AM: Here we are, guys.

TS: Exactly. For the second question, as far as, I think that you were asking about gas flows, if Europe could restock. Absolutely. They can restock because of the things that, because of the alternative sources that I mentioned before, and we’re headed into a season that we don’t need as much. So I think that as we head into summer, it will not be as dire as the dead of winter.

TN: Very good. Okay. Thanks for that.

Sam, let’s look at some economic questions now. We’re looking at from @_0001337 probability of rate hikes and tightening now. We just let inflation run amok. When we see price controls. That’s one question. There’s another one, wondering how North America will go about continuing to grow consumerism, things like cuts on gas taxes, that sort of thing.

And there was another question about gold, which you covered a little bit at first from @Mercerandgrand looking at gold prices. So if you don’t mind, let’s talk a little bit about kind of Fed options now. Are we still expecting given the volatility, are still expecting the Fed to act in March? Are they going to continue to are they going to stop QE? Will they hike? Is QT still on the table for June?

SR: Yes, 25 is going to happen. They will end QE, and QT is still on the table, at least a runoff, not a sale. They’re not going to go over their skis here and start selling mortgage backs or do anything along those lines.

TN: Okay.

SR: But they will continue with their tightening path. I think the broader question here is just how far they actually can go this year. I do think that the limiting factor of highly volatile energy prices at the pump, which is something that monetary policy just can’t solve. Right.

Tightening 5100 basis points isn’t going to push the cost of oil down unless you somehow spark a recession or something. So I think it’s going to be interesting to see how their language evolves around future hikes. I think we kind of know that it’s 25 basis points. 50 is simply not priced in enough for them to do that.

And how we see and how they see monetary policy evolving, call it in the September and onward is going to be really important with the midterms coming up, et cetera. So I think that’s important.

On the consumer front, maybe you see call it a gas tax holiday or something along those lines to lower gas prices at the pump. That could happen. But generally the consumer is not in horrible shape. The consumer is not great, but it’s not in horrible shape. So I don’t really think they have to do much there. And I don’t see any point in buying gold here with the type of move you’ve seen over the past week. I think that if you had narratives that went from invasion of Ukraine to World War Three and you only got it to $2,000 and you couldn’t hold, I think that’s a little bit of a problem for the gold narrative.

TN: Sure. Okay, great. So let’s wrap it up and let’s start looking at the week ahead. What do you guys expect to see the week ahead? Albert, I guess we’ll start with you. Part of it is what do you expect to see on the ground in the week ahead in Ukraine? I expect that to impact markets.

AM: I think that we’re going to get a little bit more bloody, a little bit more daunting headlines. It’s going to affect the markets. I think we probably start shooting a little bit lower depending on how low we go. I think that’s going to make a big impact of what the fed does. I agree with Sam. I think it’s going to be 25 basis points. If the news is okay out of Ukraine, I think they even go 50 basis points.

TN: Wow. Okay. Tracy, what do you expect to see in the week ahead?

TS: I’m looking at the equity markets in particular. So just came out and global flows despite the fact that equities are coming off globally, we’re still seeing people pile into equities, right. We’re still seeing flows into equity markets.

So that to me says that the current situation with Ukraine in Russia is likely to be temporary and that perhaps the big funds and managers are thinking that we’re going to see less of a rate hike in March than most anticipate because they’re still selling bonds and they’re still buying equities.

TN: Okay. Interesting. Sam?

SR: I think you’re looking at a lot of chop here as we transition from as pointed out a moment ago, as you transition from Ukraine grabbing all the headlines to the Fed getting back in the headlines that’s going to be a choppy hand off. When the fed was in the headlines. It wasn’t exactly great for markets and a little bit of a relief rally here off of world war three going into.

TS: Sorry to interrupt. I think that’s a bit of a little bit of end of month rebalancing too, right? What we’re seeing right now.

TN: It could be. Yes, that’s right.

SR: Yeah. Definitely. But I think the hand off from Ukraine headlines back to the Fed headlines creates a lot of chop and probably some downside bias across asset classes or at least we’re assessing.

TN: Sounds like a very interesting week ahead, guys. Thank you. You so much. I really appreciate this. Have a great week ahead. Thank you.

SR, AM, TS: Thank you.

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CNA: Expect rates to be near 1% by the end of 2022

The full episode was posted at It may be removed after a few weeks. This video segment is owned by CNA. 

Show Notes

CNA: Welcome back. Strong consumer spending and business activity growth drove a 40% profit search for Southeast Asia’s third largest lender, UOB. In 2021. The bank reported a net profit of four. 7 billion single dollars for 2021. That’s slightly above endless estimates. Uob says economic recoveries in Singapore and regional neighbors helped bring in more income for the bank, filling its profit rise. Net interest income rose 6% from one year ago as loans expand 10%. Net interest margin remained stable at 156 percent, while the Dow snapped a three day losing streak on Wall Street. As an easing of geopolitical tensions overshadowed hot U. S. Inflation data. All three majors got back to winning ways after Russia confirmed a partial withdrawal of troops from the Ukraine border. The news helped Starks a with the Dow closing up by one 2%. A big Bough in Texas saw the SP 500 climbing one 6% and the Nasdaq jumped two 5%, while the Deescalating tensions also helped push oil lower. In addition to geopolitical news, investors got another look at the inflation picture. On Tuesday, the producer price index jumped 9.7%. On year in January, it was up 1% for the month. The index tracks the prices businesses receive for their goods and services.

And this latest number adds two calls for the Fed to act at its next meeting. To help us understand more about the future market trend, we’re joined by Tony Nash, founder and CEO with complete intelligence, speaking to us from Houston, Texas. Very good afternoon to you, Tony. So traditionally, investors like Fabri because it’s a good month for risk taking. But looking at this February, we are coping with situations like tensions between Ukraine and Russia, as well as Fed rate hikes possible. So maybe investors this time around should remain cautious. What’s your take on this?

TN: I think you’re right. I think we’re in an environment right now where we are seeing a lot of volatility. We saw equity markets fall earlier this week. We’re seeing them rise today. And we expect quite a lot of volatility as the Fed and as central banks get their strategies and their new policies together and as some of these geopolitical tensions come and go.

CNA: And we’re also looking at the PPI number released overnight, which puts Fed policy in the spotlight again. But historically, the Fed hasn’t been able to push down inflation without a recession. And this time around, we are talking about economic recovery that’s comparatively fragile. So how worried are you about that the Feds unleash aggressive rate hikes could again bring in another recession?

TN: The Fed always has policy missteps. They’re a blunt tool. And so the Fed is in inflation fighting mode right now. They’re getting a lot of political pressure to be in inflation fighting mode. The data is telling them they need to be inflation fighting mode and selling to well, in March, they’re stopping buying assets for their balance sheet, but they’re also expected to raise interest rates. And then later in Q two start to tighten their balance sheet, which means they’re selling off the assets that they’ve bought over the last two years and they’ll be taking currency out of circulation. So we’ll have slightly tighter currency conditions and we’ll have slightly higher interest rates.

CNA: So are you worried about the possible economic recession in the US?

TN: Yes, I think everyone sees it as a possibility. I think part of the problem is we don’t have the fiscal spending out of the US government that we had in 2021 and 2020. And so the big missing piece in the US economy right now is that fiscal spending that we’ve had for the past two years. So the Biden administration hasn’t really been able to get it together to have that fiscal piece because what we’re looking for is a bridge, really from the government spending led economy that we had in 2021 to more of a private sector led economy in 22. There was a hope that there would be some government spending to bridge that, and we’re just not seeing it. So the lack of government spending, I think more so even than.

TN: Say, interest rate hikes will have a negative impact on the economy.

CNA: And we’ve seen that market have basically priced in the fed rate hikes. But how do you expect that possible rate hike to affect the value of the currency? The dollar over there?

TN: Sure. We have a real risk of the dollar appreciating sharply. Depending on how aggressive the fed becomes, I think there will be moderate upward pressure on the dollar as the fed reigns in inflation. So again, they’ll shrink the amount of currency available. They’ll raise interest rates. Both of these actions typically put upward pressure on dollar values and, of course, that would hurt some of the countries in Southeast Asia when people sell or have due debt in US dollars. But it could help them if they’re selling assets in US dollars like, Malaysia, say, exporting oil and gas.

CNA: Tony, nice talking to you as always, Tony Nash, founder and CEO, with infinite intelligence.

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