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Weekly Outlook

Our rundown on the most interesting and market-impacting stories this week.

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OPEC: Russian Crude “Nearly Impossible” to Replace

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has warned that it would not be possible to replace the 7 million barrels of Russian oil and other liquid exports that will potentially be lost each day due to current and future sanctions. While the EU has not yet banned imports of Russian energy, the option has been put on the table in light of increasing humanitarian issues with Russian aggression in Ukraine. Like many, the EU has urged OPEC to hasten its output increases to no avail, with the organisation sticking to its projected 400,000 bpd, citing that the market situation is geopolitical and therefore, beyond its control.

UK Inflation at 30-Year High

Worldwide inflation continues, with UK’s numbers hitting an annual 7% in March, its highest in three decades. Consumer prices have risen 1.1% month-on-month as inflationary pressure hits from all sides, including surging energy and food prices, as well as global supply chain disruptions. Compared to the US, where inflation is at its highest in 40 years and interest rates have been raised once by 25 points, the UK has already seen three rate hikes. This has brought the UK rate from a pandemic-induced low of 0.1% to 0.75%. As the war in Ukraine drags on and continues to fuel commodity prices, central banks around the world are walking a tight rope between reining in inflation and stimulating economic growth.

Elon Musk No Longer Board Member of Twitter

Shortly after announcing himself as a passive holder of over 9% of Twitter stock, then revealing himself as a board member, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has again reversed his decision, backing off as a board member of the social media company. While no reason has been given for Musk’s U-turn, his refusal of board membership removes the limit where a Twitter board member can only own up to a 14.9% stake in the company. Meanwhile, a group of Twitter investors are suing Musk for disclosing his higher-than-5-percent Twitter stake later than the 10 days required by the SEC. Experts have said that the late disclosure might have netted Musk $156 million, although others are unsure that such a relatively small amount – Musk is worth $265 billion – would have been a consideration for the Tesla CEO.

US to Send Additional $800 Million of Military Assistance to Ukraine

US President Joe Biden has pledged another $800 million worth of military assistance, including artillery systems and ammo, armoured personal carriers, and helicopters, to aid Ukraine in its resistance against Russia. This brings the total amount of aid the US has sent to Ukraine to $3.2 billion since the start of Biden’s presidency. Meanwhile, the Kremlin has announced that NATO vehicles spotted delivering aid in Ukrainian territory will be considered “legitimate targets” for attack.

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