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March 27, 2022 – rdspinvestments

March 27, 2022

Ukraine willing to be neutral, says Russia wants to split nation

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World15 hours ago (Mar 27, 2022 06:21PM ET)

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Ukraine willing to be neutral, says Russia wants to split nation© Reuters. People watch as smoke rises after an airstrike, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in Lviv, Ukraine March 26, 2022. REUTERS/Pavlo Palamarchuk

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By Pavel Polityuk and Oleksandr Kozhukhar

LVIV, Ukraine (Reuters) – Ukraine is willing to become neutral and compromise over the status of the eastern Donbass region as part of a peace deal, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Sunday, even as another top Ukrainian official accused Russia of aiming to carve the country in two.

Zelenskiy took his message directly to Russian journalists in a video call that the Kremlin pre-emptively warned Russian media not to report, saying any agreement must be guaranteed by third parties and put to a referendum.

“Security guarantees and neutrality, non-nuclear status of our state. We are ready to go for it,” he said, speaking in Russian.

But even as Turkey is set to host talks this week, Ukraine’s head of military intelligence, Kyrylo Budanov, said Russian President Vladimir Putin was aiming to seize the eastern part of Ukraine.

“In fact, it is an attempt to create North and South Korea in Ukraine,” he said, referring to the division of Korea after World War Two. Zelenskiy has urged the West to give Ukraine tanks, planes and missiles to help fend off Russian forces.

In a call with Putin on Sunday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan agreed to hold talks this week in Istanbul and called for a ceasefire and better humanitarian conditions, his office said. Ukrainian and Russian negotiators confirmed that in-person talks would take place.

Top American officials sought on Sunday to clarify that the United States does not have a policy of regime change in Russia, after President Joe Biden said at the end of a speech in Poland on Saturday that Putin “cannot remain in power”.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Biden had simply meant Putin could not be “empowered to wage war” against Ukraine or anywhere else.

After more than four weeks of conflict, Russia has failed to seize any major Ukrainian city and signalled on Friday it was scaling back its ambitions to focus on securing the Donbass region, where Russian-backed separatists have been fighting the Ukrainian army for the past eight years.

A local leader in the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic said on Sunday the region could soon hold a referendum on joining Russia, just as happened in Crimea after Russia seized the Ukrainian peninsula in 2014.

Crimeans voted overwhelmingly to break with Ukraine and join Russia — a vote that much of the world refused to recognise.

Budanov predicted Ukraine’s army would repel Russian forces by launching a guerrilla warfare offensive.

“Then there will be one relevant scenario left for the Russians, how to survive,” he said.

Ukraine’s foreign ministry spokesperson also dismissed talk of any referendum in eastern Ukraine.

“All fake referendums in the temporarily occupied territories are null and void and will have no legal validity,” Oleg Nikolenko told Reuters.

‘CRUEL AND SENSELESS’

Moscow says the goals for what Putin calls a “special military operation” include demilitarising and “denazifying” its neighbour. Ukraine and its Western allies call this a pretext for unprovoked invasion.

Ukraine has described previous negotiations, some of which have taken place in Russian ally Belarus, as “very difficult”.

The invasion has devastated several Ukrainian cities, caused a major humanitarian crisis and displaced an estimated 10 million people, nearly a quarter of Ukraine’s population.

Tatyana Manyek, who crossed the Danube by ferry into Romania on Sunday with other refugees, said people in her home city of Odesa were “very afraid” but she would have stayed were it not for her daughter.

“It would be very difficult to provide the child with basic living conditions. That’s why we decided to leave,” she said, clutching a pet dog in her arms.

In his Sunday blessing, Pope Francis called for an end to the “cruel and senseless” conflict.

CALL FOR WEAPONS

Zelenskiy demanded in a late-night television address on Saturday that Western nations hand over military hardware that was “gathering dust” in stockpiles, saying his nation needed just 1% of NATO’s aircraft and 1% of its tanks.

Western nations have given Ukraine anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles as well as small arms and protective equipment, without offering heavy armour or planes.

Ukrainian Interior Ministry adviser Vadym Denysenko said Russia had started destroying Ukrainian fuel and food storage centres. Appearing to confirm that, Russia said its missiles had wrecked a fuel deposit on Saturday as well as a military repair plant near the western city of Lviv.

Ukraine was mounting small counter-offensive actions as Russian forces try to encircle its forces in eastern Ukraine, a Ukrainian presidential advisor said.

The United Nations has confirmed 1,119 civilian deaths and 1,790 injuries across Ukraine but says the real toll is likely to be higher. Ukraine said on Sunday 139 children had been killed and more than 205 wounded so far in the conflict.

Ukraine and Russia agreed two “humanitarian corridors” to evacuate civilians from frontline areas on Sunday, including allowing people to leave by car from the southern city of Mariupol, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said.

The encircled port, located between Crimea and eastern areas held by Russian-backed separatists, has been devastated by weeks of heavy bombardment. Thousands of residents are sheltering in basements with scarce water, food, medicine or power.

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Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

Russia’s Gazprom says gas shipments via Ukraine to Europe continue – Interfax

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Stock Markets10 hours ago (Mar 27, 2022 02:25AM ET)

Russia's Gazprom says gas shipments via Ukraine to Europe continue - Interfax© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo of Gazprom company is seen on the facade of a business centre in Saint Petersburg, Russia January 26, 2022. REUTERS/Anton Vaganov/File Photo

(Reuters) – Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom (MCX:) said on Sunday that it was continuing to supply to Europe via Ukraine in line with requests from European consumers, the news agency Interfax reported.

The agency reported that requests stood at 109.6 million cubic metres (mcm) for March 27, slightly up from 109.5 mcm a day earlier.

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Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

UK’s Prince William hints at backing for Caribbean nations to become republics

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World3 hours ago (Mar 27, 2022 03:16AM ET)

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UK's Prince William hints at backing for Caribbean nations to become republics© Reuters. Britain’s Prince William speaks during a reception hosted by the Governor General of The Bahamas on the seventh day of their tour of the Caribbean, at Baha Mar Resort, in Nassau, Bahamas, March 25, 2022. Paul Edwards/Pool via REUTERS

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NASSAU (Reuters) – Britain’s Prince William has said he supports and respects any decision Caribbean nations make about their future, as Belize, the Bahamas and Jamaica consider cutting their ties with the British monarchy.

At the end of a tour with his wife Kate that has been marked by protests about the legacy of the British Empire, William, Queen Elizabeth’s grandson, acknowledged the relationship between the three Caribbean states and the Crown was changing.

“Next year, I know you are all looking forward to celebrating 50 years of independence – your Golden Anniversary,” he said in a speech in the Bahamas capital Nassau.

“And with Jamaica celebrating 60 years of independence this year, and Belize celebrating 40 years of independence last year, I want to say this: We support with pride and respect your decisions about your future. Relationships evolve. Friendship endures.”

His speech is the clearest indication the royal family would back the three nations ditching the queen as their head of state, echoing the decision taken by Barbados last November.

Usually, Buckingham Palace says such matters are for the local people and politicians to decide.

During her 70 years on the throne – a landmark that the tour was to designed to mark – Elizabeth has watched as former British colonies have cut their ties, but she remains queen of 15 realms, including Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

However, the tour by William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, has thrown a spotlight on the waning support for the monarchy in the Caribbean. During the trip there have been protests and calls for reparations payments by Britain and an apology for slavery.

Meanwhile the Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness told William directly at a meeting on Wednesday that his country wanted to be “independent”.

Some British media have also criticised public relations mistakes which have seen the royals shaking hands with Jamaican children through wire fences and other appearances, described as “tone-deaf” blunders by the Daily Mirror tabloid because it said they appeared to be a throwback to colonial times.

The tribulations of the tour have reflected wider questions about the role and future of the royals back in Britain following the scandal of a U.S. sex abuse lawsuit involving the queen’s second son Prince Andrew – settled last month – and criticism of the institution from William’s younger brother, Prince Harry.

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Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

Grocery workers vote to strike if needed in southern California for higher wages

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Stock Markets5 hours ago (Mar 27, 2022 08:05AM ET)

Grocery workers vote to strike if needed in southern California for higher wages© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The United Food & Commercial Workers International Union (U.F.C.W) logo is seen at their headquarters in Washington, D.C., U.S., August 30, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

(Reuters) – Around 48,000 grocery workers voted to strike if needed when seeking higher wages from stores owned by Kroger (NYSE:) Co and Albertsons Companies Inc in Southern California, the UFCW 770 union said on Saturday.

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) has been seeking significantly higher and equal pay, sufficient staffing and enough working hours in their negotiations with the grocers, which began on Jan. 28.

As U.S. food prices rise, workers are pushing big corporations that have been posting record profits to offer more.

Politicians including President Joe Biden and Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have voiced support for such demands.

The union said in a statement it would notify workers if a decision were made to strike.

It said there was a big disconnect between its proposal and the offer of an hourly raise of 60 cents, or less than a 1% increase, made by the grocers, including Ralphs, Albertsons, Pavilions and Vons.

Kroger-owned Ralphs called the union’s proposal unrealistic as it is expensive to do business in California, while proposing to maintain its nearly $133 million annual investment in health care benefits.

The grocer, which has around 190 stores in California, said it might start making contingency plans, including advertising for temporary workers, to keep its business running.

As the previous workers’ contract expired on March 6, the labor union has slapped unfair labor practice charges against the grocers.

The union said bargaining would resume on Wednesday and if talks failed, it would decide on the next steps.

It warned the workers not to walk out until it notified them and said it would have strike benefit funds available to support members if the companies forced the union to take action.

Ralphs said on Monday it hoped the union would return to the bargaining table with renewed interest in reaching a balanced deal.

Albertsons did not respond to a request for comment.

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Chinese, U.S. regulators are working hard on solution to audit dispute - Chinese state media

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Israel stocks lower at close of trade; TA 35 down 0.06%

Israel stocks lower at close of trade; TA 35 down 0.06% By Investing.com – Mar 27, 2022

Investing.com – Israel stocks were lower after the close on Sunday, as losses in the Banking, Real Estate and Communication sectors led shares lower. At the close in Tel Aviv, the…

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

China industrial profit up but mired in single-digit growth

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Economy4 hours ago (Mar 27, 2022 03:55AM ET)

China industrial profit up but mired in single-digit growth© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Workers work beside steel wires at a factory in Beijing, China November 22, 2017. Picture taken November 22, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer

BEIJING (Reuters) -Profit growth at China’s industrial firms accelerated in the first two months of the year in line with other signs of momentum in the economy, although the outlook is clouded by domestic COVID-19 outbreaks and the war in Ukraine.

Profits rose 5.0% in from a year earlier, up from a 4.2% gain in December, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Sunday.

The growth in January-February was driven by surging profits in the energy and raw materials sectors, thanks to higher prices of commodities such as and coal. January and February data are typically combined to smooth out distortions from the Lunar New Year holiday, which can fall in either month.

Downstream, monthly profit growth among other industrial firms has been weighed down by high raw material costs, languishing in the single-digits since November.

The slightly faster industrial profit growth was in step with improvement in industrial output, retail sales and fixed-asset investment in January-February, suggesting the impact of recent policy measures were starting to be felt.

Still, challenges have emerged this year including China’s most serious COVID outbreak since early in the pandemic in 2020, driven by the Omicron variant, threatening to disrupt local economies and further chill consumer spending.

“The gap between upstream and downstream profit margins widened as downstream profit margins fell further,” Goldman Sachs (NYSE:) analysts wrote in a note. “We expect the COVID outbreak in multiple provinces to weigh on industrial profits in the near term.”

Given the coronavirus flare-ups, policies to further ease monetary and fiscal measures can be expected, they said.

Global upheavals such as the war in Ukraine have also created uncertainty over international supply chains and the potential for even higher commodity and energy prices, ultimately weighing on the bottom line of Chinese firms.

Vice Premier Liu He said recently that Beijing will take measures to boost the economy in the first quarter and that monetary policy would be set to support growth.

To ease financial burdens for smaller firms, China has pledged around 1.5 trillion yuan ($240 billion) in value-added tax (VAT) rebates.

The finance ministry said on Thursday China will exempt the 3% VAT levied on some small firms, the country’s main source of jobs.

The statistics bureau’s industrial profits data cover large firms with annual revenues above 20 million yuan from their main operations.

($1 = 6.3658 renminbi)

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Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

Energy & Precious Metals – Weekly Review and Outlook

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CommoditiesMar 27, 2022 05:03AM ET

Energy & Precious Metals - Weekly Review and Outlook© Reuters.

By Barani Krishnan

Investing.com — Saudi Arabia has warned that it cannot bear responsibility for any shortage of oil supplies to global markets, in light of continuing attacks against its facilities. The kingdom’s energy ministry said the international community needs to realize the role of Iran in supporting Yemeni Houthi rebels to target oil and gas production sites.

There are three major risks for world oil markets from the Saudi warning. 

The first is that the kingdom’s energy company Aramco (SE:) cannot be blamed if it is unable to deliver oil as contracted due to the impact of such attacks, a situation typically known in the industry as the declaration of force majeure.  

The second is that the attacks may become enough of a distraction for Aramco – in second-guessing the rebels on the next sites they would target and reinforcing the security and resilience at such places – that it has little time and energy to pursue more productive activities that include, yes, production of more oil. 

Of course, even without the attacks, neither Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman nor his brother Abdulaziz, the energy minister, had any intent of raising the Saudi crude production meaningfully, as their aim was to milk the most they could out of oil prices from the Russia-Ukraine war. The attacks have just given them a better excuse not to add a single barrel beyond what they want.

The third risk to oil markets from the Saudi caution about Yemeni Houthi rebels is that it could add another layer of demand by the U.S. and other world powers to the already onerous Iran nuclear negotiations. That demand could be that Tehran desist immediately from any support – real or implied – for all Houthi-based terror attacks. 

Friday’s attack on the Aramco oil depot in Jeddah has already been roundly condemned by the international community, with U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan branding it as one of those “unprovoked acts of terrorism aimed to prolong the suffering of the Yemeni people”. 

From a moral standpoint, it would be right for the U.S. to demand that Iran compel the Yemeni Houthi rebels whom Tehran sponsors to stand down from any further aggression against Saudi Arabia and its energy facilities if the Islamic Republic wishes to have its nuclear deal. The reality is that this is easier said than done. 

The negotiations between the world powers and Iran have already dragged on for 11 months and are on the verge of finally going through or collapsing altogether. At this point, adding yet another clause – written or expressed – to the spirit of the agreement could virtually be the final Saudi straw that breaks the Iranian camel’s back. 

The Saudis, of course, do not want the nuclear deal – originally signed in 2015 under the Obama administration and in force till the Trump administration canceled it in 2018 – to be revived in any way by the Biden administration. Their argument is that Iran, free from U.S. sanctions on its oil, would use the proceeds from that to fund further terrorism against Saudi Arabia. 

The Biden administration, of course, knows this. But it is aware of something else too: The Saudis want to dominate the oil market in every way possible. They want as little competition as possible over their market share within OPEC+. 

A fully-empowered Iran back in OPEC might complicate matters for the Saudis despite their seemingly unassailable position now at the apex of the organization and the world oil market. Crown Prince MbS’ colluding with Donald Trump and the former president’s son-in-law/adviser Jared Kushner to make Iran a pariah within the same OPEC it helped found has only increased the Mullahs’ enmity with the House of Saud. It’s going to take a lot of diplomacy to resolve this on both sides and the Biden administration might decide – correctly – at this point that it’s not Washington’s problem to babysit.

Also, free markets and competition are at the very heart of American commerce and OPEC is the antithesis of that. The Saudis are doing nothing to alleviate the sky-high prices of oil. Their supporters – which include all those long the market – immediately get into a “why should they?” chorus whenever the question is raised.  Thus, the world powers at the negotiating table – which, interestingly, include OPEC+ overseer and relatively new Saudi ally Russia – will not hold up the deal as well, unless there is a serious breach again of uranium enrichment by Iran.

Oil: Weekly Market Activity

The missile strike at the oil storage depot in Jeddah sent crude prices up more than 1% Friday, reversing a 2% drop from earlier in the day and giving the market its best weekly gain since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Yemeni Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the attack, with a spokesperson for the group saying it “would be announcing more details on a wide operation in Saudi Arabia”. 

Twitter was ablaze on Friday with visuals of a huge plume of black smoke seen rising in Jeddah, the second largest Saudi city after capital Riyadh, where state-owned oil firm Aramco has several facilities.  

“It’s the last thing we need in a tight market situation like this but I guess oil bulls can thank the Houthis for sending crude back to $120 levels before the weekend,” said John Kilduff, partner at New York energy hedge fund Again Capital.

London-traded , the global benchmark for oil, settled up $1.62, or 1.4%, at $120.65 per barrel. It had fallen more than 2% earlier, touching a session low of $115.21.

For the week, Brent was up 11.8% after accounting for other price spikes on Monday and Wednesday. It was Brent’s biggest weekly gain since the 20% rally in the week that marked the start of Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine.

U.S. crude’s West Texas Intermediate, or WTI, benchmark settled up $1.56, or 1.4%, at $113.90. WTI was down to as much as $108.77 earlier. For the week, the US crude benchmark rose 8.8%.

​​Crude prices fell earlier on Friday on the easing of some supply concerns on the European market, particularly the partial export resumption from Kazakhstan’s CPC crude terminal that Russia’s energy minister said on Wednesday might be out for two months due to storm damages.

A coordinated release of crude from the emergency reserves of the United States and other consuming countries also weighed on prices earlier, with reports that more than 30 million barrels might come from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve to ease the oil deficit heightened by the month-long Russia-Ukraine war.

Oil: WTI Technical Outlook

WTI needs to hold at above $112 to overshoot $120 in the coming week, said Sunil Kumar Dixit, chief technical strategist at skcharting.com.

A daily settlement below $112 could push the benchmark to as low as $104, and, ultimately, even to $98, Dixit cautioned.

For the just-ended week, he noted that WTI gained a net $9.80, rebounding strongly after a two-week correction that took it from a high of $130 to $93 at one point.

The weekly stochastic reading of 74/67 and RSI reading of 72 both indicate further upside potential for WTI, Dixit said. 

“For the week ahead, as long as oil sustains above $112, prices are likely to advance to between $116 and $122.”

“But weakness below $112 can push oil down to $109 – $107 first and later $104, which will mark an acceleration point to the further downside of $98.”

With both the monthly closing for March and the first quarter finish due next week – along with a flurry of critical economic data- market volatility could be at its peak.

Gold: Weekly Market Activity 

A spike in U.S. Treasury yields sent gold prices skidding on Friday, although the yellow metal held on to a weekly gain of more than 1% on the back of geopolitical tensions fed by the war in Ukraine and inflation concerns that had Americans more worried than during the 1980s and 2008 recessions.

The most-active gold futures contract on New York’s Comex, , settled the day’s trade down $4.45, or 0.23%, at $1,957.75 an ounce. For the week, the benchmark gold futures contract was up $24.90, or 1.3%.

Friday’s slide in gold came as the U.S. Treasury note rose by 4.8%, adding to Thursday’s 3.5%, pressuring bullion which is non-yielding. After a tumble last week on the Fed’s modest first pandemic-era rate hike of 25 basis points, yields have started climbing again as the central bank announced plans for more aggressive hikes of 50 basis points in the future to contain inflation at 40-year highs. 

Gold typically thrives in an environment of heightened political and economic fear, and the war in Ukraine and runaway U.S. price pressures had fed both of these.

Craig Erlam, analyst at online trading platform OANDA, said gold will likely continue being “well supported against the backdrop of sky-high inflation and immense uncertainty”.

“That doesn’t necessarily mean we’re heading for record highs, which we currently sit a little more than 5% below,” Erlam added, referring to Comex’s all-time highs of $2,121 for gold. “But, as is the case more broadly right now, the main catalyst continues to be the constant flow of headlines which will continue to determine the path of travel for the yellow metal.”

U.S. gross domestic product, or GDP, grew 5.7% last year, expanding at its fastest since 1984. But inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, or CPI, grew at an even faster rate, expanding by 7% in 2021, its most since 1981. 

The CPI has continued to expand aggressively since the start of 2022, reaching a year-on-year growth of 7.9% in February versus a GDP growth of 2.8% forecast for all of the year by the Federal Reserve. The central bank’s tolerance for inflation is a mere 2% per year and it vowed to slow price pressures with a series of rate hikes through next year.

Americans are more worried about inflation now than they were during the worst two US recessions in the 1980s and 2008, the University of Michigan said Friday in its closely-followed Consumer Sentiment Survey.

“With an expected year-ahead inflation rate at 5.4%, the highest since November 1981, inflation was mentioned throughout the survey, whether the questions referred to personal finances, prospects for the economy, or assessments of buying conditions,” Richard Curtin, chief economist for UMich’s Surveys of Consumers, said in a statement.

Umich’s Consumer Sentiment Index, updated every two weeks, remained at August 2011 lows, while people’s worries about inflation appeared to grow more dire in a nation where consumer spending made up 70% of the economy, Curtin said. 

“When asked to explain changes in their finances in their own words, more consumers mentioned reduced living standards due to rising inflation than any other time except during the two worst recessions in the past fifty years: from March 1979 to April 1981, and from May to October 2008,” Curtin added.

Gold: Technical Outlook

Gold’s test will be to get above the $1,962 – $1,968 levels and eventually $1,972 – $1,985 for a return to $2,000 levels.

Failure to break and sustain above those levels could send the yellow metal back to the $1,920-$1,910 lows, said Dixit of skcharting.com, who made his projections based on the .

Despite tumbling to $1,910 mid-week, the yellow metal pulled back, peaking at $1,966 before trading within the $1,962-$1,943 range before settling the week at $1,957, Dixit noted.

The weekly stochastic reading of 61/62 and RSI reading 63 were in a position for further upside, though room for some correction exists, he said.

“The week ahead can begin on a flat note.

“The upward momentum will come if prices manage to break and sustain above $1,962 – $1,968 and test $1,972 – $1,985, which is the acceleration point for a further up move to $1,998 – $2,010.”

“Failure to break and sustain above $1,962 – $1,968, or rejection at the same areas, may cause gold to slip to $1,950 – $1,943 again. Breaking this may retest $1,937 and extend the downside to $1,920 – $1,910.”

He put overall weekly support at $1,895 – $1,870 and resistance at $1,998 – $2,010.

Disclaimer: Barani Krishnan does not hold positions in the commodities and securities he writes about.

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Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

China’s Sinopec plans its biggest capital expenditure in history

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Commodities12 hours ago (Mar 27, 2022 05:20AM ET)

China's Sinopec plans its biggest capital expenditure in history© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A pumpjack is seen at the Sinopec-operated Shengli oil field in Dongying, Shandong province, China January 12, 2017. Picture taken January 12, 2017. REUTERS/Chen Aizhu/File Photo

BEIJING (Reuters) – China Petroleum (NYSE:) & Chemical Corp, better known as Sinopec (NYSE:), is planning its highest capital investment in history for 2022 after recording its best profit in a decade, echoing Beijing’s call for energy companies to raise production.

Sinopec expects to spend 198 billion yuan ($31.10 billion) in 2022, up 18% from a year ago, beating the previous record of 181.7 billion yuan set in 2013, according to a company statement filed to the Shanghai Stocks Exchange on Sunday.

It plans to invest 81.5 billion yuan in upstream exploitation, especially the bases in Shunbei and Tahe fields, and fields in Sichuan province and the Inner Mongolia region.

“Looking ahead in 2022, the market demand for refined oil will continued to recover, and demand for natural gas and petrochemical products will keep growing,” Sinopec said in the statement.

It also warned of potential impacts of geopolitical challenges and volatile oil prices on the investment and operation at overseas businesses. But the firm did not name any specific project.

Reuters reported that Sinopec Group had suspended talks for a major petrochemical investment and a gas marketing venture in Russia, heeding a government call for caution as sanctions mount over the invasion of Ukraine.

prices have gained 52% so far this year and hit as high as $139 a barrel in early March, stoked by fears of supply disruption in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Sinopec recorded its biggest profit in a decade in 2021 on the back of recovering energy demand and oil price increases in the post-COVID era, with net earnings reaching 71.21 billion yuan.

It plans to produce 281.2 million barrels of crude oil and 12,567 billion cubic feet of natural gas in 2022, up from its output of 279.76 million barrels and 1,199 billion cubic feet in 2021.

Beijing seeks to ensure energy safety in the country amid intensifying geopolitical risks. It wants to keep annual crude oil output at 200 million tonnes and crank up natural gas production to more than 230 billion cubic metres (bcm) by 2025 from 205 bcm in 2021.

Crude throughput and production of refined oil products at Sinopec are expected to stay around the same level in 2022 from a year ago, at 258 million tonnes and 147 million tonnes, respectively.

But demand for gasoline and diesel are dented in China as more than 2,000 of daily COVID cases have triggered local authorities to impose stringent travel restrictions while manufacturers suspended operations amid supply chain clogs.

($1 = 6.3658 renminbi)

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U.S. envoy not confident Iran nuclear deal is imminent

U.S. envoy not confident Iran nuclear deal is imminent© Reuters. Iran’s and U.S.’ flags are seen printed on paper in this illustration taken January 27, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

By Andrew Mills and Ghaida Ghantous

DOHA (Reuters) -U.S. Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley said on Sunday he was not confident that a nuclear deal between world powers and the Islamic Republic was imminent, dampening expectations after 11 months of talks in Vienna that have stalled.

The failure of efforts to restore a 2015 accord, which would curb Tehran’s nuclear programme in exchange for lifting sanctions that have hammered Iran’s economy, risks raising political tensions in the Middle East and further increasing world oil prices, analysts say.

“I can’t be confident it is imminent… A few months ago we thought we were pretty close as well,” Malley told the Doha Forum international conference.

“In any negotiations, when there’s issues that remain open for so long, it tells you something about how hard it is to bridge the gap.”

His assessment of the negotiations in Vienna came after Kamal Kharrazi, a senior advisor to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said a deal could come soon.

“Yes, it’s imminent. It depends on the political will of the United States,” Kharrazi told the conference.

LAST-MINUTE DEMANDS

Then-U.S. President Donald Trump abandoned the nuclear pact in 2018, prompting Tehran to start breaking nuclear limits set under the deal. Months of on-and-off talks to revive the deal were delayed earlier this month as Russia wanted guarantees it would be able to carry out its work as a party to the deal.

But there are still outstanding issues. Kharrazi said in order for the deal to be revived Washington must remove the foreign terrorist organisation (FTO) designation against Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

The IRGC, created by the Islamic Republic’s late founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, is more than just a military force and has enormous political clout. It was placed under sanctions in 2017 and put on the FTO list in April of 2019.

“IRGC is a national army and a national army being listed as a terrorist group certainly is not acceptable,” said Kharrazi.

Malley said regardless of what happens, many sanctions on the IRGC will remain.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett urged the United States to heed calls against any removal of the Revolutionary Guards from the U.S. terrorism blacklist.

“We’re concerned about the intention to delist the IRGC,” Bennett told Blinken. “I hope the United States will hear the concerned voices from the region, Israel’s and others, on this very important issue.”

IRAN SEEKING GUARANTEE

Tehran has been pushing for guarantees that any future U.S. president would not withdraw from the agreement and the extent to which sanctions would be rolled back is another unresolved issue.

The United States’ allies in the Gulf and Israel believe Iran is a security threat and have deep misgivings over the talks.

Israel and the United States will continue to cooperate in preventing a nuclear-armed Iran, Israel’s foreign minister said on Sunday.

“We have disagreements about a nuclear agreement and its consequences, but open and honest dialogue is part of the strength of our friendship,” Yair Lapid said in Jerusalem during a joint press conference with visiting U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Blinken said a return to the 2015 deal was the best way to contain Iran’s nuclear programme.

But whether or not that happens, “our commitment to the core principle of Iran never acquiring a nuclear weapon is unwavering”, he said.

The issue is likely to dominate a two-day summit in Israel which will include foreign ministers from three Arab states.

In Tehran, EU envoy Enrique Mora, who is the coordinator of the talks, met with Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani on Sunday to discuss pending issues in the nuclear talks.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian told Mora in a meeting that “the lack of an American political decision is the current obstacle we have in achieving results in Vienna talks”, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.

China recovers second black box of crashed passenger jet

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World7 hours ago (Mar 27, 2022 08:06AM ET)

China recovers second black box of crashed passenger jet© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Rescue workers walk at the site where a China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-800 plane flying from Kunming to Guangzhou crashed, in Wuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China March 24, 2022. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins/File Photo

BEIJING (Reuters) -Recovery crews on Sunday found the second black box – the flight data recorder – from the wreckage of a China Eastern Airlines (NYSE:) Boeing (NYSE:) 737-800 jet that crashed into a mountainside in southern China.

Flight MU5735 crashed on Monday, killing all 132 people onboard, mainland China’s deadliest aviation disaster in 28 years.

Heading to coastal Guangzhou from the southwestern city of Kunming, the plane dived from cruising altitude around the time it should have started its landing descent. The dead included nine crew members.

The black box, which could shed light on the cause of the crash, has been sent to Beijing for examination and analysis, state media reported. The other black box – the cockpit voice recorder – was delivered to experts in the Chinese capital after being found on Wednesday.

It was too soon to determine the cause of the crash, and crashes are usually the result of a combination of factors, experts said.

The second black box was dug out of a slope at the crash site about 9:20 a.m. (0120 GMT) in muddy conditions after rain in recent days.

The device, part of which was badly damaged, was recovered 1.5 metres (5 feet) underground and 40 metres (130 feet) from the point of impact, said Zhu Tao, head of aviation safety at the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

“Civil aviation investigators at the site confirmed that the storage unit of the flight data recorder has been found,” Zhu told a news conference in Guangxi. “Parts of the recorder were seriously damaged, but the outside of the storage unit was in fairly good condition.”

The crash was the deadliest since a China Northwest Airlines flight from Xian to Guangzhou crashed, killing all 160 people on board.

RUMOURS

Monday’s flight briefly appeared to pull out of its nosedive before resuming its plunge to earth, according to flight tracking website FlightRadar24. Its data showed the aircraft was plummeting 31,000 feet per minute.

The pilots did not respond to repeated calls from air traffic controllers and nearby planes during the rapid descent, authorities said.

The disaster has shocked China, sending social media into overdrive as netizens parsed what little was known for clues.

China’s cyberspace watchdog ordered internet platforms and websites to clamp down on rumours, conspiracy theories and any online mockery of the disaster.

Since the crash, authorities have banned users and closed accounts to deal with more than 167,000 rumours, ranging from the deaths of seven directors of a company to divine prophesies of a plane crash by the end of March.

China is leading the crash investigation. The United States has been invited to take part, as the Boeing 737-800 was designed and manufactured there.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board said it was working with U.S. and Chinese authorities to resolve visa and COVID-19 quarantine issues before participating.

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Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

Top 5 Things to Watch in Markets in the Week Ahead

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EconomyMar 27, 2022 07:44AM ET

Top 5 Things to Watch in Markets in the Week Ahead© Reuters

By Noreen Burke

Investing.com — The U.S. jobs report for March is coming up on Friday and will be closely watched, being the last monthly employment report ahead of the Federal Reserve’s next meeting in May. Ahead of that, there will be an update on inflation in what is set to be a busy week on the economic calendar. Developments in Ukraine and oil prices will also continue to shape market sentiment as the first quarter draws to a close. Here’s what you need to know to start your week.

  1. Nonfarm payrolls

Friday’s nonfarm payrolls report for March could help markets get a sense of whether the Fed’s roadmap for rate hikes is too aggressive or not aggressive enough.

Economists are expecting the U.S. economy to have added jobs, after 678,000 were created in February. Average hourly earnings are forecast to increase on a year-over-year basis, while the unemployment rate is expected to tick down to .

Indications of continued strength in the labor market would underline the case for a more aggressive pace of rate hikes as the Fed battles to curb soaring inflation.

The Fed hiked rates by a quarter percentage point on March 16 but since then Fed Chair Jerome Powell has indicated that the central bank is prepared to raise rates in half-point increments if it is warranted, despite fears that this could trigger an economic downturn.

  1. Inflation data

Ahead of the jobs report, the U.S. is set to release February figures on personal income and spending on Thursday. The report contains personal consumption expenditures data, a gauge of inflation closely watched by the Fed.

Economists are expecting the core PCE price index to rise on an annual basis, staying well above the Fed’s 2% inflation target.

The economic calendar also features updates on , , , and the .

In addition, New York Fed President John , Philadelphia Fed head Patrick Harker, Atlanta Fed President Raphael and Richmond Fed President Thomas are to make appearances during the week.

  1. Oil prices

Oil prices notched up their first weekly gain in three last week, with up more than 11.5% and gaining 8.8%.

Oil prices have spiked – rising 50% since the start of the year – amid sanctions on major supplier Russia in retaliation for its invasion of Ukraine.

Rising oil prices have been fueling inflation expectations, burying the hopes of global central bankers that the inflation stoked by pandemic-era stimulus packages would be transitory.

Jerome Powell said last Monday that the U.S. economy is clearly better able to withstand an oil shock now than in the 1970s. The U.S. is the world’s largest oil producer. But this didn’t stop Powell from striking a tougher note on inflation (see above) than he had at the press conference after the Fed hiked rates just days earlier.

  1. Stock market

Wall Street’s three main indices ended last week higher, with the and the rising 2% and 1.8%, respectively, while the managed a 0.3% uptick.

U.S. Treasury yields jumped on Friday, with the benchmark note surging to nearly three-year highs, as the market grappled with high inflation and a Federal Reserve that could easily spark a downturn as it aggressively tightens policy.

The equity market is pricing in a higher rate environment, Keith Buchanan, portfolio manager at Globalt Investments in Atlanta told Reuters.

That is causing bank stocks to outperform, while “adding more pressure to the riskier elements of the market,” such as growth shares, he said.

  1. Eurozone inflation

The Eurozone is to release inflation data on Friday with economists expecting to hit a new record high of 6.5% amid soaring energy costs.

The European Central Bank has indicated that there’s no rush to raise interest rates but given its inflation target of 2%, it’s no surprise that some officials are calling for one or two rate hikes this year.

A strong inflation reading will bolster their argument. But bond markets too suggest higher rates are coming, having priced five moves of 10 basis points each by year-end.

Germany’s bond yield has risen 30 basis points so far in March, set for its biggest monthly rise since 2011. Having spent years deep in negative yield territory amid ECB bond buying to boost inflation, it is fast approaching 0%.

–Reuters contributed to this report

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Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

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