Nickel surge raised the input cost for an electric vehicle by $1,000. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could potentially severely limit its global supply. In turn, the cost of producing an electric vehicle is getting higher by the day, Morgan Stanley warns. Nickel is a key material used in electric vehicle batteries. The firm is already forecasting a nickel shortfall by 2026.
Shell to withdraw from Russian oil and gas amid Ukraine war. The energy giant plans to halt all spot purchases of Russian crude and shut its gas stations, aviation-fuel, and lubricant operations in the country. It said it would find alternative supplies of oil as soon as possible, though it cautioned it could take weeks to fully make up the difference, leading to reduced production at some refineries.
Biden bans US imports of Russian oil and gas in an attempt to punish Putin. The move was matched by a UK ban on Russian oil imports, but the EU did not follow suit and instead unveiled a plan to cut Russian gas imports by two-thirds within a year. But a ban on US and UK imports will be far less disruptive to global markets than a full international embargo as only a small proportion of Russian shipments goes to those two markets. Read more here.
Apple unveils new budget iPhone and iPad Air. The Air uses Apple’s M1 processor, which is the chip used in the pricier iPad Pro and MacBook Air models. It also has optional 5G support. It will cost $599. Apple also unveils a new budget iPhone SE with 5G and the latest iPhone processor, A15 at $429. Both products will hit store shelves on March 18. Read more here.
Uranium prices are soaring. The world is looking with renewed interest at nuclear as a reliable source of power. Nuclear energy is a key source of power in many nations and accounts for 20% of the electricity generated in the U.S. The U.S., though, relies extensively on Russia and its allies for the supply of uranium fuel to power its nuclear reactors, largely because Russian uranium is cheap.
Commodities to the moon. Commodities are spiking over concerns that the war in Ukraine will result in a dire shortage of critical materials. Because of port closures and sanctions, Russia and Ukraine have stopped shipping goods that are used around the globe for food, fuel, and manufacturing. Oil prices push higher raising gas prices, high wheat prices raised food prices, and nickel price jump adds pressure to EV companies. Read more here.
WHAT TO WATCH
Google to buy cybersecurity firm Mandiant for $5.4 billion. With Mandiant, Alphabet Inc.’s Google gets more tools to protect its cloud clients by responding quickly to online threats. The company is working to recruit and support cloud customers amid stiff competition from Microsoft Corp. and Amazon.com Inc. The cloud business could help Google diversify beyond advertising, which comprises the bulk of its revenue and profit.
GM electric vehicles to power homes in a new California pilot program. The pilot program is through a partnership with Pacific Gas and Electric Co. The move matches similar capabilities by other automakers, including Ford Motor. The program would make its electric vehicles capable of powering a house in the event of a power outage or grid failure.
The Dow entered a correction. That means investors are getting more nervous about the economic outlook, but history says things get better from here. The bright side of the coin is that the Dow tends to rise after having closed in correction territory. The average gain for the following 12 months after such a close is 8.7%, according to Dow Jones Market Data. Gains are seen 62% of the time. Read more here.
We are witnessing the birth of a new world (monetary) order. Centered around commodity-based currencies in the East that will likely weaken the Eurodollar system and also contribute to inflationary forces in the West. When this crisis is over, the USD should be much weaker and, on the flip side, the renminbi much stronger, backed by a basket of commodities. Money will never be the same again and Bitcoin will probably benefit from all this.