Short overview of 5 things on August 12

Biden is plotting a second run

Russia’s economic retrenchment

The disappearing Rhine river

Energy crisis Coming up… 

Biden Seeks Re-Election

President Joe Biden is preparing to launch his re-election bid in the months after November’s midterm congressional elections, according to multiple aides and allies, setting up a potential 2024 re-match with former President Donald Trump. Biden’s resolve to mount a second White House bid is hardening even with polls showing most Democrats would prefer another candidate. But those close to Biden describe him as buoyed by recent legislative, economic and foreign policy victories and committed to again deny Trump a return to the Oval Office. Allies say the accelerated coordination with the Democratic National Committee is the surest public indication Biden is plotting a second run.

Major Setback

President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine set Russia’s economy back four years in the first full quarter after the attack, putting it on track for one of the longest downturns on record. In a bleak tally of the war for Russia, an economy that was picking up speed at the start of 2022 swung into a contraction during the second quarter. Data due on Friday will show gross domestic product shrank for the first time in over a year, dropping an annual 4.7%, according to the median forecast of 12 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Although the economy’s decline is so far proving less precipitous than initially feared, the central bank projects the slump will worsen in the quarters ahead and doesn’t expect a recovery until the second half of next year.

Disappearing Rhine

The Rhine River on Friday is set to shrivel to a crucial level that could upend the trade of fuels throughout Europe, with the effects potentially rippling through the continent for months. The water level at Kaub — a key waypoint west of Frankfurt — is poised to breach 40 centimeters (15.75 inches) and continue dwindling in subsequent days, according to German government data. Below that marker, it’s not economical for many barges to transit the river. The Rhine is used to ship everything from fuels to chemicals, paper products to grains. The climate crisis on the river couldn’t happen at a worse time, with Europe already in the grips of an energy supply crunch in the wake of Russia’s war in Ukraine. 

Energy Crisis

European power prices rose to fresh records on Thursday as a heatwave limits energy supplies and wildfires rage across France. The gains reflect a tight market for natural gas — used to fuel power plants — as Russia cuts supplies just as Europe works to replenish stockpiles for winter. Heat waves this summer have intensified demand while adding to supply disruptions, with key waterways — which are used to generate hydropower, cool nuclear plants and ship energy commodities — drying up. France is in a particularly dire situation, as more than half of its nuclear fleet is offline for maintenance.

Coming Up…

European shares are on course for a flat start, while Asian shares advanced as traders weighed the Fed’s next steps for keeping inflation in check. Russia’s second-quarter GDP will show how much international sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine have hit the country’s economy. The UK also delivers GDP figures, while Sweden, France and Spain issue inflation prints. The USDA publishes its monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand report. Flutter and Knorr-Bremse are among companies on deck for earnings.

(Source: Bloomberg, August 12-2022)

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Short overview of 5 things on August 11

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