Bloomberg - Evening Briefing - Russia makes a deal

Bloomberg Evening Briefing

Russia and Ukraine reached a deal aimed at releasing millions of tons of grain through Ukraine’s Black Sea ports that would mark a vital step toward shoring up global food supplies. Still, many logistical hurdles remain and it is uncertain how quickly exports will progress with Russia’s war still raging—or whether Moscow will follow through at all. In Crimea, a southern region of Ukraine Russia has occupied since 2014, grain shipments have been running at 50 times their normal rate, likely an indicator of the scope of Russian theft of Ukrainian crops, analysts said. While claiming Russia blinked in the face of global condemnation, the US expressed skepticism that Vladimir Putin will deliver on the grain accord. “Russia’s word is never good enough on its face,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said. “It really comes down to their willingness to actually implement.” And in what would be a major shift for the US and its allies, Kirby said the Pentagon is looking into the feasibility of providing fighter jets to Ukraine as it tries to beat back Kremlin forces that are slowly advancing in its eastern regions. 

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Here are today’s top stories

US public pension funds are on pace for their deepest financial setback since the Great Recession as turmoil in global markets this year threaten to leave taxpayers and government workers on the hook. Steep stock and bond losses are set to leave state and local pensions with enough to cover 77.9% of all the benefits that have been promised, down from 84.8% in 2021.

The latest in a series of public hearings by the Congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection and Donald Trump’s alleged coup attempt disclosed Thursday how the Republican refused for three hours to intervene as members of Congress ran for their lives. Testimony from two Trump White House officials supported earlier witnesses who said he felt Vice President Mike Pence had betrayed him by not unconstitutionally seeking to block the transfer of power, and how Trump mused that the mob was right to call for Pence’s execution. “For hours, Donald Trump chose not to answer the pleas from Congress, from his own party, and from all across our nation to do what his oath required,” said Liz Cheney, a Wyoming Republican and vice chair of the panel. “He refused to defend our nation and our constitution. He refused to do what every president must.” While many Republicans profess not to have watched the hearings or echo party leaders who dismiss them as political theater, weeks of televised proceedings may have hardened doubts among them about Trump making another White House bid.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell is likely to slow the pace of interest-rate increases after front-loading policy with a second straight 75 basis-point hike next week, economists  surveyed by Bloomberg said.

President Joe Biden’s bout with Covid-19 shows the evolution of the nation’s fight against the pandemic, White House officials said, expressing confidence that the 79-year-old president will avoid the worst of the disease thanks to vaccines and a therapeutic drug largely unavailable before he took office.

The European Union ramped up its legal campaign against the UK over breaches to the Brexit deal, days after legislation allowing Britain to scrap parts of the Northern Ireland protocol cleared the House of Commons.

After five weeks in hiding, the disgraced founders of  Three Arrows Capital spoke extensively about the spectacular implosion of their once high-flying hedge fund, saying their bungled crypto speculation unleashed cascading margin calls on loans that should never have been made.

Kyle Davies, left, and Su Zhu, right, in May 2021 Source: Three Arrows Capital

Tesla made waves this week when it announced that it had dumped the bulk of its Bitcoin stash. Selling 75% of its cryptocurrency gave the company a one-time cash infusion, but the battered value of its remaining Bitcoin also dinged profits. Exactly how crypto has affected Tesla’s bottom line, however, remains a very big mystery.

What you’ll need to know tomorrow

Green Hydrogen Relies on Little-Known Machine

Solar power depends on the solar cell. Wind power, the wind turbine. But the key to the green hydrogen economy is a little-known machine with a name out of 1950s sci-fi movie. And after a century of obscurity, its moment has arrived

The key to green hydrogen Photographer: Adam Glanzman/Bloomberg

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