Bloomberg - Evening Briefing - More than 10,000 dead

Bloomberg Evening Briefing

Ukraine’s allies in Europe are pivoting away from an emphasis on sanctions in response to Russia’s war and instead focusing on urgently arming Kyiv’s forces as the best chance of ending Vladimir Putin’s aggression. After six weeks of bloody fighting which sanctions have done little to slow, and no sign negotiations will produce a favorable result, some of the European Union’s least likely warriors are calling for more weapons to be placed in Ukrainian hands.

Slovakia is providing Kyiv with S-300 anti-aircraft missile launchers. Photographer: Costas Metaxakis/AFP/Getty Images

The Kremlin’s destruction of large sections of cities across Ukraine is feared to have killed thousands, though Moscow contends it doesn’t target civilians. The mayor of Mariupol said more than 10,000 noncombatants have died in the port city since the invasion began. With Russian forces gathering in the east, Poland’s prime minister predicted Europe would soon see its biggest tank battle since World War II. Ukraine is pushing allied countries to seize and sell Russian assets including oil tankers, asking that the proceeds pay for rebuilding cities and infrastructure. Negotiations on the proposal are underway with various countries, said Oleg Ustenko, chief economic adviser to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, though he declined to say which. And Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer became the first EU leader to visit Putin in Moscow since the war began. He asked him to end it.

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Philadelphia is bringing back its indoor mask mandate beginning April 18 after a 50% increase in Covid-19 cases over the past 10 days. The reinstatement is the first among major U.S. cities and comes about a month after it was lifted. With U.S. coronavirus infections trending upward again thanks to the omicron subvariant, a new wave may be forming up. More than 80 million cases have been confirmed across America since the pandemic began—and 985,000 deaths. Both numbers are widely assumed to be undercounts. 

The U.S. economy is “facing rocky waters,” warned Brian Deese, President Joe Biden’s top economic adviser. The country may see some difficulty as it contends with inflation and further supply-chain challenges stemming from lockdowns in China and Russia’s war on Ukraine.

Brian Deese  Photographer: Michael Reynolds/EPA

Still, American drivers are getting a (relative) break at the pump this month with gasoline prices falling for two straight weeks. Average national prices dropped to $4.11 a gallon on Sunday, the lowest level since March 6. Indeed, last month may prove to be the high-water mark for U.S. inflation, but price pressures will likely remain elevated given demand for services and geopolitical risks.

Amazon is selling $12.75 billion of investment-grade bonds for general corporate purposes that may include repaying debt as well as funding acquisitions and share buybacks.

Stocks and bonds retreated Monday as investors focused on inflation and the impact of policy tightening by central banks. All major groups in the S&P 500 fell, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 lost more than 2%. Ten-year Treasury yields climbed through 2.75% for the first time since March 2019 after the Fed last week signaled sharp rate hikes and balance-sheet reductions. Here’s your markets wrap 

Russian Railways has been ruled in default by a derivatives panel after missing a bond interest payment, the first such decision since that country was slapped with extensive sanctions.

BlackRock dismissed three managing directors from its private equity division, citing a coordinated effort to leave the world’s largest asset manager. Konnin Tam, Steve Lessar and Veena Isaac helped manage a $3 billion strategy in the private equity group’s secondaries unit. 

What you’ll need to know tomorrow

Coffee Chain Builds a Future With the Disabled

While businesses across the U.S. struggle to find employees, Bitty & Beau’s coffee shops says its attrition rate is near zero. That’s because it primarily hires workers from a demographic advocates say has an unemployment rate above 80%: people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. “There’s an untapped labor force of people with disabilities in every community,” says Amy Wright, who co-founded the company with her husband. “Most of our employees have never had a job.”

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