Bloomberg - Evening Briefing - Brink of default

Bloomberg Evening Briefing

Russia may be on the verge of default. The Credit Derivatives Determinations Committee—which includes Goldman Sachs, Barclays and JPMorgan—said Wednesday that a “potential failure-to-pay” event occurred for credit-default swaps when Russia paid rubles after foreign banks declined to process U.S. currency transfers. If Russia doesn’t pay up in dollars by the time its grace period expires on May 4, it would be the country’s first default on external debt in more than a century. Holders of the swaps could then start the process of getting paid on contracts covering about $40 billion of debt.

This potential financial calamity (for Russia) is of course tied to Vladimir Putin’s bloody war on Ukraine and the subsequent storm of sanctions that’s rained down upon him. Some eight weeks after he sent troops across his southern border, Putin has failed to take Kyiv and reportedly lost thousands of soldiers and untold amounts of equipment. Now a small but growing number of senior Kremlin insiders are quietly questioning his decision to go to war. They believe the invasion was a catastrophic mistake that will set the country back for years, if not decades. 

Russians perusing mostly empty shelves in a Moscow shopping mall last month. Photographer: Konstantin Zavrazhin/Getty Images

But most Russians (fear of voicing dissent notwithstanding) tell pollsters they support Putin’s war, one in which thousands of civilians have likely been killed through seemingly indiscriminate bombing and alleged mass executions. As Russian forces now move on the Donbas, Moscow is seeking to dissuade NATO from increasing its flow of weapons. On Tuesday, Putin deputy Sergei Lavrov said Russia was against using nuclear weapons in Ukraine, but failed to give a direct answer about whether Putin might use them anyway. And on Wednesday, Russia tested a new nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile, an event Putin used to issue yet another thinly veiled threat against NATO.

Irpin, Ukraine, on April 18. Photographer: Alexey Furman/Getty Images

In its new assault in Ukraine’s east, Russia has yet to gain significant ground, Ukraine officials contend, though surrounded defenders in the blasted port city of Mariupol have warned they are close to the end. But while Russia seeks to consolidate gains along the Sea of Azov, the potential expansion of NATO along its northern border is getting closer to reality. Finland’s parliament began debate on policy changes that may pave the way for a bid to join the alliance. Putin still has friends in Beijing, at least: China said it will continue to strengthen its strategic ties with the Kremlin.

Bloomberg is tracking the coronavirus pandemic and the progress of global vaccination efforts.

Here are today’s top stories

Evidence of war crimes by Russian troops and Ukraine’s tenacious defense have led to calls by European countries for more aggressive action in support of Kyiv. But German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has been an outlier, reluctant to supply tanks and other heavy weapons or impose an embargo of Russian oil and gas. Even given some recent moves by Berlin to provide assistance, for Germany’s allies, patience with Scholz is wearing thin

Technology stocks seeing more losses, the dollar pushing to new highs and tough times for credit. These are some of the new investor expectations now that bond markets are moving toward pre-pandemic normality, with benchmark inflation-adjusted Treasury yields climbing above zero. Here’s your markets wrap.

In the U.S., Covid-19 infections are clearly on the upswing again, with 45,000 new cases on April 18 alone. But the big question is whether the rise in hospitalizations and deaths that usually follows an infection surge will manifest this time around. But even if the linkage is broken, there’s still long Covid to worry about. In China, the overwhelmed government pledged more economic support as a worsening outbreak and huge lockdowns upend global supply chains again. Taiwan is in trouble, too.

Twitter, which is trying to defend itself against Elon Musk’s $43 billion takeover bid, has a poison pill in place. So the next obvious move on the hostile M&A to-do list is likely already being contemplated: a white knight

Could Jeff Bezos rescue Twitter from Elon Musk?  Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Climate crisis? A new report shows how fund managers who a year ago promised to fight global warming are still sticking with fossil fuel. As for bankers trying to get their net-zero carbon dioxide targets certified, they face some new, very hard deadlines.

Israel’s central bank has decided to add the Chinese yuan to three other currencies in a stockpile that last year exceeded $200 billion.

Some of the most consequential changes come upon us silently, almost without notice, Tyler Cowen writes in Bloomberg Opinion. The world is in the midst of one right now: Our doctrines of nuclear deterrence are obsolete and in desperate need of an update, he writes. Putin’s nuclear threat is making Armageddon thinkable again.

The U.S. test of a 15-megaton thermonuclear device on Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean in 1954. Photographer: United States Air Force 

What you’ll need to know tomorrow

Whisky Lovers Bid Up ‘Forgotten’ Macallan Cask

A rare “forgotten” cask of whisky, bought for £5,000 more than 30 years ago, is expected to set a world record when it’s sold in an online auction. The 374-litre cask, originally filled in 1988, has been held in bond at the Macallan Distillery in Moray, Scotland, for almost 34 years. Bids for the rare cask have already reached £130,000 ($170,000) since the auction went live on Friday and are expected to soar before the auction ends on April 24.

The Macallan distillery in Aberlour, Scotland.  Photographer: Jim Stephenson/View Pictures/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

Older messages

Collateral damage

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Bloomberg Evening Briefing View in browser Bloomberg Russian billionaires—sanctioned or not—may become collateral damage in their country's war against Ukraine, and they have the Kremlin to thank

The assault begins

Monday, April 18, 2022

Bloomberg Evening Briefing View in browser Bloomberg Kyiv officials stated that Russia has begun its widely expected assault on eastern Ukraine. After having pulled back from the north of the country

Musk wants it all

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Bloomberg Weekend Reading View in browser Bloomberg Follow Us Get the newsletter Unsatisfied with just being Twitter's largest investor and one of its most followed users, the world's richest

More than 10,000 dead

Monday, April 11, 2022

Bloomberg Evening Briefing View in browser Bloomberg Ukraine's allies in Europe are pivoting away from an emphasis on sanctions in response to Russia's war and instead focusing on urgently

Sidestepping sanctions

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Bloomberg Weekend Reading View in browser Bloomberg Follow Us Get the newsletter The European Union will ban coal imports from Russia in its first move targeting Moscow's crucial flow of energy

The Daily StockTips Newsletter 05.20.2022

Friday, May 20, 2022

I've Screened the Market for what I Consider the Best, Safest, & Most RELIABLE Profit Opportunities! (Published 7:30 AM ET MON-FRI) ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

Forget the ‘Fed put’

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Bloomberg Evening Briefing View in browser Bloomberg China is seeking to replenish its strategic crude stockpiles with cheap Russian oil, a sign Beijing is strengthening its energy ties with Moscow

📉 Xiaomi loses out to Apple

Thursday, May 19, 2022

This calls for an airconditioner | EasyJet needs you | TOGETHER WITH Hi Reader, here's what you need to know for May 20th in 3:01 minutes. ♻️ Why choose between big bucks and good ethics? Join

💸 Money Cheat Sheet: New Role, Who’s This?

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Including a special note from Ellevest Career Coach LaToia Burkley. ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

While aiming for a 'soft landing,' Fed Chair Powell warns that cooling inflation without plunging into a recession will be 'challenging'

Thursday, May 19, 2022

There are several paths to "a soft or soft-ish landing," Powell said, but Russia's invasion of Ukraine and supply-chain issues make them risky. View in browser Business Insider Business

Are you missing out on potential returns?

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Here's my advice. ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

The Daily StockTips Newsletter 05.19.2022 (AMKR & SAFM REMOVED)

Thursday, May 19, 2022

I've Screened the Market for what I Consider the Best, Safest, & Most RELIABLE Profit Opportunities! (Published 7:30 AM ET MON-FRI) ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

Fintech News Issue #364

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Recent events in the crypto space. Even stablecoins were affected by the recent downturn in the market See Online Issue #364 - Did Terra Luna Disrupt The Queen's Plans? 2022-05-19 This number of

Retail calamity

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Bloomberg Evening Briefing View in browser Bloomberg US consumers are shifting their spending from merchandise to services, a worrying trend for retailers that spent the past two years profiting from a

😳 China comes crawling back

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Sorry about the “crackdown” thing | UK inflation beats the rest | TOGETHER WITH Hi Reader, here's what you need to know for May 19th in 3:05 minutes. 👩‍🔧 Our vehicles are getting more eco-friendly