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How Sanctions on Russia Are Affecting the Global Economy – The New York Times



The price of energy has already shot higher, and the conflict imperils supply chains, factors that could exacerbate inflation and suppress growth.

In the span of just a few days, the global economic outlook has darkened while troops battled in Ukraine and unexpectedly potent financial sanctions rocked Russia’s economy and threatened to further fuel worldwide inflation.

The price of oil, natural gas and other staples spiked on Monday. At the same time, the groaning weight on supply chains, still laboring from the pandemic, rose as the United States, Europe and their allies tightened the screws on Russia’s financial transactions and froze hundreds of billions of dollars of the central bank’s assets that are held abroad.

Russia has long been a relatively minor player in the global economy, accounting for just 1.7 percent of the world’s total output despite its enormous energy exports. President Vladimir V. Putin has moved to further insulate it in recent years, building up a storehouse of foreign exchange reserves, reducing national debt and even banning cheese and other food imports from Europe.

But while Mr. Putin has ignored a slate of international norms, he cannot ignore a modern and mammoth financial system that is largely controlled by governments and bankers outside his country. He has mobilized tens of thousands of his troops, and, in response, allied governments have mobilized their vast financial power.

Now, “it’s a gamble between a financial clock and a military clock, to vaporize the resources to conduct a war,” said Julia Friedlander, director of the economic statecraft initiative at the Atlantic Council.

Together, the invasion and the sanctions inject a huge dose of uncertainty and volatility into economic decision-making, heightening the risk to the global outlook.

Eduard Korniyenko/Reuters

The sanctions were designed to avoid disrupting essential energy exports, which Europe, in particular, relies on to heat homes, power factories and fill gas tanks. That helped dampen, but did not erase, a surge in energy prices caused by war and anxieties about disruptions in the flow of oil and gas.

Worries about shortages also pushed up the price of some grains and metals, which would inflict higher costs on consumers and businesses. Russia and Ukraine are also large exporters of wheat and corn, as well as essential metals, like palladium, aluminum and nickel, that are used in everything from mobile phones to automobiles.

Already eye-popping transport costs are also expected to soar.

“We are going to see rates skyrocket for ocean and air,” said Glenn Koepke, general manager of network collaboration at FourKites, a supply chain consultancy in Chicago. He warned that ocean rates could double or triple to $30,000 a container from $10,000 a container, and that airfreight costs were expected to jump even higher.

Russia closed its airspace to 36 countries, which means shipping planes will have to divert to roundabout routes, leading them to spend more on fuel and possibly encouraging them to reduce the size of their loads.

Brendan Hoffman for The New York Times

“We’re also going to see more product shortages,” Mr. Koepke said. While it’s a slower season now, he said, “companies are ramping up for summer volume, and that’s going to have a major impact on our supply chain.”

In a flurry of updates on Monday, several Wall Street analysts and economists acknowledged that they had underestimated the extent of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the international response. With events rapidly piling up, assessments of the potential economic fallout ranged from the mild to the severe.

Inflation was already a concern, running in the United States at the highest it has been since the 1980s. Now questions about how much more inflation might rise — and how the Federal Reserve and other central banks respond — hovered over every scenario.

“The Fed is in a box, inflation is running at 7.5 percent, but they know if they raise interest rates, that will tank markets,” said Desmond Lachman, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. “The policy choices aren’t good, so I don’t see how this has a happy outcome.”

Others were more cautious about the spillover effects given the isolation of Russia’s economy.

Adam Posen, president of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, said there were vexing questions, particularly in Europe, about what the conflict would mean for inflation — and whether it posed the prospect of stagflation, in which economic growth slows and prices rise quickly.

But overall, he said, “the damage is likely to be small.”

That doesn’t mean there won’t be intense pain in spots. Mr. Posen noted that a handful of banks in Europe could suffer from their exposures to the Russian financial system, and that Eastern European companies might lose access to money in the country.

Thousands of people fleeing Ukraine are also streaming into neighboring countries like Poland, Moldova and Romania, which could add to their costs.

Maciek Nabrdalik for The New York Times

Turkey’s economy, which is already struggling, is likely to take a hit. Oxford Economics lowered its forecast for Turkey’s annual growth by 0.4 percentage points to 2.1 percent because of rises in energy prices, disruptions to financial markets and declines in tourism.

In 2021, 19 percent of its visitors came from Russia, and 8.3 percent came from Ukraine. Inflation, already at a two-decade high of nearly 50 percent, is now estimated to reach 60 percent, Oxford said.

In the United States, the chair of the Biden administration’s Council of Economic Advisers, Cecilia Rouse, said the biggest impact on the American economy from the war was rising gas prices. “This has definitely clouded the outlook,” she said at a forum in Washington.

Gasoline prices are roughly a dollar higher than a year ago, with a national average of $3.61 a gallon, according to AAA.

Rising energy prices are tough on consumers, although good for producers — and the U.S. economy has both.

Other oil-producing nations will also see a rise in revenues. And for Iran, which has been shut out of the global economy for years, the demand for oil from other sources could help smooth negotiations to lift sanctions.

Over the longer term, the current conflict is likely to have effects on several countries’ future budget decisions. Germany’s chancellor, Olaf Scholz, announced that he would increase military spending to 2 percent of its economic output.

“Defense spending has fallen consistently in the post-WWII world,” Jim Reid, managing director of Deutsche Bank, wrote in a note on Monday. Now, with this shift in “the geopolitical tectonic plates,” he said, priorities are changing, and “those levels are likely to rise.”

In Russia, the central bank and government took a series of actions, including doubling a key interest rates to 20 percent to increase the ruble’s appeal, barring people from transferring money to overseas accounts, and closing the stock market to contain the damage and tamp down panic.

“What’s happening right now is we’re looking at the dismemberment of one of the largest economies on the planet,” said Carl Weinberg, chief economist at High Frequency Economics. “And from what I know about tactics, this is a dangerous tactic.”

Peter S. Goodman and Jeanna Smialek contributed reporting.

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Rural development grants to spark Nicola Valley economy – Global News



The province announced on Friday a series of rural development grants in the Nicola Valley to support economic development and diversification.

This is the next step in the StrongerBC Economic Plan and the ongoing recovery efforts in Merritt following the floods in November last year.

“People in Merritt have been through a lot in the past year, and they know how important business recovery is for community rebuilding,” said parliamentary secretary for rural and regional development Roly Russell in a press release.

The provincial government is providing a $1-million rural development grant to the Small-Scale Meat Producers Association to build a community abattoir in the Merritt area.

Read more:

B.C. announces $228M to help farmers, ranchers impacted by floods

This will provide meat processing and cut-and-wrap services to local farmers and ranchers.

“This project represents significant job and economic opportunities for the region, while ensuring local ranches, abattoirs and businesses are part of a strong, resilient B.C. food system,” said minister of agriculture and food Lana Popham in a press release.

“With the recent changes to B.C.’s meat-licensing system and investments in facilities like the Nicola Valley community abattoir, this revitalization of the small-scale meat industry makes it easier to produce, buy and sell B.C. meat in our rural communities, and helps strengthen our food security and food resiliency.”

The abattoir will be a government-inspected licensed facility with a full range of services to process red meat.

According to the province, local producers have been impacted by the lack of processing capacity. Julia Smith who is a pork and beef producer in Merrit is hopeful this new facility will help her business as well as other local producers.

“My partner and I moved to the Nicola Valley in 2016 planning to expand our business to meet the growing demand for well-raised, local meat. But we soon found that the processors we relied upon were not able to keep up with our production and we had to scale the business back instead of growing it.”

Click to play video: 'More than 900 people still displaced following Merritt flooding last fall'

More than 900 people still displaced following Merritt flooding last fall

More than 900 people still displaced following Merritt flooding last fall – Feb 25, 2022

“We were on the verge of giving up. But now we are ready to press on, because this facility will allow us, and other local family farms and ranches, to grow and thrive while providing greater food security for the community.”

The province is providing a $1-million rural development grant to the Scw’exmx Tribal Council toward Gateway 286 in Merritt.

“After an unbelievable year of fires, floods, and a pandemic, we welcome the B.C. government’s $1-million grant that will bolster our rural community, support good-paying jobs and much-needed economic development,” said Spayum Holdings LP director and Scw’exmx Tribal Council Terrence (Lee) Spahan in a press release.

“The Gateway 286 project is a 30-plus-year vision of past and present Nicola Valley Indigenous Chiefs and these monies will take our commercial and tourism development one more step closer to reality. This project will enhance the experience of the [traveling] public by providing much-needed services, and it will provide good-paying jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities for the residents of the Nicola Valley.”

Meanwhile, the City of Merritt is receiving a $500,000 grant related to economic recovery for communities that were affected by the flooding. The grant will go towards completing economic development projects and initiatives to support long-term economic recovery.

This is in addition to $329,000 in provincial funding for the City of Merritt to update flood-hazard mapping and develop new flood-mitigation plans.

Click to play video: 'Anger grows over Merritt evacuations'

Anger grows over Merritt evacuations

Anger grows over Merritt evacuations – Nov 28, 2021

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China's Economy Contracts Sharply as Covid Zero Cuts Output – BNN



(Bloomberg) — China’s economy contracted in April, with Covid outbreaks and lockdowns dragging the industrial and consumer sectors down to the weakest levels since early 2020 as millions of residents were confined to their homes and factories were forced to halt production. 

Industrial output fell 2.9% in April from a year ago, worse than the median estimate of a 0.5% increase in a Bloomberg survey of economists. Retail sales contracted 11.1% in the period, weaker than a projected 6.6% drop. The unemployment rate climbed to 6.1%, higher than the forecast of 6%.

China’s economy has taken an enormous toll from the government’s stringent efforts to keep the virus at bay. Beijing has insisted on sticking with its Covid Zero strategy to curb infections, even though the high transmissibility of omicron puts cities at greater risk of repeatedly locking down and reopening compared to earlier strains. 

“Covid outbreaks in April had a big impact on the economy, but the impact is short-term,” the National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement. “With progress in Covid controls and policies to stabilize the economy taking effect, the economy is likely to recover gradually.”

China’s benchmark CSI 300 stock index was down 0.3% as of 10:04 am local time. The onshore yuan was little changed at 6.7917 per dollar. The yield on the 10-year government bonds rose 1 basis point to 2.83%.

Fixed-asset investment increased 6.8% in the first four months of the year, largely in line with projected growth of 7%, likely supported by the government’s push to expand infrastructure spending.

The economic shocks from the zero-tolerance policy have pushed China’s ambitious full-year growth target of around 5.5% further out of reach, and is weighing on the global growth outlook. 

Beijing has signaled that policy makers will step up support for the economy, with Premier Li Keqiang recently urging officials to ensure stability through fiscal and monetary policy.

The People’s Bank of China took steps on Sunday to ease a housing crunch by reducing mortgage rates for first-time homebuyers. It left the interest rate on one-year policy loans unchanged on Monday, as inflation pressure and worries about capital outflows reduce the scope for more easing.  

Monetary stimulus is proving less effective because of the stringent virus restrictions, with data on Friday showing businesses and consumers had little appetite to borrow in April. Credit growth weakened sharply last month, with new yuan loans sinking to the lowest level since December 2017.

(Updates with comment from statistics office)

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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Potential of Seaweed on Economy Being Explored in Upcoming Webinar – VOCM



A webinar on the potential of seaweed as an economic driver is coming later this month.

The webinar, put together by The Laurentic Forum Consortium, will look at how coastal communities can use an abundance of seaweed to boost the economy, as seaweed is being used as fertilizer, diet supplements, bioplastics, animal feed, pharmaceutical products, and much more.

Webinar moderator and the executive director of the Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation, Keith Hutchings, says seaweed farming could provide opportunities in Newfoundland and Labrador.

He says if utilized correctly, communities and regions can add one more industry to help sustain them.

The webinar is taking place May 19.

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