Least Favorite Nation - Nobody likes to get hated on, but when you launch a full-scale invasion on a sovereign state, you're basically begging for all the hate. Sanctions, a mass exodus of western companies, and now, a potential downgrade on the world trade stage, the Russian economy is f*cked (as if it even needs to be said).
Members of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which is every single country except 14 nations that choose not to be part of the organization, largely consider each other "most favored nations." Holding such status guarantees equal treatment and normal trade relations among member nations. In English, that just means equal application of tariffs and other trade rules while permitting exceptions for free trade agreements.
Losing your "most favored nation" status allows countries to discriminate against you in regard to trade relations. On Friday, President Joey B and the E.U. began the process of removing Russia's most favored nation status. Let's just say that's far from great for Putin and his homies.
Alone, removal of such status would be a big deal and allow the U.S. and E.U. to jack up tariffs or screw over Russia in some other way. But on top of the already in place sanctions, particularly the ban on Russian oil and gas, it's mostly a symbolic gesture. Alone, oil and gas already comprise 60% of U.S. imports from Russia.
But as far as symbols go, this is a big one. Formal revocation of most favored nation status requires congressional approval in the U.S. and probably some even longer and more arduous process across the pond, so it may take a few days to officially go into effect.
Hopefully, Russia's economy is still able to produce enough vodka for them. They're gonna need to cope somehow.
The Week Ahead - Another week, another Week Ahead. Let's take a look at what's in store for us this time.
Today: In addition to the usual treasury auctions, econ nerds will excitedly eye the latest Consumer Inflation Expectations report. Earnings will be dominated by randos. So rando, in fact, I won't even dignify them with a shoutout.
Tuesday: This one's gonna be fun. The New York Fed drops their manufacturing index while the eyes of Wall Street will turn to last month's PPI report. Quarterly updates run the full gambit, from should-be-defunct companies like Kodak to the hopeful giants of the future like SentinelOne.
Wednesday: *Insert Matthew McConaughey's chest-beating scene from The Wolf of Wall Street* because Wednesday's the big one.
JPow and the FOMC are widely expected to raise the Fed Funds rate to 0.25%. Honestly, nothing else will even matter, but shoutout to homebuilder Lennar as housing simps will be hyped for their earnings.
Thursday: Thursday reveals the latest housing start figures at the same time the Philly Fed releases a ton of sh*t, like the CAPEX Index and Business Conditions report. Earnings will actually be fun and will include GameStop, FedEx, Astra Space, Dollar General, and Warby Parker.
Friday: Thankfully, the week is expected to end on a cooler note, as we all hope for Ukraine-Russia. Earnings go right back to complete randos, but econ fans will have plenty of speech to watch, including the Fed's Bowman, Evans, and Barkins.
Like we've been saying for a couple of weeks now, this is all really just a plan. We'll see if Vladimir Putin has any thoughts…