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Europe Predicts Full-Blown Stagflationary Shock If Russian Gas Supplies Disrupted, Folds To Putin’s Payment Demands

Europe Predicts Full-Blown Stagflationary Shock If Russian Gas Supplies Disrupted, Folds To Putin’s Payment Demands

Almost two months after…

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Europe Predicts Full-Blown Stagflationary Shock If Russian Gas Supplies Disrupted, Folds To Putin's Payment Demands

Almost two months after Europe rushed to declare it would impose unprecedented sanctions on Russia in response to Putin's invasion of Ukraine with no regard for how such sanctions would boomerang and cripple its own economies, the old continent which was and still remains hostage to Russian energy exports, is finally grasping the underlying math which was all too clear to Vladimir Putin long ago.

According to new projections from the European Commission, the euro area’s pandemic recovery would grind to a halt, while prices would surge even more quickly if there are serious disruptions to natural-gas supplies from Russia. 

Under the severe (i.e., realistic) scenario, the currency bloc’s economy would expand about 0.2% this year, with inflation topping 9%, as governments struggled to replace the imports, the European Union’s executive arm said. After this initial stagflationary period, growth would be one percentage point below the baseline in 2023.

In its first forecasts since Russia invaded Ukraine, the EU also cut its base-case outlook predicting GDP will only grow 2.7% this year and 2.3% in 2023, down from February’s 4% and 2.7%. The revisions suggest Germany, the continent’s biggest economy, won’t reach pre-crisis output until the final quarter of 2022, while Spain must wait until the third quarter of 2023, the commission said.

And while growth slows, inflation is accelerating as stagflation spreads: Euro-zone inflation is seen at 6.1% and 2.7% this year and next, compared with previous projections of 3.5% and 1.7%. The peak is seen sometime this quarter.

Amazingly, the truth is likely even worse: "Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is causing untold suffering and destruction, but is also weighing on Europe’s economic recovery," Paolo Gentiloni, the EU commissioner for the economy, said Monday in a statement. “Other scenarios are possible under which growth may be lower and inflation higher than we are projecting today.”

Europe's "sudden realization" of just how destructive pushing through with full-blown sanctions will be, somewhat similar to that of Elon Musk who "learned" about the millions in Twitter spam accounts only after bidding $44 billion - is why over the weekend, Bloomberg reported that the European Union is set to fully water down its so-called sanctions and to offer gas importers a solution to avoid a breach of sanctions when buying fuel from Russia while satisfying President Vladimir Putin’s demands over payment in rubles.

In new guidance on gas payments, the European Commission plans to say that companies should make a clear statement that they consider their obligations fulfilled once they pay in euros or dollars, in line with existing contracts. The EU’s executive arm told the governments that the guidance does not prevent companies from opening an account at Gazprombank and will allow them to purchase gas in accordance with EU sanctions following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Putin’s decree called for companies to open two accounts with Gazprombank - one in euros and one in rubles - and stipulated that gas payments aren’t settled until euros are converted into rubles.  Russia clarified its decree earlier this month, stating that payments received in foreign currency would be exchanged to rubles via accounts with Russia’s National Clearing Center, and Gazprom provided buyers with additional assurances that the central bank would not be involved in the conversion process.

As Bloomberg notes, European companies had been scrambling for weeks to figure out how they can meet Moscow’s demand for ruble payment, and keep the crucial gas flowing without violating sanctions on Russia’s central bank. Putin said on March 31 that if payments aren’t made in rubles, gas exports would be halted. Europe depends heavily on the Russian fuel to heat homes and power industry.

Initially, the EU had assessed that the payment mechanism demanded by Putin handed Moscow total control of the process (which it did), breached contracts and violated the bloc’s sanctions. But realizing that a full-blown shutdown of gas shipments would destroy the European economy - i.e., Russia has all the leverage - on Friday, the commission told member states in a closed-door meeting that the updated guidance will clarify that companies can open an account in euros or dollars at Gazprombank as ordered by the Kremlin.

But the EU’s executive arm stopped short of saying whether also having an account in rubles -- a step included in the Russian decree -- was in line with EU regulations. Previously, officials had indicated, though never in writing, that opening such an account would breach sanctions. The updated guidance, as presented to member states, fails to address this specific point, the Bloomberg sources said.

Another key point in the guidance is that once European companies make a payment in euros or dollars and declare their obligation complete, no further action should be required of them from the Russian side in regard to the payment. The clock is ticking because many firms have payment deadlines falling due later this month - and if they don’t pay, gas flows could be cut off. Poland and Bulgaria already saw their supplies cut after failing to comply with Russia’s requests.

Putin’s demands to pay in rubles divided EU member states, highlighting the dependence of some nations on Russian imports. Confirming that Europe has really fully and completely capitulated to Putin, last week Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi blew up the impression of European sanctions when he said that European companies will be able to pay for gas in rubles without breaching sanctions.

At the Friday meeting, government representatives were split too, according to one of the people. While Germany, Hungary, Italy and France broadly endorsed the commission’s plan, Poland said it failed to offer legal clarity and called for the matter to be discussed by EU ambassadors. Others were confused by the lack of specific guidance on opening accounts in rubles.

Germany said at the meeting that it consulted its companies on the proposal and got positive feedback, the person added. It also sought to fine-tune the recommendations by clarifying that EU sanctions don’t prohibit opening multiple accounts at Gazprombank.

In other words, typical European confusion, where the guidance for companies is one thing while the propaganda disseminated for public consumption totally different, all the while the biggest winner remains Putin and Russia which today reported a new record high in its current account...

... as the Ukraine war remains the greatest thing that happened to the Russian economy in recent years.

Tyler Durden Mon, 05/16/2022 - 13:00

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Economics

Expert on Bath & Body Works: ‘an easy double the next three years’

Bath & Body Works Inc (NYSE: BBWI) might have been painful for the shareholders this year, but the road ahead will likely be a rewarding one, says…

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Bath & Body Works Inc (NYSE: BBWI) might have been painful for the shareholders this year, but the road ahead will likely be a rewarding one, says the Senior Vice President and Portfolio Manager at Westwood Group.

BBWI separated from Victoria’s Secret

The retail chain separated from Victoria’s Secret in 2021, which, as per Lauren Hill, clears the way for a 100% increase in the stock price in the coming years. On CNBC’s “Closing Bell: Overtime”, she said:

[Bath & Body Works] has really strong pricing power. They have 85% of their supply chain in the United States and with the Victoria’s Secret brand now gone, I think it’s a wonderful buy; an easy double the next three years.

Last month, the Columbus-headquartered company reported results for its fiscal first quarter that topped Wall Street expectations.

Bath & Body Works is a reopening play

The stock currently trades at a PE multiple of 6.64. Hill is convinced Bath & Body works is a reopening name and will perform so much better as the world continues to pull out of the pandemic. She noted:

Customers have missed buying their scented products in store and as their social occasion calendars fill up, they are getting back out there and buying more gifts, including Bath & Body Works products.

Hill also dubbed BBWI a great pick amidst the ongoing inflationary pressures because of its reasonably priced products. Shares are down more than 50% versus the start of 2022.

The post Expert on Bath & Body Works: ‘an easy double the next three years’ appeared first on Invezz.

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Economics

Majority Of C-Suite Execs Thinking Of Quitting, 40% Overwhelmed At Work: Deloitte Survey

Majority Of C-Suite Execs Thinking Of Quitting, 40% Overwhelmed At Work: Deloitte Survey

Authored by Naveen Anthrapully via The Epoch Times,

A…

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Majority Of C-Suite Execs Thinking Of Quitting, 40% Overwhelmed At Work: Deloitte Survey

Authored by Naveen Anthrapully via The Epoch Times,

A majority of C-suite executives are considering leaving their jobs, according to a Deloitte survey of 2,100 employees and C-level executives from the United States, Canada, the UK, and Australia.

Almost 70 percent of executives admitted that they are seriously thinking of quitting their jobs for a better opportunity that supports their well-being, according to the survey report published on June 22. Over three-quarters of executives said that the COVID-19 pandemic had negatively affected their well-being.

Roughly one in three employees and C-suite executives admitted to constantly struggling with poor mental health and fatigue. While 41 percent of executives “always” or “often” felt stressed, 40 percent were overwhelmed, 36 percent were exhausted, 30 percent felt lonely, and 26 percent were depressed.

“Most employees (83 percent) and executives (74 percent) say they’re facing obstacles when it comes to achieving their well-being goals—and these are largely tied to their job,” the report says. “In fact, the top two hurdles that people cited were a heavy workload or stressful job (30 percent), and not having enough time because of long work hours (27 percent).”

While 70 percent of C-suite execs admitted to considering quitting, this number was at only 57 percent among other employees. The report speculated that a reason for such a wide gap might be the fact that top-level executives are often in a “stronger financial position,” due to which they can afford to seek new career opportunities.

Interestingly, while only 56 percent of employees think their company executives care about their well-being, a much higher 91 percent of C-suite administrators were of the opinion that their employees believe their leaders took care of them. The report called this a “notable gap.”

Resignation Rates

The Deloitte report comes amid a debate about resignation rates in the U.S. workforce. Over 4.4 million Americans quit their jobs in April, with job openings hitting 11.9 million, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. In the period from January 2021 to February 2022, almost 57 million Americans left their jobs.

Though some are terming it the “Great Resignation,” giving it a negative connotation, the implication is not entirely true since most of those who quit jobs did so for other opportunities. In the same 14 months, almost 89 million people were hired. There are almost two jobs open for every unemployed person in the United States, according to MarketWatch.

In an Economic Letter from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco published in April, economics professor Bart Hobijn points out that high waves of resignations were common during rapid economic recoveries in the postwar period prior to 2000.

“The quits waves in manufacturing in 1948, 1951, 1953, 1966, 1969, and 1973 are of the same order of magnitude as the current wave,” he wrote. “All of these waves coincide with periods when payroll employment grew very fast, both in the manufacturing sector and the total nonfarm sector.”

Tyler Durden Sat, 06/25/2022 - 20:30

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Spread & Containment

Optimism Slowly Returns To The Tourism Sector

Optimism Slowly Returns To The Tourism Sector

Coming off the worst year in tourism history, 2021 wasn’t much of an improvement, as travel…

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Optimism Slowly Returns To The Tourism Sector

Coming off the worst year in tourism history, 2021 wasn't much of an improvement, as travel remained subdued in the face of the persistent threat posed by Covid-19.

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), export revenues from tourism (including passenger transport receipts) remained more than $1 trillion below pre-pandemic levels in 2021, marking the second trillion-dollar loss for the tourism industry in as many years.

As Statista's Felix Richter details below, while the brief rebound in the summer months of 2020 had fueled hopes of a quick recovery for the tourism sector, those hopes were dashed with each subsequent wave of the pandemic.

And despite a record-breaking global vaccine rollout, travel experts struggled to stay optimistic in 2021, as governments kept many restrictions in place in their effort to curb the spread of new, potentially more dangerous variants of the coronavirus.

Halfway through 2022, optimism has returned to the industry, however, as travel demand is ticking up in many regions.

You will find more infographics at Statista

According to UNWTO's latest Tourism Barometer, industry experts are now considerably more confident than they were at the beginning of the year, with 48 percent of expert panel participants expecting a full recovery of the tourism sector in 2023, up from just 32 percent in January. 44 percent of surveyed industry insiders still think it'll take until 2024 or longer for tourism to return to pre-pandemic levels, another notable improvement from 64 percent in January.

Tyler Durden Sat, 06/25/2022 - 21:00

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