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LGT Navigator: Biden-Putin Summit

February 21, 2022

Fears of an imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine continue to strain nerves on the capital markets. However, hopes for a diplomatic solution have not yet been extinguished. To reach a peaceful solution after all, US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin now want to meet and hold direct talks. Previously, the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine had been broken several times and Russia announced a maneuver with the use of ballistic missiles. The tensions surrounding the Ukraine conflict will continue to severely stress investors' nerves, keeping volatility high and increasing risk aversion. 

Biden-Putin Summit

The top-level meeting was set up by French President Emmanuel Macron. Macron and Putin also reportedly agreed to intensify the search for solutions considering the flared violence in eastern Ukraine. Macron had spoken on the phone with both President Putin and Biden on Sunday evening. In preparation for the high-level meeting, the US and Russian foreign ministers, Antony Blinken and Sergei Lavrov, are scheduled to meet earlier.

On the New York Stock Exchange, the high level of uncertainty continued to cause losses. The Dow Jones Industrial lost another -0.68% on Friday to close at 34'079.18 points. On a weekly basis, the Dow thus recorded a loss of almost two percent. The S&P 500 fell -0.72% and ended last week at 4'348.87 points. At the technology stock exchange Nasdaq added up to well one per cent. Asia's stock exchanges are also dominated at the beginning of the week by the ongoing geopolitical tensions.

Munich Security Conference under the spell of the conflict with Russia

At the annual Munich Security Conference on Friday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken again emphasized the high risk of military escalation in the Ukraine crisis. The US government and its partners are deeply concerned, he said. Above all, the Americans and European allies stressed the unity of their alliance vis-à-vis Russia and continue to hope for a diplomatic solution. The Western partners' greatest strength is their cooperation and solidarity, Blinken said. But NATO continues to believe there is a high probability that Russia is planning a full-scale attack on Ukraine. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said, “All signs point to Russia planning a full-scale attack on Ukraine.” Moscow continues to categorically deny attack plans. The US government had also reiterated its warning against an attack by Russia. Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodimir Selensky has stressed his willingness to engage in dialogue with Russia and pledged not to respond to provocations by separatists loyal to Moscow in eastern Ukraine.

UN Secretary-General calls for de-escalation

UN Secretary-General António Guterres called on all parties in the Ukraine conflict to de-escalate the situation and exercise extreme caution in rhetoric. There is no alternative to diplomacy, said the highest representative of the United Nations at the Munich Security Conference.

ECB hawks make themselves heard more and more

ECB Governing Council member Peter Kazimir spoke out in favor of tighter monetary policy against the backdrop of high inflation in the euro area. He did so by calling for an early end to the multi-billion euro securities purchases. An end to the general purchase program APP is conceivable in the summer, the Slovakian central bank chief said. The corona securities purchase program PEPP is to be ended as early as March. In addition, the senior ECB representative spoke out in favor of more flexibility, i.e. to treat securities purchases and interest rate steps independently of each other in the Guidance. Other members of the ECB's Governing Council had previously expressed similar views. ECB President Christine Lagarde had recently no longer ruled out an interest rate hike this year.

Slight easing of inflation in France

In France, consumer price inflation cooled somewhat in January, as expected by economists. The inflation rate fell from +3.4% in December to +3.3%.


Economic Indicators February 21

MEZ Country Indicator Last period
07:00 USA Holiday (Washington Birthday)
08:00 GE Producer Prices (January, y/y) +24.2%
09:15 FR PMI Composite (February)  52.7
09:30 GE PMI Composite (February)  53.8
10:00 EZ PMI Composite (February)  52.3
10:30 UK PMI Composite (February)  54.2


Earnings Calender February 22

Country Company Period
GE Fresenius Annual
UK HSBC Annual
NOR Norsk Hydro Annual
ESP Endesa Annual
US Home Depot Annual
US Medtronic Q3
US Agilent Technologies Q1
US Macy's Q4


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