First Ship Carrying Grain Exports Set Off from Ukrainian Port of Odessa
Russian missile strike killed one of Ukraine’s biggest exporters of grain | Pelosi going to Taiwan
In Today’s Digital Newspaper
Today’s dispatch is abbreviated due to speaking early this morning in Vail, Colo., at the 37th International Sweetener Symposium sponsored by American Sugar Alliance.
Global stock markets were mostly higher overnight, on this first trading day of August. U.S. stock indexes are pointed toward lower openings. The U.S. dollar index is lower in early U.S. trading. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note is fetching 2.681%. The 2-year U.S. Treasury note yield is trading at 2.921%, to keep the yield curve inverted.
The major stock market indexes ended July with their best monthly performance of the year, and the S&P 500 and Dow scored their best months since November 2020. The Nasdaq’s 12.3% gain was its best monthly performance since April 2020. The S&P was up 4.3% for the week and 9.1% for the month of July. It is still down 13.3% for the year. The Nasdaq was up 4.7% for the week. The Dow was up nearly 3% for the week and 6.7% for the month.
Oleksiy Vadatursky, Ukraine grain tycoon, was killed in Russian shelling of Mykolaiv. He was killed with his wife in a "massive" Russian shelling of the southern city of Mykolaiv. They died when a missile hit their home overnight, local officials said. Vadatursky owned Nibulon, a company involved in grain exports. Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy described Vadatursky's death as a great loss. Mykolaiv is on the main route to Odesa, Ukraine's biggest port on the Black Sea, and has been hit repeatedly since Russia launched its invasion on 24 February. An adviser to President Zelensky's office said he believed Russia had deliberately targeted the businessman. Mykhailo Podolyak said one of the missiles had hit the businessman's bedroom, adding that this left "no doubt" it had been guided.
For first time since start of war, a ship with grain left Odesa. The ship, the Razoni, which weighed anchor at the port of Odesa, was led by a government vessel through mines that had been laid by Ukrainian forces to forestall any attempt by Moscow to launch an amphibious assault on Odesa. A rescue ship followed and Russia’s Navy, which controls the Black Sea, granted safe passage. The Razoni was carrying 26,527 metric tons of corn, the United Nations said. The vessel had been stuck in port since Feb. 18, before the start of the war.
There are 16 more ships waiting to leave Odesa in coming days. The Razoni was headed toward Istanbul, then Tripoli, Lebanon, according to Ukrainian and Turkish officials.
Ukraine’s agriculture minister, Mykola Solskyi, said last week that there was $10 billion worth of grain stored in Ukraine and that the incoming harvest would add a further $20 billion to that amount.
The shipments will follow a route to Turkish ports approved by the Russian Navy, which has demanded that the unloaded ships are inspected before they return to Ukraine to ensure they carry no weapons. Teams from Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the U.N. will jointly carry out the inspections, and a joint command center set up in Istanbul is to monitor the movement of grain. The agreement will last 120 days, but it could be renewed on a rolling basis.
The World Food Program is also planning to purchase, load and ship an initial 30,000 tons of wheat out of Ukraine on a U.N.-chartered vessel, with more details expected in the coming days, the U.N. said.
Ukraine expects to reach full throughput capacity for transporting agricultural goods within weeks.
Zelenskyy said that the country’s typical harvest could be cut in half this year.
In other Ukraine grain news:
Ship broker Braemar says the start of grain shipments out of Ukraine will put a premium on charters of smaller bulk vessels. (Lloyd’s List)
Low water levels on the Danube River are hindering waterways shipments from Ukraine. (Hellenic Shipping News)
India’s Sunvin Group has purchased up to 60,000 metric tons of Ukrainian sunflower oil in a vote of confidence in the new Black Sea agreement. (Maritime Executive)
Canadian National Railway is adding hundreds of high-capacity hopper cars in anticipation of a rebound in grain shipments.
Military forces from the United States, Japan, and South Korea begin ballistic missile detection and tracking exercises that run through Aug. 14.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to visit Taiwan during her trip in Asia this week, according to a senior Taiwanese government official and a U.S. official cited by CNN. The stop is not currently on Pelosi's public itinerary. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is in Singapore today on the first leg of her Asia trip. According to a statement from her office, Pelosi is set to visit Malaysia, South Korea and Japan on her travels, but it did not mention Taiwan, which she was warned against by both the Chinese government and U.S. military officials. Chinese officials earlier threatened “strong and resolute measures” should she stop on the island.
The Taiwanese official added that she is expected to stay in Taiwan overnight. It is unclear when exactly Pelosi will land in Taipei. The U.S. official added that defense department officials are working around the clock on monitoring any Chinese movements in the region and securing a plan to keep her safe.
The Senate reconciliation deal could cost the oil industry $25 billion in new taxes. The legislation would reinstate and increase a long-lapsed tax on crude and imported petroleum products to 16.4 cents per gallon, according to a summary (link) of the plan released Sunday by the Senate’s tax-writing committee. The summary details the extension of incentives for biodiesel, renewable diesel and alternative fuels, and also includes info on incentives for Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).
Biden vowed never to raise taxes on any Americans making less than $400,000 annually. Yet according to the Joint Committee on Taxation, the Schumer-Manchin bill shows up to $16.7 billion worth of tax increases. Democrats countered that the JCT analysis failed to factor in several elements of the legislation, including ObamaCare credits, savings from allowing Medicare to negotiate on prescription drugs and clean energy credits for individuals, as well as other provisions.
House-passed wildfire, drought bill faces hurdles in Senate: The House Friday passed a mostly Democrat-led package (HR 5118) of 49 bills aimed at addressing escalating wildfire and drought in the West, but the measure faces an uncertain future in the Senate.
Deal reached on plan for more than $9 billion in gas refunds to California drivers. Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom and state lawmakers have reached a tentative deal to send $9.5 billion in tax refunds to Californians, providing as much as $1,050 to families this fall in long-awaited financial relief from record-high gasoline prices and other rising costs. The plan would provide larger refunds to households that earn less money and include an additional payment for dependents, according to documents outlining the proposal. Link to Los Angeles Times for details.
Retail sales in Germany saw their biggest year-on-year slump since 1994, new data showed on Monday. Sales in June fell 8.8% in real terms compared to the same month last year, larger than the 8% drop predicted by analysts. High inflation, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the covid-19 pandemic have all helped to deter shoppers.
Unemployment is expected to plateau near 4.3% at the end of next year, up from 3.6% in June, according to the Wall Street Journal’s latest survey of economists (link). Others say unemployment might need to rise as high as 10%, implying a deep recession and much higher interest rates from the Federal Reserve. The answer hinges on how recent economic shocks, from the Covid-19 pandemic to the war in Ukraine, have altered how people think about inflation, and how low unemployment can go without generating persistent inflation overshoots
China’s major economic pillars in July showed weakness in manufacturing and the all-important property sector, showing the pressure on a country that remains a drag on the struggling global economy. Chinese manufacturing activity unexpectedly contracted in July, as Beijing’s stringent Covid-19 restrictions and weak demand undercut hopes for a more robust economic revival. The official manufacturing purchasing managers index pulled back to 49.0 in July from 50.2 in June, China’s National Bureau of Statistics said Sunday. The result left the index below the 50 level that separates expansion from contraction.
With President Joe Biden back in isolation after rebound Covid, the White House’s wants to get him back on the road soon, but he must again test negative. Biden tested positive for Covid-19 again over the weekend in what the White House doctor called a rare "rebound" case. Biden, 79, who emerged from Covid isolation on Wednesday after testing positive on July 21, said he was feeling fine.
GAO: USDA failed key step in updating Thrifty Food Plan. Congressional watchdog the Government Accountability Office in a report (link) said USDA should have filed a formal report with Congress before adjusting the Thrifty Food Plan, which resulted in a $145-per-month increase in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamp) benefits.
Talks to revive the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers will “probably” resume within days in Vienna, a senior Iranian lawmaker told the ISNA news agency. The potential resumption of indirect dialogue between Tehran and the US follows “efforts by the European parties to conclude the negotiations,” the parliamentary National Security Commission member said, according to the the semi-official news organization.
Remnants of a massive Chinese rocket fell back to Earth over the Indian Ocean, leading U.S. space officials to again criticize China’s lack of information-sharing about its boosters re-entering the atmosphere. China’s spaceflight agency said the vast majority of wreckage from the last stage of Long March 5B burned up upon re-entry.
President Biden’s approval sunk to a new low of 38% in the latest Gallup survey, released Friday based on surveys done from July 5-26 (link). A record high 59% of respondents disapproved of Biden’s record in office. Gallup says the average approval rate during his first six quarters in the oval office was a historic low of 40% — worse than the 42% recorded by ex-Presidents Jimmy Carter and Donald Trump, Barack Obama’s approval rating was 47% at the same juncture of his presidency. Bill Clinton had a 46% approval rating and Ronald Reagan — who faced a recession early in his presidency had a 44% approval rating.
$311 billion is the difference between the estimated cost of the federal student-loan program and its actual cost. Policy changes and revised repayment projections mean that the Education Department will likely lose $197 billion on loans it made over the past 25 years, a swing from its predicted $114 billion in income, according to the Government Accountability Office.
NWS weather: Monsoonal moisture likely to pose flash flooding risk to parts of the Central Great Basin as heavy rainfall focuses along a cold front over the Central/Southern Appalachains today... ...Severe thunderstorms possible over Midwest today, Upper Midwest on Tuesday... ...Excessive heat persists over the Pacific Northwest today as anomalous warmth and fire risk expand into the Northern/Central Plains.