US to impose further sanctions on Russia and its supporters

News overnight from the US, is that they will impose sanctions on over 500 targets on Friday in action marking the second anniversary of Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine, Deputy US Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo told Reuters in an interview on Thursday. The action, taken in partnership with other countries, will target Russia’s military industrial complex and companies in third countries that facilitate Russia’s access to goods it wants, Adeyemo said, as Washington seeks to hold Russia to account over the war and the death of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

Inflation slows paving the way to an easing of monetary policy setting

Into Asia and Singapore’s key inflation rate rose at a slower pace than markets had expected last month, official data showed on Friday, opening the door for the central bank to potentially start easing monetary policy settings sooner than many anticipate. The core inflation rate – which excludes private road transport and accommodation costs – came in at 3.1% year-on-year, well below the 3.6% forecast in a Reuters poll of economists and compared with 3.3% seen in December. Headline inflation in January was up 2.9% from the same month last year, but also much lower than the 3.8% forecast in the poll. “That’s an unexpectedly sharp drop in inflation pressures, given the hike in sales tax, carbon taxes and other administrative prices,” said Maybank economist Chua Hak Bin. Chua said the central bank could move to ease monetary policy as soon as July if core inflation continues to fall quickly to 2%. He had earlier pencilled in an easing in October. Inflation has fallen from its peak of 5.5% in January last year, but economic growth has slowed.

British consumer sentiment falls

British consumer sentiment fell for the first time in four months in February as households took a gloomier view of their recent personal finances and the broader economic outlook, a survey showed on Friday.

The GfK consumer confidence index, the longest-running survey of its kind in Britain, dropped by 2 points to -21 in February, below all forecasts in a Reuters poll of economists which had forecast a small rise to -18. The only component of the index not to fall was households’ expectations for their personal finances over the coming year, which was unchanged at zero. This metric is key to understanding the financial mood of the nation because confident householders are more likely to spend despite the cost-of-living crisis. All components of the index are up strongly from a year ago, when inflation was only just off a 41-year high of 11.1% and market turmoil under the short-lived premiership of Liz Truss was fresh in many households’ minds.

First lunar landing in over 50 years

Away from all things Finance, A spacecraft built and flown by Texas-based company Intuitive Machines landed near the moon’s south pole on Thursday, the first US touchdown on the lunar surface in more than half a century and the first ever achieved by the private sector.

NASA, with several research instruments aboard the vehicle, hailed the landing as a major achievement in its goal of sending a squad of commercially flown spacecraft on scientific scouting missions to the moon ahead of a planned return of astronauts there later this decade. But initial communications problems following Thursday’s landing raised questions about whether the vehicle may have been left impaired or obstructed in some way. It also took some time after an anticipated radio blackout to re-establish communications with the spacecraft and determine its fate some 239,000 miles (384,000 km) from Earth.

Let’s not forget, it’s Friday, the weekend is nearly here! Have a great one everyone!