Good morning. It’s Wednesday, November 30th.
Spain’s Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum partnered with the National Art Museum of Ukraine to sneak some 70 works of art out of Kyiv with a risky truck journey. 20th-century Ukrainian avant-garde artworks will be displayed in an exhibition titled "In The Eye Of The Hurricane. Modernism in Ukraine 1900-1930s," until next April in the Madrid museum. The exhibition counters the Russian narrative that Ukraine doesn’t exist as a country and its art is actually Russian. What a beautiful move it is to preserve and showcase the cultural heritage to counter this claim.
- Here is a 20th-century classical playlist, mixed just for you, to go along with your daily dose of news.
—Özlem, with Tanem and Can
• Eurozone economic sentiment rebounded as the indicator rose to 93.7 in November from 92.7 the previous month, data from the European Commission revealed on Tuesday, marginally beating expectations and rising for the first time since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on the back of optimism among consumers and in services.
- By the numbers: Sentiment in industry deteriorated to -2.0 in November from -1.2 in October, far worse than the -0.5 expected by markets, while sentiment in services improved to 2.3 from 2.1 last month. Consumer optimism was up to -23.9 against -27.5 in October as their inflation expectations fell sharply to 30.1 from 37.3 in the month prior.
• EU states hit an impasse over a proposed price cap on exports of Russian crude oil that aims to keep Russian oil flowing while limiting Moscow’s revenues. The latest proposal in Brussels is a cap of $62 a barrel, slightly down from the $65 that was discussed last week, but is still above the current —discounted— rate of $52.
- Zoom in: Poland and the Baltic countries demanded a level that could put more pressure on Moscow, while shipping nations, including Greece and Cyprus, have angled for a higher price for the cap. Major new EU sanctions kick in on Dec. 5, creating an urgency to get the price and other details buttoned down.
• Germany’s inflation slowed slightly in November but remained near a record high, according to preliminary data from the Federal Statistics Office on Tuesday. German consumer prices, harmonized to compare with other EU countries, rose by 11.3% year-on-year in November, in line with forecasts by analysts. October saw a record-high reading, with harmonized inflation up 11.6% on the year.
- On a related note: Spanish inflation eased for a fourth month and by more than expected, as consumer prices rose 6.6% from a year ago in November, down from the previous month’s 7.3% increase, the statistics institute said Tuesday.
- Moreover: In Belgium, annual consumer price inflation fell to 10.63% in November from 12.27% in the previous month, further reinforcing expectations for a wider slowdown in the eurozone.
• UK mortgage approvals fell by 10% to just under 59,000 in October, its lowest level since June 2020, data from the BoE showed on Tuesday, as tightening monetary policy combined with a cost-of-living crisis slowed down demand while a mini-budget of unfunded tax cuts by the former government caused market turmoil.
• US consumer confidence fell to a four-month low in November amid high inflation and rising borrowing costs, heightening the risks of a recession next year. The Conference Board's consumer confidence index fell to 100.2 from 102.2 in October. The survey also revealed that consumers remained upbeat about the labor market, which could soften the anticipated economic downturn.
• Japan’s retail sales rose a less-than-expected 4.3% annually in October as rising inflation, slowing economic growth and a severely weakened yen weighed heavily on consumer spending. A separate reading showed the unemployment rate remained steady at 2.6% in October, disappointing market expectations for a drop to 2.5%.
• The German government is set to make immigration easier for skilled workers in a bid to cover growing staff shortages in Europe’s largest economy. Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s cabinet is due on Wednesday to approve measures to allow citizens of countries outside the EU who’ve signed a contract with a domestic employer to start work immediately, according to Bloomberg.
• HSBC is selling its Canada business to the Royal Bank of Canada for 13.5 billion Canadian dollars (€9.7bn), which may lead to a large dividend for shareholders from 2024 onwards. The lender has been cutting some of its global businesses in recent years to improve profits, specifically after the pressures from its biggest shareholder Ping An Insurance. The deal with RBC repairs HSBC’s weak capital position according to analysts.
• Goldman Sachs is relocating part of its euro swaps trading desk from London to Milan after the UK’s separation from the EU. The shift comes as the world’s biggest banks are considering moving their traders from London to EU cities such as Paris, Frankfurt, and Amsterdam due to changing regulations after Brexit. London is still the leading city of Europe’s fixed-income traders, housing 78% of them, followed by Paris with 14%.
• Apple could have a production shortfall of about 6 million iPhone Pros this year due to the crisis at the Foxconn factory in Zhengzhou, China where production is made. First, the factory was hit by lockdowns after Covid cases increased in China, and now the workers are rebelling against the pay and quarantine practices. Foxconn is trying to convince the workers to come back to work by offering bonuses.
• NATO allies renewed their vow to Ukraine that it will join the military alliance one day, 14 years after making a similar statement about Ukraine and Georgia that was followed by Russian forces invading Georgia in 2008. The alliance also promised more help to Ukraine such as winter aid and artillery, as Russia continues to bombard vital energy infrastructure.
- What Ukraine said: Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba urged NATO to speed up decision-making in weapons supply and production, along with calling for more air-defense systems, after expressing their appreciation for what the alliance has done so far.
- On the sidelines: Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Sweden and Finland made progress toward getting approval from Ankara for their bid to join NATO, but that they have to do more to receive their full support.
• G7 justice ministers gathered in Berlin to discuss how to improve coordinated efforts to secure evidence of war crimes in Ukraine and how to prosecute the perpetrators. Germany’s Justice Minister Marco Buschmann said that war crimes cannot go unpunished, and added that the process of investigating around 45,000 documented cases is a "daunting task."
• French President Emmanuel Macron is visiting Washington to meet with US President Joe Biden, holding the first state visit to the White House since Biden took office. The Thursday meeting’s agenda is set to center around Russia’s war in Ukraine, but will also include topics such as Iran’s nuclear deal program, China’s assertiveness in the Indi-Pacific, and safety concerns around Africa’s Sahel region, according to US and French officials.
• Chinese authorities began seeking out some people who were at weekend protests against Covid-19 curbs, with some protesters saying that police officers asked them to report written accounts of activities to a police station, Reuters reported. In accordance, universities in China sent students home and police fanned out in Beijing and Shanghai to prevent further demonstrations.
- Meanwhile: China reported the first decline in their daily Covid-19 infections since Nov. 19, saying that --mostly asymptomatic-- local infections went down to 38,421 from a record high of 20,052 on Sunday.
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• The UK’s Online Safety Bill no longer requires influential social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok to remove "legal but harmful" content. Instead, the tech giants will have to give users more control to filter posts that they don’t want to see. Critics of the section that was removed from the bill said it posed a risk to free speech. On the other hand, the change was criticized as a "major weakening" of the proposed legislation.
• Elon Musk’s layoffs cut Twitter’s team to fight child sexual exploitation in half, leaving behind fewer than 10 crew members, Bloomberg reported. Specialists in the team were already overworking before the job cuts responding to reports and legal requests. Artificial intelligence can be used to identify and remove abusive images, but human review is necessary to discern nuances of exploitative behaviors and identify new types of content.
- On a related note: Elon Musk said that Apple Store "threatened to withhold Twitter from its App Store but won’t tell us why." He also said that Apple "has mostly stopped advertising on Twitter." Apple previously removed Parler and Tumbler from App Store until the apps introduced content moderation.
• The Federal Trade Commission and seven US states are suing Google and iHeartMedia for running "deceptive" ads for Pixel 4. Officials said Google never provided Pixels to the influencers who promoted its features on radio ads in 2019 and 2020. The FTC aims to ban Google and iHeartMedia from future misleading claims of leadership, and the participating states are demanding $9.4 million in penalties.
✒️ The Rebel Realist: The birth of a new international order by Joschka Fischer
🪖 Ukraine war: Five reasons why Kyiv won't join NATO any time soon
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