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  • Writer's pictureGustavo Bernal Torres

The Economic Consequences of the War in Ukraine

Expect higher inflation, lower growth and some disruption to financial markets

  • Start with the commodity shock. As well as being the dominant supplier of gas to Europe, Russia is one of the world’s largest oil producers and a key supplier of industrial metals such as nickel, aluminium and palladium. Both Russia and Ukraine are major wheat exporters, while Russia and Belarus (a Russian proxy) are big in potash, an input into fertilisers. The prices of these commodities have been rising this year and are now likely to rise further. Amid reports of explosions across Ukraine, the price of Brent oil breached $100 per barrel on the morning of February 24th and European gas prices rose by 30%.

  • The second shock relates to tech and the global financial system. While the trade in natural resources is an area of mutual dependency between the West and Russia, in finance and tech the balance of economic power is more one-sided. America is thus likely to put much tougher Huawei-style sanctions on Russian tech firms, limiting their access to cutting-edge semiconductors and software, and also blacklist Russia’s largest two banks, Sberbank and VTB, or seek to cut Russia off from the SWIFT messaging system that is used for cross-border bank transfers.

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