Europe’s Energy Dependence on Russia: Energy provides a prism for understanding some of the key Russia-Ukraine war issues and for geopolitics in general. To that end, news that the U.S. intends to massively ramp up shipments of liquified natural gas (“LNG”) to Europe this year has more significance than just the immediate economics. The goal is to replace approximately one-third of the LNG that Europe imports from Russia. Strategically, the U.S. and Europe want to wean Europe off heavy dependence on Russian gas and oil and reduce Putin’s options for petro financed aggression. Washington Post.
- Germany Helping Finance Russia’s War Against Ukraine: By importing massive quantities of oil and natural gas from Russia, Germany provides significant support to the Russian economy and its war machine. But Germany gets 35% of its oil and 55% of its LNG from Russia and is resisting any kind of immediate embargo, which realistically would throw Germany and any other European country in the same situation into a recession. Germany wants an incremental approach. Washington Post
- Russia Demanding Payment for LNG in Rubles: With the ruble under attack, Russia wants so-called “unfriendly countries” to pay for LNG in rubles instead of euros and dollars. To date, the G-7 countries, which include Germany, have rejected this demand. Pending resolution of the dispute, Germany is preparing for natural gas rationing. CNBC Wall Street Journal
- S. Facing Higher Energy Prices at Home: Boosting LNG exports to Europe sounds like a “win-win” but diverting LNG to Europe is increasing prices domestically. Wall Street Journal. Combine that with much higher gas prices at the pump, and it creates political headwinds for the current administration. Axios
- Ezra Klein Interviews Daniel Yergin: For a quick “master class” in global energy markets, I heartily recommend listening to Ezra Klein’s podcast interview with Daniel Yergin, an acknowledged global energy expert. Apple Podcasts New York Times Interview Transcript
Department of Energy
Russia Signaling a Major Strategy Shift? Russia may be refocusing its military objectives in Ukraine toward seizing and controlling territory in southern and eastern Ukraine, as opposed to capturing Kyiv and other major Ukrainian cities. Why? This could be a feint, but in all probability reflects the reality on the ground. Russia cannot capture Kyiv. Its military operation failed, and it is onto Plan B. The other likelihood is that Putin wants to control the narrative at home and prepare Russians for an “ugly compromise” that falls far short of the original goal of regime change. Vlad is not having a good war. Reuters New York Times Wall Street Journal
Canada and Commodities: Canada is one country that is benefitting from the Russia-Ukraine war. It produces many of the same commodities and crops as does Russia and is seeing major global interest in striking new trade deals. These commodities include oil, wheat, nickel, potash, and uranium. Wall Street Journal
Home Sale Tax Bill? Sellers for decades have rarely faced paying capital gains tax on the sale of their primary residence due to the $250,000 gain exclusion for single sellers and the $500,000 gain exclusion for married sellers. But with home prices soaring, taxpayers may be in for a surprise. See your financial advisor and accounting professional for advice and insight into the nuances. New York Times
- The Power of Music to Promote Well-Being: A new review suggests that music may be as powerful as exercise when it comes to promoting our mental health. Science Alert
- The World’s Happiest Countries: Per the 2021 Gallup World Happiness Report, many of the happiest countries in the world are northern hemisphere countries (especially Scandinavia). Some good news? Benevolence, as measured by charitable giving, volunteering, and helping strangers, surged in 2021. CNN Travel
- Top 10 U.S. Beaches: Planning a warm weather getaway? To get you started, here is a list of top U.S. beaches. Siesta Key, our favorite beach, came in at #2. CNBC
- Lose Weight by Sleeping: A new study concluded that increasing the amount of sleep one gets can lead to weight loss. Works for me. Medium Being Well
- The Power of the Squat: Squats and push-ups may not be the most glamorous exercise but are easy to do, cost nothing and do not require any equipment. Some exercise scientists put squats at the top of the list of what we should be doing. New York Times
- The Best Portable Generators: Along with bottled water and a fire extinguisher, a generator is critical for home emergencies. Generators can be quite expensive, so a portable generator may be the compromise for some. Here are some recommendations: Wirecutter
- 38 Life Changing Documentaries: Looking for a break from binging on Netflix shows? Peruse this list of life-changing documentaries: Esquire
- James Beard 2022 Finalists: Maine showed out well with five finalists for the 2022 James Beard chef and restaurant awards. Press Herald Here is a list of semi-finalists for all New England states. Eater Boston
A Quote to Consider: ” Between thought and expression lies a lifetime.” Lou Reed
RSWA Webinar Series – Understanding Cryptocurrencies: At our next online seminar on Thursday, April 21st at 4:00 PM, a cryptocurrency expert will provide an overview. We do not recommend our clients invest in cryptocurrency due to its speculative nature. Most financial advisors are uncomfortable with crypto. Wall Street Journal But we do want to provide information on an important topic. Look for the invite in your Inbox soon.
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As always, thank you for reading. Stay safe and be well. We look forward to hearing from you and connecting.