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“Call call” in bombing near a frontline nuclear reactor in Ukraine via Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A view shows the Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plant from the town of Nikopol amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine in the Dnipropetrovsk region of Ukraine on November 7, 2022. The photo is seen through glass. Photograph: Valentin Ogirienko/Reuters

Written by Pavel Politiuk

Kyiv (Reuters) – Ukraine narrowly escaped disaster during the weekend fighting that rocked Europe’s largest atomic power plant with a barrage of shells, some of which landed near reactors and damaged a radioactive waste storage building, the United Nations’ atomic watchdog said.

It was not clear which side was responsible for at least a dozen explosions at Ukraine’s Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, which has been under Russian control since shortly after it invaded the country on February 24 but is across the Dnipro River from Kyiv-controlled areas.

The shelling comes at a time when battles raged east after the movements of the Ukrainian forces from the vicinity of Kherson, which they recently regained control of, and south along the Dnipro River.

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Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said whoever fired at the station was risking “many lives”. We’re talking meters, not kilometers.

“We were lucky not to have a potentially serious nuclear accident. Next time we may not be so lucky,” Grossi said late Sunday in a statement, describing the situation as a “close contact.”

The repeated bombing of the plant during the war raised concerns about a serious catastrophe in the country that suffered the worst nuclear accident in the world, the 1986 Chernobyl meltdown.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said radiation levels remained normal and there were no reports of injuries. Grossi said that while there was no direct impact on the nuclear security and safety systems, “the bombing came dangerously close to them.”

Missile strikes

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Russia’s response to the military setbacks has included a barrage of missile strikes, many of them on energy facilities that have left most of the country without electricity as winter sets in and temperatures drop below freezing.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said Grossi spoke to world leaders and reiterated the need to create a protection zone for nuclear safety and security around Zaporizhia.

The head of Russia’s nuclear agency Rosatom said on Monday that she had discussed Sunday’s bombing with the International Atomic Energy Agency, and said there was a risk of a nuclear accident.

“The plant is at risk of a nuclear accident. We have been negotiating with the International Atomic Energy Agency all night,” Interfax quoted Alexei Likhachev, CEO of Rosatom, as saying.

Rosatom has controlled the facility through a subsidiary since President Vladimir Putin ordered Russia in October to formally expropriate the plant and transfer the Ukrainian employees to a Russian entity. Kyiv says moving assets amounts to theft.

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damaged infrastructure

Kyiv controls the territory across the river from the power plant, including the regional capital. The Zaporizhzhya plant itself and the lands south of it fell to Russia in March.

Both sides traded blame for the recent bombing, as they have repeatedly done in recent months after attacks on or near the factory.

Citing information provided by plant management, an IAEA team on the ground said the damaged infrastructure included a radioactive waste and storage building, cooling pond systems, a cable for one of the reactors, a bridge to another reactor and auxiliary buildings.

Grossi said the team plans to conduct an evaluation on Monday, but Russian nuclear power company Rosenerguatum said there would be limitations on what the team could examine.

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“If they want to inspect a facility that has nothing to do with nuclear safety, access to it will be denied,” Rinat Karcha, advisor to the CEO of Rosenergoatom, told the Tass news agency.

Zaporizhia supplied about a fifth of Ukraine’s electricity before the Russian invasion, and had to run on back-up generators several times. It has six Soviet-designed VVER-1000 V-320 water-cooled reactors and 235 water-moderated reactors.

The reactors are out of order but there is a risk of overheating of the nuclear fuel if the power driving the cooling systems is cut off. The bombing has repeatedly cut power lines.

The Russian Defense Ministry said Ukraine had fired shells at the power lines supplying the station. The Ukrainian nuclear power company, Energoatom, said the Russian military had bombed the site and accused it of nuclear extortion and actions that “endanger the whole world”.

fiercest battles

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video address Sunday night that Russian forces in eastern Ukraine had bombarded Ukrainian front-line positions with artillery fire, in the fiercest attacks in the Donetsk region.

Russia withdrew its forces from the southern city of Kherson this month and moved some to reinforce its positions in the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions, an industrial region known as Donbass.

“The heaviest fighting, as before, is in the Donetsk region. Although there have been fewer attacks today due to bad weather, the volume of Russian bombing is unfortunately still very high,” Zelensky said.

“In the Luhansk region, we are slowly moving forward during the fighting. So far, there have been nearly 400 artillery attacks in the east since the beginning of the day,” he said.

In an update early on Monday, the Ukrainian military confirmed heavy fighting over the past 24 hours, saying its forces had repulsed Russian attacks in the Donetsk region while Russian forces were shelling the Luhansk region in the east and Kharkiv in the northeast.

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Reuters was not immediately able to verify the battlefield reports.

In the south, Zelensky said the forces were “consistently and calculatedly destroying the potential of the occupiers” but gave no details.

The city of Kherson is still without electricity, running water or heating.

Russia describes its invasion of Ukraine as a “special operation” to disarm its neighbor. Kyiv and its allies say the invasion is an unprovoked war of aggression.

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US Banks Warn of Recession as Inflation Hurts Consumers Stocks Fall By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Workers are seen in the windows of the JP Morgan offices in Canary Wharf, London on September 19, 2013. REUTERS/Neil Hall/File Photo

By Saeed Azhar and Noor Zainab Hussain

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The largest U.S. banks are bracing for a downturn in the economy next year as inflation threatens consumer demand, executives said on Tuesday.

Consumers and businesses are doing well, Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: NYSE), told CNBC, but noted that may not last for much longer as the economy slows and inflation erodes consumer spending power.

“Those things could derail the economy and cause this moderate to severe recession that people are concerned about,” he said.

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He told CNBC that consumers have $1.5 trillion in excess savings from pandemic stimulus programs, but they could run out some time in the middle of 2023. Dimon also said the Fed could pause for three to six months after raising benchmark interest rates to 5%, But this may “not be enough” to rein in high inflation.

The US central bank last month raised interest rates by 75 basis points during its fourth consecutive meeting to 3.75%-4%, but also signaled hopes of switching to smaller increases as soon as at its next meeting.

Major bank stocks fell sharply the next day after a group of senior bankers outlined risks to the economy. Bank of America (NYSE:) stock fell more than 4%. Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE::) both fell by more than 2% and Citigroup Inc (NYSE:) fell more than 1%.

Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan told investors at a Goldman Sachs financial conference that the bank’s research shows “negative growth” in the first part of 2023, but that the contraction will be “moderate.”

Moynihan said the lender’s investment banking fees will likely fall 55% to 60% in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, while trading revenue will likely rise 10% to 15%.

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“Economic growth is slowing,” Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon said at the same conference. “When I talk to our customers, they sound very careful.”

He said the job market in the banking sector remains “surprisingly tight” and competition for talent “as tough as ever”.

However, some banks are cutting staff. A source familiar with the company’s plans said Tuesday that Morgan Stanley has cut about 2% of its workforce. The job cuts, first reported by CNBC, affected about 1,600 jobs and track workforce cuts at Goldman and Citigroup.

Elsewhere on Wall Street, BlackRock Inc., the world’s largest asset manager (NYSE:) froze hiring except for critical roles, CFO Gary Shedlin said.

“We’re trying to be more prudent,” he said.

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Stocks fluctuate as investors ponder the course of prices

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Next week’s Federal Reserve decision and inflation figures may provide more clarity on interest rates

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Oil prices are falling as US oil supplies fell for the fourth straight week, but product inventories rose sharply

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Oil prices fell on Wednesday, giving up modest early gains, despite US government data showing domestic supplies of crude oil fell by more than 5 million barrels last week, declining for the fourth consecutive week, although gasoline and distillate inventories rose. sharp. .

Fears that more rate hikes by the Federal Reserve could cause markets to stagnate in recent days have sent oil prices down for three consecutive sessions, despite concerns about the impact of a G7 price cap on Russian oil that was imposed. Monday. .

price action
  • WTI January delivery
    CL00,
    -1.89%

    cl.1,
    -1.89%

    CLF23,
    -1.89%

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    It fell 25 cents, or 0.3%, to trade at $74 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Tuesday, it was the final low for the next month’s contract since Dec. 23, 2021, according to market data from Dow Jones.

  • Brent February
    BRN00,
    -1.55%

    BRNG23,
    -1.55%
    And the
    The global index lost 15 cents, or 0.2%, to $79.20 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe platform. Tuesday closed at its lowest level since January 3.

  • Back to Nymex, January gasoline
    RBF23,
    -2.30%

    And it fell 0.8 percent to $ 2.1329 a gallon, while heating oil for the month of January
    HOF23,
    -3.74%

    It traded at $2.8732 a gallon, down 1.5%.

  • Natural gas for the month of January was trading at $5,522 per million British thermal units, up 1%.

display data

On Wednesday, the Energy Information Administration reported a fourth consecutive weekly decline in US crude inventories, but both gasoline and distillate inventories rose.

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“If crude stocks continue to decline, they are likely to challenge the general downtrend that has been identified [oil] “Last month’s prices,” said Robbie Fraser, director of global research and analytics at Schneider Electric.

Domestic commercial crude stocks The Energy Information Administration said that a decline of 5.2 million barrels in the week ending in the second of December.

On average, analysts had expected a drop of 2.6 million barrels, according to a survey by S&P Global Commodity Insights. The American Petroleum Institute, a trade group, reported late Tuesday that crude supplies fell by 6.4 million barrels last week, Dow Jones reported, citing a source.

“Continued strength in refining activity and exports has encouraged another pull” for crude supplies, said Matt Smith, principal oil analyst for the Americas at Kpler, in response to the supply data.

With US Strategic Petroleum Reserve transfers slowing, US commercial inventories have declined year-to-date and are “set to decline further in the coming weeks,” he said.

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Still, the EIA showed weekly inventory gains of 5.3 million barrels of gasoline and 6.2 million barrels of distillate. The S&P Global Commodity Insights survey called for an increase of 2.9 million barrels for gasoline and 1.9 million barrels for distillates.

The Energy Information Administration said crude inventories at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery hub for Nymex, fell by 400,000 barrels over the course of the week, while inventories in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve fell by 2.1 million barrels.

other market drivers

China has announced measures to roll back some coronavirus restrictions. Among them is reducing harsh lockdowns and ordering schools with no known infections to resume normal classes, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.

“Traders have been looking for more positive news when it comes to China’s zero-tolerance COVID policies,” Naeem Aslam, senior market analyst at AvaTrade, said in a market update.

And now “we’ve heard from those responsible for further easing of these measures,” providing a boost to investor sentiment in Asia — and potentially “spreading that sentiment” to Europe and the US given that China is the world’s second-largest economy, he said.

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But Stephen Innes, managing partner at SPI Asset Management, warned that a “COVID tsunami in China is coming as the most populous country is forced off a COVID-free slope”, after backing a “very early way to reopen China” some markets. “It will be a tale of two haves in China, as winter oil prices and coronavirus mobility woes give way to hope for an eternal spring in the second quarter.”

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