US remains resistant to Russian oil ban, stocks fall despite strong job growth

March 4, 2022

By The Associated Press

The latest developments on the Russia–Ukraine War:

WASHINGTON — White House press secretary Jen Psaki reiterated Friday that the Biden administration remains resistant to a ban on Russian oil imports for now, raising concerns that such a ban could have an impact negative on the American and European economies. She added, however, that the administration was “looking at what options we could take now to reduce U.S. consumption of Russian energy.”

PSAKI also called on Russian forces to remove the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine. Russian troops seized the factory earlier on Friday.

“The best step for nuclear security would be for Russia to withdraw immediately,” Psaki said.

Stocks around the world posted further losses on Friday as not even a gangbuster report on the U.S. jobs market can distract Wall Street from its worries about the war in Ukraine.

The S&P 500 was down 1.2% in afternoon trade, following larger losses in Europe after a fire at the continent’s largest nuclear power plant caused by the bombings have raised concerns about what will happen next. Markets around the world have swung sharply over the past week on concerns about the price swings for oil, wheat and other commodities produced in the region due to the Russian invasion, which which exacerbated the already high inflation in the world.

Treasury yields fell again as investors shifted money into US government bonds in search of safety, and some jitters on Wall Street grew.

All the moves came despite a much stronger US jobs report than economists expected, one described as encouraging and even “fantastic”. Hirings by employers last month exceeded expectations by hundreds of thousands of workers, more people returned to the labor market after sitting on the sidelines and employment figures for previous months were revised on the rise.

On the inflation front, worker wage growth was slower last month than economists expected. While this is daunting for workers hoping to keep up with rising grocery prices, for economists and investors it means less risk of the economy heading into what is known as a “wage-wage spiral”. price”. In such a strengthening cycle, higher wages for workers would induce firms to raise their own prices even further.

“The COVID recovery was in full swing in the jobs report,” said Brian Jacobsen, senior investment strategist at Allspring Global Investments.

“The tricky part is the future, not the past,” he said, as U.S. crude oil prices climbed above $115 a barrel amid concerns about pressure on supplies due to of the Ukrainian war. “Higher fuel and food costs can eat into consumers’ budgets. These high costs can be a boon for oil producers and farmers, but not for everyone. »

Steve R. Hansen