Container freight rates have dropped more than estimated in March after congestion at Long Beach and Los Angeles ports eased faster than expected. Ships waiting to unload have dropped to 14 from the record high of 109 on Jan 9 and rates from China dropped to $8,000 from the high of $9,500 in March. Shippers are planning more direct routes to the East Coast ahead of labor negotiations in July.
Emmannuel Macron and Marine Le Pen qualified for the second round of the French presidential election today. Macron led with 28.3% and Le Pen with 23.3% votes, according to the exit polls in Paris. President Macron is projected to win in the second round on April 24 but the election is too tight to call. Ten other candidates failed to qualify. The euro is expected to inch higher.
U.S. ramps up pressure on Russian banks and state enterprises by placing a full block on the U.S. dollar denominated transactions. Moreover, President Biden's administration also placed personal sanctions on two adult daughters of President Putin, Prime Minister Mishustin and former president Medvedev. Biden's executive order also ban all new investments in Russia by Americans.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is set to win fourth consecutive general election with two-thirds majority, according to the election commission. Orban ran on a platform of closer ties with Russia for the energy security and has opposed the arms trans-shipments to Ukraine and anti-immigration policies.
Ruble extended gains for the second week after Russia required exporting companies to sell foreign currencies to the central bank, limited purchase of foreign exchange by individuals, and demanded payment for imported gas in ruble. The ruble rebounded from the low of 120 to a dollar reached three weeks ago to 83.50 today on Moscow Stock Exchange.