Some Ukraine relief European stocks rose more than 2% overnight and the oil price fell 4% to under US$92 for a barrel of oil after Russia said it had pulled some troops back from the Ukrainian border and president Vladimir Putin said he was ready to hold a “dialogue” with the west on “core security issues” including a pledge by Nato never to admit Ukraine. However, Nato’s secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said he had not seen “any sign of de-escalation” from Russia and there was no indication of a change of stance from the United States, which has ruled out such a promise never to admit Ukraine to Nato. US stocks were up between 1% and 2% at 7am NZ Time.

US inflation heat US inflation continues to be hotter than predicted. Data out overnight showed US producer prices rose 1% in January and were up 9.7% from a year ago, which was double economists’ forecast for inflation of around 0.5% in the month. The higher-than-expected inflation figures reinforced expectations the US Federal Reserve will hike by a full 50 basis points on March 16. The US 10 year bond yield rose four basis points overnight to be at 2.04% at 7am NZT. The NZ dollar was broadly unchanged overnight at 66.3 US cents.

Canadian crackdown Canadian PM Justin Trudeau started using broad new emergency powers to clear anti-mandate truck blockades that have paralysed trade flows in and out of the United States. The state of emergency allows Canada’s federal government to ban groups from assembling in particular places such as cross-border bridges and to requisition property, including dragging trucks away with tow trucks. Trudeau is also about to extend money laundering provisions to freeze bank accounts by court order.

Bipartisan approach crumbles Australia’s relations with China are likely to take an even darker turn in the months ahead, with PM Scott Morrison launching a broad attack on Labor leader Anthony Albanese’s (Albo) approach to Beijing. Morrison accused China yesterday of not doing enough to stop Vladimir Putin over Ukraine and said Labor wanted to appease China. “We’re not going to be coerced by the Chinese government,” Morrison said. “We stood up to them. But Labor, when it comes to these issues and keeping Australians safe, they’re just soft. Those who are looking to threaten and coerce Australia, they’ve got a one-way bet on each-way Albo,” he said in a radio interview yesterday (Transcript).

Bank boss staying ANZ Group’s NZ-born ceo Shayne Elliott is reported to have told senior executives he plans to stay on for a couple more years, scotching speculation he would step aside after six years in the top job. (AFR)

Fresh on BusinessDesk this morning

David Chaplin writes his weekly column about shrinking fund managers Magellan and AMP Capital.

Jenny Ruth goes in-depth into the plans of US-based Longroad Energy, which is controlled by Infratil and NZ Super Fund.

Michael Andrew reports on the long-running saga about a mound of earth blocking Queenstown property developer Chris Meehan’s views of the Southern Alps.