Fresh on BusinessDesk this morning:

Ian Llewellyn reports on how Tiwai Point aluminium smelter is losing a carbon emissions subsidy that will cost its owners at least $60 million a year.

Paul McBeth writes his weekly column on the time for hard calls over the future of hospitality.

Oliver Lewis reports Auckland’s council elections later this year will become a referendum on the Auckland (not so) Light Rail project.

Victoria Young reports Synlait has taken out an $8.8 million court case against the vendors of a specialty cheese business it bought.

Michael Andrew reports on whether law firms have downplayed claims of unmanageable workloads and burnout from junior lawyers.

Current events:

A zoom shaming – US President Joe Biden is meeting European leaders in Brussels this morning to discuss tougher sanctions on Russia and sending more military aid to Ukraine, although Ukraine’s leader Volodymyr Zelenskiy told them by video link they were not doing enough to help. The US announced sanctions on 300 more Russian leaders and blocked the sale of Russia’s gold reserves.

A slippery dip – Oil prices fell a bit on hopes the meeting of leaders might lead to the release of more oil stocks, and on fresh signs that Germany won’t (or can’t) allow a block on Russian oil exports. Brent crude fell 1.35% to US$119.9/barrel (NZ$171). US stocks were up around 1% at 7.30 am NZT. The US 10 year Treasury bond yield rose five basis points to 2.34%.

Tally ho – Britain announced it would send 6,000 missiles to Ukraine and help pay the salaries of Ukraine’s fighter pilots. The US is expected to announce a plan to supply the European Union with 15 billion cubic metres of LNG cargoes to help it wean itself off Russian gas.

 A Controlled bounce – Russia’s stock market finally reopened a month after Vladimir Putin ordered troops into Ukraine. The market rose 5% in the first day of trade, although the Russian authorities have banned foreigners from selling or traders from short-selling. Only 33 Russian stocks were allowed to trade on the Moscow exchange overnight.

‘Don’t dream it’s over’ – The world’s most powerful investor, Larry Fink of funds behemoth BlackRock, has warned the Russian invasion of Ukraine has put an end to the globalization of the last 30 years. Fink said in his 2022 letter to shareholders: “It has left many communities and people feeling isolated and looking inward. I believe this has exacerbated the polarization and extremist behaviour we are seeing across society today,” he said.

It's deal time – Final bids are due for Waste Management NZ tonight, with owner Beijing Capital’s banker Citi calling time on a three-month auction process, the Australian Financial Review reported this morning. Australia’s First Sentier (formerly, CFSGAM) is up against Melbourne-based Morgan Stanley Infrastructure and global investor KKR, the newspaper reported.