**__ Diplomatt’s Daily Digest – March 25, 2022__**
Good morning and happy Friday, everyone! U.S. stock futures were little changed on Friday morning after a bounce-back session on Wall Street. The S&P 500 is now up more than 8% from its recent lows earlier this month. The rebound has come despite no concrete signs of progress in the war in Ukraine and the fact that the Federal Reserve indicated last week that it expects several more rate hikes this year, making some Wall Street professionals skeptical of the rally. Traders are also keeping an eye on Europe as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues. The European Union on Friday struck a gas deal with the U.S. to reduce its dependency on Russian energy. The news comes after President Joe Biden said Thursday at a NATO summit in Brussels that the U.S. would respond if Russia used chemical weapons in Ukraine.
Quote of the week: “People who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”- Rob Siltanen
• Russia’s war in Ukraine could see the production of neon, a critical gas in advanced semiconductor manufacturing, fall to worryingly low levels when the world is already grappling with a chip shortage. Neon is required for the lasers used in a chip production process known as lithography, where machines carve patterns onto tiny pieces of silicon made by the likes of Samsung, Intel, and TSMC.
• Faced with stiffening sanctions from Western countries over its invasion of Ukraine, Russia is considering accepting bitcoin as payment for its oil and gas exports.
• The U.S. said Friday it would work with international partners to provide at least 15 billion cubic meters more of liquified natural gas to Europe this year, seeking to end the bloc’s dependence on Russian energy exports following the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine.
• FedEx plans to test electric carts to make deliveries on its signature Express routes in 10 U.S. and Canadian cities throughout 2022.
• BP has agreed to establish a strategic partnership with Japanese conglomerate Marubeni to focus on offshore wind development and potentially look at “other decarbonization projects, including hydrogen.”
• A slew of electric vehicle companies operating in China have been forced to raise the prices of their cars as the cost of raw materials shoots up.
• The U.N refugee agency says over 3.7 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia launched its unprovoked invasion, with most of the refugees being women and children.
• Apple is preparing a hardware subscription service for iPhones that could launch as soon as the end of this year. The service would allow customers to buy an iPhone through monthly payments, similar to how users currently subscribe to iCloud.
• The USPS has placed a $3 billion order for 50,000 new delivery vehicles, including 10,000 electric trucks.
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