Brief update on a few changes seen around the world this month.  The war in Ukraine can no longer be called the war in Ukraine.  While for much of this year military action was almost exclusively taking place in Ukraine, new over the last several weeks is that many more attacks have also occurred in Russia.  This includes three Ukrainian attacks during this month alone on Russia’s Engels airbase located over 370 miles (600 kilometers) from the Ukrainian border.  Ukraine, of course, has every reason to make their own attacks on Russia.  Overall, the war has escalated further this month and continues to show no sign of coming to an end anytime soon.

In China, the coronavirus surge has not surprisingly continued.  The consensus is that while new cases are skyrocketing, the current coronarius variant spreading in China is not very severe.  Going forward, we will be continuing to monitor China closely.  The government has not at all reversed any reopening plans — but as we discussed earlier today, China clearly has not yet fully reopened.  Also of note is steel production has fallen further.  The most recently released data shows that crude steel output at large and medium-sized mills in China averaged 1.96 MMT during December 11 – 20.  This is 2% less than was seen during the previous ten days and marks the lowest average seen since the first ten days of August.  On a year-on-year basis, though, this production average is up by 4%.