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G7 backs more aid and weapons to Ukraine in show of unity against Russia

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© Reuters. G7 countries foreign ministers walk for dinner during their summit in Weissenhaeuser Strand, Germany May 12, 2022. Foreign ministers pictured: Elizabeth Truss of Britain, Jean-Yves Le Drian of France, Melanie Joly of Canada, Annalena Baerbock of Germany,

By Alexander Ratz and John Irish

WEISSENHAUS, Germany (Reuters) -Foreign ministers from the G7 group of rich nations backed giving more aid and weapons to Kyiv as they met on Friday in what Germany called a “powerful sign of unity” to deepen Russia’s global isolation.

The European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell announced a further 500 million euros worth of military support to Ukraine and said he was confident that an EU embargo on Russian oil could be agreed in the coming days.

Britain’s Foreign Minister Liz Truss announced new sanctions targeting Russian President Vladimir Putin’s financial network and inner circle, including his ex-wife and cousins, and also called for ramping up weapons supplies to Ukraine.

The annual meeting running until Saturday brings together top diplomats from Britain, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, the United States and the EU to a 400-year-old castle estate in the Baltic Sea resort of Weissenhaus.

It follows promises by G7 leaders last weekend to ban or phase out buying Russian oil.

The event, which the foreign ministers of Ukraine and Moldova attended, will also spotlight food security concerns and fears that the war in Ukraine could spill over into its smaller neighbour Moldova.

It will defy Russian attempts to split the world over Ukraine, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said ahead of the meeting.

“Never since the end of the Cold War have we G7 partners been more profoundly challenged. Never before have we stood more united,” she said in a tweet.

Borrell said the new EU military support would be for heavy weapons such as tanks and artillery and take the bloc’s aid to about 2 billion euros.

“(It will be) more pressure on Russia with economic sanctions and continuing the international isolation of Russia and countering misinformation,” he said.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the meeting, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba challenged the EU to impose the oil embargo, saying Putin would celebrate if the proposal fell through. Ukraine’s neighbour Hungary has opposed the plan, which requires unanimity to pass.

“We do not interfere in their discussion, but it’s a critical moment when we will see whether EU unity will continue to exist or whether it will be broken,” he said.

Kuleba called on allies to seize Russian assets to finance the rebuilding of Ukraine, a proposal backed by Germany’s Finance Minister Christian Lindner in an interview published by Germany weekly Der Spiegel on Friday.

Germany this weekend separately will host ministers from NATO, as Sweden and Finland gear up to apply for membership of the transatlantic alliance, drawing threats of retaliation from Moscow.

INTERNATIONAL ALARM OVER MOLDOVA

The war in Ukraine has sent global prices for grains, cooking oils, fuel and fertilizer soaring, with United Nations agencies warning that the price hikes will worsen a food crisis in Africa in particular.

Russia’s invasion has disrupted shipping in the Black Sea, a major route for grains and other commodities, throttling exports.

“There are 25 million tonnes of grain currently blocked in the Ukrainian port of Odesa, which means food for millions of people in the world that is urgently needed, above all in African countries and in the Middle East,” Baerbock told reporters.

“That’s why we’re sending a clear signal today: we see you, we hear you and we support you,” she said.

Diplomatic sources said the aim was for the seven countries to organise themselves better to find quick and efficient answers to the food crisis.

While U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will not make the meeting due to catching COVID-19, the remaining ministers will aim to reassure Moldova.

It is struggling to cope with the refugee flow from neighbouring Ukraine, and incidents involving pro-Russian separatists in the Transdniestria breakaway region have raised international alarm that the war could spread over the frontier.

“The country has been weakened because of the war … so we need to confirm our support for Moldova,” a French diplomatic source told reporters.

Stock Markets

United Airlines lifts second-quarter revenue forecast

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: United Airlines planes are parked at their gates at O’Hare International Airport ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., November 20, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

By Rajesh Kumar Singh

CHICAGO (Reuters) – United Airlines Holdings (NASDAQ:UAL) Inc on Monday raised its revenue estimate for the current quarter despite trimming capacity, underscoring a booming travel demand.

The Chicago-based carrier now expects total revenue per available seat mile to be up 23%-25% from the same period in 2019, up from a prior forecast of 17%.

Last month, the airline said it expects to generate the highest quarterly revenue in its history in the quarter through June, helping it return to profit.

While the surge in bookings is largely driven by leisure travelers, office repoenings and easing border restrictions have bolstered the industry’s outlook.

Last week, United said this summer is expected to be the busiest since the pandemic. It estimates nearly 5.3 million customers will fly with United during the Fourth of July holiday period.

Strong consumer demand is also helping United and other carriers deal with soaring fuel costs, which have more than doubled in the past year.

United also raised its fuel bill estimate for the quarter by 17%. It is now projected to increase by about 40% from the first quarter of this year.

Non-fuel operating expense is also expected to be higher than the previous estimate, the company said. United, however, still expects an adjusted operating margin of 10%.

The company has adjusted its plans to ramp up capacity. In the current quarter, it now expects its capacity to be down 14% from pre-pandemic levels.

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Tencent Music Reports Q1 Miss, Revenues Down 15.1%

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© Reuters. Tencent Music (TME) Tencent Music Reports Q1 Miss, Revenues Down 15.1%

Tencent Music Entertainment Group (NYSE:TME) reported its Q1 results, with EPS of $0.06 coming in worse than the consensus estimate of $0.07. Total revenues declined 15.1% year-over-year to $1.05 billion, missing the consensus estimate of $1.23 billion, due to the headwinds in an evolving market landscape.

Revenues from online music services in Q1 were down 4.8% to $413 million. Revenues from music subscriptions grew 17.8% year-over-year to $314 million, with online music paying users reaching 80.2 million (up 31.7% year-over-year) and paying ratio increasing to 13.3% from 12.4% and 9.9% in Q4 and Q1/21, respectively.

Revenues from social entertainment services and others in Q1 were down 20.6% to $635 million.

Shares of Tencent Music were down 40% year-to-date into the results.

By Davit Kirakosyan

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Rivian Automotive CEO Purchases $1 Million Worth of Stock

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© Reuters Rivian Automotive CEO Purchases $1 Million Worth of Stock

According to SEC Form 4, on May 16, Robert Scaringe, the CEO of Rivian Automotive Inc (NASDAQ:RIVN), purchased 41,000 shares of the company’s Class A common stock at an average price of $25.7772. The total amount of purchased shares is approximately $1.05 million.

Following the purchase, Scaringe owns 169,175 shares directly, 4,337,997 through a trust and 4,595 by LLC.

Shares of Rivian are down 76% year-to-date given the correction in high-multiple stocks and supply chain issues faced by the EV maker.

By Davit Kirakosyan

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