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Saudi Arabia may price oil in yuan

The US dollar may release its stronghold on the global petroleum market.

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  • Morgan Haefner
By Morgan Haefner

Deputy email editor

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Saudi Arabia may price oil in yuan. The change would loosen the US dollar’s grip on the global petroleum market, according to the Wall Street Journal.

European leaders headed to Kyiv. Prime ministers of the Czech Republic, Poland, and Slovenia made the trip in a show of solidarity with Ukraine as Russia advances on the capital. US president Joe Biden will also travel to Europe next week to meet with NATO officials.

Russia withdrew from the Council of Europe. The departure is preemptive of the human rights watchdog kicking the country out for attacking Ukraine. Separately, Russia has some debt due today, and it may default.

Amazon’s MGM takeover jumped a hurdle. European regulators didn’t find antitrust concerns between the US e-commerce giant and the media company.

Tesla raised prices. Before hikes on cars in the US and China were announced, CEO Elon Musk had warned about the effects of inflation on the cost of raw materials. Meanwhile, Volkswagen already sold out of some of its electric vehicles for this year.

What to watch for

Foxconn, the biggest manufacturer of Apple’s iPhones, reports earnings today while two of its factories in Shenzhen remain closed. After an uptick in covid cases, Chinese authorities ordered all nonessential businesses in the province to shut down for a week starting March 14. Foxconn vowed to shift production to other factories to limit disruptions—but if the lockdown drags on, it could create supply challenges for Apple, which just announced a new line of products.

Like other companies with major operations in Shenzhen, Foxconn saw its stock price fall after Chinese officials announced the lockdown. Executives will try to reassure investors on today’s earnings call. But the episode underscores how vulnerable the global economy still is to pandemic-induced supply shocks, especially as China remains committed to its zero-covid strategy of widespread lockdowns in response to small outbreaks.

The world has never needed less oil

A chart showing the declining intensity of oil in the global economy between 1970, to now, where it makes up about half as much of the world's GDP

Oil prices may be dropping, but if more countries join the US in banning Russian oil, prices will surge again, potentially to their highest point in decades. The good news is that the global economy, which is using oil more efficiently than ever, has never been so insulated from high oil prices.

The bad news is that oil isn’t the only energy source that used to flow from Russia and now barely trickles—coal prices are surging, too. There’s semi-good news wrapped up in this as well, in that these pricey fossil fuels could help speed up renewable development as countries become painfully aware of the vulnerabilities of energy dependence.

Do you have a prosthetic?

Image copyright: Eric Helgas, styling by Alex Citrin-Safadi

Athletes at this year’s Paralympics, which just completed its run in Beijing, have prosthetics perfectly designed to help them sprint, jump, or swim. Now the technology behind those prosthetics is coming to everyday people who need it—and, possibly, to people who don’t.

For each of the following, identify whether it is or is not a prosthetic.

  • Antique wooden eye
  • Much more antique wooden toe
  • The eyeglasses you’re wearing
  • An iPhone containing all your contacts

The answers are a little more complicated than you may think. The latest episode of the Quartz Obsession podcast explains what could go wrong when technology starts to focus on augmenting able bodies for super-human functions.

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