🌍 Ukraine needs cash

An armoured vehicle is seen in the street in Mariupol.
An armoured vehicle is seen in the street in Mariupol.
Image: Reuters/Chingis Kondarov

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Here’s what you need to know

Ukraine wants more financial support from its allies. Its fiscal deficit is growing, finance minister Sergii Marchenko told the Financial Times, and could be up to $7 billion a month. Ukraine’s GDP was $164 billion in 2021.

Sri Lanka is set to default on foreign debt. The political and economic crisis engulfing the south Asian island has led to the suspension of payments, with foreign reserves now needed for essential goods.

Epic Games is now valued at nearly $32 billion. The maker of Fortnite raised $2 billion in its latest funding round from investors including Sony.

Oil prices fell below $100 for the first time since March. Lockdowns in Shanghai have led to concerns that demand from China, the world’s biggest oil importer, could dip.

Société Générale is getting out of Russia…by selling to an oligarch. The French bank is taking a $3 billion hit by severing ties with Moscow.

Emmanuel Macron is campaigning on Marine Le Pen territory. The president is making himself visible in poorer parts of France, where Le Pen is popular, less than two weeks before the runoff election.

What to watch for

The US’s March consumer price index comes out today, and prices are expected to hit another 40-year high, jumping by 1.2% on the month, or 8.4% on the year. Minus food and energy, CPI is forecast to move up by 0.5%.

The report will likely show consumers moving away from buying stuff—like that sofa you spent your pandemic on—and back to investing in experiences. The buildup of global inventories, meanwhile, should push down the prices of durable goods such as new and used cars.

The US isn’t alone: Global inflation has now risen past 6%. Here’s a snapshot of the latest inflation data from around the globe. (Note: each country’s CPI is weighted differently, so these aren’t exact apples-to-apples comparisons.)

🇪🇺 Euro zone (March): 7.5%

🇨🇳 China (March): 1.5%

🇨🇦 Canada (Feb): 5.7%

🇮🇳 India (March): 6.07%

China’s other oil problem

“A bottle of oil should contain as much Chinese oil as possible.” —Chinese agriculture minister Tang Renjian in February

China has a vulnerability issue when it comes to oil—and not just because it relies on Russia and the Middle East for energy. It’s also heavily dependent on foreign countries for oil used in cooking.

China relies on foreign sources for 31% of its consumption, and policymakers have made clear that it must boost self-sufficiency in cooking oils as a matter of food security. To ramp up domestic production, officials will offer subsidies for land rotation and incentives to oil-producing counties.

Oil isn’t the only consumable making Beijing nervous—soybeans and grain have also been flagged as weak spots in China’s food security.

A line chart showing China's rising dependence on foreign sources for soybeans, from 0% in 1990 to about 90% in 2020.

Agricultural plastics and climate change

A satellite image of Turgreen, Turkey. Large areas are white because of the use of plastic in farming.
The white areas are farms covered in plastic
Image: NASA Earth Observatory

The white you see on this satellite image of Turkish farmland is plastic, mostly used for greenhouses. While the short-term benefits of using plastic in agriculture are undeniable, those plastics leach toxins into the soil, lower microbial activity, and break down into microplastics, which make their way into the food chain.

Quartz reporter Clarisa Diaz rounded up satellite images that show how agricultural systems all over the globe are increasingly reliant on plastic. ✦ Support Quartz journalism by becoming a member today!

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🤔  Will the Ukraine crisis break the dollar’s grip on world trade?

Surprising discoveries

Neptune is getting colder. Scientists were surprised that temperatures fell during the planet’s southern hemisphere summer, which lasts for four decades.

Wanted in Wales: Snoopy sculpture smashers. A display that’s raising money for a rescue center lost four of its 115 beagles to vandals.

A proposed ancient Roman-themed center is kicking up dust in the UK. ​The hotel-apartment-museum complex would house artifacts that supposedly lay under the York construction site.

Can a wooden knife be three times sharper than steel? Chefs and foodies alike are skeptical.

A warehouse containing 1,000 taxidermy animals was found in Spain. More than 400 of the animals are considered protected species and at least one has been declared extinct.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, Woodstock and Snoopy musings, and Roman apartment mood boards to hi@qz.com. Get the most out of Quartz by downloading our iOS app and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Hasit Shah, Mary Hui, Clarisa Diaz, Nate DiCamillo, Camille Squires, Susan Howson, and Morgan Haefner.