Tuesday's Top 5 Stories From Putin's War in Ukraine

Russia may be preparing a cyberattack on U.S. infrastructure. That’s the message President Biden delivered in a statement Monday in advance of his trip to Brussels later this week for a meeting with other NATO leaders. Deputy national security adviser Anne Neuberger emphasized that there is no evidence yet of a specific threat but that there is “preparatory activity” that indicates Russia may be going down that path.

The president took the occasion to warn U.S. companies of what may be coming and encouraged them to beef up their defenses against a cyberattack: “It’s part of Russia’s playbook. Today, my administration is reiterating those warnings based on evolving intelligence that the Russian Government is exploring options for potential cyberattacks.”

The war in Ukraine is pushing steel prices higher. Both Russia and Ukraine are among the world’s top 10 exporters of steel. Combined, the two countries trail only China. The European Union gets about 10% of its finished steel and about 60% of its rebar from the two countries.

Bloomberg’s Javier Blas wrote Tuesday morning that the price of rebar steel in the EU is up 150% since 2019 and that the price rose to a record €1,140 per metric ton last week.

The steelmaking blast furnaces in Mariupol are being destroyed by Russian forces and the rising costs of electricity used in newer electric-arc furnaces are constraining production in EU mills. Electric-arc furnaces are cleaner than blast furnaces, but use vast amounts of electricity, the price of which rose to €500 per megawatt-hour earlier this month. The average cost in the United States at the end of December was $71.60 per megawatt-hour.

High oil prices could force the United States back to adopt a softer tone toward Saudi Arabia than the one President Biden used during his campaign for the Oval Office. According to a Bloomberg report, the softening follows a long effort by administration staffers to convince the president that ignoring Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman “was hampering U.S. foreign policy goals.”

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has sent crude prices soaring, prices that will send U.S. voters to the polls in November thinking that Biden and the Democrats are responsible for the high prices.

In the battle for Mariupol, Ukrainian forces continue to beat back Russian efforts to occupy the city. Here’s Tuesday’s update from the U.K.’s ministry of defense:

Since Russia’s invasion began on February 24, the value of bitcoin has risen by about 6.3%. That may be enough to convince Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater Associates to invest in crypto. A Bridgewater spokesperson said the hedge fund does not comment on its positions but that it is “actively” researching crypto while “not currently planning to invest in crypto.” According to a report at CoinDesk, sources say Bridgewater will not invest directly in crypto assets but would invest in related digital assets like blockchain technology, payment systems for cryptocurrencies and stablecoins.

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