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Analysts Predict That More Western Companies Will Evacuate Russian Market Soon


01/03/2022


Analysts Predict That More Western Companies Will Evacuate Russian Market Soon
Analysts predict additional Western firms to depart the Russian market after two of the world's largest oil corporations, BP and Shell, did so on Monday, abandoning multibillion-dollar assets in the aftermath of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
 
Shipments have been blocked, relationships have been cancelled, and Russia's actions have been criticised by leading banks, airlines, automakers, and other firms. Many others said they were considering taking action.
 
Following Walt Disney Co.'s announcement that it will cease releasing theatrical films in Russia, Warner Bros. said late Monday that it would pull "The Batman" from Russian theatres this week.
 
Mastercard, on the other hand, indicated that as a result of Russia's sanctions, it has barred a number of financial institutions from using its payment network.
 
The West has taken a variety of actions to punish Russia, including denying Russian planes access to Western airspace, denying certain Russian institutions access to the SWIFT global financial network, and restricting Moscow's ability to spend its $630 billion in foreign reserves.
 
"I would expect to see a slew of similar announcements over the next few days," Sonia Kowal, president of Zevin Asset Management in Boston, said on Monday, adding that divestment by Norway's big sovereign wealth fund would support the move.
 
Some state-linked investors in the United States have been forthright about their expectations for major corporations with Russian economic interests.
 
"We need to send a very clear and unequivocal response that California will not stand for Russia's aggression," California Treasurer Fiona Ma said on Monday in a statement in which she said openly called for divesting Russian assets from the state's pension funds, which are amongst the largest in the United States.
 
Shell, BP, and Norway's Equinor have announced their pullout from the energy-rich Russian market, putting pressure on other energy corporations like ExxonMobil and TotalEnergies to follow suit and liquidate their stakes in Russian oil and gas projects.
 
Many other firms are still considering exiting the Russian market, including shipping behemoth Maersk, which announced on Monday that it was watching and intending to comply with Russian restrictions. One option was to put cargo reservations on hold.
 
Despite the fact that Volvo and General Motors only sell about 12,000 vehicles in Russia each year, major auto and truck manufacturers have ceased shipments to the country.
 
Ford Motor, which holds a 50 per cent stake in three Russian plants, hasn't stated much about its plans other than that it wants to keep its workers safe while minimising the damage on its operations.
 
Many exchanges have stopped trading, making it difficult for businesses and asset managers to liquidate their holdings.
 
Stock prices in several Western companies with strong exposure to Russia have already plummeted. Finnair, based in Russia's neighbour Finland, lost a fifth of its value after reducing its 2022 forecast due airspace closures.
 
Airlines are bracing for extended interruptions in east-west flight routes after the European Union and Moscow imposed airspace restrictions.
 
"There are a number of flights that U.S. airlines travel over Russia to go to Asia and other areas of the world, and we weigh in a range of things," White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Monday, even though the Biden administration has not yet taken a decision to impose a ban on Russian flights.
 
Senator Dick Durbin, the Senate's second-ranking Democrat, has stated his support for a Russian flying ban.
 
"Other countries have done it in Europe and turning the lights out at the airport on those guys isn't a bad idea," he told reporters.
 
A number of internet behemoths are balancing calls to shut down services in Russia with pledges to provide dissent and protest a voice within the country.
 
According to Meta Platforms Inc's head of global relations, the parent firm of Facebook, Meta Platforms Inc, would limit access to Russian state media sites RT and Sputnik on its platforms across the European Union, following similar measures by major US internet corporations.
 
(Source:www.reuters.com)