almost 2 years ago • 3 mins
Oil’s price topped $110 for the first time since 2014 on Wednesday, as the world refuses to do business with a belligerent troublemaker.
What does this mean?
Oil’s been getting more and more expensive in the last few months, as recovering economies clamor for the limited supply that’s out there. And now that Russia’s invaded Ukraine, those supply issues are looking even more desperate. See, big buyers of Russian oil – think refineries, banks, and shipowners – are now shunning the country altogether, even though it’s the third-biggest producer in the world. In fact, according to one energy consultancy, Russia is struggling to find buyers for around 70% of all its output, even at a discount. And unfortunately, we’re all going to feel it: the price of Brent crude – a key oil benchmark – hit an eight-year high on Wednesday.
Why should I care?
Zooming in: Thanks for coming, IEA.
At least the International Energy Agency is trying to keep everyone calm amid this shortfall in supply: the intergovernmental organization announced this week that it’ll release 60 million barrels of oil from its global stockpiles, in what will be the first time in 11 years its various members have simultaneously released oil reserves. That’s cute: the world goes through 60 million barrels in 14 hours flat.
The bigger picture: Ripple effects.
This oil hike hasn’t filtered through to the inflation rate yet, but recent data doesn’t paint a pretty picture of what happens when it does. Europe’s energy prices were already 31% higher last month than they were in February 2021, which helped push inflation in the region to a record high of 5.8%. A rising oil price, then, means Europeans will face higher bills in the next few months, which will leave them with even less cash to spend. That could be why one European Central Bank economist thinks that the Russian invasion could stunt the region’s economic growth by as much as 0.4% this year.
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Salesforce reported better-than-expected quarterly results earlier this week, and it had a lot to do with a special new messaging service in the cloud provider’s life.
What does this mean?
Salesforce’s Customer 360 platform – which allows different departments to seamlessly share data – was a big draw for new customers, as was one of its most recent acquisitions, Slack. Both helped lift revenue from the company’s subscription and support business – its biggest division – 25% higher last quarter than the same time the year before, and took the company’s total revenue to a quarterly record of $7.3 billion. That brought its sales for the year as a whole to $27 billion. And when Salesforce went on to give a better-than-expected outlook for both this quarter and 2022, giddy investors sent its shares up 3%.
Why should I care?
Zooming in: Easy money.
Salesforce’s revenue has now grown by around 25% a year since 2018, and the stage is set for that to continue: analysts are expecting the sales software market to see double-digit growth over the next few years, and Salesforce to benefit from massive growth in subsegments like revenue management and planning. And there’s still plenty of juice to squeeze from Slack too: Salesforce thinks integrating the messaging app with even more of its products could help it bring in $1.5 billion in sales this year alone.
The bigger picture: Who needs ethics when you have NFTs?
Salesforce also recently announced plans to launch its own cloud-based NFT marketplace – a potentially shrewd move given that the leader in the space, OpenSea, was valued at more than $13 billion last year. But it’s already come upon a PR stumbling block, with some employees saying the move would violate Salesforce’s purported commitment to sustainability. Fair point: the average carbon footprint of a single NFT is estimated to be the same as 1,500 hours of air travel.
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