Economy looks a bit better in February … The GDP leading indicator was up 1.5%, a rebound from 0.7% in January. The manufacturing PMI index was 52.8 in March, a surprise rebound from previous levels and firmly in expansionary territory.

… leading to government optimism. First Deputy Prime Minister Siluanov said that the economy performed much better than had been expected in Q1. The Economy Ministry confirmed that if this positive trend continues he will raise forecasts for this year and next in August.

Mueller exonerates Trump but not Russia. The report that Trump had not criminally colluded with Russia in the 2016 election might help Trump politically, but it is likely to renew the focus on Russia as a proxy for Trump in US politics. Both the DETER and the DASKA acts are being re-circulated in Congress. Secretary Pompeo informed Moscow that CBW sanctions would be imposed in the near future. We think these will not be highly damaging, but it depends on US politics.

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