Finland and Sweden have handed in their formal applications to join NATO, while US has started preparing a military aid package to steer India away from Russian weapons. Russian military said that almost 1,000 Ukrainian troops left Mariupol, but this has not been yet confirmed by Ukraine. Russian stocks have climbed for a fourth consecutive day to its highest level in the last two weeks. IMOEX has been up 2.5% this morning trading at around 2,500 mark led by Gazprom, Norilsk Nikel and Lukoil, as oil prices kept boosting these companies’ revenues. A telecommunications company MTS has jumped as much as 18% to its highest level since the start of Russia’s invasion to Ukraine, as its board proposed a dividend of  RUB 33.85 per share. Meanwhile, US has set to fully block Russian bonds payments to US investors after a deadline expires next week on the 25th of May. This move could force Russia into the first sovereign default in a century. Russian sovereign bonds reacted with a sharp decline with Russia 28 down from mid 30s to mid 20s and Russia 47 down in low 20s. Finance Minister Anton Siluanov commented, that if channels for payments in other currencies are closed, Russia would be able to pay in rubles. Russian ruble has slightly weakened against the US Dollar and EURO at the opening, but it is mostly back up now with USDRUB trading at around 63.55 and EURUB at 66.57.

Bunds open steady following yesterday’s selling which saw them close 1.046%, 10bps up from opening levels. Hawkish ECB comments – Klaas Knot proposed a bigger-than-25bps hike in July if inflation worsens – added to the general improvement in risk sentiment throughout the day pushing yields higher. Stocks slightly up at the open; the Stoxx 600 was up 0.23% at 0710 GMT having closed 1.22% firmer on Tuesday. On the data front, Euro area car sales for April contracted 20%, marking a 10th straight month of declines; CPI figures for the same month will follow later in the session.

A largely muted open for SSA even as risk sentiment appeared to have improved overnight. KENINT closed 0.50pts up as bid returned to the curve more so on longer tenors; a similar trend was observed on ANGOL which closed 0.25pts higher. Both open firmer with ANGOL buoyed by a GDP revision upwards to 2.7% for 2022 by the Ministry of Finance – the revision follows the footsteps of several forecasts which have also been upgrading growth forecasts throughout the year.