Luckbox Digest

Revving engines, Regional Banks and Russian Sanctions

By:James Melton

A weekly look inside Luckbox magazine

Auto enthusiasts love combustion, but EVs gain fans

Old-school enthusiasts and collectors vow they’ll never forsake their beloved gasoline-powered cars. They’ll cling to big-block Detroit iron, seductive European exotics, precision-engineered Asian tuners or historic century-old Brass Era relics.

AMC Rebel

However, a new breed of electric car aficionados seems to be emerging. They’re not defecting from the ranks of traditional gear heads. Most were never really enamored of internal combustion engines, but they’re bewitched by EVs’ style, quiet, smoothness, handling and mind-blowingly instantaneous acceleration. Read the whole story.

Another regional bank falls

Not long ago, Luckbox predicted another shoe could drop in the regional banking sector during Q1 earnings season. Now, it's happened.

Image courtesy of Matthew G. Bisanz, via Wikimedia Commons

On April 26, Republic First Bancorp (FRBK) officially went under. Pennsylvania state banking regulators shuttered Republic First’s operations. The institution was subsequently packaged and sold to Fulton Financial (FULT), via a Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. auction.

Here’s the good news. Republic First is much smaller than the banks that failed last year. At the time of its failure, Republic First had around $6 billion in assets, while Silicon Valley Bank (SIVBQ) had closer to $200 billion in assets when it went defunct last spring. Read the whole story.

A boost for the copper market

Industrial metals like copper, aluminum and nickel rallied in early 2024, and this sector got another boost in mid-April, when new sanctions were leveled against Russian producers.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

The sanctions—announced jointly by the United States and the United Kingdom—are intended to limit the export of industrial metals produced in Russia. However, these new rules will probably just shift those exports to other regions of the world, as has been observed in the crude oil market.

Russian copper producers can still sell their output to global buyers outside the U.S. and the U.K. Industry experts have interpreted this to mean that the sanctions are tailored to force Russian producers to sell their output at a discount, while avoiding major disruptions in the global supply chain.

Not surprisingly, China is expected to be the prime beneficiary of the latest sanctions, as has been the case with the crude oil sanctions leveled against Russia in early 2023. Read the whole story.

Read the latest edition of Luckbox magazine here.

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James Melton is managing editor of Luckbox magazine. @JDMeltonWriter

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