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The U.S. Government Bans Imports Of Russian Energy Commodities; Rising Wheat Prices Threaten To Impact Food Costs; Heavy Flooding In Australia. Aired 4-4:10a ET
Aired March 09, 2022 - 04:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Oil, wheat and rain all factor in our show this Wednesday. I`m Carl Azuz. We`re thankful to have you watching and we hope
you`re doing well.
Our first subject today, a U.S. ban on Russian energy. Until now, the international sanctions, the penalties on Russia`s economy for its invasion
of Ukraine have not included a ban on buying Russian coal, natural gas or oil. Russia is one of the world`s biggest producers of these commodities,
selling them is a crucial component of the nation`s economy and America has continued to buy Russian oil after the country attacked Ukraine on February
Critics have said by doing that, the U.S. government has helped Russia pay for the war and American Republicans and Democrats have pressured the Biden
administration to stop importing Russian energy commodities. The decision announced by President Joe Biden yesterday does not apply to Europe.
Nations there are more reliant on Russian energy than America is and they`re already struggling with record high prices for gas and heat.
But the U.S. did take another step on its own yesterday to increase the strain on the Russian economy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, I`m announcing the United States is targeting the main artery of Russia`s economy. We`re
banning all imports of Russian oil and gas and energy. That means Russian oil will no longer be acceptable at U.S. ports and the American people will
deal another powerful blow to Putin`s war machine.
This is a step that we`re taking to inflict further pain on Putin, but there will be cost as well here in the United States. Defending freedom is
going to cost. It`s going to cost us as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AZUZ: So what did the president mean by that? Last year, the U.S. imported about percent of its energy from Russia, 3 was in crude oil alone. It`s not
a huge amount. But because the price of crude oil is the single biggest factor in the cost of gasoline, further increases in U.S. gas prices are
As we reported last fall, rising gas prices were already a problem in America before Russia invaded Ukraine. As demand for goods increased during
the COVID pandemic, so did the demand for energy to transport those goods. The temporary closure of some coal mines in China impacted global energy
prices. The recent decision by some oil producing countries to increase their output gradually instead of rapidly contributed to oil price rises,
and Republicans have said the Biden administration`s limits on oil and gas production in the United States have made oil more expensive there.
The White House says it`s authorized the release of tens of millions of barrels of oil from the strategic petroleum reserve. It`s hopeful that`ll
help ease prices and it`s recently held talks with Venezuela, an ally of Russia and rival of the United States, to possibly resume U.S. oil
purchases from the South American country.
Meantime, gasoline prices have hit a record high in the U.S. Tuesday`s national average was $4.17 per gallon, but the state of California has the
nation`s highest prices.
CAMILA BERNAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At the gas station where I am right now, a regular gallon of gas is $6.95. For that premium, we`re talking $7.55.
And as this crisis in Ukraine continues, it could continue to increase. Ever since the invasion of Russia in Ukraine, we`ve seen those prices go up
by 37 cents. Just in the last two days, we`ve seen a 19 cent increase.
And so, that`s what people are worried about because this is obviously affecting everyday Americans. Take for example, rideshare drivers. They are
greatly impacted. I spoke to one of them Benjamin Valdez who works at least three days a week and he says this increase in prices for him makes a huge
difference. Take a listen.
BENJAMIN VALDEZ, RIDESHARE DRIVERS: I was putting in probably around $60 for a full tank. And now, it`s climbed up to about $90. So it`s getting up
there. If I drive 200 miles, I`m spending $50 in gas. And if I make $150 to $200 in that night, I`m cutting at least one third of my expense in gas
BERNAL: And it`s not just him I talked to many rideshare drivers who told me other drivers that they know have been quitting over the last couple of
months and they say this is the final straw.
But it`s not just the rideshare drivers, it`s the taxi drivers, the truckers, and everyday Americans, anyone who gets in a car who has a
commute will notice the difference and unfortunately the situation could get worse.
Camila Bernal, CNN, Los Angeles.
AZUZ: The last time gasoline hit a record price was in 2008. It was six cents cheaper per gallon then, but it`s not the only thing many Americans
use daily that`s been impacted by the war in Ukraine. Russia is one of the biggest global exporters of fertilizer. If it stops shipping that, as it`s
threatened to do, expenses for the world`s farmers could go up and that could lead to higher food prices which hit record highs around the world in
The war is also having an impact on wheat. More than a quarter of the world`s exports of that come from Russia and Ukraine. And this week, wheat
also set a new price record.
REPORTER: Every week, bakers at Fresh Baguette Bakeries in the D.C. metro area makes 10,000 loaves of bread and 37,000 croissants.
FLORENT DE FELCOURT, CEO, FRESH BAGUETTE: They`re all very fresh.
REPORTER: That`s a lot of baking and a lot of flour.
DE FELCOURT: All these ingredients are using flour and that`s why it`s a concern this price increase.
REPORTER: Flour is made from wheat and it`s up more than 7 percent this week and up 68 percent this year alone, prices not seen globally since
DE FELCOURT: We are expecting a major increase in the weeks or months to come, especially if the war is going to last for long.
REPORTER: Russia and Ukraine supply percent of the world`s wheat exports. And now, they`re at war. Countries are reluctant to trade with Russia and
Ukraine`s ports are closed, stalling exports. That means buyers are looking to a smaller group of wheat-producing nations, sending prices here at home
KATIE DENIS, VP OF COMMUNICATIONS, CONSUMER BRAND ASSOCIATION: There`s going to be additional price pressure that we`re already seeing in futures
markets that`s going to come to bear. At some point, companies are going to have to make decisions about what that means for their pricing for
REPORTER: Fresh Baguette owner Florent de Felcourt says he hasn`t raised prices yet. The cost of bread and cereal for U.S. consumers up 6.8 percent
last year because of inflation, making it harder to do business.
DE FELCOURT: Last year, it was pretty tough. So for the time being, we have not increased our prices since the beginning of the war. When I see
the future price on on the wheats, it`s pretty sure that it will go up.
As market demands for wheat begin to shift, the U.S. could ramp up exports to other countries. Agricultural analysts agree it`s becoming more unlikely
many Ukrainian farmers will be able to plant wheat this year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AZUZ (voice-over): Ten-second trivia:
Which of these countries has the smallest population?
Australia, Venezuela, Poland or Morocco?
Despite its large size, Australia has the smallest population on this list.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AZUZ: Its total population is about 26 million people, almost one-fifth of them live in the city of Sydney and it has been drenched over the past week
by tremendous amounts of rainfall. In eastern Australia, a year`s worth of rain has fallen in a matter of days. At least 20 people across the region
have been killed. Roads and property have been covered in water. Cars have been swept away.
And forecasters say more rain is in the forecast for Sydney, which is the capital of the Australian state of New South Wales. As of Tuesday, at least
60,000 people there were under an evacuation order or warning. A dam in the area had started overflowing and flooding low-lying areas.
Meantime, about 450 miles north, the cleanup continues in the city of Brisbane, which was hit by heavy storms more than a week ago. Authorities
say the recovery process there will take months and have a significant impact on the local economy.
But with more rain likely for the area around Sydney, people were advised to be on the lookout for dangerous floods.
AZUZ: A Toyota super sports car retails for around $60,000. Its 1960s equivalent, which looked a lot like this, just sold at auction for $2.5
million. But this is one of only 351 cars like it ever made and it`s no ordinary Toyota 2000 GT. It`s a 1967 Toyota Shelby 2000 GT, which means it
got the racing treatment from U.S. racing legend Carroll Shelby. That made this the most valuable Japanese car ever sold at auction.
Of course, auctioneers want to drive the price as high as they Camry, but some folks might 86 idea and Corolla away before paying that when they
could take home about 41 Supras for that price. Is this the Forerunner or Prius cursor to more records? Hey, when it comes to auctions, it just
depends on who`s in the va-room.
I`m Carl Azuz. Some of you are watching from Cheyenne, Wyoming. Shout-out to the students of Central High School there. They know the only place we
look for shout-out schools is on our YouTube channel.