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Risks of Ukraine war to US economy will hinge on conflict length: White House adviser

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WASHINGTON (REUTERS) – White House economic adviser Cecilia Rouse said on Monday (Feb 28) that the biggest US economic risk from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is from higher gasoline prices, and the depth of the impact will depend on the length of the conflict.

Ms Rouse, who chairs the Council of Economic Advisers, told a Politico online event that President Joe Biden was working with allies and using every available tool to ease the impact of higher fuel prices, including consideration of releasing oil from the US strategic petroleum reserve.

“You know, the economic risks will hinge on the length of this war. And the more quickly it is resolved, the smaller the impact. The longer it goes on the deeper the uncertainty,” Ms Rouse said.

Ms Rouse also said that harsh financial sanctions on Russia imposed by the United States and Western economic powers were having an immediate impact, effectively freezing central bank reserves and causing the rouble’s value to plummet.

“The noose is tightening, in terms of Putin just doesn’t have access to the resources he was counting on in order to support the war,” she said.

Regarding Mr Biden’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night, Ms Rouse said Mr Biden would articulate his economic vision about the investments that the United States needs, and the importance of sustaining an inclusive democracy in the context of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

“His economic vision is about the deferred maintenance we’ve had in this economy,” Ms Rouse said of Mr Biden.

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“Whether that’s on physical infrastructure, on human infrastructure, those kinds of investments which we know we need to be making in order to build and sustain and have sustainable economic growth going forward.”

Get live updates as the Ukraine crisis unfolds.

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