With heavy fighting ongoing in Kyiv and other major Ukrainian cities, and grim reports of civilian casualties, the war in Ukraine shows no signs of abating.
Financial markets reacted predictably to the broader Western sanctions against Russia. the ruble fell to a new high of 120 to the dollar in offshore trading and fell 18% to 98.21 to the dollar in Moscow trading, after earlier losses of almost 30%.
European stock indices fell more than 2% while Britain’s FTSE 100 index lost 105 points, or 1.4%, to 7,383. Wall Street also opened lower.
the Central Bank of Russia more than doubled its key interest rate to 20% and announced a series of measures to support the ruble and the Russian economy, including ordering domestic exporting companies to sell 80% of their earnings in foreign currency. It refused to open the Moscow exchange on Monday, after initially delaying trading until 3 p.m. Moscow time.
Governor Elvira Nabiullina said the central bank sold $1 billion of its foreign exchange reserves to support the ruble last Thursday and a lesser amount on Friday, but did not intervene in foreign exchange markets today to preserve its reservations.
Crude oil, gas and other commodity prices jumped. Bent crude is still trading above $100 a barrel, up 2.6%, after shedding some of its earlier gains, while US light crude is up 3.5% at 94.84 $. Aluminum set a new record and wheat, corn and soy futures contracts rose in Chicago. Palladium, used in automotive catalytic converters, rose 5% amid supply fears. Russian Nornickel is the world’s largest supplier of the precious metal.
Spot golda safe-haven investment, is up 1.3% at $1,913 while the dollar also benefited from a flight to safety. Gold rose around 6.5% in February, hitting an 18-month high of $1,7973.96 last week. Cash rose 1.3% to $24.50.
Britain’s natural gas benchmark price rose 14% to 255.50p while Dutch April gas futures rose 12% to €104.38 per megawatt hour.
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