Hello and welcome to our ongoing coverage of the global economy, financial markets, eurozone and business.
Talks near Belarus-Ukraine between Ukrainian and Russian officials ended yesterday without result and were overshadowed by escalating fighting in Ukraine. We woke up to the news that more than 70 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed in Okhtyrka, a town between Kharkiv and Kiev, after a Russian strike on a military base.
As Western nations imposed broader sanctions on Russia, MasterCard said last night that it blocked several financial institutions from its payment network. The New York-based company said it would continue to work with regulators in the coming days and pledged $2 million for humanitarian aid to Ukraine.
Visa made a similar donation and said in a statement it was taking steps to ensure sanctions compliance.
Russia is increasingly expected to turn to cryptocurrencies after being barred from the Swift international payment system and with sanctions imposed on its banks. Bitcointhe world’s most well-known cryptocurrency, reversed declines in recent days and rose 4.4% to $43,460 this morning, following a 10% gain yesterday.
Asian stocks were firmer after strong selling in global equity markets in recent days. Japan’s Nikkei rose 1.2% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.4% and the Australian stock market rose 0.7%.
Kerry Craig, global market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management, said:
Markets will focus on the broader implications of what will happen around energy prices, what this means for inflation in some parts of the world.
Crude Brentthe global benchmark, is trading just below $100 a barrel at $99.92, up 2%, after hitting a seven-year high of $105.799 last Thursday when Russia invaded Ukraine. Golda traditional safe-haven investment, fell to $1,907 an ounce.
The Russian ruble stabilized after plunging 30% to a record high of 120 to the dollar on Monday. The Russian central bank more than doubled its key rate to 20% and announced a series of other measures to stem the decline. This morning, the ruble is down 0.3% to 94.85 per dollar, and unchanged against the euro at 106.02.
After the close of European markets yesterday, Shell announced that it would divest its Russian assets and end its alliance with Gazprom, following a decision by BP the day before to get rid of a 20% stake in Rosneft, which will cost him $25 billion.
Attention has now turned to oil giants like TotalEnergies and Exxon, who have yet to reveal what they will be up to. The American company Exxon is now under pressure to sever its ties with Rosneft and sell a 30% stake in an oil and gas field project on the island of Sakhalin in the Russian Far East.
France’s TotalEnergies has a 19.4% stake in publicly traded Novatek, which is believed to have close ties to the Kremlin since Putin ally Gennady Timchenko sits on its board. Novatek is Russia’s second largest gas producer.
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