Crude jumps, stocks slip, ruble crashes to record low on tough Russian sanctions
Crude oil jumped while the rouble plunged nearly 30% to a record low on Monday after Western nations imposed tough new sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, including blocking some banks from the SWIFT global payments system.
SWIFT is the global financial artery created in 1973 to facilitate the smooth and rapid transfer of money across borders. It stands for Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication and it is based in Belgium, linking 11,000 banks and institutions in more than 200 countries.
Safe-haven demand boosted bonds along with the dollar and yen while the euro sank after Russian President Vladimir Putin put nuclear-armed forces on high alert on Sunday, the fourth day of the biggest assault on a European state since World War Two.
The ramp-up in tensions heightened fears that oil supplies from the world’s second-largest producer could be disrupted, sending Brent crude futures up $4.21 or 4.3% to $102.14. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up $4.58 or 5.0% at $96.17 a barrel.
“I am telling clients all we know for certain is that energy prices are going to be higher, and there are going to be some beneficiaries,” said John Milroy, Ord Minnett financial advisor in Sydney.
“It’s an old cliché, but it’s true that uncertainty drives moves in both directions.”
The UD dollar is rising against virtually every peer as fallout from the sanctions levied against Russia supercharge demand for the world’s reserve currency. Treasuries also rallied.
Traders are piling into the most liquid asset as sanctions on Russia’s central bank and lenders reverberate through global markets, with talk that the Federal Reserve may have to intervene in global markets. U.S. and European stock futures fell, while currencies from the euro to the rand dropped.
“USD is king, offering liquidity and safe haven attributes,” said Rodrigo Catril, a currency strategist National Australia Bank Ltd. “When trouble hits the road, you need to look for cover.”
In the UK, government said it will tighten laws to contain money laundering by Russian Oligarchs.
In Asia-Pacific, shares turned lower after spending the morning session mostly in the green, putting them in line with declines for U.S. and European stock futures.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 (.N225) fell 0.25%, while Chinese blue chips (.CSI300) slipped 0.36%. Australia’s benchmark (.AXJO), though, added 0.64%, boosted by energy shares. MSCI’s index of regional stocks (.MIAP00000PUS) lost 0.58%.
U.S. gemini stock futures were pointing to a 2.35% drop at the restart, while pan-European EURO STOXX 50 futures slid 3.90%. FTSE futures declined 1.21%.
“We had a deluge of very negative information over the weekend,” said Kyle Rodda, a market analyst at IG Australia. “We’re talking about financial stability risks, and sprinkle over that the threat of nuclear war.”
“Volatility is heightened,” he said. “Price action is incredibly choppy.”
The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield fell about 9 basis points to 1.89%, and equivalent Australian yields retreated about 6 basis points to 2.177%.
Read also: Crude jumps, stocks slip, rouble crashes to record low on tough Russian sanctions
The euro slid 1.1% to $1.11465 and 1.1% to 128.785 yen , while the risk-sensitive Australian and New Zealand dollars sank 0.78% and 0.88%, respectively The rouble dived as much as 29.67% to a record-low 119.5 per dollar.
Gold rose more than 1% to around $1,909 on demand for the safest assets.
“This volatility will go on for a while yet, until the dust settles,” said Shane Oliver, chief economist at AMP Capital.
In the meantime, “markets are going to be swinging from headline to headline,” he said.