The National Times - Energy spikes, ruble and equities dive on Russia fallout

Energy spikes, ruble and equities dive on Russia fallout

Energy spikes, ruble and equities dive on Russia fallout

Oil and gas prices surged Monday but the ruble collapsed and European equities sank after world powers imposed new sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin reacted to the latest tough measures by placing his nuclear forces on a higher alert level.

Brent crude again topped $100 per barrel and Europe's reference Dutch TTF natural gas price surged more than a third to 128 euros per megawatt hour, as traders fretted over Russian energy supplies.

The news, alongside sharp gains for aluminium, nickel and wheat, sparked renewed concern over rampant inflation.

Traders will closely watch a meeting this week of OPEC and other major oil producers led by Russia, where they will discuss output plans.

European stocks sank with London losing 1.2 percent, while Frankfurt and Paris shed 2.3 percent and 3.0 percent respectively following a mixed showing in Asia.

The ruble struck record lows against the euro and dollar after the West banned all transactions with Russia's central bank and ejected some lenders from international payments system SWIFT.

- Eurozone banks take hit -

The weekend news sent shockwaves through European banks amid fears of a sector-wide impact.

In Paris, Societe Generale slumped 10.4 percent, BNP Paribas shed 8.2 percent and Credit Agricole lost 5.5 percent.

In Frankfurt, Deutsche Bank was the heaviest faller with a drop of 8.5 percent.

"European banks with the biggest exposure to Russia... have been hit hardest amid today's market sell-off," said Interactive Investor's Victoria Scholar.

"The SWIFT system in this context mainly matters as it allows Russian energy companies to easily sell oil and gas abroad via the conduit of the global financial system."

The European subsidiary of Russia's state-owned Sberbank is meanwhile facing bankruptcy, the European Central Bank said on Monday, in the wake of the sanctions.

In the British capital, Russia-exposed companies were back in the firing line.

London-listed shares in Russian metal giants Polymetal and Evraz took another battering, collapsing by 52 percent and 27 percent respectively.

British energy giant BP dived almost 6.0 percent in value after deciding to exit Russia.

Gold and the yen, go-to assets in times of uncertainty, rose, while the dollar was up against most other currencies.

Emerging markets units took a hit from the Ukraine turmoil, with the Hungarian forint hitting an all-time euro low.

News that Russia's central bank had hiked interest rates to 20 percent -- the highest since 2003 -- helped pare the ruble's losses only briefly.

- Key figures around 1145 GMT -

Brent North Sea crude: UP 4.9 percent at $102.68 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: UP 4.6 percent at $95.81 per barrel

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 1.2 percent at 7,400.36 points

Frankfurt - DAX: DOWN 2.3 percent at 14,228.45

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 3.0 percent at 6,547.06

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 3.0 percent at 3,852.63

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.2 percent at 26,526.82 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: DOWN 0.2 percent at 22,713.02 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.3 percent at 3,462.31 (close)

New York - Dow: UP 2.5 percent at 34,058.75 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1199 from $1.1268 late Friday

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3400 from $1.3409

Euro/pound: DOWN at 83.53 pence from 84.03 pence

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 115.54 yen from 115.55 yen