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Huge fall in stock market as Russia invades Ukraine

A man wearing a protective mask, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, walks past an electronic board displaying Japan's Nikkei index and various countries' stock market index prices outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, February 22, 2022. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

As Russian forces landed in Ukrainian cities on the Black Sea, and Ukraine announced Moscow had launched a full-scale invasion. Global markets and US bond yields plummeted, while the dollar, gold, and oil prices soared.

The news: Russian forces arrived in the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Odessa and Mariupol in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, according to Russian news sources.

  • At the same time, missile strikes targeted Ukrainian military command centres in Kyiv and Kharkiv, according to a Ukrainian interior ministry official quoted by the Ukrainska Pravda news website.
  • The strikes came after Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a harsh warning on Thursday. According to Russian news sources, Putin urged Ukrainian forces to lay down their arms and return home immediately, and added that any killing will be blamed on the “conscience of the Ukrainian authorities.”
  • The comments worsened an already grim selloff in Asian trade, pushing MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan down more than 3.2 per cent, with Australian shares off more than 3 per cent and Chinese blue chips down 1.3 per cent.
  • Tokyo’s Nikkei was 2.4 per cent lower. US stock market futures were also down sharply, with S&P 500 e-minis down 2.3 per cent and Nasdaq futures 2.8 per cent weaker.
  • Over the course of the crisis, asset markets have seen a substantial increase in volatility, with the Cboe Volatility Index, also known as Wall Street’s fear gauge, rising by more than 55 per cent in the last nine days.
  • Brent oil futures, which seesawed between dramatic gains and losses on Wednesday, rose more than 3.5 per cent on Thursday to go beyond $100 per barrel for the first time since September 2014. The West Texas Intermediate crude oil price jumped 4.6 per cent to $96.22 per barrel, its highest level since August 2014.
  • The price of spot gold increased by about 1.7 per cent to its highest level since early January 2021.

The global flight to safety boosted the dollar, which jumped more than half a per cent a basket of other major trading partners to 96.715. The euro was down 0.8 per cent on the day at $1.1220.

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