Day: February 27, 2022

Analysis-SWIFT block deals crippling blow to Russia; leaves room to tighten

Investing.com - Financial Markets Worldwide

Please try another search

Economy10 hours ago (Feb 27, 2022 02:06AM ET)

Analysis-SWIFT block deals crippling blow to Russia; leaves room to tighten© Reuters. Swift logo is placed on a Russian flag are seen in this illustration taken, Bosnia and Herzegovina, February 25, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

By Catherine Belton, Paritosh Bansal and Megan Davies

LONDON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – A decision by Western allies on Saturday to block “selected” Russian banks from the SWIFT payments system will inflict a crippling economic blow, but also cause much pain to their own companies and banks. And the allies still have room to do more.

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) is a secure messaging system to ensure rapid cross-border payments which has become the principal mechanism to finance international trade.

Russian banks denied access to SWIFT will find it harder to communicate with peers internationally, even in friendly countries such as China, slowing trade and making transactions costlier.

But the allies, who also vowed curbs on Russian’s central bank to limit its ability to support the rouble, have not yet said which banks would be targeted. That would be crucial to the measure’s impact, said sanctions and banking experts.

“The devil will be in the details,” said Edward Fishman, an expert on economic sanctions at the Eurasia Center of the Atlantic Council think tank. “Let’s see which banks they select.”

If the list covered the largest Russian banks, such as Sberbank, VTB, and Gazprombank, it would be “an absolutely huge deal,” he wrote on Twitter (NYSE:).

Sberbank and VTB have previously said that they were prepared for any developments.

The decision to kick some banks off SWIFT, though not all, could encourage “nesting”, in which Russian entities turn to non-sanctioned banks and large multinationals instead in a bid to access the global financial system, one expert said.

Such a workaround for the Russians would create compliance headaches for global banks.

“It really is a dagger into the heart of Russian banks,” said Kim Manchester, whose firm provides financial intelligence training programs to institutions.

Manchester said the Biden administration had been selective in its sanctions, leaving room to tighten further by blocking more banks and eventually imposing a blanket ban. “It is a creeping barrage.”

DEVASTATING BLOW

The impact is likely to be devastating for the Russian economy and markets.

The sanctions are likely to hit the rouble hard when markets open on Monday, said Sergey Aleksashenko, a former deputy chairman of the Russian central bank who now lives in the United States, leading to the disappearance of many imports to Russia.

“This is the end of a significant part of the economy,” Aleksashenko added. “Half the consumer market is going to disappear. These goods will disappear if payments can’t be made for them.”

But the impact could be blunted if the listed banks were limited to those already sanctioned and Russia’s central bank was given time to transfer assets elsewhere, said one former senior Russian banker, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“If it is the banks that are already sanctioned, it doesn’t really make a difference. But if it is the top 30 Russian banks then that is an entirely different matter,” he said.

“It all sounds very loud and everyone is very glad, but in reality it is a political statement.”

Previously announced U.S. sanctions against a handful of Russian banks including Sberbank and VTB, took direct aim at the vast majority of about $46 billion worth of daily foreign exchange transactions by Russian financial institutions. Those sanctions targeted nearly 80% of all banking assets in Russia.

As an alternative to SWIFT, Russia has set up its own network, the System for Transfer of Financial Messages (SPFS).

It sent about 2 million messages in 2020, or about a fifth of Russian internal traffic, says the central bank, which aims to up this share to 30% in 2023.

But SPFS, which limits the size of messages and operates only on weekdays, has found it hard to add foreign members.

‘FINANCIAL NUCLEAR WEAPON’

The decision to block Russian banks from SWIFT has been fraught.

Over the past few days, even as Ukraine urged Western nations to kick Russia off the payments system and was backed by countries such as Britain, others, such as Germany, worried about the possible impact on their economies and companies.

The SWIFT ban was a “financial nuclear weapon,” French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Friday. “When you have a nuclear weapon in your hands, you think before using it,” he told reporters.

The tide shifted, however, as Russian forces launched an assault on Kyiv and hopes of a diplomatic resolution faded.

Earlier on Saturday, Germany, which has the EU’s biggest trade flows with Russia, softened its stance and suggested it was looking for a way to remove Russia from SWIFT while trying to limit the collateral damage.

Manchester, the financial intelligence trainer, said the partial ban would force Russian banks to get more creative in accessing the financial system.

Multinationals with large treasury operations and banks with SWIFT access could become the new hubs of financial transactions out of Russia.

Nesting, he said, was a massive concern for global banks, which would have to ensure that any transactions they support do not violate Western sanctions.

Manchester said he spoke on Friday to a contact in the financial crimes division of a global bank.

Such banks could face heavy regulatory penalties if they dropped the ball on sanctions, he added.

“They are burning the midnight oil to make sense of everything that’s going on,” Manchester said.

Related Articles

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

Investors brace for volatility as West moves to cut Russia off from SWIFT

Investing.com - Financial Markets Worldwide

Please try another search

Economy14 hours ago (Feb 27, 2022 02:06AM ET)

Investors brace for volatility as West moves to cut Russia off from SWIFT© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., February 18, 2022. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

By Davide Barbuscia, Catherine Belton and Ira Iosebashvili

NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) -Investors were preparing on Saturday for more wild gyrations in asset prices after Western nations announced a harsh set of sanctions to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, including blocking some banks from the SWIFT international payments system.

New measures announced by the United States, Britain, Europe and Canada also include restrictions on the Russian central bank’s international reserves. The moves will be implemented in the coming days.

Investors have feared Russia would get kicked off SWIFT, the world’s main international payments network, as this would disrupt global trade and hurt Western interests as well as hit Russia.

“It means there is going to be a catastrophe on the Russian currency market on Monday,” said former Russian Central Bank Deputy Chairman Sergei Aleksashenko. “I think they will stop trading and then the exchange rate will be fixed at an artificial level just like in Soviet times.”

Michael Farr, chief executive of financial consulting firm Farr, Miller & Washington LLC, said of the impact on global markets, “This could be a surprise that is not taken very well if it means a slowdown in international trade.”

The news comes after a week when worries over the intensifying conflict in Ukraine shook markets across the world. Stocks tumbled and oil prices soared as investors rushed to gold, the dollar and other safe havens.

Many of those safety moves were at least partially unwound on Thursday and Friday, and U.S. stock markets rallied to close up for the week.

The latest measures could send markets on another wild ride, as traders assess the implications for the global economy, including potentially higher commodity prices and inflation. The war between Russia, one of the world’s biggest raw materials’ exporters, and Ukraine has already helped push up oil prices to their highest level since 2014.

The is off 8% for the year to date, dragged down by worries over geopolitical strife and a more hawkish Federal Reserve.

“A lot of traders were kind of becoming convinced that the U.S. and Europe were not taking a hard stance,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA. “This action will be really difficult to digest and it will really pick a nerve for a lot of investors. … A lot of the rebound we saw in the latter half of last week will be tested.”

Mohamed El-Erian, part-time chief economic adviser at Allianz (DE:) and chair of Gramercy Fund Management, said excluding Russia from SWIFT “has the potential to cripple the economy there” if done comprehensively.

“Inevitably there would be spillovers and spillbacks, including more of a stagflationary impetus to the global economy and greater likelihood of Russian arrears to Western companies and creditors,” he said, in emailed comments.

Tom Martin, senior portfolio manager at Globalt Investments, said the move is going to continue fueling demand for gold, Treasuries and other popular destinations for nervous investors.

“SWIFT is going to be painful and the markets are going to recognize that,” he said. “What you are going to get is continued volatility as all the participants are going to be adjusting their risk tolerance.”

One likely casualty will be the Russian rouble, investors said. Russia’s currency fell to an all-time low against the U.S. dollar in the past week, though it pared some of those losses on Friday.

“With the central bank likely to face severe constraints on currency intervention, the rouble will struggle to find a bottom,” said Karl Schamotta, chief market strategist at Corpay. “No one wants to catch a falling knife.”

Some investors, however, said the markets could put a positive spin on the fresh measures as Western troops had not joined the war.

“It’s the closest thing to a declaration of war from a financial perspective,” said Ross Delston, a U.S. lawyer and former banking regulator. “It’s going to result in Russia being viewed as radioactive by U.S. and EU banks, which in turn would be a major barrier to trade with Russia.”

Related Articles

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

Google blocks Russia’s RT app downloads on Ukrainian territory

Investing.com - Financial Markets Worldwide

Please try another search

Stock Markets5 hours ago (Feb 27, 2022 10:35AM ET)

Google blocks Russia's RT app downloads on Ukrainian territory© Reuters. Russia Today (RT) logo is seen in this illustration picture taken February 26, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

MOSCOW (Reuters) -Alphabet Inc’s Google (NASDAQ:) has banned downloads of Russian state-owned media outlet RT’s mobile app on Ukrainian territory at the request of the government in Kyiv.

“In response to a legal request from the Ukrainian government, the RT News app is no longer available for download on Google Play in Ukraine,” a Google spokesperson said on Sunday.

The move means that new users will not be able to download the RT News app in Ukraine while current users may still be able to access it but will not get new updates pushed by RT.

Google on Saturday barred RT and other channels from receiving money for ads on their websites, apps and YouTube videos, similar to a move by Facebook (NASDAQ:) after the invasion of Ukraine.

Related Articles

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

Energy & Precious Metals – Weekly Review and Outlook

Investing.com - Financial Markets Worldwide

Please try another search

CommoditiesFeb 27, 2022 04:10AM ET

Energy & Precious Metals - Weekly Review and Outlook© Reuters.

By Barani Krishnan

Investing.com — The Big V is back. And it stands for volatility. Commodities from crude oil to gas, gold, platinum, wheat, corn and soybeans saw violent price swings on Friday, barely 24 hours after hitting multi-year highs on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Concerns over supply triggered the moves both ways. Hours after the invasion, revisited 2014 highs of above $100 a barrel; rose as much as 62%, the most since at least 2005, hit one-year highs, just $25 short of cracking $2,000 an ounce; rose to a seven-month peak of $2,700 an ounce; hit 13-½ year highs of above $9.50 a bushel; went to 9-½ year peaks of above 17.50 a bushel and stormed to nine-month highs of nearly $7.20 a bushel.

All were driven by fears of supply disruptions from the war and from sanctions on Russian entities and individuals. The fears were more than justified: Russia is one of the world’s biggest oil and gas exporters and the largest producer of palladium. Both Russia and Ukraine are also major growers of wheat and corn. 

So real was the gravity of the crisis that Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly held a special cabinet session to discuss how the conflict might disrupt wheat and other bread flour supplies, and drive up prices in a country known to consume more bread than any other in the Middle East. Egyptians eat bread at twice the global average, importing more wheat than any other nation, with 85% of their purchases coming from Russia and Ukraine.

On Saturday, Western allies opposed to Moscow announced they would block “selected” Russian banks from the SWIFT international payments system, handing the Kremlin what might be the “mother of all financial sanctions”.

But there were also signs that some of the disruption fears were overblown, and that a handful of the US-Euro sanctions, including those on Russian President Vladimir Putin, were more symbolic than anything else – meaningless in producing any effective outcomes. 

When those realities set in, the raw materials that had seen shocking price gains after the Russian assault reversed as violently as they rose. Crude oil tumbled 12% from its post-invasion high before returning to the mid-$90s. Gold to palladium and wheat to corn saw huge swings as well.

“Investors are trying to assess how back-and-forth sanctions will weigh on risk appetite,” noted Ed Moya, analyst at online trading platform OANDA.  “Russia will also respond with their own set of sanctions against Western nations.  Hard-hitting sanctions could put the Russian economy on a terrible trajectory, but that pain would be shared with Europe, so it seems that might be a last resort.”  

Moya reasoned that kicking Russia out of the SWIFT system of international payments “would make it very hard for Europe to pay for its (own) energy and for many countries that need Russian wheat and other commodities that are vital to the semiconductor space.”

Bloomberg’s Javier Blas had a more detailed – and intriguing – take on it:

“In the 24 hours after Vladimir Putin signed a decree recognizing two breakaway Ukrainian territories, the European Union, the U.K., and the U.S. bought a combined 3.5 million barrels of Russian oil and refined products, worth more than $350 million at current prices. On top of that, the West probably bought another $250 million worth of Russian , plus tens of millions of dollars of aluminum, coal, nickel, titanium, gold and other commodities. In total, the bill likely topped $700 million.”

“And that’s the way it’s going to be – at least for now. The U.S. and its European allies will continue buying Russian natural resources and Moscow will continue shipping them, despite the biggest political crisis between the former Cold War warriors since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.”

Blas said fears that the Kremlin would cut gas supplies to Europe remained just that: fears 

“Any military trouble remains confined to the two breakaway territories, which are far away from the mighty Russian oil and gas pipelines that crisscross Ukraine from East to West: Druzhba, Soyuz, Progress and Brotherhood,” Blas said, noting that the company that operates the gas pipeline network of Ukraine tweeted: “Keep Calm & Transit Gas.” 

He added that all sides in the Russia-Ukraine were aware of the contradictions that were going on. 

“The West knows that commodities are a cash cow for Putin, fueling his imperial ambitions thanks, in great part, to ultra-high oil and gas prices, but the allies are also aware of the economic self-harm of cutting imports to zero,” he said. “For its part, the Kremlin may be tempted to weaponize its natural resources – which could trigger blackouts in Europe. But it also knows commodity exports are its own economic lifeline.”

“It’s the commodities market version of the Cold War doctrine of mutual assured destruction, or MAD.”

Blas also notes that with other adversaries – say Iran or Venezuela – the White House has been quicker to use oil as a geopolitical tool. 

“As a result, both Tehran and Caracas cannot sell oil legally in world markets, not just into the U.S. However, Russia remains free to ship its oil into America; and the U.K. continues to buy Russian diesel, too.” 

Blas concludes by saying that “at this point, neither Moscow nor the U.S. and its allies have an economic, political or military interest in weaponizing oil, gas and other natural resources.” 

So, look out for more of the V in the coming week as markets try to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak.

Oil: Market Activity & Prices

Oil may have aced its long-awaited target to reach $100 a barrel but it seems to be having a harder time making an immediate return to the mark amid mixed readings on the war in Ukraine and its associated risks, including the ever-growing sanctions against Russian entities and individuals.

London-traded , the global benchmark for oil, settled down $1.15, or 1.2%, at $97.93 a barrel on Friday. On Thursday, Brent reached $105.79, the first time it had gotten to $100 since 2014.

U.S. crude’s West Texas Intermediate, or benchmark, settled down $1.22, or 1.3%, at $91.59. WTI hit a seven-year high of $100.54 in the previous session.

Despite the drop on the day, crude prices still registered weekly gains, with Brent up 4.3% and WTI rising 0.6%. Before last week, crude prices had gained non-stop for eight straight weeks.

Crude prices dropped on Friday after energy traders thought “the war in Ukraine probably won’t lead to any disruptions of Russian crude to Europe,” said Moya.

But “taking over Kyiv would be followed by a strong reaction from Western leaders, which should suggest all sanctions remain on the table, including those on Russia crude oil and gas,” added Moya. 

Oil: Technical Outlook

A sustained move below $88.80 can extend U.S. crude’s correction to a cluster of support and to levels of $87.20 and $86.10, said Sunil Kumar Dixit, chief technical strategist at skcharting.com.

“WTI’s weekly stochastic reading of 75/86 itself makes a negative crossover and the next leg down could be $80.70,” he said.

On the flip side, volume supported buying at above $91 can help U.S. crude retest $94 and make a second attempt at $100, Dixit said.

Gold: Market Activity & Prices

Gold’s dalliance with $1,900 peaks may not be over. But for this week itself, the market seems to have hit a crescendo with risk appetite overcoming safe haven trades on Friday to send U.S. stocks and bond yields higher and gold down for the first time in three days and for its first weekly decline in four.

Traders also appear to have grown somewhat weary in chasing bullion prices up on every Russia-Ukraine headline, explaining some of the deflation in the geopolitical pressure that sent gold to 13-month highs in the past two sessions.

“Gold prices are back below the $1900 level as risk appetite continues to stage a comeback despite a tremendous amount of uncertainty with the War in Ukraine,” said Moya, the analyst at OANDA.

“This week was quite the rollercoaster ride for gold prices and while it appears poised to finish the week slightly lower, the need for safe-havens still remains.”

Gold’s most-active contract on New York’s Comex, , settled down $38.70, or 0.6% at $1,887.60 an ounce. On Thursday, the benchmark gold futures surged to a January 2021 high of $1,976.20. 

Aside from the drop on the day, the front-month in Comex gold also declined 0.6% on the week for its first weekly slide since Jan. 21, when it settled at $1,784.90.

Friday’s pivot in gold came as the yield on the 10-year Treasury note hit six-week highs just above 2%. Wall Street’s Dow, and Nasdaq indexes were all in the positive too, rising between 1% and 2%.

The slide also follows a historic plunge of nearly $100 intraday Thursday in a market that seemed to have everything bullish going for it: US inflation at 40-year highs; a Russia-West showdown unlikely to end anytime soon; and continued weakness in stocks that could divert more funds towards havens like gold.

“The very fact that amidst one of the worst geopolitical military crises, gold witnesses a $98 historic fall, raises questions on where gold is headed actually,” said Dixit, the technical strategist at skcharting.com.

To be sure, few think there’s lasting damage to gold’s upward momentum from this week’s move lower.

Goldman Sachs said on Thursday that the rally in gold could get to a new record high of $2,350, aided by demand for ETFs, on the back of the situation in Ukraine. 

At Investing.com, our reading shows gold could go even higher, to $2,500. 

But at that point, we could also see intraday reversals of between $100 and $150 from the highs to the lows.

Gold: Technical Outlook

Gold’s path of least resistance is seen at $1,916-$1,921, said Dixit.

“If gold is to rebound, it would need a daily and weekly close above $1,916-$1,921 for a resumption of its bullish momentum and a retest of the $1,975-$2,000 levels,” he said.

Disclaimer: Barani Krishnan does not hold a position in the commodities and securities he writes about.

Related Articles

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

Putin puts nuclear deterrent on alert; West squeezes Russian economy

Investing.com - Financial Markets Worldwide

Please try another search

World9 hours ago (Feb 27, 2022 09:56PM ET)

3/3

Putin puts nuclear deterrent on alert; West squeezes Russian economy© Reuters. Ukrainian servicemen take positions at the military airbase Vasylkiv in the Kyiv region, Ukraine February 26, 2022. REUTERS/Maksim Levin

2/3

By Maria Tsvetkova

KYIV/MOSCOW (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin put Russia’s nuclear deterrent on high alert on Sunday in the face of a barrage of Western reprisals for his war on Ukraine, which said it had repelled Russian ground forces attacking its biggest cities.

The United States said Putin was escalating the war with “dangerous rhetoric”, amid signs that the biggest assault on a European state since World War Two was not producing rapid victories, but instead generating a far-reaching and concerted Western response.

Less than four days after it started, the invasion has triggered a Western political, strategic, economic and corporate response unprecedented in its extent and coordination.

“With this war on Ukraine, the world will never be the same again,” EU’s foreign policy chief Josef Borrell wrote in an opinion piece in the Guardian newspaper.

“It is now, more than ever, the time for societies and alliances to come together to build our future on trust, justice and freedom. It is the moment to stand up and to speak out. Might does not make right. Never did. Never will,” he said.

The 27-nation European Union on Sunday decided for the first time in its history to supply weapons to a country at war. A source told Reuters it would send 450 million euros ($507 million) of weaponry to Ukraine. Borrell at a news conference said EU’s support would include providing fighter jets.

The European Union’s chief executive Ursula von der Leyen expressed support for Ukraine’s membership in an interview with Euronews, saying “they are one of us.” Ukraine, a democratic nation of 44 million people, won independence from Moscow in 1991 at the fall of the Soviet Union and has pushed to join the NATO Western military alliance and the EU, goals Russia vehemently opposes.

The rouble plunged nearly 30% to an all-time low versus the dollar early on Monday, after Western nations on Saturday unveiled harsh sanctions including blocking some banks from the SWIFT international payments system. On Sunday, the president of neutral Switzerland said he expected his government to follow the EU with Russia sanctions and freezing Russian assets.

NEGOTIATIONS

The Ukrainian president’s office said negotiations with Moscow without preconditions would be held at the Belarusian-Ukrainian border. Russian news agency Tass later on Sunday cited an unidentified source as saying the talks would start on Monday morning.

As missiles fell on Ukrainian cities, nearly 400,000 civilians, mainly women and children, have fled into neighbouring countries, a U.N. relief agency said. Hundreds were stranded in Kyiv on Sunday waiting for trains to take them west, away from the fighting.

The capital remained in Ukrainian government hands, with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy rallying his people daily despite Russian shelling of civilian infrastructure.

The EU shut all Russian planes out of its airspace, as did Canada, forcing Russian airline Aeroflot to cancel all flights to European destinations until further notice. With flight options dwindling, the United States and France urged their citizens to consider leaving Russia immediately.

The EU also banned the Russian media outlets RT and Sputnik.

Germany, which had already frozen a planned undersea gas pipeline from Russia, said it would increase defence spending massively, casting off decades of reluctance to match its economic power with military clout.

British oil major BP (NYSE:) BP, the biggest foreign investor in Russia, said it was abandoning its stake in state oil company Rosneft at a cost of up to $25 billion, shrinking its oil and gas reserves in half.

Several European subsidiaries of Sberbank Russia, majority owned by the Russian government, were failing or were likely to fail due to reputational cost of the war in Ukraine, the European Central Bank, the lenders’ supervisor, said.

‘NOT DETERRENCE BUT THREAT’

At least 352 civilians, including 14 children, have been killed and 1,684 people have been wounded, Ukraine’s Health Ministry said.

Putin, who has called the invasion a “special operation”, thrust an alarming new element into play when he ordered Russia’s “deterrence forces” – which wield nuclear weapons – onto high alert.

He has justified the invasion by saying “neo-Nazis” rule Ukraine and threaten Russia’s security – a charge Kyiv and Western governments say is baseless propaganda.

On Sunday, he cited aggressive statements by NATO leaders and the raft of economic sanctions imposed on Russia by the West.

“Not only do Western countries take unfriendly measures against our country in the economic dimension – I mean the illegal sanctions that everyone knows about very well – but also the top officials of leading NATO countries allow themselves to make aggressive statements with regards to our country,” he said on state television.

Putin previously referred to his nuclear arsenal in a speech announcing the start of the invasion on Thursday, saying Russia’s response to any country that stood in its way would be immediate and carry “consequences that you have never encountered in your history”.

The EU’s Borrell said Russia had clearly threatened a nuclear attack on countries supporting Ukraine after the invasion. “We are afraid that Russia is not going to stop in Ukraine,” he said.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield, at the U.N. Security Council, urged “Russia to tone down this dangerous rhetoric regarding nuclear weapons.”

A U.S. defence official said Washington was trying to assess what Putin’s announcement meant, but that it increased the danger from any miscalculation.

Moscow acknowledged that Russian soldiers had been killed and wounded, but said its losses were far lower than those suffered by Ukraine, the Interfax news agency reported. Moscow has not released casualty figures.

In New York, the U.N. Security Council convened a rare emergency meeting of the U.N. General Assembly, or all the United Nations’ 193 member states, for Monday.

Rolling protests have been held around the world against the invasion, including in Russia, where almost 6,000 people have been detained at anti-war protests since Thursday, the OVD-Info protest monitor said.

Tens of thousands of people across Europe marched in protest, including more than 100,000 in Berlin.

BATTLE FOR KHARKIV

A Ukrainian state news agency said that Russian troops had blown up a pipeline in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, sending a burning cloud into the sky.

Soon after, Russian armour rolled into Kharkiv, in northwest Ukraine, and witnesses reported firing and explosions. But city authorities said the attack had been repelled.

Reuters was unable to corroborate the information.

Ukrainian forces also appeared to be holding off Russian troops advancing on Kyiv but the Ukrainian armed forces described Sunday as “a difficult time”, saying Russian troops “continue shelling in almost all directions”.

Satellite imagery released by the private Maxar Technologies (NYSE:) taken on Sunday showed a 5 km (3.25 mile) long convoy of Russian ground forces including tanks approximately 40 miles (64 km) away heading towards Kyiv. Reuters could not independently verify the images.

“We have withstood and are successfully repelling enemy attacks. The fighting goes on,” Zelenskiy said in the latest of several video messages from the streets of Kyiv.

Related Articles

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

Top 5 Things to Watch in Markets in the Week Ahead

Top 5 Things to Watch in Markets in the Week Ahead© Reuters

By Noreen Burke

Investing.com — A decision on Saturday by Western nations to block some Russian banks from the SWIFT international payments network as punishment for the invasion of Ukraine looks set to trigger a fresh wave of volatility when markets open on Monday. Testimony from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell may give investors an indication of how the war in Ukraine and rising energy prices have impacted the monetary policy outlook. Datawise, Friday’s U.S. employment report for February is expected to show the recovery in the labor market remains solid. Surging commodity prices are set to remain in focus, while Eurozone inflation data for February is expected to reach another record high, underlining the impact of rising energy costs. Here’s what you need to know to start your week.

  1. Russia SWIFT ban

Western allies announced sweeping new sanctions against Moscow on Saturday, including international payments system. The decision will be implemented in the coming days.

The allies, who also vowed curbs on the Russian central bank to limit its ability to support the , have not yet said which banks would be targeted, but a European Union diplomat said some 70% of the Russian banking market would be affected.

Investors have been fearful about moves to block Russian banks from SWIFT as this would disrupt global trade and hurt Western interests, as well as hit Russia.

One likely casualty will be the Russian ruble, investors said. Russia’s currency fell to an all-time low against the U.S. dollar in the past week, though it pared some of those losses on Friday.

“With the central bank likely to face severe constraints on currency intervention, the ruble will struggle to find a bottom,” Karl Schamotta, chief market strategist at Corpay told Reuters. “No one wants to catch a falling knife.”

  1. Powell testimony

With sanctions against Russia escalating and market volatility remaining at elevated levels, testimony on the economy and monetary policy by Fed Chair Jerome Powell this week will need to reassure investors that the Fed will take steps to tackle soaring inflation as the economic outlook grows more uncertain.

Powell is due to testify before the House Committee on Financial Services on Wednesday, and again before the on Thursday.

The Fed has indicated that it is poised for an interest rate lift-off at its upcoming , to combat inflation which is running at a 40-year high. But now Fed officials must weigh the geopolitical and economic fallout from the conflict in Ukraine against mounting an aggressive attempt to curb inflation.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will fuel a sharper increase in the cost of living by driving up energy prices, while the extra squeeze on household spending is likely to act as a drag on the economic recovery, which has already been hit by the Omicron wave.

  1. Nonfarm payrolls

Economists expect Friday’s nonfarm payrolls report for February to show that the economy added jobs with the unemployment rate expected to tick down to and average hourly earnings forecast to rise at a annual rate.

Ahead of the employment report, payrolls processor ADP is due to release figures on on Wednesday and the Labor Department is to publish the weekly report on on Thursday.

The economic calendar also features surveys of the and sectors for February by the Institute of Supply Management, which are likely to have rebounded as the impact of the Omicron wave on business activity subsided.

  1. Commodity prices

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sent oil prices above $100 a barrel for the first time since 2014 on Thursday with touching $105, before paring gains. European gas prices have also surged amid concerns over supply security.

Russia is the world’s second-largest crude producer and a major provider to Europe.

Energy traders will be awaiting details on the moves to block Russian banks from SWIFT to see if the sanctions will impact oil and gas flows, but the measures will likely discourage many buyers from purchasing Russian oil.

Meanwhile, ministers from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies led by Russia, a grouping known as OPEC+, are to meet on Wednesday to decide whether to increase output by 400,000 bpd in April.

  1. Eurozone CPI

The Eurozone is to release what will be closely watched data on consumer price inflation on Wednesday, which is expected to reach a fresh record high of .

The inflation data will add to the headache facing the European Central Bank ahead of its key March meeting. The ECB has said it will conduct a comprehensive assessment of the economic outlook after Russia’s attack on Ukraine at its upcoming meeting.

Several ECB officials, including President Christine , Vice President Luis , Chief Economist Philip , and Bundesbank President Joachim Nagel are due to speak ahead of the start of the traditional blackout period, which begins on Thursday with the publication of the of the bank’s most recent meeting.

–Reuters contributed to this report

Stocks set for a painful week as conflict intensifies; bonds to gain

Stocks set for a painful week as conflict intensifies; bonds to gain© Reuters. The turret of a destroyed tank is seen on the roadside in Kharkiv, Ukraine February 26, 2022. REUTERS/Vyacheslav Madiyevskyy

By Saikat Chatterjee

LONDON (Reuters) – World markets were set for another tumultuous week after Western nations announced a harsh set of sanctions to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and as fighting intensified for a fourth day.

U.S. stocks have fallen nearly 8% so far this year, on track for the worst annual start since 2009, and worries over the intensifying conflict in Ukraine has shaken markets across the world.

Though Wall Street ended higher on Friday with major indices up between 1.5%-2.5%, analysts expected markets to come under selling pressure on Monday.

“Nobody likes uncertainty, investors certainly dislike uncertainty and we are looking at a pretty protracted conflict,” said Peter Kinsella, global head of FX strategy at UBP.

“It seems to me we are in the opening stages of a new Cold War, that is pretty clear and that will weigh on sentiment for a long time.”

Russian military vehicles pushed into Ukraine’s second-largest city on Sunday and explosions rocked oil and gas installations on a fourth day of the biggest assault on a European state since World War Two.

In response, the United States and its allies moved to block certain Russian banks’ access to the SWIFT international payment system. The measures also include restrictions on the Russian central bank’s international reserves and will be implemented in the coming days. [PnL8N2V117C]

“Friday’s bounce looked like a genuine short squeeze but Monday should bring some fresh selling pressure as the SWIFT sanctions and the growing likelihood of freezing Russian currency reserves will inflict some real financial pain across markets,” said John Marley, CEO of forexxtra, a London-based FX consultancy.

The Russian invasion comes at a time when investors are already worried about expensive market valuations and hawkish central banks with world stocks falling to a 10-month low on Thursday and down more than 7% so far this year.

DIALING DOWN RISK

The latest developments could also put fresh pressure on energy and grain prices, with futures having topped $105 per barrel and wheat futures scaling to levels last seen in mid-2008 on Thursday before easing back somewhat on Friday.

Latest weekly positioning data indicates investors frantically trying to dial down risk in their portfolios.

Hedge funds cut long bets on the British pound while yen short positions were slashed, according to data from Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Separate data from Goldman Sachs (NYSE:) showed outflows from European-focused equity funds while flows into developed market equities fell into negative territory.

Safe-haven assets will be in demand with U.S. Treasuries, German Bunds and the Swiss franc likely to see heavy buying as traders digest the implications of the latest round of sanctions.

Russia’s main stock index closed up 20% on Friday after Thursday’s record 33% drop while the rouble recovered somewhat after falling to a record low on Thursday at 90 per dollar with analysts expecting more pain on Monday.

“There is increased risk of a Russian debt default, last seen in 1998, as a result of weekend announcements,” said Ray Attrill, head of FX strategy at National Australia Bank (OTC:).

Volatility gauges across markets, already at elevated levels, are expected to shoot higher on Monday while investor buying of derivative contracts to protect themselves against further losses are likely to surge.

EU foreign ministers will adopt Russia sanctions later on Sunday, Borrell says

Investing.com - Financial Markets Worldwide

Please try another search

Economy3 hours ago (Feb 27, 2022 08:10AM ET)

EU foreign ministers will adopt Russia sanctions later on Sunday, Borrell says© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell rings a bell at the EU Foreign Ministers meeting addressing the situation in Ukraine, after Russia launched a massive military operation, in Brusse

(Reuters) – European Union foreign ministers will adopt a third round of sanctions on Russia at a virtual meeting later on Sunday, chief EU diplomat Josep Borrell said.

The measures will include the exclusion of some Russian banks from the global payment system SWIFT, he said on Twitter (NYSE:).

Related Articles

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

Some investors wary of ‘buying the dip’ as Ukraine, Fed gyrate stocks

Some investors wary of 'buying the dip' as Ukraine, Fed gyrate stocks© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Raindrops hang on a sign for Wall Street outside the New York Stock Exchange in Manhattan in New York City, New York, U.S., October 26, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Segar

By David Randall

NEW YORK (Reuters) -U.S. stocks drew buyers after a recent tumble, but some investors believe buying the dip this time may be a far riskier bet than in the past as markets face geopolitical strife and a hawkish Federal Reserve.

The benchmark surged more than 6% from Thursday’s lows to close higher on the week, after investors swooped in following sharp declines on the heels of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Investors were preparing for more gyrations in asset prices after Western nations announced a harsh set of sanctions to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, including blocking some banks from the SWIFT international payments system. [

On the surface, last week’s rebound resembled past bounces the index has experienced in its more than 200% run over the past decade, when “buying the dip” proved a winning strategy.

Yet while bargain hunters over the last two years could count on the Fed’s historically loose monetary policy to offer stocks support, today they face heightened geopolitical uncertainty and a central bank that is expected to pull out the stops in its fight against inflation – starting with a widely anticipated rate increase in March.

“Investors were trained to buy the dip because they had the backing of the Fed. But now you could make a case that this is one of the most significant geopolitical events for the last decade, and you don’t have the Fed in your corner,” said Burns McKinney, a senior portfolio manager at NFJ Investment Group.

The S&P is down 8% year-to-date and confirmed it was in a correction by falling more than 10% from its record high earlier this week – its biggest decline since stocks lost nearly a third of their value in the COVID-19 selloff of March 2020 before doubling from their lows.

Many expect geopolitical tensions to continue plaguing markets, as the implications from the war in Ukraine become clearer.

Kyle Bass, founder and chief investment officer of hedge fund Hayman Capital Management, believes investors still have not factored in all of the possible outcomes that could result from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including a prolonged conflict that weighs on global growth and sends inflation higher by pushing up commodity prices.

“This is going to get worse before it gets better,” he told Reuters in a recent interview. “Asset managers don’t have these outcomes in their realm of possibilities.”

Measures to cut off some Russian banks off from SWIFT and place restrictions on the Russian central bank’s international reserves may fuel more market swings, including a renewed rush to safe haven assets such as gold and Treasuries, investors said.

“We saw an equity rally and risk assets rally recently on the basis that the West was not going to impose very severe sanctions, but that is certainly going to change,” said Peter Kinsella, global head of FX strategy at UBP. “The fact that it looks like this is going to be a more drawn out and protracted conflict is not a particularly good environment for risky assets.”

Bass said investors should own assets that can hold value during inflationary times, such as commodities and real estate.

McKinney is buying dividend-paying stocks that he expects to withstand future volatility in the market and moving some money into defense companies.

In addition to the fast-moving situation in Ukraine, investors next week will be watching Friday’s non-farm payrolls data for February – the last such employment report the Fed will see before its monetary policy meeting in March.

Anticipation of Fed tightening has weighed on markets in recent weeks, as investors price in around 165 points of interest rate increases by next February. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said he expected to raise interest rates in March for the first time since 2018. [FEDWATCH]

Though Ukraine remains in flux, those in favor of buying on weakness argue that stock declines from past geopolitical events have been short-lived. LPL Financial (NASDAQ:)’s study of 37 major geopolitical events since World War Two found that stocks were up an average of 11% one year later, provided a recession does not occur.

Retail investors have been among the dip buyers, purchasing a net $1.5 billion on Thursday, data from Vanda (NASDAQ:) Research showed.

BlackRock (NYSE:) last week added to its strategic overweight in equities, saying investors may be overestimating how hawkish central banks will need to be in their battle against inflation. JPMorgan (NYSE:)’s analysts, meanwhile, argued that “initial volatility around rate liftoff didn’t last and equities made new all-time highs 2-4 quarters out.”

Others, however, are taking a more dour view, as the markets price in Fed tightening in the face of soaring inflation.

Charles Lemonides, portfolio manager of hedge fund ValueWorks LLC has been increasing his bets against some stocks, including semiconductor maker Broadcom (NASDAQ:) Inc and plant-based meat company Beyond Meat (NASDAQ:) Inc, skeptical that markets will be able to sustain a rally in the face of a hawkish Fed.

“The reality is that the market has had a huge run and inevitably you give back some of those gains,” he said.

Two of Russia’s billionaires call for peace in Ukraine

Investing.com - Financial Markets Worldwide

Please try another search

Stock Markets5 hours ago (Feb 27, 2022 11:50AM ET)

2/2

Two of Russia's billionaires call for peace in Ukraine© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Russian businessman, co-founder of Alfa-Group Mikhail Fridman attends a conference of the Israeli foundation Keren Hayesod in Moscow, Russia, September 17, 2019. Pavel Golovkin/Pool via REUTERS

2/2

By Guy Faulconbridge and Catherine Belton

LONDON (Reuters) -Two Russian billionaires, Mikhail Fridman and Oleg Deripaska, called for an end to the conflict triggered by President Vladimir Putin’s assault on Ukraine, with Fridman calling it a tragedy for both countries’ people.

Billionaire Fridman, who was born in western Ukraine, told staff in a letter that the conflict was driving a wedge between the two eastern Slav peoples of Russia and Ukraine who have been brothers for centuries.

“I was born in Western Ukraine and lived there until I was 17. My parents are Ukrainian citizens and live in Lviv, my favourite city,” Fridman wrote in the letter, excerpts of which Reuters saw.

“But I have also spent much of my life as a citizen of Russia, building and growing businesses. I am deeply attached to the Ukrainian and Russian peoples and see the current conflict as a tragedy for them both.”

Russian billionaire, Oleg Deripaska, used a post on Telegram to called for peace talks to begin “as fast as possible”.

“Peace is very important,” said Deripaska, who is the founder of Russian aluminium giant Rusal, in which he still owns a stake via his shares in its parent company En+ Group.

On Feb. 21, Deripaska said there would not be a war.

Washington imposed sanctions on Deripaska and other influential Russians because of their ties to Putin after alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, which Moscow denies.

Russia’s so-called oligarchs, who once exercised significant influence over President Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s, are facing economic chaos after the West imposed severe sanctions on Russia over Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Putin, after consulting his security council of senior officials, said he ordered the special military operation to protect people, including Russian citizens, from “genocide” – an accusation the West calls baseless propaganda.

The Ukrainian president’s office said negotiations between Kyiv and Moscow would be held at the Belarusian-Ukrainian border.

“This crisis will cost lives and damage two nations who have been brothers for hundreds of years,” Fridman said. 

“While a solution seems frighteningly far off, I can only join those whose fervent desire is for the bloodshed to end. I’m sure my partners share my view.”

One of Fridman’s long-term partners, Pyotr Aven, attended a meeting at the Kremlin with Putin and 36 other major Russian businessmen last week, the Kremlin said.

Another Moscow billionaire told Reuters on condition of anonymity that the war was going to be a catastrophe.

“It is going to be catastrophic in all senses: for the economy, for relations with the rest of the world, for the political situation,” the billionaire said.

The billionaires who gathered for a meeting with Putin in the Kremlin on Thursday were silent, he said.

“Businessmen understand very well the consequences. But who is asking the opinion of business about this?”

($1 = 0.7460 pounds)

Related Articles

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

Would you like to receive notifications on latest updates for new Trades? No Yes
Scroll to Top