Oil prices hit seven-year highs close to $100 after Russia moves troops into Ukraine – business live | Business

Some calm has returned to financial markets, after Russia said it would only recognise the Donetsk and Luhansk territories’ independence within the boundaries that the Moscow-backed separatists currently control, and as Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy played down the prospect of a large-scale conflict with Russia.

Asian shares recorded some chunky losses, with Japan’s Nikkei losing 1.7% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng tumbling 2.7%. The main European stock markets in Germany, France, Spain and Italy all slid more than 2% in early trading but later clawed back most of their losses.

The FTSE 100 index in London closed 11 points lower at 7,495.97, a 0.16%% drop. Germany’s Dax lost 0.4% while France’s CAC slipped 0.16%, and Italy’s FTSE MiB and Spain’s Ibex were flat.

The ruble has recovered from a near two-year low after suffering its biggest one-day drop, of 3.3%, since the outbreak oof the coronavirus pandemic on Monday. The Russian currency fell to 81 against the dollar and is now trading at 79.18.

Russian stock markets also staged a small comeback after earlier losses, with the dollar-denominated RTS index and the rouble-denominated Moex index on the Moscow exchange both rising 1.6% this afternoon.

Shares in Russia’s largest lender Sberbank rose 5% while the second-biggest bank VTB was up 5.7%, after they escaped British sanctions. They were not on the list of five banks that are to be sanctioned by the UK.

However, the two state-backed banks are among a number of Russian companies that have secondary listings in London, and their London-listed are still down, albeit shares not nearly as much as earlier. Sberbank fell 1.4% in London after plunging 13% this morning while VTB has lost 1.6%.

State-backed oil and gas producer Gazprom has bounced back with a 3.2% gain in London after an earlier loss of 8%, while Rosneft is still down almost 5% and Lukoil has lost 3%.

Shares in PAO Novatek, the largest gas producer in Russia not directly controlled by the Russian state, has dropped 5.9% in London. Gennady Timchenko, a close ally and friend of Vladimir Putin, is one of three Russian oligarchs who appeared on today’s UK sanctions list, and owns a stake in Novatek.

In total, 31 Russian companies are listed on the London Stock Exchange, to raise money and give international investors easier access.

Two FTSE 100 companies whose assets are based in Russia, the steelmaker Evraz reversed earlier losses and gained 5.4%, while the gold miner Polymetal rose 2.8%.

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