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US and European equity markets remained volatile as fighting between Russian and Ukraine forces continued and negotiation talks failed to result in any progress. Both parties however have committed to another round of discussions.
The VIX, Wall Street’s volatility measure surged 12% to 30 indicating the increased fear investors are feeling from the ongoing situation.
The Dow Jones and the S&P 500 both closed down 0.5% and 0.25% respectively, the Nasdaq finished up 0.4% as tech and growth stocks outperformed. In Europe, the FTSE finished down 0.4% and the DAX 0.7%.
Not surprisingly, with SWIFT bans and other banking sanctions levied against Russia, the financial sector was the poorest performer overnight in the USA.
Brent Crude oil has ticked back over to $101.10USD as a consequence of the conflict and is still expected to rise further. An OPEC meeting is scheduled for tomorrow however there is no expectation of a significant change. Gold hasn’t seen much change and is still hovering around $1,908USD. The price has remained stable after bouncing from its recent highs.
The RBA is meeting today at 2.30 pm to discuss interest rates and their outlook of the Australian economy, however, no change is expected as they deal with the current sentiment relating to the Russia and Ukraine crisis. Inflation is still the key concern, though a mild Wage Price Index figure last week has given the RBA some room to continue the mostly dovish tone seen at recent meetings.
Above expected retail figures came out yesterday increasing 1.8% and beating most expectations. The USA federal reserve is also indicating that it may be more cautious in tackling inflation through interest rates although they are still expected to increase rates in March with a 25 bp rate rise fully priced in by the market.
On the back of the retail figures and improving risk sentiment, the AUD/USD was up 1.46% from the session lows and could be one to watch for the day. The EUR/JPY was down 1.3% indicating a move out of the Euro to safe haven currencies on the back of the continuing conflict.
In cryptos, Bitcoin was a standout pushing up 11.18% to be trading at 41,933.30USD as of 9.00 pm GMT. This jump in price and increase in volume is likely due to many users in Russia moving to attentive payment as the Ruble continues to dive.
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