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World stock markets fall in the face of the new Russian offensive in Ukraine



(Paris) The conflict in Ukraine, where Russian forces are launching a new offensive, caused a new wind of panic on the markets on Tuesday, investors rushing to low-risk investments such as government bonds.

European markets were anchored in bright red: Paris lost 2.92%, Frankfurt 2.67%, Milan 2.51% and London 1.12% around 7:25 a.m. The European benchmark index Eurostoxx 50, yielded 2 .84%.

In the United States, Wall Street was preparing to open lower more measured. Futures contracts for major indices were dropping around 0.70%.

Earlier, Asian stock markets had managed to rise slightly.

The Moscow Stock Exchange was still closed on Tuesday by decision of the Russian central bank, and should remain so all week. “It will open when the Russians have taken sufficient measures to temper the catastrophe that is about to hit Russian stocks,” said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, an analyst at Swissquote bank.

The Ukrainian army is facing a new offensive by Russian forces on Kiev, Kharkiv, several cities in the country and the large port of Mariupol, the day after initial unsuccessful talks.

Western sanctions against the Russian economy, and especially the financial system, are increasing. Canada will ban “all imports of crude oil” from Russia, while many companies are announcing their withdrawal from Russian companies or projects. Shipping giant Maersk will stop serving Russian ports.

For its part, Russia says it will continue its offensive in Ukraine “until all objectives” are achieved, citing the “demilitarization” of Ukraine.

Again seized with strong fears as to the consequences of this conflict, operators abandoned equities to rush towards government bonds, deemed less risky, whose interest rates fell by more than 15 basis points in Europe and 10 basis points in the United States.

The yield on German ten-year debt thus fell back into negative, a first since the end of January, and that of US Treasury bonds stood at 1.72% around 6:20 a.m.

Gold, another popular asset in times of crisis, took 0.65% to 1921 dollars an ounce.

Oil and gas are racing

Oil prices also soared, the barrel of Brent, the European benchmark, jumping by 6% and the American barrel of WTI by 5%.

“The issue of direct sanctions on Russian oil and gas exports is a matter of timing, not probability,” said analyst Neil Wilson.

Russia is the second largest exporter of crude oil in the world and accounts for more than 40% of the European Union’s annual natural gas imports.

On the European natural gas market, the benchmark contract soared 12.38% to 110.80 euros per megawatt hour.

The giant Shell (-1.93%) has announced that it is parting with its shares in several joint projects with the Russian group Gazprom.

TotalEnergies (-2.43%) for its part announced that “it will no longer bring capital to new projects in Russia”, without however withdrawing from the projects in which it is currently invested.

Automotive and air losers

Already in sharp decline on Monday, the automotive and aviation sectors were the most penalized on Tuesday.

In Paris, Renault fell by 6.64%, Stellantis by 2.89%. In Frankfurt Volkswagen lost 5.49% and BMW 3.34%. In London, Aston Martin also yielded 7.27%.

On the travel side, Easyjet fell by 5.61%, Ryanair by 5.64%, TUI by 4.11%, Accor by 4.64% and Air France-KLM by 2.68%.

Conversely, the defense was again sought after, in particular Thales (+5.39%) or even the Germans Hensoldt (+23.22%) and Rheinmetall (+11.60%).

The dollar is strengthening

Around 7:20 a.m., the euro lost 0.42% to 1.1172 dollars, against the greenback, considered a safe haven.

The ruble rose slightly by 2.95% against the dollar, after having lost 30% due to the sanctions against Russia.

Bitcoin took 6.16% to 44,210 dollars, after a jump of 6.7% the day before.

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