Stocks plunge, oil and metals rocket on Russia supply fears
World stock markets tumbled, metals prices struck record highs and oil neared an all-time peak on widespread financial fallout from Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Frankfurt and Paris led the losses in Europe with drops of more than three percent in midday deals after Hong Kong closed down almost four percent, extending last week's sharp drops for global equities.
Monday also saw benchmark Brent North Sea crude oil soar to a near 14-year high close to $140 per barrel.
Brent reached $139.13 before cooling to $125.57. The record high stands at $147.50, achieved in 2008 during the global financial crisis.
Elsewhere Monday, European gas prices struck record peaks on energy supply fears after the United States proposed an embargo on Russian crude.
Russia is one of the world's biggest crude producers and is also a leading supplier of natural gas.
Commodities have been red hot since Russia's assault on its neighbour, with gold on Monday back above $2,000 an ounce thanks to the metal's status as a haven investment.
Aluminium, copper and palladium prices kicked off the week with record highs and nickel rocketed by more than 25 percent in value.
"Commodity and energy prices have inevitably been under upward pressure, with escalating sanctions against Russia and the shuttering of some Ukrainian ports driving the search for replacement supplies of crops, metals and energy," noted Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor.
Ukraine, one of the world's top wheat producers, has set export restrictions on the crop and other agricultural products, the Interfax Ukraine news agency reported.
The conflict has pushed wheat prices higher as Russia is the world's top exporter of the cereal and Ukraine is the fourth according to US official estimates.
- Stagflation worries -
The surge in prices is handing a headache to central banks, which have already begun removing pandemic-era cash stimulus and are raising interest rates to bring down inflation that stood at the highest levels in decades even before the invasion.
"The current backdrop is also stoking stagflation concerns, with rising inflationary pressure unlikely to be offset by sufficient global economic growth to prevent a stagnant environment," Hunter added.
The International Monetary Fund warned at the weekend that the war and sanctions on Russia would have a "severe impact" on the global economy.
In foreign exchange Monday, the euro sank to the lowest level for almost two years against the dollar, pummelled by fears of sanctions on Russian energy that would hit the eurozone's economic recovery, traders said.
The euro slid 1.1 percent to $1.0806, while the ruble hit a record-low 142.18 against the dollar.
"There are fears we are heading for a period of stagflation in the eurozone given the energy crunch and the region's exposure to Russia," ThinkMarkets analyst Fawad Razaqzada told AFP.
He added the greenback was well supported thanks to investors seeking safety as stock markets slump.
While London's benchmark FTSE 100 index was down approaching midday in the UK capital, losses were capped by strong share price gains for mining and oil giants on soaring metals and crude values.
- Key figures around 1100 GMT -
London - FTSE 100: DOWN 1.6 percent at 6,872.28 points
Frankfurt - DAX: DOWN 3.3 percent at 12,664.99
Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 3.1 percent at 5,872.88
EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 2.8 percent at 3,457.61
Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 2.9 percent at 25,221.41 (close)
Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: DOWN 3.9 percent at 21,045.21 (close)
Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 2.2 percent at 3,372.86 (close)
New York - Dow: DOWN 0.5 percent at 33,614.80 (close)
Brent North Sea crude: UP 6.0 percent at $125.19 per barrel
West Texas Intermediate: UP 6.2 percent at $122.89 per barrel
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.0833 from $1.0850 Friday
Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3149 from $1.3200
Euro/pound: UP at 82.37 pence from 82.18 pence
Dollar/yen: UP at 115.06 yen from 114.78 yen
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