Markets rise on Ukraine hope as oil slumps

1 min read

European and US equities largely rebounded Monday as investors seized on hopes of progress in peace talks between Russia and Ukraine, sending oil tanking alongside news of key crude consumer China’s Covid lockdown of tech hub Shenzhen.

Europe shrugged off tech-fuelled Asian losses after Moscow said it made headway in peace talks with Kyiv ahead of Monday’s latest round.

Frankfurt shares rallied 2.2% and Paris won 1.8% in afternoon deals, while London gained 0.3%.

US equities showed a meeker improvement, as traders reckoned with the prospect of the Federal Reserve raising interest rates at its meeting this week.

The S&P 500 rose by 0.2% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average by 0.6% in early deals, while the Nasdaq lost 0.2%.

The prospect of easing supply tensions and growing demand fears also sent oil prices sliding six%.

“Moscow claims substantial progress in peace talks while escalating conflict … but that is enough for traders grabbing onto any good headline,” said Markets.com analyst Neil Wilson.

The latest talks come more than two weeks after Russia’s President Vladimir Putin ordered his army to invade its pro-Western neighbour.

China lockdowns

Back in Asia, traders fretted that China’s spreading coronavirus lockdowns could slam the Asian superpower’s demand for crude.

Asian equities mostly fell Monday with Hong Kong taking a pounding as the Shenzhen lockdown fuelled a tech-sector rout.

“The rapid spread of Covid across China is now unsettling investors, with expectations that mass lockdowns will once again blight the economy,” said Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Susannah Streeter.

She added that oil “demand (is) expected to take a hit if Chinese economic output falls”.

Crude has continued to drop from last week’s near 14-year peak close to $140 per barrel.

However, the commodity — which oils the wheels of the global economy — remains elevated, keeping major upward pressure on inflation.

The Fed’s latest monetary policy gathering is expected to end Wednesday with the bank announcing a quarter-point interest rate hike to tackle decades-high inflation in the US.

The US central bank is trying to walk a fine line between trying to rein in runaway inflation while also trying to support the world’s biggest economy in the face of the war in Ukraine, which many fear could lead to another recession.

Key figures around 1400 GMT –

New York – Dow: UP 0.6% at 33,155.03 points

London – FTSE 100: UP 0.3% at 7,179.41

Frankfurt – DAX: UP 2.2% at 13,932.67

Paris – CAC 40: UP 1.8% at 6,370.19

EURO STOXX 50: UP 1.6% at 3,747.18

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 6.4% at $102.35

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 6.0% at $105.89 per barrel

Hong Kong – Hang Seng Index: DOWN 5.0% at 19,531.66 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 2.6% at 3,223.53 (close)

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.6% at 25,307.85 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.0943 from $1.0912 Friday

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3050 from $1.3037

Euro/pound: UP at 83.87 pence from 83.70 pence

Dollar/yen: UP at 118.00 yen from 117.29 yen

© Agence France-Presse