Russia Ukraine, currencies and oil

SINGAPORE — Oil futures rose more than 4% and stocks in Asia-Pacific were mixed on Monday as investors watch the Russia-Ukraine crisis and related sanctions.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 5.2% to $96.35 a barrel in Asian trading, having edged higher after rising 6% earlier.

International benchmark Brent rose 4.3% to $102.14. Brent broke through the $100 level last week, even touching $105 before paring gains. Both oil contracts ended down more than 1% on Friday.

Spot gold, traditionally a safe haven in times of uncertainty, last traded at $1,910.84, up 1.23%.

Mainland China markets declined. The Shanghai composite fell 0.54% and the Shenzhen component lost 0.76%. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index fell 0.87%.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.28%, while the Topix was nearly flat.

In South Korea, the Kospi also erased its losses to gain 0.14%, and the Kosdaq advanced 0.49%.

The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia rose 0.5% after falling slightly.

Elsewhere, markets in Taiwan are closed for a public holiday on Monday.

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Global markets were volatile last week following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. US stocks rose before the close on Friday, but futures fell in overnight trade on Sunday.

Russia continued its advance in Ukraine over the weekend, with reports of street fighting and forces encircling Kiev.

President Vladimir Putin on Sunday put his country’s deterrent forces, which would include nuclear capabilities, on high alert in response to the international reaction to Russia’s invasion.

The United States and its allies announced new sanctions and measures to hit Russia, such as removing some Russian banks from the SWIFT interbank messaging system.

Many countries have also said they will close their airspace to Russian planes.

On the diplomatic front, representatives of the Ukrainian and Russian governments have agreed to meet on the Ukraine-Belarus border without “preconditions”, according to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry. Belarus, which shares a border with Ukraine and Russia, has close ties with Moscow.


The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 97.217, down from 96.615.

The Japanese yen was trading at 115.50, strengthening slightly from 115.56, while the Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7182 from $0.7232.

Edward N. Arrington