Russia has reopened local trading of the rouble for the first time, and it’s been a torrid session so far.
The currency fell 7.8pc to 113.88 against the dollar compared to its close on Friday, when trading was halted. It’s the first chance for onshore traders to react to mounting pressure on the Russian economy following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
Russia’s central bank has already taken steps to limit the damage, including banning the sale of foreign currencies. But Fitch last night downgraded the country’s debt rating, warning a sovereign default was imminent.
Meanwhile, Moscow’s stock exchange is still closed – extending its longest ever shutdown. Authorities are desperately trying to stave off a market collapse when trading resumes.
5 things to start your day
1) Electric vehicle makers brace for set back as the price of nickel soars Higher costs for the vital material threaten to make cars even more expensive
2) Welsh satellite to launch from Cornwall this summer in UK first Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit will be part of the inaugural mission
3) Sunak tells City to help pile pressure on Kremlin Chancellor calls for business closures to increase pressure on country’s economy
4) Luxury groups count the cost of Russian exit It’s not just lost sales that luxury retailers might have to worry about: the cost of severing ties could come back to bite them too
5) Chinese tycoon faces multi-billion dollar hit after nickel prices surge Jump in value comes amid fears that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will disrupt supplies
What happened overnight
Asian stocks rebounded on Wednesday after Wall Street declined and China reported inflation edged higher.
Already high oil prices rose further, adding more than $2 per barrel following President Joe Biden’s ban on imports of Russian crude.
Stock benchmarks in Shanghai, Tokyo and Sydney rose while Hong Kong declined. South Korean markets were closed for a presidential election.
Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index sank 0.7pc amid enduring unease over the impact of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attack on Ukraine.
The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.6pc to 3,312.39 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo gained 0.9pc to 25,003.44. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong slid 0.4pc to 20,680.54.
Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 climbed 1.1pc to 7,054.60. New Zealand, Singapore and Jakarta rose while Bangkok retreated.
Benchmark US crude rose $2.41 to $126.11 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract jumped $4.30 on Tuesday to $123.70.
Brent crude, the basis for international oil prices, gained $3.14 to $131.12 per barrel in London. It advanced $4.77 the previous session to $127.98.
Coming up today
- Corporate: 888 Holdings, Ibstock, Legal & General Group, Network International Holdings, Prudential, Quilter, Tullow Oil (full-year results); Biffa (trading statement)
- Economics: Consumer price index (China), producer price index (China)