La Gaceta De Mexico - Oil prices, stock markets steady after recent volatility

Oil prices, stock markets steady after recent volatility
Oil prices, stock markets steady after recent volatility

Oil prices, stock markets steady after recent volatility

Oil prices and stock markets steadied Thursday, as Western leaders gathered for emergency summits in Brussels triggered by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

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NATO, G7 and European Union gatherings were taking place as the EU debates a possible embargo on Russian oil.

"After a period of sharp volatility, the oil market is enjoying a moment of calm," noted Victoria Scholar, head of investment at Interactive Investor.

The recent surge in oil prices on tight supply fears has fanned already sky-high inflation, causing central banks around the world to hike interest rates, in turn threatening economic recovery.

"We may see volatility increase further regarding multiple 50 basis point (US) hikes and even emergency rate hikes in the near term," said SPI Asset Management's Stephen Innes, referring to the Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell's warning that the next increase could be higher than a quarter point.

But the European Central Bank is sitting tight on rates for the time being, as it reacts also to weak growth in the eurozone.

Business activity in the single currency bloc slowed in March, according to a closely watched survey Thursday, as high prices and a gloomy outlook raised fears the Ukraine war could snuff out economic recovery.

The S&P purchase managers' index slipped one point this month to 54.5. A figure above 50 indicates growth.

The survey underscores the "immediate and material impact" of the war on the economy and "highlights the risk of the eurozone falling into decline in the second quarter", said S&P's chief business economist, Chris Williamson.

- Gold reserves -

Elsewhere Thursday, the Moscow Stock Exchange resumed trading of some shares, the second stage in a phased re-opening.

The Moscow exchange suspended trading hours after President Vladimir Putin sent thousands of troops into pro-Western Ukraine on February 24.

Trading resumed for only around 30 of the largest companies that make up the ruble-denominated MOEX Russia Index, which saw early gains of more than 10 percent.

Britain has meanwhile slapped sanctions on 59 more Russian individuals and entities, as well as six Belarusian enterprises.

It comes as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called for the world to prevent Russia using its gold reserves.

"The more we do that now, the more pressure we apply now, particularly on things like gold, ... I believe the more we can shorten the war, shorten the slaughter in Ukraine," he said.

- Key figures around 1200 GMT -

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.2 percent at 7,476.70 points

Frankfurt - DAX: DOWN 0.2 percent at 14,261.99

Paris - CAC 40: FLAT at 6,579.96

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.1 percent at 3,865.22

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.3 percent at 28,110.39 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: DOWN 0.9 percent at 21,945.95 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.6 percent at 3,250.26 (close)

New York - DOW: DOWN 1.3 percent at 34,358.50 (close)

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 0.2 percent at $121.37 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: UP 0.1 percent at $115.06 per barrel

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1000 from $1.1013 late Wednesday

Pound/dollar: UNCHANGED at $1.3204

Euro/pound: DOWN at 83.30 pence from 83.36 pence

Dollar/yen: UP at 121.56 yen from 121.12 yen

Y.A. Ibarra--LGdM