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Monday, March 03, 2014

Putin In Another World - Markets Panic

As the crisis in Ukraine escalates, exchanges in Europe and Russia are falling and commodity prices (gold and oil in particular) are rising as people seek "safe havens" for their money.

Russian assets in particular are falling, and the Russian central bank increased interest rates (the one-week repurchasing agreement was hiked from 5.5% to 7%) in order to prop up the falling rouble.

Reuters reports that the rouble fell 2% to 36.41 against the dollar and 1.2% to 50.10 against the euro, trading at all-time lows.

The rouble-denominated MICEX index of Russian shares tumbled 9.1% to 1,314.8 points and the dollar-denominated RTS .IRTS collapsed 10.3% to 1,137.1 points.

In effect the markets are reacting out of fear and panic, as and when some clarity emerges the markets will settle. However, there will be significant periods of instability in the coming weeks as there is little evidence that clarity will emerge anytime soon; not least because (as per the New York Times) Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany told Mr. Obama by telephone on Sunday that after speaking with Mr. Putin she was not sure that he was in touch with reality, people briefed on the call said. “In another world” she said.

Suffice to say, Putin and his cronies will have made a fortune on their gold and oil futures!

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