Nearly 97 percent of Crimean voters are in favor of joining Russia, despite warnings by European Union and the United States that a referendum may result in sanctions against top Ukrainian and Russian officials.
The Euro Stoxx 50 index, a key benchmark of eurozone blue chips, had increased 1.2 percent in the afternoon trading; while London’s FTSE 100 index also rose 0.9 percent. The Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index were up 1 percent by noon, after government figures showed factory output rose in February.The dollar traded at 36.33 Russian rubles, a decline of 0.8 percent; while Russia’s Micex index rose 2.5 percent.
Investors are keenly monitoring any signs that Russia’s oligarchs will move funds- money that they have invested in recent years in financial assets and real estate in the United States and Europe. The calm witnessed in most markets today however suggests that such a scenario is unlikely to occur.
“Any news that indicates that the conflict will escalate with stronger sanctions form the E.U. and the U.S. will have a permanent effect on the ruble,” said Ulrich Leuchtmann, who heads the foreign exchange research unit at the Frankfurt-based Commerzbank.
“We’re seeing Russian-based investors trying to transfer assets out of Russia,” something that probably had contributed to the strength in developed-nation financial markets on Monday,” he added.
Energy markets across Europe remained unfazed with the potential blockade of natural gas shipments from Russia, as the U.K. natural gas prices down 0.5 percent on Monday.
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