Asian Stocks Fall As More Russia Sanctions Are Imposed
Asian stock markets fell Friday, Mar. 25, 2022, after Western governments promised new sanctions on Russia and President Vladimir Putin tried to prop up Moscow’s sinking ruble by threatening to require Europe to use it to pay for gas exports, Joe McDonald reported for the Associated Press (AP).
Photo Insert: Western leaders meeting Thursday promised additional sanctions, which President Joe Biden said were meant to “increase the pain” on Putin.
Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Sydney declined. Oil prices were little changed but stayed above $110 per barrel. Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index rose 1.4% after the number of Americans applying for unemployment fell to a 52-year low.
Western leaders meeting Thursday promised additional sanctions, which President Joe Biden said were meant to “increase the pain” on Putin. But the leaders released no details of possible new penalties.
Putin threatened to require European customers that rely on Russia gas supplies to pay in rubles. That would increase demand for the Russian currency, pushing up an exchange rate that has slumped under sanctions
European leaders on Thursday rejected the possibility, potentially setting up a clash over energy supplies. Putin’s demand is a “cunning gambit meant to frustrate sanctions” while “elevating uncertainty for the West,” said Tan Boon Heng of Mizuho Bank in a report.
The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.3% to 3,240.22 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo shed 0.2% to 28,062.18. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong fell 1.5% to 21,619.33. The Kospi in Seoul lost less than 0.1% to 2,727.03 while Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 gained 0.3% to 7,409.00. New Zealand, Singapore, and Bangkok advanced while Jakarta declined.
On Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose to 4,520.16. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1% to 34,707.94 and the Nasdaq composite rose 1.9% to 14,191.84. Technology and communications stocks propelled the gains.