Asian shares rise as investors assess Ukraine war

A businessman looks at an electronic stock exchange board

Asian shares have edged higher on Friday, driven by a US rebound as more sanctions were announced against Russia for its actions in Ukraine.

US President Joe Biden hit Russia with a wave of new measures, impeding its ability to do business in the world’s major currencies.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index opened 0.9% higher, while other indexes were also in the green.

Oil prices also lowered after earlier surging past $100 (£74) a barrel. South Korea’s Kospi jumped 1.6% and the S&P/ASX 200 in Sydney was up 0.3% on Friday.

Global share prices briefly plunged on Thursday after Russian President Vladimir Putin declared a “special military operation” in Ukraine’s Donbas region. Wall Street indexes traded in the red, but rebounded in late trading after Mr Biden’s unveiling of new sanctions.

The Dow Jones fell nearly 2% in early trading but a late rally in the tech sector meant it closed 0.3% higher. Meanwhile, UK’s FTSE 100 index fell 3.9%, its biggest one-day fall since June 2020. Germany’s Dax index lost 4%.

Oil prices surged and hit their highest level for more than seven years on Thursday, but brent crude later settled at $99.08 a barrel. Russia is the second largest exporter of crude oil after Saudi Arabia and is also the world’s biggest exporter of natural gas. Europe gets nearly a third of its oil and around 40% of its gas from Russia, much of it flowing through pipelines across Ukrainian territory.

There are concerns that sanctions could constrict supplies and drive up prices worldwide.

However, not everyone relies on Russia equally. China gets 14% of the oil and gas that it imports from the country, according to economists at Deutsche Bank. “Perhaps the greatest source of spill over from the Ukraine conflict would be the impact that conflict, and higher energy prices, would have the European economies,” they said.

“If oil prices were to rise 50%, the Euro Area would fall into recession – we think the US might too. All Asian countries would feel the impact of that disruption.”

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