Ukraine conflict: Asia stocks drop after nuclear plant attack

Surveillance camera footage shows Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant during shelling in Enerhodar, Zaporizhia Oblast, Ukraine.
Surveillance camera footage of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant during shelling.

Share prices have fallen in Asia after a fire broke out at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine, the largest in Europe.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei index was 2.5% lower and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong was down by 2.6%.

Oil prices rose in Asia morning trade, with Brent crude above $112 a barrel.

The fire happened after Russia troops shelled the plant. Some investor concerns were eased after officials said the plant’s safety was “secured”.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) later said that it had spoken to Ukraine’s leadership and had been told important equipment at the plant was still working.

The shelling has drawn international condemnation, with the US President Joe Biden joining Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in urging Russia to cease the shelling and allow firefighters to access the site.

In recent days, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has sent shockwaves through the global financial and energy markets.

This week, the cost of Brent crude – the global oil benchmark – jumped above $100 a barrel, rising to more than $119 to the highest since May 2012.

The cost of natural gas and coal have also jumped on global markets.

Meanwhile, the Russian rouble has hit a record low against the US dollar as countries around the world impose tough sanctions on the country.

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