|Ukraine spasms rattle Europe and Asian markets, Russia raises rates to stem capital flight
Europe's main stock markets sank at the start of trading on growing fears of a conflict between Ukraine and Russia, dealers said.
London's benchmark FTSE 100 index of top companies fell 1.44 percent to 6,711.40 points, Frankfurt's DAX 30 lost 1.43 percent to 9,553.08 points and in Paris the CAC 40 dropped 1.58 percent to 4,338.39 compared with Friday's closing level.
Earlier today, Russia's central bank raised its main interest rate in an emergency move to limit the economic damage from Russian military intervention in Ukraine. Stocks plunged and the rouble hit historic lows against the US dollar and the euro.
The Bank Rossii (Bank of Russia) raised its main interest rate to 7 percent from 5.50 percent in a clear bid to support the rouble and stem an already alarming capital flight amid the tensions between Russia and Ukraine.
"The decision is aimed at averting the appearance of risks for inflation and financial stability linked to the increased volatility on financial markets,'' it said in a statement.
Both Russia's main stock markets had earlier opened sharply lower and the rouble hit historic lows against the US dollar and the euro in a widely expected reaction to Russia's plan for military intervention in Ukraine over the situation in Crimea.
Asian markets mostly fell today.
Tokyo shed 1.27 percent, or 188.84 points, to 14,652.23, Sydney fell 0.38 percent, or 20.5 points, to 5,384.3 and Seoul lost 0.77 percent, or 15.30 points, to end at 1,964.69.
Hong Kong tumbled 1.47 percent, or 336.29 points to 22,500.67.—AFP