Ukraine Update: Global Stocks Plunge; Russia Threatens Gas Flow

Stocks retreated in several global markets, with the S&P 500 falling the most in more than a year, on concerns that soaring commodity costs as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could push economies toward recession.

Russia’s top energy official threatened to cut off natural gas flows via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, as Europe drew up plans to limit its reliance on Russian energy, while the U.S. edged closer to banning oil imports. Fresh talks Monday between Ukrainian and Russian officials made only limited progress on negotiating a cease-fire.

Oil closed in New York at the highest in a decade, after a day of wild swings on key energy markets. In Washington, lawmakers announced the outline of bipartisan legislation to bar imports of Russia’s oil into the U.S., clearing the way for a rapid crackdown on crude from that country.

Stocks Slip as Commodity Costs Dim Outlook (4:05 a.m.)

Most Asian stocks fell as traders evaluated concerns that elevated commodity costs will fan inflation and choke economic expansion. Sovereign bond yields climbed.

Shares dipped in Japan but rose in Hong Kong and wavered in China. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures made modest gains, signaling steadier sentiment compared with the S&P 500’s 3% slide Monday, its worst drop since 2020.

Oil retreated but remained in sight of a near 14-year peak on fears of disarray in raw-material flows stemming from the war in Ukraine and sanctions on Russia. Australia Imposes Sanctions on ‘Propagandists’ (2:09 a.m.)

The Australian government announced sanctions on Russian entities over its invasion. Targeted parties included its military leadership, financial institutions and “people of strategic interest,” who Australia accuses of “encouraging hostility towards Ukraine and promoting pro-Kremlin propaganda to legitimize Russia’s invasion.”

Foreign Minister Marise Payne said in a statement that the government was working with Facebook, Twitter and Google to stop the spread of content from Russian state media within Australia.Wheat Soars to Record (1:58 a.m.)

Wheat jumped to an all-time high, exceeding levels during the global food crisis in 2008, as Russia’s intensifying war in Ukraine cuts off one of the world’s top breadbaskets and delivers an extreme supply shock.

Prices have skyrocketed more than 60% in the past two weeks as the war effectively shut off more than a quarter of the world’s supply of the food staple used in everything from bread to cookies and noodles.

Wheat Soars to Record, Surpassing High During Global Food CrisisWorld Bank Approves $723 Million Package (2:05 a.m.) The World Bank approved a supplementary budget package worth $723 million for the Ukraine government to provide critical services for its people.

The package, which the bank called fast-disbursing, would “help the government provide critical services to Ukrainian people, including wages for hospital workers, pensions for the elderly, and social programs for the vulnerable” according to a statement from the bank.

UN Team Sent to Moscow in Humanitarian Effort (1:45 a.m.)A top United Nations official told the organization’s Security Council on Monday that a team had been sent to Moscow to help coordinate relief efforts in Ukraine with Russia’s military.

Martin Griffiths, under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator said the UN team would “work on better humanitarian civil-military coordination that can allow us to scale up precisely to begin to establish a humanitarian notification system.” The trip to Moscow, he added, followed a telephone conversation late last week between UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

U.K. Lawmakers Vote to Speed ‘Dirty Money’ Sanctions (11:59 p.m.)Britain’s House of Commons backed a measure that will speed up sanctions against Russian tycoons, after Home Secretary Priti Patel accused Putin allies of hiding “dirty money” in the country.

The legislation, which now moves to the upper house of parliament and could become law within days, will set up a register identifying the ultimate foreign owners of U.K. real estate, preventing them from hiding behind shell companies.

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