Asian stocks came under renewed pressure on Wednesday and the price of oil surged past $110 per barrel as investors fretted about the impact of aggressive sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
In Australia, the benchmark ASX 200 index was 0.2 per cent higher despite the risk-off mood elsewhere as rising commodity prices lifted miners’ shares.
“The Russia-Ukraine conflict will probably continue to dominate markets for the foreseeable future. The announcement yesterday that Russia will not pay coupons to foreign holders on its government debt should push investors further into safe-havens,” ING analysts said in a note.
As global sanctions against Moscow tighten, the United States banned Russian flights using American airspace, following similar moves by the European Union and Canada.
U.S. President Joe Biden announced the ban during his State of the Union speech on Tuesday, in which he also said Russian President Vladimir Putin would “pay a continuing high price over the long run” for the invasion of Ukraine.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.46 per cent with China’s blue-chip CSI300 index 1.05 per cent lower.
Japan’s Nikkei fell 1.81 per cent.