Oil rises above $100 a barrel for the first time since 2014

Oil prices soared to $102 a barrel, futures point to heavy losses for European stocks and the ruble plunged to a record low after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a military invasion of Ukraine.

Brent crude rose as much as 5.7 percent, the first time the international benchmark has crossed the $100 threshold since 2014. US West Texas Intermediate jumped nearly 6 percent to $97.30.

“If this situation continues to deteriorate, I would not be surprised to see Brent crude at $120 per barrel, and that is the point where you would expect to see a coordinated intervention. [by global suppliers]said Robert Rainey, global head of market strategy at Westpac.

Military action in Ukraine stimulated investors to reduce losses by dumping risky assets in favor of havens.

Futures pointed to heavy losses for European stocks, with the Euro Stoxx 50 set to fall nearly 4 percent at the open, while the FTSE 100 was expected to drop more than 2 percent.

The S&P 500 was set to fall about 2 percent after the close of Wednesday’s session sharply. The technology-focused Nasdaq was expected to fall 2.7 percent, putting the index on track to drop more than 20 percent from its most recent peak into a bear market.

In Asia, the benchmark Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong fell more than 3 percent and Japan’s Topix index fell 1.3 percent on Thursday. Investors said simultaneous declines in Tokyo-listed shares of technology group SoftBank, apparel company Fast Retailing and robot maker Fanuc were a signal that investors were panic-selling exchange-traded funds that track Japan’s benchmark index.

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Investors seeking refuge from lower stock prices have piled into sovereign bond markets, driving down yields. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury fell 0.12 percentage points to 1.877 per cent.

The price of gold rose about 2 percent to more than $1,939 an ounce.

With news of explosions near Kiev early Thursday morning, the Moscow Stock Exchange announced the suspension of trading in all markets and gave no indication of when they would reopen.

Russian stocks have She fell response to the crisis. The Moex was poised to drop more than 11 percent before the start of the main trading session on Thursday and has already fallen more than 18 percent this year.

In currency markets, the military operation sparked a sell-off of the Russian ruble, which fell 10.2 percent to 89.99 rupees per dollar, its lowest level ever, according to Bloomberg data. The euro also fell 0.6 percent against the dollar to $1.1235.

The market moves in Asian trading came after Putin said he had done so I ordered a military operation In the Ukrainian Donbass region condemned by the United States and many other European and Western governments.

“All responsibility for the possible bloodshed will be completely and completely on the conscience of the ruling regime,” he said in a speech broadcast on Russian state television.

Additional reporting by Leo Lewis in Tokyo

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