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Russia’s partial mobilization rattles Europe’s markets

Putin signed a decree on the partial mobilization in Russia, the Kremlin said Wednesday, which the president said in a televised address was necessary to defend Russia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. File Photo

Moscow, Russia | Xinhua | Russia’s announcement that President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on the partial mobilization elicited a mixed reaction from the European markets on Wednesday.

Major European stock exchanges slipped into negative territory after Russia’s announcement. Natural gas prices surged and the euro lost ground against the U.S. dollar. Then, as trading progressed, the markets turned in mixed results.

Blue chip indexes for the Paris Stock Exchange, the Italian Stock Exchange in Milan, the German exchange in Frankfurt and the Bolsa de Madrid in Spain all fell into negative territory for the day but then recovered. In the end, only Madrid closed the day in negative territory, with the other exchanges ending trading with modest gains of 0.5 percent to 0.7 percent.

According to a summary released at the end of the trading day in Milan, the overall mood of the investors was “wary” and “cautious.”

Natural gas prices spiked twice in trading before declining by the end of the day in Europe.

At the end of trading, the U.S. dollar was worth 1.013 euros, up from 1.005 euros at the start of the session. Euro’s value surpassed that of the dollar briefly earlier this week.

According to Oliviero Fiorini, an economist with ABS Securities in Milan, the markets’ secondary reaction to Putin’s announcement was probably due to markets “hoping for the best but expecting the worst” from the conflict in Ukraine.

“A lot of the troubling news is already baked into investors’ calculations,” Fiorini told Xinhua. “The immediate reaction (from markets) was cautious, but once it settled in, the interpretation was that not much should change immediately.”

According to an article that appeared in Foreign Policy Magazine on Tuesday, the direct and indirect impacts of the conflict in Ukraine are “crushing Europe,” unleashing “a brutal economic storm that has tested European solidarity.”

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