Russia’s stocks and currency were the worst performers on global markets Monday, as President Vladimir Putin signed a decree recognizing two partially separatist-controlled regions in Ukraine as independent states, a move that provoked renewed threats of severe economic sanctions against Russia should it invade Ukraine.
The ruble fell as low as 80.2 against the dollar Monday before recovering slightly to 79.7, continuing a decline that began around the time of Russia’s 2014 invasion of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, at which point the ruble was worth roughly 35 against the dollar.
The MOEX Russia Index plunged by about 10.5% Monday afternoon compared to the previous day’s close, landing at 10.4% under year-to-date and marking its biggest single drop since the invasion of Crimea.
Yields on Russia’s 10-year Federal Loan Obligation bonds hit a high of 10.64% Monday as the cost of insuring Russia’s sovereign debt against default rose to its highest since early 2016 and both Russia and Ukraine’s sovereign dollar bonds fell, Reuters reported.
Stock for majority state-owned energy company Gazprom—Russia’s largest company with $73.5 billion market capitalization—fell about 5% Monday compared to the previous day’s close.
However, Brent Crude, the international oil benchmark, rose 4.14% Monday to $96.95 per barrel, more than 25% over year-to-date—a good sign for the Russian economy, which is dependent on fuel exports.