Russia’s stock market experienced its sharpest-ever drop on news of an invasion in Ukraine, which was ordered by president Vladimir Putin before dawn today (Feb. 24).
The Moex index dropped as much as 45%, but recovered slightly to end down 33%. Meanwhile, the ruble hit a record low, falling to 89.89 to the dollar.
Companies lose $70 billion
The stock market crash erased about $70 billion from Russia’s most valuable companies. Oil and gas firms were among the hardest hit, with shares of Gazprom—which oversees the Nord Stream 2 pipeline—falling by 35%.
The market drop suggests investors hadn’t expected Russia to invade Ukraine, Emmanuel Cau, head of European equity strategy at Barclays, told the Financial Times. “You have the panic button being hit right now, I don’t think the market was pricing in the risk of a proper military conflict.”
Putin’s decision reverberated well beyond Russian markets. US stock market indexes fell by more than 2% when trading opened, while Germany’s DAX index fell by more than 4.5% midday amid fears of an energy crisis.