Asian Markets Mixed as Traders Assess Sanctions Imposed on Russia

Asian stocks were mixed Wednesday as investors assessed the Western sanctions imposed on Russia to gauge geopolitical risks from the standoff over Ukraine.

The CSI300, HSI and KOSPI is trading up by 0.31%, 0.52 and 0.24% respectively while TOPIX is trading significantly down by 1.55%.  The MSCI Asian Broad Market Index ex Japan inched down by 1.43%.

U.S. President Joe Biden said Russia had begun the process to invade Ukraine and announced plans targeting Russia’s sale of sovereign debt abroad and the country’s elites. Biden said the sanctions could be stepped up if Russia “continues its aggression.”

While President Vladimir Putin has denied Russia intends to invade Ukraine. But Russia’s upper house has given him the green light to deploy troops to separatist-held regions.

Treasuries mostly fell and the yield curve flattened during the Wall Street session amid a rally in commodities that highlighted economic risks from inflation.

Crude oil was steady as traders also evaluated the potential return of Iranian barrels if the nation reaches a nuclear deal with world powers. The WTI is up by 0.02% at $91.93 per barrel while the Brent is marginally up by 0.06% to $96.90 per barrel.