Crypto and global stocks soar even as analysts warn Russia’s war on Ukraine could send oil to $175
The dip-buyers are back.
European stocks and cryptocurrencies leaped out of the gates on Wednesday even as Western companies and economies continue to freeze out Russia for waging war in Ukraine, sending commodities and crude prices higher. At 4:30 a.m. ET, the benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 was trading 3% higher, and the DAX was up by 4.6%, enough to pull Germany’s beaten-down index out of bear territory. For its part, Bitcoin jumped 8% at one point, passing the $42,000 barrier (more on that below).
The gains in Europe could be found across the board, even for those companies with strong ties to the Russian market. Adidas and Heineken were among the latest big-name brands to announce they’re putting the pause on business operations in Russia. Shares in the athletic-wear maker surged 7.4% at the open even after the company disclosed the Russia hit to its business coming in around €250 million ($273 million). The Dutch brewer, meanwhile, gained nearly 4%.
U.S. futures, too, look set for a strong open following Tuesday’s late-afternoon swoon.
The risk-on mood comes even as analysts continue to warn that the war in Ukraine will impact global growth and send food and energy prices soaring. Goldman Sachs now forecasts Brent crude to hit $135 per barrel (it trades near $126 this morning) and safe-haven gold to climb to $2,500 per ounce in the next 12 months.
In a client note on Wednesday, Goldman Sachs equity analysts said they could see a prolonged military clash in Europe posing “the largest downside risk to growth” for Europe—far more so than for the United States. Interestingly, they see the fallout from the tit-for-tat sanctions imposed on and by Russia as being a “manageable” risk to the global economy, but one that could roil financial markets.
Bank of America paints a darker scenario. Its worst-case is crude hitting $175 per barrel and a sizable hit to GDP growth for both the euro area and the U.S., its analysts say. In other words, not nearly as manageable.
The biggest damage can be found—again—in Russia. The ruble, which Goldman says has “completely dislocated from conventional fundamentals,” continued its slide against the dollar. It now trades at 135 rubles to the dollar, meaning its value has halved against the greenback since mid-December.
Russian equities aren’t faring much better. The Russian Stock Exchange remained essentially shut down to traders today for an eighth consecutive day.
After a rough start to 2022, Bitcoin looks set for its best one-day performance of the past two weeks. The king of crypto topped $42,000, jumping as much as 8%, after the U.S. Treasury posted a statement, which has since been removed from the department’s website, that suggested there’s a potential détente between the Biden administration and the cryptocurrency community.
Even with the confusion about the validity of the U.S. Treasury statement, crypto bulls were celebrating on Twitter this morning.
Crypto analysts though are concerned that the Russia-Ukraine war could sink investor risk appetite for digital currencies.
“There still is a lot of uncertainty regarding the Ukraine crisis and next week’s FOMC [Federal Open Market Committee] meeting,” writes Midori Abe of BitBank in an investor note on Tuesday. “Unless these uncertainties are reduced or removed from investors’ minds, bitcoin is expected to fluctuate within a range of $32k to $46k.”
Check out this Fortune must-read: “Tech investors are suffering the second stocks rout of the COVID pandemic—and Wall Street thinks it could get far worse”