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Russia Launches Military Offensive Against Ukraine

USD - US Dollar

News early this morning that Russia has launched a major military offensive across Ukraine has shocked the world. The cross-market volatility in FX has spiked, brent prices have surged through $100 and European natural gas prices have also spiked - with no sufficient alternative for Russian gas for Europe. Equities are off around 3% in Asia and European equities and corporate credit are likely to come under heavy pressure today.

A key focus for today will be the Western response to Russia's aggression. In the US, watch carefully for the progress of the Menendez Bill in Congress. This has been dubbed the 'mother of all sanctions bills' and given events overnight it seems its progress is highly likely. The question will then be which Russian financial institutions are targeted for severe financial sanctions.  Russia has closed local markets today, and USD/RUB has traded to 100.  Given the uncertainty, expect FX markets that are geographically closest to the crisis to be highly exposed.  While the Federal Reserve tightening cycle may be re-priced lower, we would still favor the dollar to outperform Europe. 

CAD - Canadian Dollar

The CAD has weakened overnight and has now crossed the 1.2800 in response to Russian’s military offensive across the Ukraine. Despite the spike in oil, the CAD may continue to weaken and possibly test 1.30 over the coming days given the current market uncertainly. observe the USD/CAD Chart.

EUR - Euro

EUR/USD briefly traded down to 1.1200 overnight and one week traded volatility jumped to 8.2% from 6.7% on the Russian news. EUR/USD has remained remarkably supported through this crisis so far, but given the uncertainty, we would still say that risks are skewed to the 1.1200 area or even a retest of the 1.1120 lows. 

GBP - British Pound

Early reports suggest Dutch natural gas prices have jumped 40% this morning. Surging natural gas prices will keep the Bank of England in a hawkish mood meaning that the pricing of the BoE tightening cycle may hold up better than some. GBP does have a higher correlation with risk, but so far, it is holding up quite well and GBP/USD continues to trade in the 1.34-1.35 range. 

Currency Chart

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