SINGAPORE, RAW – Asian shares took a beating in early trade and oil prices jumped as a report of a nuclear power plant on fire amid continued fierce fighting between Ukraine and Russian troops further unnerved investors.
RIA News agency cited the Ukrainian atomic energy ministry as saying that a generating unit at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the largest of its kind in Europe, has been hit during an attack by Russian troops.
S&P 500 futures shed 1.6 per cent and Nasdaq futures lost 1.8 per cent. Overnight, Wall Street ended lower as investors remained on edge over the Ukraine crisis, while rising prices of commodities also weighed on market sentiment.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan shed 0.8 per cent and traded near the day’s lows. Markets across Asia were in a sea of red, with Japan down 2.3 per cent, South Korea fell 1.4 per cent and commodities-heavy Australia also lost 1.2 per cent.
Oil prices jumped on Friday after ending steady a day earlier, with the market also focused on whether the OPEC+ producers, including Saudi Arabia and Russia, would increase output from January.
The euro shed further ground and was set for its worst week versus the dollar in nine months. It fell 0.44 per cent to $1.1022.