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Oil prices leap 5%; Asia markets dip as investors assess Russia-Ukraine crisis

SINGAPORE — U.S. crude was up more than 5%, and shares in Asia-Pacific traded lower on Monday as investors monitor the Russia-Ukraine crisis and related sanctions.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were 5.63% higher at $96.75 per barrel in Asia trade.

International benchmark Brent crude crossed the $100 level last week, even touching $105 before paring gains. Both oil contracts settled more than 1% lower on Friday.

Spot gold, traditionally a safe haven in times of uncertainty, last traded at $1,910.46, rising 1.21%.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 futures shed 0.56%, while the Topix was down 0.2%.

In South Korea, the Kospi was down 0.35%, but the Kosdaq was marginally higher.

The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia was down 0.21%.

Elsewhere, Taiwan markets are closed for a holiday on Monday.

Global markets were volatile last week following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. U.S. stocks climbed before closing on Friday, but futures were falling in overnight trade on Sunday.

Russia continued its advance into Ukraine over the weekend, with reports of fighting on the streets and forces encircling Kyiv.

President Vladimir Putin on Sunday put his country’s deterrence forces, which reportedly include nuclear capabilities, on high alert in response to international backlash to Russia’s invasion.

The U.S. and its allies announced new sanctions and measures to hit Russia, such as removing selected Russian banks from the interbank messaging system, SWIFT.

Many countries have also said they will close their airspace to Russian aircraft.

On the diplomatic front, representatives from the Ukraine and Russian governments have agreed to meet at the Ukraine-Belarus border with “no preconditions,” according to Ukraine’s Defense Ministry. Belarus, which shares a border with both Ukraine and Russia, has close ties with Moscow.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 97.036, up from 96.615.

The Japanese yen traded at 115.58, weakening slightly from 115.56, while the Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7181, down from $0.7232.

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