Ruble dropping…Airspace closings…BP exiting Russian firm
UNDATED (AP) – The ruble has plunged against the U.S. dollar after Western nations moved to tighten sanctions against Russia, blocking some of its banks from the SWIFT global payments system. U.S. futures fell and shares were lower in Europe but mixed in Asia on Monday as President Vladimir Putin escalated tensions by ordering Russian nuclear forces be put on high alert. The Russian central bank raised its benchmark rate to 20% from 9.5% as it tried to stanch the ruble’s nosedive. A weaker ruble is likely to push prices higher, adding to strains on the economy.
UNDATED (AP) – The number of countries banning Russian airplanes is growing. The European Union and Canada said Sunday they would close their airspace to Russian airlines after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Aviation experts said the moves put more pressure on the United States to do the same. Russia has responded by banning flights from several European countries. On Sunday, a Moscow-New York flight by Russian national carrier Aeroflot turned back after passing over Norway. The plane had been routed to fly over Canada.
UNDATED (AP) – BP says it’s exiting its share in Rosneft, a state-owned Russian oil and gas company, in reaction to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. BP has held a 19.75% stake in Rosneft since 2013. It’s currently valued at $14 billion. The British company also said its CEO, Bernard Looney, and former BP executive Bob Dudley will immediately resign from Rosneft’s board. Looney says he’s been deeply shocked and saddened by the situation unfolding in Ukraine and and it has caused BP to fundamentally rethink the company’s position with Rosneft.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) – New Zealand is ending a requirement that incoming travelers isolate themselves. The country continues to remove coronavirus border protections in the face of a growing domestic outbreak. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the requirement that vaccinated travelers isolate for a week after arriving would end on Wednesday. Initially the changes will apply only to returning New Zealanders, as tourists are still not allowed to visit.
HONG KONG (AP) – Hong Kong reported a record-high 34,466 infections on Monday as deaths continued to climb. Health authorities say that a lockdown has not been ruled out even though the city’s leader previously said that a citywide lockdown was unrealistic. Hong Kong is currently grappling with the fifth wave of the coronavirus, driven primarily by the omicron variant. Health authorities said there could be measures put in place by the government that may involve “asking people to stay at home.” Several supermarkets’ shelves were wiped bare as residents stockpiled on daily necessities after rumors of lockdown circulated on social media.