Russian central bank raises key lending rate to 7 per cent

Escalating tensions in Ukraine hit world markets Monday with European share markets tumbling, while oil and gold prices jumped.

Europe’s benchmark EuroStoxx 600 fell 1.68 per cent to 332.33 points in early trading, with investors selling off Russian assets over fears that Moscow could face sanctions after its military advances in Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula.

The Russian ruble plummeted to a record low against the US dollar and shares on the Moscow stock market slumped about 10 per cent as Cold War-style tensions mounted between Moscow and Western nations.

US crude oil climbed 1.7 per cent to 104.31 dollars a barrel as investors grew concerned about the threat of supplies as a result of Russia’s military standoff with Kiev.

The price of gold — a safe haven investment in times of global tensions — rose 1.5 per cent to 1,347 dollars an ounce.

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