The euro was stuck near its lowest level since November and Russian markets tumbled for a third straight day on Monday as new European sanctions for Moscow chilled the already frosty relationship between the two.
The 28-nation European Union reached an outline agreement on Friday on its first economic sanctions on Russia. Its increasingly tough stance was underscored by German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, who said the “top priority” was peace rather than economic interests.
Russia warned the moves would hamper cooperation between the two and undermine the fight against terrorism, although Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday that Moscow would not impose tit-for-tat measures.
Europe’s main bourses were flat in subdued trade as strong earnings updates and relief over Russia’s response, and that the EU measures had steered away from Russia’s gas industry, balanced concerns about the impact of the sanctions.
There was more acute pain for Moscow stocks, however, with their woes compounded by an international court ruling that Russia must pay shareholders in defunct oil producer Yukos $50 billion for expropriating assets. That would be a big hit for a country teetering on the brink of recession.