Asian equities opened lower for a third straight day on Thursday as investors weighed developments in Russia and weak European economic data.
Moscow said on Wednesday that it will strike back at Western sanctions by banning certain imports. U.S. poultry imports have already been suspended and officials say U.S. agricultural products and European fruits and vegetables will also be included. The move follows a statement by NATO on Wednesday that Russia amassed around 20,000 troops on Ukraine’s border.
“If Putin was to invade [Ukraine], it would likely be under the proviso of a ‘peace-keeping mission’. The other scenario is he will retract his support for the rebels, meaning the current sanctions from the U.S. and Europe are working and are likely to spare Russia further financial hurt,” said Evan Lucas, market strategist at IG in a note.