World oil prices dived and European equities rallied Tuesday as apparent progress in peace talks between Moscow and Kyiv sparked hope of an end to the Ukraine conflict.
Europe’s benchmark Brent crude and New York’s WTI sank by about 6.5 percent as traders eyed easing Russian oil supply fears amid face-to-face Istanbul talks aimed at resolving the nearly five-week-old war.
Europe’s major stock markets jumped higher, with Frankfurt soaring 3.5 percent, Paris winning 3.1 percent and London adding 1.2 percent.
The Russian ruble soared by 10 percent against the dollar and by 1.2 percent versus the euro.
Ukraine’s top negotiator declared Tuesday that enough progress had been made at talks to resolve the conflict with Russia to enable a meeting between the presidents of the two countries.
Russia will “radically” reduce its military activity in northern Ukraine, including near the capital Kyiv, after “meaningful” talks in Istanbul, Moscow’s negotiators said.
“It is the first time in this conflict where we have seen any indications for any form of easing of military action from the Russian side,” SEB analyst Bjarne Schieldrop told AFP.
“Until this point the Russian stand has been very firm of its goals.
“Now for the first time the market is hoping that there might actually be a way forward not being a full destruction and takeover of Ukraine.”
Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on February 24, sending world oil prices rocketing and stock markets slumping.
The ruble had plunged to an unprecedented level of 150 to the greenback in recent weeks.
Tuesday’s progress raises the possibility of a meeting between presidents Volodymyr Zelensky and Vladimir Putin that Moscow had shot down as recently as Monday.
Later on Tuesday, Brent shed 5.0 percent to $106.88 per barrel.
WTI stood at $99.58, down 6.0 percent from Monday.
“News coming from Turkey is looking increasingly promising, from the significant progress claimed by both sides to reports of Russia pledging to sharply reduce military operations,” OANDA foreign exchange platform analyst Craig Erlam told AFP.
“It’s looking more promising than at any stage since the invasion.
“Oil prices have fallen sharply on the latest headlines and with talks continuing tonight, there is potential for even more substantial progress to be made.
“While the removal of sanctions is unlikely as part of the peace process, it could remove further risks to Russian exports.”
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