What Did The First 21 Days Of War Showed Financial Markets?

By Tomasz Wisniewski|

Published: September 01 2022, 08:54 GMT+0

What Did The First 21 Days Of War Showed Financial Markets?

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine started on 21st February 2022, when the Russian government recognized the independence of two states in Ukraine. Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republic declared their independence, which triggered the first spark of war between Russia and Ukraine.


As a global event taking place in one of the most crucial economic centers, the war impacted global financial markets and economics around the world. Major financial areas like currencies, stocks, and commodities markets took a massive hit where the price of crude oil crossed $120 per barrel for the first time since the financial crisis of 2008.


The US and most European countries imposed large sanctions on Russian corporations, which made the situation more complicated. Multiple Russian companies were delisted from the London Stock Exchange market, and Ukrainian corporations suffered devaluation in stock price.


Let’s take a look at the way the Russian-Ukrainian war is affecting our lives, the life of financial markets, and what the future looks like for us.

Stock markets

Moscow stock exchange market suspended operation under the ongoing war and the imposed sanctions. The US and the EU officials announced waves of sanctions against Russian businesses and personnel, causing Russian corporations to run out of business.

MOEX index

The Russian (Moscow Exchange) index started falling directly after Russia declared the independence of Donetsk PR and Luhansk PR. The stock price went down -10% o 21st Feb, which remained stable for the next day.


However, when Russia announced the attack on Ukraine, the MOEX index took a sharp decline of more than -33%, and on 25th it was suspended. The suspension was inevitable in the light of strict sanctions by Europe, and the prohibition of European investors to deal with any Russian stock or financial institutes.

MSCI’s Russia index

The MSCI measures the performance of medium and large-cap companies in Russia, which took a slight decline by -12% on 21s February. However, the index price experienced a major hit on the 24th when it sank more than -39%.


This decline was expected since large waves of sanctions were imposed on Russian businesses, causing plenty of European investors to withdraw from any Russian investment, and banning the Russian products from entering the EU.

Russian corporations

There are more than 31 Russian companies listed in the London Stock Exchange market, with a total market value of 468 bln GBP, and since the UK was leading the sanctions against the Russian government and businesses, Russian companies in LSE were targeted.

Russian corporations in the European stock exchange markets started losing value and eventually hit rock bottom. Most Russian companies left the EU and were motivated to improve their business in their homeland, which in most cases, failed. These sanctioned companies include:


  • Sberbank
  • Gazprom
  • Lukoil
  • Polyus
  • Rosneft
  • EN+
  • Yandex


The state-owned bank was hugely impacted by the sanctions that took place on Russian entities. During the first day of the conflict, Sberbank in Russia lost 20% of its stock price, before falling another -35% when the war started on 24th February. 


Then on the 25th, the Moscow stock exchange market temporarily ceased operations and the stock price remained at the same price of $131, recording a price fall of more than -45% in less than 5 days.


Sberbank subsidiaries in other European markets were foreclosed, as sanctions tightened and the stock price of Sberbank in the London stock exchange market dropped from $12 to $0.45 in one week. Eventually, Sberbank pulled out from the London stock exchange market and the German stock market, announcing that Sberbank ceased operations in European markets.


Gazprom is Russia’s largest corporation by market capitalization, and one of the world’s leaders in energy production. The company is known for its close ties with the Russian state, which made it a target for heavy sanctions imposed by the US and EU leaders.


The company was harshly hit when the conflict started on 21st February. The stock price lost more than -16% of its value. A few days later when the war started, Gazprom stock price dropped another -25% from $283 to $210. The following day, the stock price went up to $228 and remained unchanged because the Moscow stock exchange closed until further notice.


On the other hand, In the EU, Gazprom faced bankruptcy and was forced to close its subsidiaries and withdraw from the European markets. Gazprom stock price in the London exchange market dropped by -12% in one day on the 21st Feb. 


Two days later when the war started raging on the 24th, the stock price dropped another -28%, pulling the stock price from $7 per stock to just below $5 in one day. The EU tightened its sanctions on Russian-backed corporations and Gazprom suffered another loss as its stock price in the London stock exchange dropped to almost $0.


Moreover, Gazprom corporation is the main shareholder for Nordstream, which is a network of pipelines carrying natural gas and oil from Russia to Europe, passing through Germany. The European and American sanctions on Gazprom ran Nordstream out of business.


European countries announced that they would no more participate in the recent project Nordstream2, and since Gazprom was slashed with heavy sanctions, the Nordstream headquarters also announced its bankruptcy, laying off all its employees.


Lukoil is a Russian petroleum company that ranks high in the global oil and gas market. The sanctions that followed the war have damaged the company and its subsidiaries in more than 25 countries around the world.


Even before any state sanctions took place, the public was calling to refrain from filling their cars with Lukoil petrol. In the US alone, there are more than 200 petrol stations that were boycotted by people, and later sanctioned by governmental sanctions, causing the stock price of Lukoil to fall dramatically. 


During the first day of the conflict, Lukoil stock price went -10%, which deepened in two days to more than -22% before the stock market stopped operating from 24th February and remained non-functional towards the end of March.


In the London stock exchange market, Lukoil lost around -10% of its stock price on the first day of the conflict, and when the war started, the company lost more than -45% in LSE. However, when the sanctions tightened on Lukoil, its stock price hit rock bottom, and in March it is worth almost $0.


Russia’s largest gold producer, and one of the top gold mining companies in the world. The company and its owners were subject to the sanctions imposed by the EU community and the US. 


During the first day of the conflict on 21st February, the company stock price went down -4.5% in the Moscow stock exchange market. However, when the war started on 24th, the stock price dropped a sharp -25%, taking the stock price from $13,000 to $9,800 in one day.


The company is listed in the London stock exchange market and has a head office in London, which was highly harmed by the UK sanctions against Russian businessmen.


Polyus subsidiary in the UK faced harsh deterioration, the stock price went a slight -4% on the first day of the conflict, followed by a drop by -21% when the war started on 24th February. But when the sanctions tightened on Russian companies, the stock price on LSE went down more than -95%.


Polyus stock price in London went from $78 to $3 in less than one week, and eventually, it was forced to cease trading in the London stock exchange.


Rosneft is a large gas and crude oil production company, it is one of the largest energy companies in Russia besides Gasprom, and ranks 24th globally in terms of revenue as an energy company.


International investors from Europe, North America, and Asia represent 36% of the company shareholders, who started withdrawing their investments from Rosneft. British Petroleum, divested its 19.5% shares from Rosneft, and other petroleum companies from Norway followed course.


Rosneft stock price in MOEX dropped -15% on 21st February when the first spark of the war happened, which later fell more than -37% when Russia invaded Ukraine. A few days later, the Moscow stock exchange froze and the stock price remained at $307, recording a drop from $519 the previous week.


Rosneft stock is also traded in the London stock exchange market, and it witnessed a -15% drop on the first day of the conflict on 21st Feb. However, when the war started on 24th, the stocks price dropped more than -50%, and later went to $0.6 on the 2nd of March and got delisted from the LSE board.


EN+ Group is an Anglo-Russian metal and energy corporation, producing aluminum and green energy from hydropower generators. The company became a target for the EU sanctions due to the involvement of UK investors and businessmen with this group.


On the first day of the conflict on 21st February, EN+ Group lost more than $100 in the Moscow stock exchange market in one day, recording a drop in the stock price by -12%. Two days later when the war started, the stock price lost more than -20%.


Then, on 25th February the Moscow stock exchange market stopped operating, putting an end to the fall of the EN plus stock price from $930 to $640 in less than one week.


EN+ Group was also traded in the London stock exchange market, but the sanctions caused the stock price to fall and stop trading. The stock price dropped -25% in 5 days, and was suspended from trading under the heavy sanctions on the company and its owners.


Yandex is a multinational company headed in Russia, and it provides more than 70 internet-based products and services. Yandex services vary in more than 15 countries, including internet search engines, e-commerce, online advertising, and transportation.


The company was promoting itself as a competitor for many Google services, but this competition did not last as sanctions took over the company. Yandex search was removed from many internet explorers as a search engine, and Uber withdraw from a potential collaboration with Yandex taxi.


Yandex stock price in MOEX dropped around -12% on 21st February when the speculation for war increased, causing many of its services to be halted, and spreading fear into most of its investors.


During the first day of the war on 24th February, Yandex’s stock price fell by -36%, and the next day Yandex stopped trading as the stock market halted. Yandex’s stock price remained at $1,931 after being $3,475 one week earlier. 


The tightened sanctions on Yandex and its shareholders, pushed the CEO to resign as he was subject to the EU sanctions. 


Yandex stock is traded in the NASDAQ composite as well, and the stock price performed as a similar collapse. The stock price went from $44 to $20 in four days, recording a drop of -54%.

Ukrainian corporations

The war between Russia and Ukraine caused most of the corporations in Ukraine to cease operations and foreclose. Even if companies were able to produce, they are most likely going to struggle to sell or export their products under security threats.

Kernel Holding

Kernel Holding S.A. is the largest agricultural company in Ukraine, it excels at producing sunflower oil, as well as other grains and seeds. The exports of Kernel have a global reach, which was switched internally due to the war.


When the war started, Kernel turned its products from exporting internationally to feeding the local ready meals and distributing raw materials for the stranded population.


Kernel Holding is a publicly-traded company in the Warsaw stock exchange market, which faced aggravated devaluation because of the war. During the first day of conflict on 21st Feb, the stock prince suffered a -9% drop in one day. Moreover, when the war started, Kernel’s stock price went -50% down.


The drop did not stop because the Warsaw stock market did not stop operations, but Kernel stock price took another dip by -24% during the first week of the war.


However, the stock price recovered slightly in the coming weeks, and during the first half of March, the stock price climbed from $19 to $35, recording more than +80% increase towards the end of March.


A regional energy company that produces electricity of the Donbas region in Ukraine, and one of the leaders in power producers for households in Ukraine. The company suffered from the war, and considering the region is on the crossfire, the company halted operations.


The company is publicly traded in the PFTS Ukraine stock exchange market, and its stock price suffered from a devaluation of more than -37% between 15-22 February, when it ceased operations.


Ukrnafta is the largest oil and gas producer in Ukraine, and it owns more than 500 fuel stations across the country.


The company suffered from the Russian-Ukrainian war, it has stopped operating most of its fuel stations and abandoned plants in areas with security threats. The stock price of Ukrnafta dropped around -14% during the first week of the war, before completely ceasing operations.


NASDAQ composite

Several Russian corporations are enlisted in the NASDAQ composite and it’s logical that these companies were affected by the Russian-Ukrainian war.


After the US president imposed a series of sanctions against Russian corporations and businessmen, companies that were traded in NASDAQ were part of the sanction. Companies like Yandex, Ozon Holdings, and Qiwi Plc were halted from being traded, which caused NASDAQ prices to slowly decline.


During the first day of the conflict, NASDAQ lost around -1% of its value, which might not seem significant. But a few days later when the war started, NASDAQ lost another -4% of its value.


A few days into the war, the NASDAQ price rebounded by around +2%. However, several waves of sanctions were imposed on Russian businessmen, and NASDAQ lost around 8% of its value during the first half of March 2022, recording a price decline from $13,750 to $12,580.

S&P 500

The S&P 500 index trembled when the war started between Russia and Ukraine. Investors started pulling out their investments from Russian corporations under sanctions, especially Russian energy companies.


Additionally, the sharp increase in oil prices caused investors to rearrange their portfolios, and they started withdrawing from some markets to invest more in power and energy stocks.


The first day of the conflict witnessed the highest drop in one day since 2020, where the index lost almost -3% of its value, and it has recovered one week later by 1% upwards. However, after two weeks into the war, S&P 500 price index dipped another -4%, while markets were calling investors not to pull out all their investments because that would worsen the situation.


In the second half of March, S&P 500 index went back to its pre-war price after climbing around 7% up to $4,500.


European stock markets took a massive hit. They are geographically close to the warzone and have more Russian companies and businessmen investing in EU stocks.


On 21st February the STOXX index dropped by 1%, which might be an insignificant loss for many traders. However, when the war started, the European stock index recorded a -2.2% drop in one trading day.


The STOXX index fall did not stop, and when more sanctions were imposed on Russian businesses and companies, EU stocks’ lost more value. By the first week of March, STOXX 600 index dropped more than -10% from its price before the war.


Negotiations between the disputing parties took place with increasing hope to stop the war, which gave some hope for the market. Also, after three weeks into the war, markets managed to recover from the shock and regained their value as prices climbed from $415 to $450.

MSCI’s 24-country emerging markets index

The price index of emerging markets got quite disturbed by the war, the index included some Russian corporations that were subject to sanctions and were left out of the index.


The Russian market itself was considered a prospect emerging market, but boycotting many of these companies shocked the emerging markets price index.


The MSCI index for emerging markets dropped a slight -1% during the first day when the Russian government recognized the independence of Luhansk PR and Donetsk PR, but this fall increased in the coming days.


When the war started on the 24th, the MSCI index for emerging markets recorded a major fall of -4% in one day, which had a snowball effect as the US, and the EU government announced a series of sanctions against Russia.


From the beginning of March, several sanctions were imposed on Russian businessmen and Russian corporations, delisting many of their companies from global stock markets and banning assets and bank accounts of Russian businessmen. 


The first half of March witnessed a significant devaluation as the index lost around -12% of its value, before slightly recovering in the light of cease-fire negotiations.


Military stocks

In the time of war, it is logical to expect military stocks to increase. These companies produce armory and equipment intended for military use. Additionally, the spending from the department of defense increases, and military companies invest more to provide top-notch military tools.

BWX Technologies

BWX provides the US army with controlled nuclear missiles, nuclear equipment, and energy. The US government supplies the Ukrainian army and the NATO forces with weaponry and arms, and under Russia’s nuclear threats, the US and its allies are expected to level up their Nuclear technology and equipment to deter any nuclear war. 


During the first day of the war, the stock price increased around +10% in one day, which was the start of a progressive stock price increase.


Two weeks into the war, BWX Technology’s stock price surged to $55, recording an increase of +30% compared to the stock price before the war. The price then stabilized between $52 and $54, which is still higher than the pre-war stock price of $42.

L3Harris Technologies

L3Harris provides the US army with tactical weapons, wireless equipment, and controlled army vehicles. The US government did not directly get involved in the war, but it indirectly participated by providing logistical support and spent more on military supplies.


L3Harris Technologies stock recorded an increase of +3% during the first day of the war on the 24th. However, the price increase went from $216 to $270 per share during the first two weeks of the war, recording stock growth of +25%. 



In a state of war, governmental spending, trade patterns between countries, and national economical growth change. These factors affect the value of local and international currencies around the world.


Russia is an important trade partner for most countries around the world, supplying different products globally like agricultural products, energy supplies, and internet services. Therefore, starting the war between Russia and Ukraine caused huge fluctuation for these currencies.


The war did nothing but worsened the Ruble valuation against the US dollar and most currencies around the world. 


During the first day of the conflict on 21st February, the Ruble lost more than -3% of its value in one day. This decline could be reasoned by the negative speculations about the future of the decisions of the Russian government.


The war was declared on the 24th, and the Rubble took another blow of -4% in one day, marking the start of a historical fall. Population feared the worse and started withdrawing their saving, and banks saw queues of people waiting to cash out their money from ATMs.


The decreased demand for the Russian RUB caused it to lose its value. People refrained from spending and started saving their cash, which caused the Russian government to impose restrictions on the amount of USD and EUR people could withdraw from their bank accounts.


The economical life in Russia stagnated, and one week into the war, the Ruble lost more than -23% of its value as 1 RUB went from $0.01232 to $0.00945 in three days.


The US president besides EU leaders imposed several sanctions on Russian officials and businessmen, seized their assets, and prohibited them from trading.


The sanctions barred Russian corporations from trading in European and American stock markets and blocked them from using international payment systems such as SWIFT. Therefore, the value of the Ruble deteriorated further, and Russian businessmen started exchanging their holdings of the Ruble into any other currency mainly USD and EUR.


In the second week into the war, the Ruble lost another -28% of its value against the US dollar because of extended sanctions on Russian corporations that ran some companies in Europe out of business, and multiple corporations got delisted from the London stock exchange market.


As part of the way, it is natural to see the Ukrainian Hryvnia losing its value. Ukrainian factories stopped operating, people ran away from war zones, and economical life halted. This caused the UAH to lose its value from the very first days of the war.


On 21st Feb when the conflict occurred in the Donbas region, the UAH lost -1% of its value against the US dollar. Later, when the war started on the 24th, the Hryvnia dropped almost -6% of its value. Without further declines, UAH kept its low value for the coming weeks into the war.



The war did not only affect the participants of the war. The magnitude reached to other countries in Europe, especially Eastern European countries that are not part of the Eurozone and have a relatively fragile currency.


Countries like Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Poland got indirectly affected by the war as they held close ties with Russian trader partners. Many of these nationals work in Russia and send remittances to their families back home.


People in Eastern European countries feared the unknown and started withdrawing their money from their bank accounts, while some of them started exchanging their local currencies to the USD or EUR as a safer option.


Since these countries’ currencies are already fragile, any change in the structure can cause massive significant volatility. These currencies faced devaluation around -8% to -12% of their value before the war.


This decline reached its peak during the second week of the war, and most of these currencies gained back around 5% of their previous values.


Russia is an important trade partner with Europe, providing energy and power products like gas, oil, and coal to Europe, besides gold and other precious metals to the world. 


European countries imposed sanctions on Russian businesses and cut ties with the Russian government. Most European countries stopped importing several goods from Russia and barred Russian investors from businesses in different European countries.


Therefore, the Euro faced a prominent decline against the US dollar because most European countries lost important Russian investments, and many investors pulled out from their businesses in Europe. 


The Euro lost around -1% of its value during the first day of the war, and continued falling in the coming days. Two weeks into the war, the Euro devalued against the USD again by -3%, recording a decline of more than -4% from $1.1325 to $1.0852, falling below $1.1 for the first time since 2020.




Russia and Ukraine are major producers of agricultural products like grains, sunflower seeds, and wheat, and having the war between them has definitely bad outcomes on the world’s supply of agricultural goods.


War caused factories in Ukraine to shut down, pushing global prices of commodities futures to rise and hit new records.


During the first day of the war, global prices of wheat futures rose by almost +5% in one day, which kept growing as the war was raging. Two weeks later, the price shot for a new high at $1,425 and recorded more than a +75% increase compared to prices before the war.


The price later dropped and remained in the range of $1,000 – $1,100, which is still at least 35% higher than previous prices.


Russia is one of the main producers of major metals like aluminum and copper, and the Russian-backed company Rusal is considered the largest aluminum producer by output. 


When the war happened, the production volume changed, and the demand increased for most metals required in army vehicles production. These changes caused the prices of metal futures in the financial markets to witness a significant increase.


The copper price grew and peaked on the 4th of March recording a +10% increase compared to the pre-war prices. Additionally, aluminum futures grew at a higher rate, and by the second day into the war, the aluminum price grew more than +17% compared to the price before the war.


Russia is one of the top oil-producing countries, it comes 2nd in oil production globally, and has three refinery companies that rank on top 10 companies around the world.


The war between Russia and Ukraine impacted the status of supply and demand. The Russian department of defense’s demand for oil increased to fuel tanks and vehicles. At the same time, the US stopped importing Russian oil which amounted to 8% of the US oil arsenal. And the EU also stopped cooperating with Russian oil companies and expelled them out of the EU.


These changes pushed crude oil and Brent oil to record prices. The WTI crude oil price started increasing during the first week of the war, and it jumped +2.5% in the first three days. Later, by the 2nd week, the oil price peaked at $123 on the 8th of March recording a historical +35% growth.


While the Brent oil had a similar performance, the price grew +2% after three days into the war. Eventually, the price kept increasing and hit a new record growth of +37% as it peaked at $127 on 8-March.

On March 8th alone, the price of the Brent oil fluctuated 10% around the market price, it reached up to $133 before closing at $127.


This increase caused importers to look for alternatives as they sought to cut relations with the Russian government, and they were looking for a cheaper source to import oil.

Natural gas

Similar to oil production, Russia is the second-largest gas producer, and the war has largely affected the supply of natural gas, and the global price of gas futures.


During the first day of the war, the price dropped -4% of its value, before catching up on a straight increase in the coming days. During the first week into the war, the price increased by +13% compared to pre-war prices, which kept increasing by the 3rd week of March to more than +18%


The US recorded a 7.9% inflation rate in February 2022, which is the highest in 40-years. However, it is expected that inflations rates around the world will keep increasing in the light of the ongoing war.


The historical increase in oil prices, besides the increase in most agricultural products, will lead to an increase in households expenditures. Fuel, food, and raw materials will cost more and the prices may not settle in the foreseeable future.


This will lead to higher inflations rates in the US and in Europe, where imports are going to cost more, and currencies will fluctuate at a higher rate. 


The UK is expecting to witness an increased inflation rate of +5.6%, which is the highest in 5-years and is even higher than its rates during the infamous Covid-19 severe spread.


The recent events of the war between Russia and Ukraine pushed the US breakeven to increase by almost 3%, which besides the increased inflations rate can only promise that life is going to be expensive for the US citizens. 



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