The Russian attack on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station is being pointed to as the cause for the jitters in risk today, with Russian troops reportedly now occupying the territory. But let's try to digest the situation a little better, shall we?
A fire broke out at the power plant in question amid Russian shelling but since then, the fire has been contained and while Ukraine warned of a disaster that could be "ten times bigger" than Chernobyl, it does seem unlikely. I mean no doubt there are risks when nuclear power stations are caught in the crossfire of a warzone but unless we do see a significant escalation in military action to really target the reactors, then I would expect the jitters to fade.
Besides, with Russian troops now in that territory, I would expect the fears to subside. I reckon the real fear is Russia provoking such a devastating set of circumstances, perhaps leading to a major escalation in the war and with the West. In any case, we'll see.
But risk trades are still suffering on the day with European indices marked down sharply. The DAX is down 2.8% to its lowest since January last year and is closing in on notable support levels:
Other major European indices are also down over 2% with S&P 500 futures down 0.8% at the moment. Meanwhile, 10-year Treasury yields are down 5.9 bps to 1.785% as bonds are also bid on the session.
The only real standout in all of this continues to be the aussie and kiwi, which have been rather resilient despite the whole Russia-Ukraine saga. Besides soaring commodity prices, it is tough to pin much of a reason for either currency to outperform in a negative risk environment but it is what it is.
AUD/USD is up 0.5% on the day to 0.7365, holding near the highs for the day as it seeks a technical breakout.