Weekly news summary for February 18 to February 24

Friday, Feb. 18: Celanese to Acquire DuPont Unit in $11B Deal

Celanese Corp. is set to acquire the majority of DuPont de Nemours Inc.’s mobility and materials unit in an $11-billion deal as the US chemistry company modifies its business portfolio to focus more on ventures with significant growth and margin.

The deal marks DuPont’s largest since its separation from chemical conglomerate DowDuPont Inc. and pushes forward chief executive Ed Breen’s plans to strengthen the company’s electronics and water solutions businesses.

Monday, Feb. 21: Global Stocks Post 3-Week Lows on Ukraine Crisis

Global stocks were down to a three-week low, and European equities shed 1.65% to their lowest in over four months on Monday, as concerns over Russia invading Ukraine kept markets vigilant for any escalation in the issue.

MSCI’s world equity index declined 0.4% to 700.11, and British stocks slipped 0.5%, while the Russian stock market saw a 9% drop to post a 14-month low, and the ruble shed almost 3% against the US dollar.

Tuesday, Feb. 22: Oil Prices Reach 7-Year High on Ukraine Tensions

Oil prices climbed to a seven-year high while the S&P 500 index entered a correction on Tuesday, after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered military troops into Ukraine’s separatist regions, Donetsk and Luhansk, raising the possibility of a supply disruption in Russia.

Brent crude oil surged $99.50 per barrel to its highest since September 2014, and the US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude hit a seven-year high of $96 per barrel, while the S&P 500 shed 1% to its lowest closing level since late 2021 due to weaknesses in the energy and consumer discretionary sector.

Wednesday, Feb. 23: West Announces New Sanctions on Russia

The West has responded to Russia’s decision to move military forces into eastern Ukraine, following Moscow’s recognition of two independent regions in the country, by announcing sanctions aimed at Russian banks and their ability to operate globally.

The latest sanctions, which included 27 individuals and entities such as banks funding Russian operations and officials in the breakaway territories, appeared limited, but the toughest sanctions may not yet be levied as a preventive measure to greater tensions and a total invasion of Ukraine, including Kyiv.

Thursday, Feb. 24: Gold Rises as Ukraine-Russia Crisis Escalates

Gold prices edged higher on Thursday, closing in on a nine-month high, driven by investors seeking safety after Russian troops entered eastern Ukraine and Ukraine announced a state of emergency in response to Donbas separatists’ call for Russian help in preventing aggression.

Gold futures gained 1.77% to $1,944.20, having hit their highest since June 2021 at $1,913.89 on Tuesday, while palladium was trading at $2,527.52, close to a near six-month high reached the previous day.

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