To date, the fallout from the Ukrainian crisis has been largely confined to the emerging market debt, emerging market equity and commodity markets. At current levels, emerging market local currency debt appears to offer value, although we expect both the hard and local currency markets to remain volatile in the short term. Emerging equities reflect concerns not only around Russia and Ukraine but also the weaker growth outlook in Brazil and China. In commodities, Russia is a significant oil player, supplying 30% of Europe’s gas, with 50% of that piped through Ukraine. Any move to curb Russian oil exports by the EU could easily drive Brent crude oil into the $140-160 a barrel range. We therefore do not expect major sanctions against the country.
Elsewhere, investment grade and high yield markets have been unmoved by the crisis in Ukraine. Foreign exchange markets, outside of the obvious areas such as the rouble, have also ignored it. Developed market equity and bond markets have recently been driven by other factors such as the headwinds from a stronger pound for the UK equities, the severe weather in the U.S. and the weaker than expected European corporate results. Finally, core government bond investors have been focused on the softer U.S. macroeconomic data, which has seen 10-year Treasury yields fall. We are monitoring the situation closely, but as it looks today, markets are not expecting further intervention or action by Russia.