It almost feels like we’ve stepped back in time two years as lockdowns in China once again rock the markets,” says AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould.
The two-day restrictions imposed in Shanghai are evidence that the pandemic is not yet over and inevitably, given the implications for global growth, have put oil prices under pressure.
It was no surprise to see Asian stocks slump on the move as the region’s dominant economy is once again threatened by the sceptre of Covid-19.
“The FTSE 100 is preferring to focus on renewed peace talks between Russia and Ukraine, amid hopes there can at least be a move towards an end in the fighting,” said AJ Bell’s Russ Mould.
“A return to the status quo which existed before the invasion seems impossible though and the implications of the conflict are almost certain to be lasting whenever it comes to an end.
“President Biden brought about as much calm to the situation as Will Smith at the Oscars as unscripted remarks hinted at regime change in Moscow over the weekend.
“While these comments have been hastily walked back by officials acutely aware that the ad lib is helpful to Russia, in a sense the damage has already been done.
“Elsewhere, Natwest is finally free of state control after well over a decade as the UK Government reduced its stake below 50%, though any champagne might have to be put on ice given the challenges facing the bank from the cost-of-living crisis and the risks of mounting bad debts.
“At least the company is having a happier Monday than its rival Barclays. The £450 million hit it announced after issuing too many financial instruments makes this a very expensive mistake and one which will both hit the company’s credibility and frustrate shareholders looking forward to a now delayed share buyback.”