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Last chance saloon

Published Friday, March 14th, 2014

With Ukraine tensions at an all-time high, the meeting in London between John Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, surely represents the last chance to resolve the crisis before Crimea holds its referendum on Sunday. Any prospect of Russia backing down from its plans to annex the region appears to be ever more unlikely after it launched new military exercises near the Ukrainian border and prompted Germany’s Chancellor to warn of a catastrophe should it fail to change course.

As if geopolitical concerns weren’t enough to contend with, investor sentiment took a big hit from poor Chinese macroeconomic data. Disappointing industrial production and retail figures have all but confirmed China’s sluggish start to the year and provide further evidence of a slowdown of its economy. The outcome for risk assets was all too predictable as US benchmark indices experienced their biggest daily fall since February with the S&P 500 closing below the psychologically important 1,850 level.

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Posted by David Hufton