European shares edged lower at the end of last week, weighed down by geopolitical risks in the aftermath of the MH17 Malaysian Airlines crash over eastern Ukraine. Investors reacted with caution to the uncertainty over how the downing of the jetliner would impact the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and separatists, as well as the widening rift between Russia and the West, marketwatch.com informs. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 closed even, while the FTSE gained 0.1 per cent, led higher by ITV and Shire on the back of positive news for both London-listed firms in the last couple of days. The German Dax extended Thursday’s losses, slipping 0.4 per cent. The prospect of a prolonged and more volatile dispute between Russia and the West, already experiencing a troubled relationship in the last few months, sent the rouble tumbling, down 0.2 per cent to 35.25 against the dollar. The Russian rouble denominated Micex dropped 1.9 per cent in the first minute of trading, and down 1.6 per cent at Friday midday. Shares of Malaysian Airlines dropped sharply by 11.1 per cent Friday as investors rushed to sell their stock in the carrier after its second major tragedy this year. Overnight, Japan’s Nikkei 225’s index fell 1.1 per cent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index dropped 0.7 per cent, but Asian bourses reversed much more significant early losses. On Wall Street, the Dow fell 0.94 per cent from Wednesday’s record close, while the S&P 500 sank 1.18 per cent and the Nasdaq was down 1.41 per cent. The yen’s initial advances against the euro also subsided. The single currency bought Y137.23 in Tokyo afternoon trade after sinking to Y136.72 earlier in the day. The euro was at USD 1.3533 against USD 1.3525. The US dollar bought 3.196 Malaysian ringgit, up from 3.175 ringgit Thursday.
The Bucharest Stock Exchange closed on Friday in downward slope with low liquidity provided 40 per cent by transactions and deals with shares of Oltenia Financial Investment Fund. At the moment, the local capital market is not affected by the reactions of investors following the MH 17 plane crash.
Local tourism next to pay toll
However, the local tourism seems to feel the concern of people regarding safety in Europe due to Romania being close to the two states involved in the air disaster. Many tourists on other continents avoid this zone and Romania implicitly, deeming it unsafe, according to tourism operators who say that the number of Romanians flying to Russia or the Scandinavian states will drop. For example, Gheorghe Fodoreanu, owner of Invitation Romania agency, explained that any major air disaster brings a negative repercussion in the world, and that the number of passengers on any passenger airliner drops 0.1 to 0.5 percent worldwide which is a huge number. Meanwhile, Romanian airline TAROM’s flight from Bucharest to Moscow scheduled at 1.05 pm EET maintains its normal departure time, but will avoid passing through Ukraine’s airspace, TAROM communication manager Georgeta Dinu announced, Agerpres informs. She mentioned that Ukraine’s airspace is closed anyhow. ‘Passengers can come to the plane,’ she pointed out. TAROM’s website mentions that the RO 241/2 flights from Bucharest to Moscow and back are using a detour to avoid Ukraine. Several other airlines also announced they will avoid Ukraine’s airspace. Moreover, according to ROMATSA, the traffic in the air area of Romania went up by 15 percent after some flights were redirected, following the air disaster.