EMERGING MARKETS-Russia, neighbors spooked by geopolitics; Brazil supported by GDP
By Walter Brandimarte and Sujata Rao
RIO DE JANEIRO/LONDON Feb 27 (Reuters) - Geopolitical tensions drove Russia's rouble to five-year lows against the dollar while pushing Ukraine's hryvnia 9 percent lower, but Brazilian markets were supported by data showing the economy grew far more than expected at the end of 2013.
Russia's defiant response to the political turmoil in neighboring Ukraine spooked investors in Europe and Asia, with Moscow quoted as saying fighter jets along Russia's western borders had been put on combat alert.
Moscow has also said it would defend the rights of its compatriots in a "strong and uncompromising" manner, while Kiev warned the Kremlin against any troop moves in Crimea, which has a big ethnic Russian population.
"People are drawing parallels with the 2008 Russia-Georgia war," said Manik Narain, a strategist at UBS in London.
"There are definitely fears about geopolitics, (at a time when) the general mood towards emerging markets is not great. The concern is this could develop into a proper civil war in Ukraine that splits the country."
While the ripples from Ukraine spread as far as Asia, the biggest impact was felt closer to home.
The hryvnia hit a new low against the dollar, trading beyond 11 per dollar a day after the central bank said it was no longer supporting the currency. Its year-to-date losses amount to around 25 percent. Continuación...