BlackRock Investment Institute

Macro insights

Rising stress

The war in Ukraine has sparked a surge in global energy and commodity prices – the main macroeconomic impact of the tragic conflict so far. The shock is largest in Europe, where natural gas prices shot up more than they did during previous energy price shocks.

Measures of systemic stress in the financial system are now rising – potentially highlighting another channel to transmit the shock. This is most pronounced in the euro area, as the chart shows. Countries with close geographic or commercial ties to Russia, such as Finland, Austria and Netherlands, have seen moves on a par with earlier stressed episodes in 2015-17. The U.S. stress indicator has ticked up, though the overall level remains much more muted than in the euro area.

Largest shock is in Europe

Chart showing the ECB measure of financial stress

Sources: BlackRock Investment Institute, European Central Bank, March 2022. Notes: The chart shows the ECB’s composite index of systemic stress. This monitors a range of mainly market-based financial stress measures. See for more details.

Further financial stress increases the risk of market dislocations in the euro area. We believe the European Central Bank’s policy normalization remains on track, yet the shock’s hit to activity could temper the pace and size of interest rate increases.

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Elga Bartsch
Head of Macro Research
Read bio
Nicholas Fawcett
Macro Research

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