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Markets fall as commodities price gains fuel inflation fears

bitcoin images behind computer with financial trading charts on the screen

Rising commodities prices are fanning flames that inflation will continue to increase and reduce the pace of economic growth.

Stock markets across Asia are lower on Tuesday, with US equity futures negative.

The S&P/ASX 200 slipped below 7000 and made a final dive to close at the day's lows, losing 0.8% to 6980.30, weighed down by energy stocks and the materials sector.

Bloomberg is reporting that traders on Monday piled into options that oil could surge even further after rising to the highest since 2008, with some even placing low-cost bets that futures surpass US$200 before the end of March. Oil has rallied more than 30% since the invasion on 24 February and traders and banks are betting prices will keep climbing.

JPMorgan Chase said last week that Brent crude could end the year at US$185 a barrel should Russian supplies continue to be disrupted, while Australia & New Zealand Banking Group saw around 5 million barrels a day of pipeline and seaborne oil supplies being impacted by new sanctions. 

Other commodities including wheat and corn have seen dramatic price spikes on fear of supply restrictions after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Nickel prices surge 90% to a record as the metal used in stainless steel and electric vehicles soared to a record of US$55,000 a tonne on Monday, before closing at US$48,078 a tonne. The spike was fueled by a short squeeze and concerns over tightening supplies from Russia, according to Bloomberg. Prices rose as much as 12.3% to US$53,980 a tonne on Tuesday, and traded at US$53,100 a tonne by 11:06 a.m. Shanghai time.

The Aussie dollar is at US73.11c against the US dollar.

Bitcoin is US$38,448.

Gold is US$1989.50 an ounce.

Brent crude oil is around US$127.67 a barrel.

WTI crude oil is at US$122.36 a barrel.

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