- Ukraine tensions rise
- BOJ keeps policy unchanged
- UK industrial output gains
- ECB unlikely to ease policy in near-term, says Goldman
FTSE 100: -0.95%
CAC 40: -0.75%
FTSE MIB: -1.38%
IBEX 35: -1.76%
Stoxx 600: -0.71%
European stocks declined as the turmoil between Ukraine and Russia escalated.
Ukraine has launched military operation in into its eastern regions and arrested approximately 70 separatists that had seized government buildings in Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv this week.
Russia today warned Ukraine that any use of force in the eastern regions could lead to a civil war.
The US has accused Russia of initiating the raids and said there is evidence that some protesters may be paid provocateurs.
Tensions remain high after Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine last month.
Meanwhile, the Bank of Japan decided to maintain interest rates and its pledge to increase the monetary base at an annual pace of 60tn to 70tn yen, as expected by analysts.
UK industrial production
UK industrial production grew by 0.9% on the month in February and by 2.7% year-on-year, according to the Office for National Statistics.
The consensus estimate had been for a rise of 0.3% month-on-month and 2.2% year-on-year.
Later today the International Monetary Fund publishes new forecasts, outlining the state of the global economy.
Analysts predict it will reveal an increase in global growth estimates on the back of expansion in advanced economies including the UK and the US.
Goldman lowers euro/dollar forecast
Goldman Sachs has lowered its forecast for the euro/dollar to $1.38, $1.34, $1.30 for three, six and 12 months' time, respectively, from a previous estimate of $1.38, $1.40, $1.40.
The bank based its estimate on the fact that it sees no urgency from the European Central Bank (ECB) to ease monetary policy in the near term. Goldman also noted that US data is yet to "rebound convincingly".
"However, by the middle of the year inflation may not have picked up as much as the ECB hopes, even as US data are likely to have improved," the banksaid.
Annual inflation fell to 0.5% in March from 0.7% in February, well below the ECB's 2% target.
The ECB last week decided to keep policy unchanged despite pressure to tackle falling prices.
The euro rose 0.20% to $1.3769 at midday.
Suedzucker, Sports Direct
Suedzucker declined as the maker of sugar, starch and bakery additives projected full-year revenue of about €7bn, below analysts' estimates of €7.5bn.
Sports Direct International slid after the Financial Times reported that founder Mike Ashley was selling a 4% stake.
Nokia Oyj gained after receiving China's approval for the sale of its handsets business to Microsoft Corp.
Brent crude futures advanced $0.517 to $106.370 per barrel, according to the ICE.