Apr 19, 2022 01:58AM ET
European stock markets are expected to open cautiously on Tuesday after a long weekend, with investors focusing on developments in Ukraine, where Russia is stepping up its offensive in the east of the country.
At 2:00 AM ET, German DAX futures were down 0.3%, French CAC 40 futures were down 0.1%, and UK FTSE 100 futures were up 0.1%.
Moscow has refocused its ground offensive in two eastern provinces of Ukraine, known as Donbas, in what Ukrainian officials call the second phase of the war.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia had launched a "battle for Donbas" in the east and "a very large part of the entire Russian army is now concentrating on this offensive".
Since Moscow declared the two regions republics in late February, Donbas has been at the centre of Russia's campaign to destabilise Ukraine. Much of the country's industrial wealth, including coal and steel, is located there.
Russia's incursion into Ukraine has roiled world markets, caused a spike in the prices of many commodities, and raised fears of stagflation, particularly in Europe, which is heavily dependent on Russian energy.
The World Bank on Monday cut its global growth forecast for 2022 by almost a full percentage point, to 3.2% from 4.1%, citing the impact of the war.
European investors returning from the Easter weekend will also have to digest Friday's decision by the People's Bank of China to cut the reserve requirement ratio for all banks by 25 basis points in an effort to ease the sharp slowdown in the world's second-largest economy.
Still, China's gross domestic product beat expectations on Monday, rising 4.8% in the first quarter from a year earlier.