Oil prices rebounded slightly on Wednesday but the Russian ruble hit fresh all-time lows against the dollar and the euro, while European equities marked time on the eve of an ECB meeting.
On crude oil markets, US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in January rose 67 cents to $67.55 a barrel.
Brent North Sea crude for January gained 44 cents to stand at $70.98 in London afternoon deals.
Oil prices had tumbled by about two dollars on Tuesday after Iraq announced plans to boost the country's crude oil exports after striking a deal with the autonomous Kurdish region.
The decline compounded the hammering taken by oil prices late last week after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries left its output ceiling unchanged, despite the supply glut that has been driving prices sharply lower since June.
"We are seeing some consolidation in the market at the moment," Daniel Ang, investment analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore, told AFP.
"We are likely to see such ups and downs for the rest of the year as the crude market finds a good price to stabilise upon after recent losses," he added.
- Ruble rocked -
In foreign exchange Wednesday, Russia's currency hit a record low of 54.82 rubles to the dollar and all-time trough of 67.82 against the euro. The ruble recovered somewhat to stand at 53.60 to the dollar and 66.00 to the euro in late afternoon trading.
The ruble, hit by Western sanctions against Russia over the crisis in Ukraine and plunging oil prices, suffered on Monday its worst one-day drop since Russia's debt meltdown in 1998.
The further drop in the price of oil in recent days -- to five-year lows -- has a major impact on the Russian economy as oil and gas exports are a main source of revenue for the federal budget, and has helped push the ruble down sharply.
Many analysts increasingly fret over the country's economic outlook and the authorities' apparent reluctance to change tack over the Ukraine crisis as the economy heads into recession.
"The ruble continues to remain under significant downward pressure in the near-term weakening at its fast rate since the Russian financial crisis in 1998," said Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi analyst Lee Hardman.
Elsewhere Wednesday, the euro fell to a 15-month low point at $1.2321. It climbed back to stand at $1.2334 in afternoon trade, still down from $1.2381 late on Tuesday.
The dollar was strong also against the Japanese unit, reaching a seven-year high of 119.48 yen. It later stood at 119.34, up from 119.22 yen on Tuesday.
"The US dollar has derived support this week from less dovish than expected rhetoric from Fed officials who do not yet appear overly concerned by the increased downside risks to inflation from lower commodity prices and falling inflation expectations," said Hardman.
On the London Bullion Market, gold rose to $1,203.25 an ounce from $1,197 on Tuesday.
- Europe stocks split -
In European equities trading, eurozone stock exchanges rose ahead of a meeting of the European Central Bank Thursday at which analysts expect the central bank to move closer towards a massive economic stimulation programme in light of dangerously low inflation and stalled growth.
Frankfurt's DAX 30 climbed 0.38 percent to 9,972.30 points and the CAC 40 in Paris rose 0.23 percent to 4,395.97 compared with Tuesday's close.
But London's benchmark FTSE 100 index fell 0.23 percent to stand at 6,726.77 points after the government announced it would miss its key deficit-cutting target, although the growth forecast for this year was raised to 3.0 percent and 2.4 percent next year.
Wall Street stocks opened mixed on Wednesday after a report showed private-sector US hiring slowed in November, with investors also looking ahead to the release later Wednesday of the US Federal Reserve's "Beige Book" outlining economic conditions throughout the country.
Five minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood down 0.13 percent to 17,856.97 points.
The broad-based S&P 500 edged up 0.01 percent to 2,066.72, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.04 percent to 4,757.94.
Payroll company ADP said the private sector added 208,000 jobs in November, down from 233,000 in October. The figure was below the 225,000 projected by analysts.