Ukraine Update: Oil Surges as U.S. Mulls Banning Russian Imports
Ukraine Update: Oil Surges as U.S. Mulls Banning Russian Imports

The U.S. House is exploring a bill that would ban the import of Russian oil and energy products, a move that could add to economic pressure as more companies pull out of the country in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

 

Oil soared to just shy of $140 a barrel after the White House said it was considering an embargo on Russian supplies. The Biden administration is mulling making the move on its own, if it can’t get its European allies on board initially, two people familiar with the matter said.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Monday defended his country’s ties with Russia, saying the discord was “sown by third parties.” Russian President Vladimir Putin reiterated over the weekend that the war will continue until Ukraine accepts his demands, dimming hopes for a negotiated settlement.

Key Developments

  • Stakes Rise as Putin Says His War in Ukraine Will Continue

  • From Netflix to Samsung, the Exodus From Russia Becomes a Rout

  • What a Ban on Russian Oil May Mean for an Already Chaotic Market

  • U.S. Weighs Acting Without Allies on Ban of Russian Oil Imports

  • Wheat Surges Nearer to Record as War Paralyzes Ukraine Supply

All times CET:

Europe May Run Out of Gas Next Winter, Engie Chief Says (8:55 a.m.)

Europe may lack gas next winter if the continent decides to ban imports of the fuel from Russia, Engie CEO Catherine MacGregor said on France Inter radio Monday. Such a ban would result in “extremely high” energy prices, and volatility could disrupt markets, she said.

Governments would need to anticipate any ban with measures to curb demand, and with a ceiling on gas prices, she said. Longer term, Europe must increase its capacity to import gas from elsewhere, and accelerate its expansion in biogas and renewables, while using coal “must remain taboo as much as possible,” MacGregor said.

Gas, Power Futures Soar to Records (8:53 a.m.)

European gas and power futures jumped to fresh records after the U.S. said it was mulling banning imports of Russian oil and the chief executive of French utility Engie SA warned that gas rationing could be needed in some ‘extreme’ circumstances. Dutch benchmark gas surged as much as 35% while German month-ahead power climbed 23%.

Any ban or cutoff of Russian gas flows to Europe could require “extreme” government measures to ration supplies for the industry and consumers, the head of Engie told Les Echos newspaper. Europe has enough supplies to get through this winter, problems would arise in building stocks over the summer, Catherine MacGregor said in an interview published on Monday.

Gold, Copper, Palladium Soar (8:28 a.m.)

Gold jumped above $2,000 an ounce for the first time in more than 18 months, while copper and palladium hit all-time highs. Nickel spiked as much as 20%, while wheat slammed the daily upward limit for the sixth day in a row. Commodities already notched up a record-breaking week through to March 4, when prices of everything from energy to metals and farm products jumped 13% to a fresh record, according to the Bloomberg Commodity Spot Index.

Uniqlo Owner Pledges to Stay in Russia (8:25 a.m.)

Fast Retailing Co., Asia’s largest retailer, said all 50 of its Uniqlo stores will continue to operate in Russia. “Clothing is a necessity of life. The people of Russia have the same right to live as we do,” Chief Executive Officer Tadashi Yanai said.

His remarks run counter to moves by some of the world’s biggest brands to exit or suspend operations in Russia. Japanese carmakers Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. said they’re halting vehicle shipments to Russia, but Japan Tobacco Inc. continues to operate and says it is “fully committed” to complying with national and international sanctions.

Stocks, Futures Sink as Oil Soars (8:25 a.m.)

European and U.S. equity futures slumped amid fears of an inflation shock in the world economy as crude oil soared on the prospect of a ban on Russian supplies. March contracts for the Nasdaq 100 slid as much as 2.3% before paring losses. S&P 500 futures were down 1.2% while Euro Stoxx 50 futures dropped 2.8%. The euro sank for a sixth straight day.

The moves came as Brent crude soared almost 18% to just shy of $140 a barrel following news over the weekend that the U.S. and its European allies are discussing a possible ban on Russian oil exports. Asia’s stock benchmark slumped and was on course to enter a technical bear market.

EU’s Von Der Leyen Promises More Sanctions (8:13 a.m.)

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the EU is preparing additional sanctions against Russia. “This is not the end,” she said in an interview with Deutschlandfunk radio on Monday. “We’re preparing additional measures,” she said, without elaborating.

Von der Leyen also said the bloc is taking steps to ensure more gas supplies. If Russian President Vladimir Putin were to halt all flows “then we are independent for this winter,” von der Leyen said. “That wasn’t the case six weeks ago.” The commission is set to unveil a new strategy this week to boost energy security, cushion the impact of soaring gas prices and accelerate the build-up of renewables.

Russia Offers Humanitarian Corridors (7:40 a.m.)

The Russian Defense Ministry said it would reopen humanitarian corridors for civilians to leave several Ukrainian cities, noting that Putin had pledged to do so in a weekend call with French counterpart Emmanuel Macron.

Previous efforts at opening escape routes for civilians have failed amid recriminations by both sides. Russia said it would provide air transport to Moscow for those leaving the capital, Kyiv, suggesting it was aiming the offer at Chinese, Indian and other foreign students trapped there. Those countries have called on both sides to protect their citizens amid the fighting.

The new attempted corridor would also cover Mariupol in Ukraine’s southeast. Ukraine did not immediately confirm the latest effort.

U.S. May Act Without Allies on Russian Oil (7:40 a.m.)

The Biden administration is considering whether to prohibit Russian oil imports into the U.S. without the participation of allies in Europe, at least initially, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The administration has yet to decide on a U.S. import ban, with the timing and scope of any move still fluid, according to the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Administration officials have been in close contact with allies on a possible ban while also working to prepare for the domestic impact, the people said.

Russian Authorities Detain Almost 4,500 Demonstrators (7:40 a.m.)

Nearly 4,500 anti-war protesters have been arrested across Russia on Sunday, according to the rights group OVD-Info.

The group had reported earlier demonstrations in 44 cities, including Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Ekaterinburg. This would bring those detained so far to around 12,000.

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