German chancellor Scholz pushes back against Russian energy import ban, as oil and gas
With European stock markets closed, here’s a recap of the main events today.
Scholz cautioned that such a move could put Europe’s energy security at risk, and that energy imports from Russia were currently essential to citizens’ daily lives.
Scholz statement came after the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said on Sunday that the US was talking to its European allies about banning Russian oil imports.
Blinken’s comments triggered a dramatic surge in oil prices overnight, with Brent crude up 18% at one stage to hit $139 per barrel, the highest in 14 years.
It has since dipped back but is still around $125 per barrel, up from below $80 at the start of this year.
The price of wholesale gas also leapt alarmingly today, with the UK contract for delivery next month hittinga record of 800p per therm, compared to typical prices below 50p/therm a year ago.
Gas prices closed about 10% higher tonight around 500p, a level that would intensify the cost-of-living crisis gripping households and businesses.
European stock markets racked up fresh losses, as the Ukraine war continued to hammer share prices. Germany’s DAX shed another 2%, ending in a bear market – over 20% below its record high in January.
In London, the FTSE 100 fell another 0.4%, with oil producers and miners rallying, but banks, travel companies, retailers and consumer goods makers all under renewed pressure.
Companies continued to cut ties with Russia. All four of the UK’s big accountancy firms have now cut off businesses in Russia and Belarus, with EY and Deloitte joining KPMG and PwC in legally separating their operations.
The Conservative peer Greg Barker has resigned as chairman of EN+, the mining company part-owned by the sanctioned Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.
Three more Russian billionaires have resigned from the board of the $22bn (£17bn) investment firm LetterOne after the EU imposed sanctions on its two biggest shareholders.
Here are more of today’s stories:
We’ll be back tomorrow. Goodnight, GW.