SHANGHAI, RAW – Crude oil prices have jumped while Asian stocks regained their footing as investors assessed the impact of a worsening conflict in Ukraine and a new US ban on Russian oil.
The price of a barrel of crude, already on the march higher in January on supply worries and expectations of a strengthening global economic recovery, has rocketed upward since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
Oil is now roughly double its early December low.
Risking even higher US fuel prices, President Joe Biden on Tuesday imposed an immediate ban on Russian oil and other energy imports in retaliation for the invasion of Ukraine, amid strong support from American voters and lawmakers.
The ban caps sweeping US and European sanctions imposed on Moscow for launching the largest war in Europe since World War II.
Britain also announced it will phase out imports of Russian oil and oil products by the end of 2022.
“The oil shock by nature is an accruing one, not a one-off and the potential for the market to hit $US150 before returning to $US100 is easier for investors to digest,” said Stephen Innes, managing partner at SPI Asset Management.
“Putting in force sanctions without first developing surrogate supply contingencies risks Brent crude much higher.”
In morning trade in Asia on Wednesday, global benchmark Brent crude was trading at $130.31 a barrel, up 1.82 per cent on the day but still off a peak of $139.13 touched on Monday.
US West Texas Intermediate crude was up 1.41 per cent at $125.45 per barrel.
In equity markets, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was 0.8 per cent higher, as Australia’s resource-heavy ASX 200 rose 1.14 per cent.
China’s blue-chip CSI300 index was 0.47 per cent higher, pulling back from stronger gains earlier after new inflation data reflected a combination of soft domestic demand and high commodity prices.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei rose 1.1 per cent.
The gains marked a turnaround after three sessions of sharp losses that pushed the MSCI index down more than six per cent to its lowest level since late September.
They also followed another day in the red on Wall Street, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.56 per cent, the S&P 500 lost 0.72 per cent and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.28 per cent.
As equities took a breather, the dollar edged up 0.2 per cent against the safe-haven yen to 115.89, and slipped 0.12 per cent against a basket of its peers to 98.997.
The euro was 0.15 per cent higher at $1.0915 and the rouble was last quoted at 122.5 to the greenback.
US Treasury yields edged down, with benchmark 10-year notes last yielding 1.8577 per cent, down from 1.871 per cent late on Tuesday. The two-year note last yielded 1.6129 per cent, down from 1.629 per cent.
Gold prices slipped from record highs, with spot gold falling 0.66 per cent to $2,038.95 an ounce.