At the start of this second week of March, crude oil prices traded at above USD 130 a barrel. Prices for Brent crude oil rose by almost 20% from the close on 4 March, taking them to the highest level since the 2008 financial crisis.
The sharp rise in oil prices followed comments on 6 March from Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State. Reuters¹ reported his remarks that the US administration was in ‘very active discussions’ with European allies over a ban on importing Russian oil.
On Monday 7 March, Reuters² reported that the US was willing to move ahead with a ban on Russian oil imports without the participation of European partners.
European wholesale natural gas prices also surged higher. Futures at one stage on 7 March traded at a record of EUR 345 a megawatt hour, before falling back significantly.
The European Central Bank’s Governing Council meets on 10 March in Frankfurt. Market participants expect the ECB to adopt a ‘wait-and-see’ approach initially, until the consequences of the current crisis become clearer. In the medium term, however, normalisation of monetary policy remains on the table.
1. Reuters 07/03/2022: U.S., European allies discuss banning imports of Russian oil
2. Reuters 08/03/2022: U.S. may act alone to ban Russian oil imports, sources say
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