It was another day of wild market movements, mostly in the commodity markets.
Fears that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and broader Western sanctions will affect supplies to both countries have driven up prices for oil and gas, as well as other commodities such as as wheat, corn and metals. Wheat hit a 14-year high while aluminum hit a new high of $3,597 a tonne.
Oil prices hit nearly eight-year highs. Crude Brent, the global oil benchmark, hit $113.94 a barrel, the highest since June 2014, and traded around $111 for most of the day. It pared some of the gains since then, while US light crude is up 2.6% at $106.1. Brent has gained around 40% so far this year.
Edward Meir, analyst at ED&F Man Capital Markets, told Reuters:
Oil pushed higher on growing perceptions that Russian oil cannot be “transacted”. Although oil isn’t technically under sanction, traders are understandably nervous about taking delivery of Russian crude, let alone storing it, shipping it and, ultimately, selling it.
Natural gas prices also spiked, with the Dutch April gas contract hitting a new all-time high of €185 per megawatt hour, and is currently trading up 41% to €171.19 per megawatt hour. British wholesale gas is up 35% to 390.79 pence per therm after hitting 398.05 pence per therm, close to the record high of 450 pence set last December.
European coal prices for 2023 hit a record $260.5 a tonne on fears of shortages in Europe, which relies heavily on Russia for its coal and gas.
The Russian steel producer Severstal said it suspended deliveries to the EU due to sanctions imposed on its shareholders.
The average price of a liter of gasoline on UK forecourts was at a new high of 151.67p on Tuesday, down from 151.16p on Monday, according to data firm Experian Catalist. The average cost of a liter of diesel is also at an all time high, reaching 155.23p.
RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: ‘If oil remains at this level the journey to an average unleaded price of 155p could be far too fast.
Wheat prices hit $10.59 a bushel, the highest since March 2008. But prices reached their highest level since December 2012.
On the stock markets, the FTSE 100 index closed up 99 points at 7,429.56, a gain of 1.4%. Germany’s Dax ended the day up 95 points to 14,000, up 0.7%, while France’s CAC rose 1.6% to 6,498 and Italy’s FTSE MiB gained 0.7 % to 24,534.
The Moscow Stock Exchange was closed for a third day, but the Russian ruble plunged to a new high of 110 to the dollar in Moscow (outside Russia, it hit a record 120 to the dollar on the EBS electronic trading platform on Monday).
Here are some of our main stories:
A shipment of oil from Russia is on its way to a British port where it is due to arrive on Wednesday evening, due to a loophole in the ban imposed this week by the government in response to Vladimir’s invasion of Ukraine Putin.
The Department for Transport said on Tuesday it had put in place a ban on closing UK ports to all vessels owned, operated, controlled, chartered, registered or flying the flag of Russia. However, the ministry confirmed that the ban does not cover the origin of the shipment.
Roman Abramovich has put Chelsea up for sale and Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss has said he is part of a consortium interested in buying the club.
Thanks for the reading. We will be back tomorrow. Bye! – J.K.