Oil prices surge past $100 a barrel as Putin declares war on Ukraine

Oil prices have topped more than $100 a barrel for the first time since 2014 after Vladimir Putin announced a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Brent crude reached highs of $102.48 on Thursday morning, rising by more than 5 per cent as reports of explosions in Kiev and other major cities in the country filtered across the globe.

Russia is the world’s second-largest oil producer and conflict and is a major supplier to Europe. It is also the largest supplier of natural gas to the continent.

Western nations have already announced a raft of sanctions following Moscow’s military incursion into Ukraine.

Russia’s energy sector has not yet been targeted. However, with the US, EU and UK all set to discuss tougher measures on Thursday, there are concerns oil supply could be hit.

“It’s not just geopolitical risk that is the problem but the further straining of supply,” OCBC Bank economist Howie Lee told Reuters.

“Russian oil supply will disappear overnight if faced with sanctions … and OPEC can’t produce fast enough to cover this gaping hole.”

Meanwhile, Asian stock markets plunged on opening on Thursday, with market benchmarks in Tokyo and Seoul falling 2 per cent. Hong Kong and Sydney lost more than 3 per cent.

Some members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said there is no need for the group and its allies to increase output further due to a potential deal between Iran and world powers whice would increase supplies.

However, a number of OPEC…

READ FULL STORY AT independent.co.uk

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