Futures Movers: Oil rises and natural gas surges 8% as Russia orders troops to Ukraine

Energy prices, notably natural gas and crude, climbed sharply, amid the threat of a full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

Price action

Against that backdrop, Brent oil
the international benchmark, was trading over 2% higher at $97.35 a barrel, after the April contract

settling up 2% higher on Monday, marking the largest daily gain for a front-month contract since Feb. 14, according to Dow Jones Market Data. 

West Texas Intermediate crude


for March delivery

 was trading $2.38, or 2.6%, to reach around $92.60 a barrel, following a 0.8% slide on Friday, contributing to a 2.2% weekly loss ahead of its expiration at Tuesday’s settlement. Markets in the U.S. on Monday were closed in observance Presidents Day.

Natural gas

was trading over 8% higher, up 35 cents, at $4.78 per million British thermal unit.

Market drivers

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a speech on Monday, said that he acknowledged the independence of pro-Moscow separatist factions in Luhansk and Donetsk, Ukraine and was ordering troops into the breakaway regions as what he referred to as peacekeepers.

The animosities brewing in Kyiv are drawing a swift rebuke from the international community, with the White House issuing an executive order restricting investment and trade in those regions, while additional measures — likely sanctions — were expected to be announced Tuesday.

Meanwhile, officials from the European Union described Putin’s latest actions and statements as “a blatant violation of international law.”

Russia is a key supplier of natural gas to Western Europe and intensification of conflict in Eastern Europe can influence prices. Energy analysts have said that Germany’s dependence on Russian gas also has left Europe short of options to sanction Moscow if it invades Ukraine.

Some analysts have warned that crude oil could shoot above $100 a barrel if tensions in Ukraine erupt into full-blown war.

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