Oil and gas prices have reached unimaginable levels, breaking one record after another to cause the biggest market shock in decades and confirm fears of the extent of the impact Russia’s invasion of Ukraine would have on international energy markets.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine almost a fortnight ago, prices for electricity, gasoline, diesel, natural gas, as well as grains and virtually all other basic commodities have skyrocketed after stabilizing at elevated levels over many months.
Yesterday’s price surges in international energy markets were extraordinary. Natural gas futures contracts, set for delivery in April, reached a record high of 345 euros per MWh, up 79 percent in a day, before de-escalating to 215 euros per MWh at the end of trading.
The Brent crude oil price is now steadily over 120 dollars a barrel. It has been driven higher by media reports of a US plan to ban Russian oil and gas imports.
Such price levels, even if there are no further rises, will result in major inflationary pressure for the global economy.
According to a Bloomberg report, US president Joe Biden is examining the prospect of imposing an embargo on Russian oil, even without the participation of European allies.
Any European breakaway from Russian gas supply would require extreme measures from European governments and the energy sector to cover the resulting gap and ensure energy supply needs for consumers and enterprises are met, officials at French energy group Engie noted.
Highlighting the shock felt in markets around the world, Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank, remarked: “I’m lost for words.”