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Oil soars past $100 after Russia orders troops into Ukraine Oil soars past $100 after Russia orders troops into Ukraine
(32 minutes later)
Oil prices have surged past $100 (£74) a barrel to hit their highest level for more than seven years after Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine.Oil prices have surged past $100 (£74) a barrel to hit their highest level for more than seven years after Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine.
Shares also fell sharply and the price of gold rose as investors worried about the possible impact of the conflict. Global shares fell and the price of gold rose as investors worried about the possible impact of the conflict.
Russia is the second biggest exporter of crude oil, and is also the world's largest natural gas exporter.Russia is the second biggest exporter of crude oil, and is also the world's largest natural gas exporter.
The price of oil topped $103 a barrel, and the RAC warned that UK petrol prices were set to rise further.The price of oil topped $103 a barrel, and the RAC warned that UK petrol prices were set to rise further.
The UK only gets 6% of its crude oil and 5% of its gas from Russia, but there are concerns sanctions could constrict supplies and drive up prices worldwide. The UK only gets 6% of its crude oil and 5% of its gas from Russia, but there are concerns sanctions could constrict supplies and drive up prices worldwide. The price of UK natural gas futures soared nearly 30% on Thursday.
UK consumers are already paying a high price for energy and fuel, with demand surging following the easing of Covid restrictions.UK consumers are already paying a high price for energy and fuel, with demand surging following the easing of Covid restrictions.
Russia launches military operation in UkraineRussia launches military operation in Ukraine
What sanctions are being imposed on Russia?What sanctions are being imposed on Russia?
RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said the increase in the price of oil "will inevitably lead to wholesale fuel prices going up which will in turn push record pump prices even higher".RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said the increase in the price of oil "will inevitably lead to wholesale fuel prices going up which will in turn push record pump prices even higher".
If the oil price continues to rise to hit $110 a barrel "there's a very real danger the average price of petrol would hit £1.55 a litre", he said.If the oil price continues to rise to hit $110 a barrel "there's a very real danger the average price of petrol would hit £1.55 a litre", he said.
If prices do get this high it will "cause untold financial difficulties for many people who depend on their cars for getting to work and running their lives as it would sky rocket the cost of a full tank to £85".If prices do get this high it will "cause untold financial difficulties for many people who depend on their cars for getting to work and running their lives as it would sky rocket the cost of a full tank to £85".
Average prices per litre for unleaded petrol hit a record high of 149.30p on Wednesday.Average prices per litre for unleaded petrol hit a record high of 149.30p on Wednesday.
Sanctions move News of Russia's actions led to steep falls on stock markets across Europe, with the UK's FTSE 100 index down 2.5% and Germany's Dax index falling 3.5%. Earlier, stocks in Asia had also fallen sharply.
Stock markets across Europe saw steep falls, with the UK's FTSE 100 index down 2.5% and Germany's Dax index falling 3.5%.
Earlier, stocks in Asia and had fallen sharply, while the Moscow Stock Exchange suspended trading shortly after the rouble plunged to its lowest since early 2016.
The price of gold - which is considered a haven asset in times of uncertainty - rose 2%.The price of gold - which is considered a haven asset in times of uncertainty - rose 2%.
Will Russia-Ukraine tensions push up UK gas bills?
Europe gas prices: How far is Russia responsible?
Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said the oil price surge "was terrible news for businesses and consumers" because "it will serve to further stoke inflation".
"Not only will energy bills keep going up, but food prices look set to jump even higher. Ukraine and Russia are both big food suppliers and any disruption to supplies will force buyers to seek alternative sources, which could jack up prices."
The cost of living hit a fresh 30-year high last month as energy, fuel and food prices continued to soar, increasing the squeeze on household budgets.
Meanwhile, Mr Mould said the fall in the FTSE 100 "was bad news for the millions of savers and investors who have money in UK equities, but it is by no means one of the worst days in history for the UK market".
He said German and Chinese markets had dropped much further.
"That is partially down to the UK market having a large weighting towards the energy sector, with index giants BP and Shell benefiting from oil breaking through $100 a barrel," Mr Mould added.
Europe gets nearly a third of its oil and around 40% of its gas from Russia, much of it flowing through pipelines across Ukrainian territory. Small wonder then that prices are shooting up.
Brent crude oil has gone above $100 a barrel, while prices for gas on wholesale markets - where domestic suppliers buy what they need - are up sharply as well.
Supplies from Russia do not appear to have been affected - yet. But the fear that they will be, and that there could be a scramble for other resources, is pushing up costs.
Stock markets across Europe are tumbling, as investors fret about the potential economic impact of high energy prices and the potential for much wider sanctions as well.
And as for Russian shares, a graph showing the performance of the MOEX stock exchange in Moscow looks like a cliff in the Ural mountains today.
Sanctions moves
In response to Russia's military action, European Union leaders said they would put more sanctions in place on Russia.In response to Russia's military action, European Union leaders said they would put more sanctions in place on Russia.
The European Council said it would "impose massive and severe consequences on Russia for its actions".The European Council said it would "impose massive and severe consequences on Russia for its actions".
The US and EU had already imposed a series of sanctions in response to Mr Putin's actions against Ukraine.The US and EU had already imposed a series of sanctions in response to Mr Putin's actions against Ukraine.
The UK has frozen the assets of five banks and three Russian billionaires, who have also been hit with travel bans.The UK has frozen the assets of five banks and three Russian billionaires, who have also been hit with travel bans.
On Tuesday, Boris Johnson said these sanctions were a "first barrage" and could be extended.On Tuesday, Boris Johnson said these sanctions were a "first barrage" and could be extended.
The US increased increased pressure on Russia on Wednesday by imposing penalties on the Russian firm behind the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and its corporate officers.The US increased increased pressure on Russia on Wednesday by imposing penalties on the Russian firm behind the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and its corporate officers.
Germany has already frozen final approval for the pipeline, which connects the country with Russia and was set to boost Russian gas exports to the EU.Germany has already frozen final approval for the pipeline, which connects the country with Russia and was set to boost Russian gas exports to the EU.
Dmitry Medvedev, Russia's former president and now deputy chairman of its Security Council, on Tuesday said the move would hurt European consumers.Dmitry Medvedev, Russia's former president and now deputy chairman of its Security Council, on Tuesday said the move would hurt European consumers.
"Welcome to the brave new world where Europeans are very soon going to pay €2,000 for 1,000 cubic meters of natural gas!" he tweeted - suggesting prices were set to double."Welcome to the brave new world where Europeans are very soon going to pay €2,000 for 1,000 cubic meters of natural gas!" he tweeted - suggesting prices were set to double.
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Watch: US announces full-blocking sanctions on RussiaWatch: US announces full-blocking sanctions on Russia