By Pratima Desai
LONDON – Oil prices jumped to near eight-year highs and wheat to 14-year peaks, while aluminium, Dutch gas and European coal prices hit records as Western sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine disrupted Russian commodities exports.
Russian forces were attempting to subdue Ukrainian cities, seven days into an invasion that has sparked massive sanctions, pushing international companies to halt sales, cut ties and dump billions of dollars’ worth of investments.
Brent crude futures hit $113.94 a barrel, the highest since June 2014, a gain of more than 40% so far this year. [O/R]
Two crude oil tankers due to load Russian Urals and Kazakh CPC blend this week have been cancelled as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
“Oil has been pushing higher on growing perceptions that Russian oil is unable to be ‘transacted’,” said ED&F Man Capital Markets analyst Edward Meir.
“Although oil is not technically under sanction, traders are understandably nervous about taking delivery of Russian crude, let alone storing, shipping and ultimately selling it.”
Russia accounts for about 10% of global oil supplies. Russia and Ukraine account for about 29% of wheat exports. Wheat prices hit $10.59 a bushel, the highest since March 2008.
Corn prices rose to $7.47-3/4 a bushel, the highest since December 2012. [GRA/]
“Global buyers of grains have been increasingly turning to the U.S., Europe or South America to secure supplies in the immediate term, given the ongoing conflict,” ING said in a note.
“Moreover, demand for stockpiling has also increased due to current uncertainty.”
European gas prices gained more than 30% after the United Kingdom ordered its ports to deny entry to Russian-owned ships and European Union countries were considering a similar ban after a halt on air traffic. [NG/EU]
Dutch gas hit a record high of 185 euros a tonne, while British gas climbed to 398.06 pence a therm, close to the record seen last December.
Russia supplies the EU with 40% of its gas needs. It accounts for 40% of global mined palladium output, 10% of nickel supplies and 6% of global aluminium production.[MET/L]
European coal prices for 2023 rose to a record $260.5 a tonne on fears of shortages in Europe, which relies on Russian coal.
Newcastle coal futures jumped to a record $400 a tonne as buyers scrambled to find alternatives to supplies from Russia, the third largest exporter after Indonesia and Australia.
Palladium prices around $2,640 an ounce were trading near the seven-month peak hit on Tuesday, aluminium hit a record high at $3,597 a tonne and nickel touched $26,505, the highest since May 2011.
Russian steel producer Severstal said it suspended supplies to the EU due to sanctions on its shareholders.
Global commodities trader Trafigura said on Wednesday it has frozen its investments in Russia, following some other oil majors that said in recent days they were exiting Russia, including Exxon Mobil Corp and BP.
However, the Chinese banking regulator said it would not participate in sanctions on Russia, which is a major exporter of oil, gas, coal and agricultural commodities to China.
Malaysian palm oil futures rose past 7,000 ringgit a tonne to hit a record high, on the prospect of rising demand as the closure of Ukrainian ports hits supplies of sunoil from the Black Sea region. [POI/]
(Reporting by Pratima Desai; additional reporting by Nigel Hunt, Susanna Twidale, Bozorgmehr Sharafedin, Julia Payne, Rowena Edwards and Gavin Maguire; editing by Andrew Heavens, Louise Heavens and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)