Oil prices have soared more than 10% and are closing in on their all-time high levels after the risk of a US and European ban on Russian crude threatened a stagflationary shock for world markets.
The global benchmark of Brent crude hit US$139.13 a barrel at the start of trading on Monday, a leap of more than $20 on Friday’s close of $118.03. The rise came after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the White House and allies were in talks about banning imports from Russia.
The all-time of $147.50 was reached in July 2008 but some analysts think that mark could be surpassed because of the geopolitical impact of the Ukraine crisis.
Stock markets headed the opposite way with more big losses when trading began on Monday. The Nikkei in Tokyo was down more than 3%, as was the Hang Seng in Hong Kong. In futures trade, the FTSE100 off 2.6% and the S&P500 down 1.3%.
The panic on trading floors sent safe havens sharply higher, with gold hitting as much as $2,000.86, its highest since mid-2020.