FirstFT: US in ‘active discussions’ on Russian oil import ban

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The price of oil rose to its highest level since 2008 after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington was in “very active discussions” with its European partners over a ban on oil imports from Russia.

The restrictions would have potentially serious ramifications for the global economy and mark a reversal of the White House, which had previously rejected bipartisan calls to ban imports of Russian oil into the United States, saying an embargo would limit global supply. and raise prices for consumers. .

Bank of America analysts have warned that if most of Russia’s oil exports are halted, there could be a shortfall of 5 million barrels a day or more, causing oil prices to double by $100 to $200. the barrel. JPMorgan analysts said oil could climb to $185 a barrel this year.

International benchmark Brent hit $139.13 a barrel in European trading today, nearly 20% higher than its settlement price on Friday. West Texas Intermediate, the US benchmark, climbed $9.80, or 8.5%, to hit $125.48. Natural gas prices in Europe have reached a record high.

Meanwhile, a high-level US delegation met with senior government officials in Venezuela over the weekend, according to a source familiar with the talks, as the world seeks alternative suppliers to replace Russian oil if Western sanctions on Moscow are reinforced. And President Joe Biden is reportedly considering a trip to Saudi Arabia in the spring to urge the kingdom to pump more oil.

The turmoil in energy markets came as Russia temporarily suspended attacks on Kharkiv, Kyiv, Sumy and Mariupol to create humanitarian corridors out of cities, as the UN said the number of refugees fleeing conflict zones in Ukraine now exceeded 1.5 million.

But it was unclear how many Ukrainian civilians would want to accept the Russian offer, as most of the humanitarian corridors Moscow offered ended in Russia itself or neighboring Russian ally Belarus.

Separately, the White House confirmed yesterday that it was negotiating with the Polish government to supply Kiev with American F-16 jets to replace the Russian-made fighter jets that Ukrainian pilots are trained to fly.

Learn more about Ukraine:

  • Maintenance: Scott Sheffield, chief executive of the largest US shale oil operator, Pioneer Natural Resources, said the country would not be able to replace crude supplies from Russia this year, even as he backed calls to a global embargo on its energy exports.

  • Market overview: Derek Brower argues that oil prices can still rise even if the US shale industry increases production. Jonathan Guthrie writes that economic warfare cannot be adjusted to spare the energy sector.

  • Military briefing: Ukraine resists Russian advance but fears grow over Moscow’s tactics. Our daily military briefing has more.

  • Information wars: The TikTok app, owned by ByteDance, has become a vital source of information for young people after the war in Ukraine.

  • Nuclear threat: Vladimir Putin sparked ominous echoes of the Cuban Missile Crisis last week. US correspondent Demetri Sevastopulo assesses the risks posed by the Russian president’s high-stakes nuclear posture.

  • Opinion: Putin’s plan is failing in ways he could not have imagined, writes Simon Schama. Rana Foroohar writes about how technology is accelerating the pace of conflict.

Follow troop movements on our regularly updated site conflict map and follow our live blog for the latest developments.

1. Visa, Mastercard and American Express suspend operations in Russia Payment networks have announced that they will suspend operations following a request from the President of Ukraine. In addition, VTB Bank, Russia’s second largest lender, is preparing to end its European activities. Meanwhile, PwC and KPMG have severed ties with their Russian and Belarusian businesses as the boycott of Western businesses grows.

3. China sets lowest growth target in 30 years Premier Li Keqiang announced China’s lowest annual growth target in three decades at the opening of the National People’s Congress in Beijing over the weekend. Li said China’s economy would grow 5.5% this year, the first time since 1991 that the annual target was below 6%. The national defense budget grew at the fastest pace in three years to reach Rmb 1.45 billion ($229 billion).

3. Senior Democrat Warns Against Crypto Crackdown Ron Wyden, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, warned his colleagues against cracking down too harshly on the burgeoning cryptocurrency industry, likening it to the early days of the internet. “There is obviously a debate [about stricter regulation] but I want to be on the side of the innovator,’ he told the FT.

4. Spacs taps into hedge funds in a desperate hunt for cash Special purpose acquisition firms desperate to go public and prevent takeovers are turning to investors including hedge fund Atalaya Capital Management and private equity group Apollo for so-called buyout capital.

5. The pandemic is redrawing US airline route maps US airlines are redrawing America’s flight map as they cut routes the pandemic has rendered unviable and add service to cities that have thrived. Continuing weakness in business travel and the adoption of remote working are driving the changes.

The day ahead

UK pledges $100m in aid to Ukraine Boris Johnson will announce further aid as the British Prime Minister welcomes Justin Trudeau and Mark Rutte, his Canadian and Dutch counterparts respectively, to Downing Street. It comes as Kiev negotiators meet their Russian counterparts for a third round of talks and Antony Blinken visits Lithuania before heading to the neighboring Baltic states of Latvia and Estonia.

Meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency The organisation’s board of directors is meeting in Vienna to discuss, among other things, the implications of the crisis in Ukraine for nuclear safety. Moscow is asking for written guarantees from Washington that the US sanctions imposed on Iran do not hamper its ability to trade with the country.

George Floyd Death Trial The trial begins of three former Minneapolis police officers, charged with aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in connection with Floyd’s death in May 2020.

Follow important business, economic and political news with the FT week ahead. Click to subscribe here. And don’t miss our FT press briefing audio broadcast, a brief daily overview of major world stories.

What else we read

Boomerang Employees: Returning with New Skills and Experiences Anxious to fill labor shortages, employers have experimented with hiring parties, hiring bonuses, wage increases and benefits. Now some are considering former employees. Emma Jacobs spoke to Lien Ceulemans, who left Salesforce in 2018 for a new job at Google but recently returned to the US cloud software group.

The office is good but the journey is still atrocious Offers of free food, coffee and even back massages are all welcome as we return to our offices after two years of homework, writes Pilita Clark. But, she says, they come up against a formidable rival: the commute to work.

Why is the UK stock market so cheap? UK stock market returns have lagged international rivals since the 2016 Brexit vote. But there are more fundamental issues for what has been dubbed a “Jurassic Park” market. Our Lex team investigates in today’s Big Read.

India’s uneven recovery Two years after the coronavirus pandemic plunged the country of 1.4 billion people into recession, India is now the fastest growing major economy in the world. But the bullish mood hides a deep malaise. Will Prime Minister Narendra Modi pay a political price?

Happy landings: how pilots deal with high winds Former pilot Mark Vanhoenacker uses the analogy of a river to illustrate the effect crosswinds can have on aircraft flight and how the “crab” technique can help land safely in windy conditions. strong.

“For a headwind, imagine this river flowing straight along the runway and you’re facing upstream when you land; your effective speed on the river bed will then be lower, by an amount equal to the speed of the current.

Home & Home

About 150,000 people flock to the American desert city of Palm Springs each spring for a nostalgic festival of mid-century design. Helen Barrett attended the 11 Day Extravaganza for the Financial Times.

A cocktail by the pool during the week of the festival at home © David A Lee

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