Oil prices spike on Russia sanctions fears

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 3, 2014 at 3:56 pm •  Published: March 3, 2014
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The price of oil jumped more than $2 a barrel Monday as Russia's military advance into Ukraine raised fears of economic sanctions against one of the world's major energy producers.

In New York, benchmark U.S. crude for April delivery gained $2.33, or 2.3 percent, to close at $104.92 a barrel. Brent crude, a benchmark for international varieties of crude, rose $2.13, or 2 percent, to $111.20 on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

While oil rose and gold rose, stock markets sank over the prospect of violent upheaval in the heart of Europe. Russian troops controlled all Ukrainian border posts on the strategic peninsula of Crimea. Fears grew that the Kremlin might carry out more land grabs in pro-Russian eastern Ukraine, adding urgency to Western efforts to defuse the crisis.

Still, the West appeared to have limited options. The clearest weapon at the disposal of the EU and U.S. appeared to be economic sanctions that would freeze Russian assets and scrap multi-billion dollar deals with Russia.

Russia was the world's second-largest producer of oil in 2012, accounting for 12.6 percent of global supplies, according to the International Energy Agency. It was also the world's top exporter of natural gas in that year, the IEA said. So, any economic sanctions taken against Moscow would limit world supply and push up prices.

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