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Oil prices rise amid EU’s proposed sanctions on Russia

Oil prices rise

Brent crude futures climbed 60 cents, or 0.5%, to $110.74 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 40 cents, or 0.4%, to $108.21 a barrel

Oil prices extended gains on Thursday as a European Union proposal for new sanctions against Russia, including an embargo on crude in six months, offset concerns over Chinese demand.

Brent crude futures had climbed 60 cents, or 0.5%, to $110.74 a barrel by 0630 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 40 cents, or 0.4%, to $108.21 a barrel.

Both benchmarks jumped more than $1 a barrel earlier in the volatile session after gaining more than $5 a barrel on Wednesday.

The sanctions proposal, which was announced by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and needs unanimous backing by the 27 EU countries to take effect, includes phasing out supplies of Russian crude in six months and refined products by the end of 2022.

It also proposes to ban in a month’s time all shipping, brokerage, insurance and financing services offered by EU companies for the transportation of Russian oil.

That’s a likely game changer for oil and refined product markets, CBA analyst Vivek Dhar said in a note, adding that sanctions on insurance, previously used by the United States and European countries, were effective in limiting Iran’s oil exports.

However, the EU faces the task of finding alternative supplies at a time when energy prices have surged. It imports some 3.5 million barrels of Russian oil and oil products daily and also depends on Moscow’s gas supplies.

A handful of eastern EU countries are concerned that the proposal gives them insufficient time to adapt.

The most immediate questions are how many countries will receive exemptions, the scope of the additional sanctions measures to curtail Russian oil exports to other key markets, and President Putin’s response to the European action, Helima Croft, RBC Capital Market’s head of global commodity strategy, said in a note.

Croft said: We think the price response to such measures will depend on how far they go in making Russia’s 4.8 million bpd (barrels per day) of global exports unavailable as opposed to unpopular.

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