Ukraine War Update: Brent crude briefly falls below $100/bbl as supply concerns ease

Apr. 07, 2022 4:06 PM ETCO1:COM, SHELBy: Yoel Minkoff, SA News Editor124 Comments

Economy sanctions. Inscription sanctions on Russia flag.

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Here are the latest headlines in the Russia-Ukraine crisis:

Brent crude briefly falls below $100/bbl

Brent crude (CO1:COM) briefly dropped below $100 a barrel for a time Thursday as oil prices retreated close to levels last seen before the Russia-Ukraine War broke out on Feb. 24. Brent prices are down some 20% from their recent peak as short-term supply concerns ease.

More cracks in Russian energy complex

Last week it was reported that Russia's largest midstream business planned to cap oil production volumes into its pipeline system. Thursday, it was reported that refineries are planning to cut runs, as a drop in European buying has led to overstocking.

Exports to Russian airlines

The Biden administration moved Thursday to choke off U.S. exports to three Russian airlines. The Commerce Department said the move would prevent the airlines - Russian national flag carrier Aeroflot, Utair and Azur Air - from receiving items from the U.S., including parts to service their aircraft.

Financial hit

"For the first quarter 2022 results, the post-tax impact from impairment of non-current assets and additional charges (e.g. write-downs of receivable, expected credit losses, and onerous contracts) relating to Russia activities are expected to be $4B to $5B," Shell (SHEL) said in an update early Thursday. "These charges are expected to be identified and therefore will not impact adjusted earnings. Details of the accounting treatment and impact of ongoing developments will be provided at the first quarter 2022 results announcement."

Trade status

The U.S. Senate will take up legislation on Thursday to end normal trade relations with Russia and ban the importation of its oil. "It's a big, big deal that we are finally getting them done," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced. "Now, I wish this could have happened sooner, but after weeks of talks with the other side, it's important that we have found a path forward." The United Nations General Assembly will also vote on Thursday on suspending Russia from the U.N. Human Rights Council. Here is a full list of U.S. sanctions leveled against Russia.

Ruble rebound

The Russian currency lost nearly half its value - tumbling from 80 per dollar to 150 - following the invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, but has officially recovered all of its losses after closing at 79.7 in Moscow on Wednesday. It follows severe capital controls imposed by the Kremlin, while banks have been temporarily banned from operating cash-based foreign exchanges for dollars and euros. Foreign traders are also not allowed to exit their investments, while the central bank doubled interest rates to 20% to encourage citizens to save their rubles. "For the politicians, it is a good PR tool by saying that sanctions don't have any impact," said Guillaume Tresca, emerging market strategist at Generali Insurance Asset Management. "It will [also] help to limit the inflation impact."

Renewed offensive

Ukraine is urging civilians to leave the eastern Donetsk, Luhansk and parts of the Kharkiv regions as it prepares for a major new offensive following Russia's withdrawal from Kyiv and the north of the country. "You need to evacuate now, while this possibility still exists," declared Iryna Vereshchuk, Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine. "Later, people will be under fire and under threat of death. We won’t be able to help because it will be practically impossible to cease fire."

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-- The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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