COMMODITIES Commodities soar, nickel breaks above $100000/T

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LONDON, March 8 (Reuters) – Commodity prices surged on Tuesday, with Brent crude soaring on news that the United States and Britain will ban or phase out Russian oil imports, and nickel hitting record highs above $100,000 a tonne.

The London Metal Exchange (LME) suspended nickel trading on all venues for at least the rest of the day after prices jumped nearly 400% from Friday’s close. read more

“Nickel is clearly trading in crisis mode,” ING analysts said. “Fundamentals, though supportive of stronger prices, do not justify this frenzy.” The market has long faced structural issues, they added.

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Gold extended its blistering rally towards an all-time high, while worries over a palladium supply shortfall due to sanctions on Russia, the top producer of the auto-catalyst metal, kept its price near all-time highs.

Brent crude jumped more than 7% to trade near $132 a barrel.

Russia is the world’s largest exporter of natural gas and the second largest exporter of crude oil and petroleum products.

It supplies more than a third of Europe’s energy and is also a major producer of fertilizer, wheat, aluminium, nickel, palladium, platinum, and coal.

Western sanctions have cut the country off from international trade and financial markets to a degree never before imposed on such a big economy, while fighting in Ukraine’s south has largely blocked its exports. read more

U.S. President Joe Biden announced a U.S. ban on Russian oil and other energy imports, ramping up a pressure campaign on Moscow in retaliation for the invasion of Ukraine. read more

Britain said it would phase out imports of Russian oil and oil products by the end of 2022, which it said would give the market and businesses more than enough time to find alternatives to the imports, which make up 8% of demand. read more

Oil major Shell (SHEL.L) has stopped buying Russian crude and said it would phase out its involvement in Russian hydrocarbons from oil to natural gas, becoming one of the first major Western oil companies to abandon Russia entirely. read more

Goldman Sachs hiked its price forecasts for Brent oil saying the world could be facing one of “largest energy supply shocks ever” because of the Ukraine crisis, while Barclays said prices in its worst case scenario could top $200 a barrel. read more

VOLATILITY

Global gas markets remained volatile after hitting record highs on Monday. Analysts said an embargo on Russian gas exports seems unlikely but Russia has threatened to retaliate to Western sanctions by halting flows through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline. read more

Russian gas delivered through the Yamal-Europe pipeline via Poland was flowing westward into Germany on Tuesday, and flows into Slovakia via Ukraine remained at recent high levels, pipeline operator data showed. read more

The European Commission published plans on Tuesday to cut EU dependency on Russian gas by two-thirds this year and end its reliance on Russian supplies of the fuel “well before 2030”. read more

Meanwhile, U.S. wheat futures tumbled, snapping a six-session winning streak, as the market wrestled with supply upheaval caused by Russia’s invasion of fellow grain exporter Ukraine.

Many shipping companies have suspended sailings to affected ports on the Black Sea due to the conflict and the impact of Western sanctions, which is adding to pressures for traders in Russian grain.

But soybean futures were strong, rising 2% on expectations for a bump in U.S. exports after a dry growing season in South America.

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Reporting by Nina Chestney, Pratima Desai, Peter Hobson, Gus Trompiz, Jonathan Saul and Nigel Hunt; Editing by Jan Harvey and Jonathan Oatis

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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