ASX to rise; US and UK ban Russian oil imports

In the latest geopolitical developments, the US and UK have decided to ban all oil and gas imports from Russia, while the EU said they will find a way to cut Russian energy imports by two thirds by end of the year.

With the US ban pretty much priced in already, Brent crude rose by only around 4% on the news to US$128.72 a barrel.

Speaking at the White House, President Biden said the move targets “the main artery of Russia’s economy”.

“Russian oil will no longer be acceptable at US ports, and the American people will deal another powerful blow to Putin’s war machine,” he told reporters.

While Russian imports account for 30-40% of mainland Europe’s oil and gas needs, the US only imports 3% and UK 4% of their energy from Russia.

Elsewhere, the global market for nickel broke as the London Metal Exchange halted trading on nickel futures, after prices briefly spiked to US$100k a ton on an epic short squeeze.

Russia exports 17% of the world’s nickel demand, and the nickel’s price has surged by some US$60k a ton in the last few weeks alone.

Gold meanwhile spiked to over US$2k, trading now at US$2050 an ounce, its highest level since August 2020. Goldman has upgraded its gold price forecast, predicting a US$2,300 level within three months.

To equities, ASX 200 futures are pointing to a slightly higher open this morning despite falls on Wall Street overnight. All three major US indexes fell – the S$P 500 by 0.72%, the Dow by 0.56% and tech heavy Nasdaq by 0.28%.

Bitcoin is still trading in a range below US$40,000 — with BTC trading hands at US$38,520 at 8.25am AEDT, from the US$39k level 24 hours ago.

With the market already anxious about knock-on effects from war in Ukraine and Federal Reserve rate hikes, US president Joe Biden is set to sign a crypto executive order.

Read the rest of that story here on Coinhead.


ASX 200 to open higher on Wednesday

The ASX 200 is set to open higher this morning, with the March futures pointing up by 0.17% at 8.30am AEDT.

Yesterday, local blue chips fell 0.83% following Russia’s statement that said it could cut off gas supplies to Europe in retaliation for sanctions.

The comment sent the European Natural Gas price to a record high US$600/barrel.

In large cap news this morning, gaming company Aristocrat Leisure (ASX:ALL) said it does not anticipate a material impact on earnings as a result of the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

And this morning, the Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe is set to deliver a speech at the Australian Financial Review Business Summit at 9.15am AEDT.

Also, Westpac and the Melbourne Institute are set to issue the March consumer confidence report.

5 ASX small caps to watch today

Halo Food (ASX:HLF)
Halo has received a follow-on order from an exisiting customer in China for its private label whole milk powder valued at approximately NZD$7.1m. Separately, under Halo’s licensing deal for Baileys non-alcoholic coffee flavoured drinks, expansion has continued across major retailers throughout the North and South Island of New Zealand.

Douugh (ASX:DOU)
Douugh has launched Roundup, a new feature on Douugh’s proprietary Autopilot technology that helps customers save by rounding up Douugh credit card transactions to the nearest dollar, and sweeping to a nominated Stash Jar on the platform.

The Sustainable Nutrition (ASX:TSN)
The hemp and plant-based wellness products specialist signed a deal with Woolworths for four new baking products under the ‘Mt. Elephant’ brand. TSN expects this new range of baking products will generate annualised sales revenue in the range of $900K to $1m, commencing April.

Medusa Mining (ASX:MML)
Paul Ryan Welker has been appointed as the company’s Managing Director / CEO following the termination of Andrew Teo’s contract. Welker was recently appointed as a Non-Executive Director of Medusa following its acquisition of Ten Sixty Four, a company that Mr Welker co-founded.

Askari Metals (ASX:AS2)
An exploration license for Askari’s Barrow Creek Lithium Project in the NT has been granted for an initial period of 6 years. Assay results are expected in April.

At Stockhead we tell it like it is. While Douugh is a Stockhead advertiser, it did not sponsor this article.