Oil prices slide as EU imposed a ban on Russian oil imports
Credits: Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP

Oil prices slide as EU imposed a ban on Russian oil imports

Benchmark oil prices were lower Friday after European countries decided against a ban on Russian oil imports over its Ukraine invasion -- but Germany said it would drastically slash its energy purchases from Moscow.

On stock markets, European shares rose and Wall Street opened higher, but analysts expected further gains to be capped by caution over the economic impact of the war in Ukraine, as Russia's invasion enters its second month.

"European reluctance to walk away from the Russian oil weighs on oil prices," said Swissquote analyst Ipek Ozkardeskaya.

But the United States and EU did announce a drive to wean Europe off Russian gas imports and so choke off the billions in revenues that are fuelling Moscow's ruinous war.

Europe's biggest economy, Germany, said its own Russian oil imports would be halved by June and coal deliveries stopped by the autumn of this year.

In mid-afternoon trading, stock markets were higher across the board in London, Frankfurt and Paris, shrugging off weak macroeconomic data.

However, "anxieties about the increasingly entrenched conflict in Ukraine are" holding back share price gains, said Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Susannah Streeter.

Russia launched its assault on Ukraine on February 24, sending shockwaves across global markets that continue to reverberate.

The business climate in Germany worsened in March, the Ifo index showed, amid fears over soaring energy prices and deepening supply-chain woes owing to the Ukraine war.

Earlier in Asia, markets were lacklustre as investors fretted over the impact of the conflict, surging inflation and possible monetary policy tightening to control it.

The crisis in eastern Europe has forced investors to reassess their outlook for the global economy owing to an expected surge in already soaring prices, which some commentators now warn could lead to recessions.

- Key figures around 1345 GMT -

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 0.9 percent at $114.23 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 1.3 percent at $110.83 per barrel

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.3 percent at 7,492.21 points

Frankfurt - DAX: UP 0.6 percent at 14,354.13

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.3 percent at 6,678.45

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.4 percent at 3,887.81

New York - DOW: UP 0.2 percent at 34,793.14

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.1 percent at 28,149.84 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: DOWN 2.5 percent at 21,404.88 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 1.2 percent at 3,212.24 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1017 from $1.0997 late Thursday

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3190 from $1.3187

Euro/pound: UP at 83.55 pence from 83.39 pence

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 122.13 yen from 122.35 yen

* Stories are edited and translated by Info3 *
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