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Ukraine war sends oil rising for third day as Chancellor mulls cut to fuel duty

Good morning.

Oil prices are climbing for the third session in a row as EU countries continue to weigh an embargo on Russian supplies ahead of a meeting with US President Joe Biden. 

With the Ukraine conflict showing little sign of easing, brent crude rose by more than 3pc to about $111 per barrel on Monday as traders bet that the market would continue to stay tight. 

It comes as a cut in fuel duty has been signalled by Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak, as they seek to ease the cost of living crisis facing families in the Spring Statement.

It comes as EU governments are considering an oil embargo on Russia its invasion of Ukraine, on top of a punishing collection of sanctions already imposed.

They had previously backed away from such a move but Baltic countries including Lithuania are still pushing for it, according to Reuters. Biden is due to arrive in Brussels for a Nato summit on Thursday. 

5 things to start your day 

1) Gove attacks ‘cartel’ of big property developers The Levelling Up Secretary opened a new front in his war with housebuilders amid a row over building safety.

2) M&S chairman warns of price rises Retailer’s chairman says clothes and food will become more expensive after the war in Ukraine pushed up energy costs.

3) Chancellor breaks with Cabinet colleagues in P&O freeports row Rishi Sunak says involvement of ferry company’s Dubai-based parent is separate to furore over sackings.

4) Go-Ahead expected to retain Govia Thameslink rail line Joint venture likely to continue running Britain’s biggest rail franchise despite being booted off Southeastern and £26m fine

5) Russia facing fresh debt default test Despite making payments last week, Moscow still has $40bn of bonds outstanding and key payments are approaching. 

What happened overnight 

Asian share markets started the week in a sober mood on Monday as fighting in Ukraine raged on with no sign of stopping, leaving investors clutching at hopes for an eventual peace deal.

Investors were also anxiously waiting to see if Russia would meet more interest repayments this week. It must pay $615 million in coupons this month while on April 4, a $2 billion bond is due.

Trade was sluggish with Japan on holiday, leaving S&P 500 stock futures down 0.3pc and Nasdaq futures 0.4pc. EUROSTOXX 50 futures dipped 0.1pc and FTSE futures edged up 0.1pc.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was flat. Japan’s Nikkei was shut, but futures traded around 200 points above the cash close.

Chinese blue chips firmed 0.1pc, with investors waiting on further details of possible stimulus from Beijing.

Coming up today

  • Corporate: Photo-Me International, Raven Property Group (full-year results); SThree (trading statement)
  • Economics: Producer price inflation (Germany) 

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