Brent crude up $10, shares sink as Ukraine conflict deepens




A Saudi man walks at the Tadawul Saudi Stock Exchange, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Monday, June 15, 2015. Saudi Arabia's stock market, valued at $585 billion, opened up to direct foreign investment for the first time Monday, as the kingdom seeks an economic boost amid low global oil prices. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)

TOKYO (AP) — The price of oil jumped about $10 a barrel and shares were sharply lower Monday as the conflict in Ukraine deepened amid mounting calls for harsher sanctions against Russia.

Brent crude oil surged more than 12% during the day in Asia, while benchmark U.S. crude gained about $10 at more than $125 a barrel.

The latest market turmoil followed a warning from Russian President Vladimir Putin that Ukrainian statehood was imperiled as Russian forces battered strategic locations. A temporary cease-fire in two Ukrainian cities failed over the weekend — and both sides blamed each other.

France’s CAC 40 dipped 3.6% in early trading to 5,841.82, while Germany’s DAX lost nearly 4.1% to 12,564.78. Britain’s FTSE 100 dropped 2.0% to 6,848.87. U.S. shares were set to drift lower with Dow futures down 1.6% at 33,048.00. S&P 500 futures fell 1.7% to 4,252.00.

The price of gold, which is viewed as an investor safe haven in times of crisis, jumped $26 an ounce to $1,992.90.

Oil prices came under additional pressure after Libya’s national oil company said an armed group had shut down two crucial oil fields. The move caused the country’s daily oil output to drop by 330,000.

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House was exploring legislation to further isolate Russia from the global economy, including banning the import of its oil and energy products into the U.S.

Brent crude, the international pricing standard, hit $139.13 per barrel before falling back. It was trading up $9.22 at $127.33 a barrel in London.

U.S. crude soared $9.70 to $125.38 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Its all-time high was marked in July 2008, when the price per barrel of U.S. crude climbed to $145.29.

That pushed the average price for regular gasoline in the U.S. up almost 41 centsm past $4 per gallon (3.8 liters) on average for the first time since 2008, according to the AAA motor club.

The all-time high for average gasoline prices was set July 17, 2008 at $4.10 per gallon.

Higher fuel costs are devastating for Japan, which imports almost all its energy. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 dipped 2.9% to finish at 25,221.41.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 3.9% to 21,057.63, while South Korea’s Kospi slipped 2.3% to 2,651.31. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 shed 1.0% to 7,038.60. The Shanghai Composite lost 2.2% to 3,372.86.

“The Ukraine-Russia conflict will continue to dominate market sentiments and no signs of conflict resolution thus far may likely put a cap on risk sentiments into the new week,” said Yeap Jun Rong, market strategist at IG in Singapore.

“It should be clear by now that economic sanctions will not deter any aggression from the Russians, but will serve more as a punitive measure at the expense of implication on global economic growth. Elevated oil prices may pose a threat to firms’ margins and consumer spending outlook,” Yeap said.

China reported Monday that its exports rose by double digits in January and February before Russia’s attack on Ukraine roiled the global economy.

Customs data show exports grew by 16.3% over a year earlier in a sign global demand was recovering before President Vladimir Putin’s Feb. 24 invasion. Imports advanced 15.5% despite a Chinese economic slowdown that the war threatens to worsen.

China’s No. 2 leader, Premier Li Keqiang, warned Saturday global conditions are “volatile, grave and uncertain” and achieving Beijing’s economic goals will require “arduous efforts.”

Markets worldwide have swung wildly recently on worries about how high prices for oil, wheat and other commodities produced in the region will go because of Russia’s invasion, inflaming the world’s already high inflation.

The list of companies exiting Russia has grown to include Mastercard, Visa and American Express, as well as Netflix.

The conflict in Ukraine also threatens the food supply in some regions, including Europe, Africa and Asia, which rely on the vast, fertile farmlands of the Black Sea region, known as the “breadbasket of the world.”

In currency trading, the U.S. dollar edged up to 115.03 Japanese yen from 114.86 yen. The euro cost $1.0872, down from $1.0926.