I sanction you. I sanction you back. I did it first. I did it to Harry Reid.
President Obama tried to put more pressure on Russia by targeting Vladimir Putin’s inner circle. Of course Putin responded as the situation in the Ukraine continues to be a major headache for President Obama. Yet for energy the risk is that Russia’s energy industry will be targeted. The New York Times reports that among those targeted were Sergei B. Ivanov, the president’s chief of staff; Gennady N. Timchenko, a billionaire investor with links to Mr. Putin; and Yuri V. Kovalchuk, whom the administration described as the personal banker for Russian leaders, including the president.
Mr. Obama also opened the door to more sweeping measures against core parts of the Russian economy, including the oil and natural gas industries, which account for much of Russia’s exports. He said the actions could disrupt the global economy, but might be necessary because of what he described as menacing movements by the Russian military near eastern and southern Ukraine.
Of course one good sanction deserves another. The New York Times says that “almost immediately, Russia barred nine prominent American officials from entering the country, including the speaker of the House, John A. Boehner (R Ohio); the Senate Democratic leader, Harry Reid (D Nev.) ; Senator John McCain (R Ariz.) and three close advisers to Mr. Obama.
This drama along with drama going on in Venezuela continues to give oil a bit of a risk premium. The West Texas contract is gaining on Brent. Brent is also seeing pressure from China’s stock market bounced off of a five-year low. Economic worries are building though overnight it seems the Chinese government moved, loosening funding restrictions on its real estate developers and banks.
They said it could not happen but it did! US Natural gas inventories cracked 1 trillion cubic feet falling to 953.00 billion cubic feet. Still the 48 bcf withdrawal was less than expected.