If Russia invades Ukraine, the oil will “definitely” exceed $120 a barrel, and the global economy would be “radically transformed,” according to senior strategist David Roche.
Moscow has denied ambitions to attack Ukraine, but it has sent 130,000 troops, tanks, missiles, and even new blood supplies to the border. The Kremlin has stated that Ukraine should never be allowed to join NATO’s military alliance and that the organization’s influence in Eastern Europe should be reduced.
“Squawk Box Europe” on Monday, Roche alluded to the uncertainty over Russia’s next measures as “the ghost in the room,” a threat that might destabilize global markets.
“I believe that if there was an invasion of Ukraine and sanctions were imposed that restricted Russia’s access to foreign exchange mechanisms, messaging systems, and so on, or prevented them from exporting their commodities, whether oil, gas, or coal, you would almost certainly see oil prices at $120 [a barrel] at that point in time,” he said.
Brent crude oil contracts for April delivery were slightly down on Wednesday, at roughly $90.50 per barrel, but oil prices have been steadily rising since the start of the year, when they were trading around $80 per barrel.
National security adviser Jake Sullivan of the White House warned on Sunday that an invasion might happen “any day now.”
Roche anticipated that a Russian invasion of Ukraine would have far-reaching economic implications, even if the influence on oil prices was ignored. Many market players, he cautioned, were underestimating the possible consequences of the Russia-Ukraine issue.
“My best judgment is that most investors see Mr. Putin as background music,” he said. “I am sure Mr. Putin would disagree.” If Putin does “something major” in Ukraine, according to Roche, the US and its allies are likely to slap punitive sanctions on Russia, and European equities markets and the world economy’s outlook would be “radically changed.”
According to US politicians, the “mother of all sanctions” against Russia is being developed as a means of defending Ukraine that would be “crippling to [Russia’s] economy.” Ministers from the United Kingdom and Germany have also cautioned that any harsh action against Ukraine will have economic ramifications for Moscow.
Experts, on the other hand, believe Russia is ready to risk “serious financial devastation” and all-out war in Ukraine to achieve its political goals.