Oil prices collapse with biggest drop since 1991 Gulf War
09 March 2020 | 9:10 am
Saudi Arabia has taken drastic measures after Russia refused to comply with OPEC efforts to stabilize the market. The economic fallout of the coronavirus outbreak is cutting deep into global demand for fossil fuels.
Djeneba Belem's fried bean cake stall in Abidjan is a world away from the war raging in Ukraine. But her business is now at the mercy of an unexpected consequence: runaway palm oil prices. The conflict has helped propel prices for palm oil - ubiquitous in African dishes from Nigerian jollof rice to Ivorian sticky alloco plantains - to record highs that experts say will deepen a food-cost crisis and punish the poorest.
The Turkish leader will be in Saudi Arabia for a two-day visit where relations "will be reviewed." It will be Erdogan's first visit since the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
EU leaders are expected to present the proposed embargo later this week. Supporting the measure would be Germany's second turnaround in as many weeks with regards to Ukraine.
The oil embargo could be upheld for years, the German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said. Her Green ally Robert Habeck said complete independence from Russian oil was possible by late summer.
The European bloc is moving closer to banning Russian oil with Germany changing course to support the embargo. But many questions remain open.
As EU member states push for a Russian oil embargo, Germany's PCK Schwedt refinery is facing an uncertain future. It runs wholly on Russian imports, and many locals aren't so sure alternatives can be found in time.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Brussels are at odds again. Hungary refuses to support the planned oil embargo against Russia. But now even former allies such as Poland are turning their backs.
The 27 EU member states are deliberating a gradual ban on Russian oil imports. Some countries, such as Hungary, Slovakia and Cyprus, are concerned about the repercussions of such a move on their economies.
Hungary's government is "holding European Union decision makers hostage" by refusing to join an EU-wide embargo on Russian oil, according to Lithuania's foreign minister. This comes as EU leaders continue their efforts to gather support for a sixth sanctions package on Russia from all 27 EU member states. The government of PM Viktor Orban has claimed that an import ban on Russian oil would ruin the Hungarian economy. Lithuania's Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis tells FRANCE 24 that "Europe is weaker" as a result, and that he is "still hoping Budapest will be responsible in their decisions".
Russia's president has said banning oil imports from his country would be impossible for some dependent European states, after the EU failed to reach consensus to impose the measure.
Where do you get oil and gas if you want to end dependence on Russia? Germany imported more than 500,000 barrels of crude oil from Russia every day in 2020. In theory, Iran could step in. But it's complicated.
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