Putin Cuts Gas Supply to Poland & Bulgaria

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Putin Backs Up ThreatsRussia has this week followed through on its threat to sever gas supplies with countries refusing to meet Putin’s demand that gas payments be made in Rubles. Gas supply to Poland and Bulgaria has been switched off in light of both countries refusing to satisfy Putin’s demands. With further payment deadlines from other countries in Europe due this week, there is a very strong likelihood that we see gas supply reduced even more.Gas Prices Spike HigherGas prices have spiked higher in response to the news, with speculators driving price higher in anticipation of further supply “switch-offs” coming imminently. While EU member states had initially agreed in principle to refuse Putin’s requests, developments last week suggested room for a potential compromise, to allow EU states to continue receiving Russian gas. However, in light of this latest aggression, such a compromise appears less likely.First Major Disruption In Over A DecadeThe turning off of supply to Poland and Bulgaria marks the first time that energy supplies to Europe has been halted since the Russia-Ukraine energy price dispute in 2006 and 2009. Commenting on the move, Polish leaders reassured citizens that they have enough reserve supplies so that consumers will not be negatively impacted near term. Bulgaria, however, said that it only has enough supplies for the next month or so.EU Leaders Meeting TodayEU leaders are due to meet later today to discuss next steps with regards to the possibility of banning Russian energy imports into the customs bloc. EU leaders have been highlighting the need to develop independence from Russian energy and reduce the leverage Putin has over Europe with regards to energy supply. In light of the announcements this week there is the potential that the EU seeks to retaliate. However, given that many member states are still far away from energy independence, it is unclear how much room there is for a counter move.EUR Taking A HitEUR has come under heavy selling pressure following news of the energy supply disruption. Fears of the impact on the overall eurozone economy of the ongoing Ukraine-Russia conflict have been a major headwind for EUR this year, with little sign of a rebound near term.Technical ViewsNatural GasThe correction lower from the 8.202 level has seen Natural Gas prices finding strong support into the 6.516 level. With momentum indicators moving higher off lows, and while this support level holds, the focus is on a continuation higher near term. Below 6.516, the next key support to note is the 5.881 level.

Source: Tickmill

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