US lawmakers seek to restrict trade with Russia; soaring oil prices; markets fall

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House is considering legislation to further insulate Russia from the global economy, including banning the import of its petroleum and energy products into the United States.

Amid rising gasoline prices in the United States, the Biden administration has yet to call for a ban on oil imports to Russia.

In a letter to Democrats released late Sunday, Pelosi says the legislation under consideration would also abrogate normal trade relations with Russia and Belarus and begin the process of denying Russia access to the World Trade Organization. .

Pelosi says the House would also empower the Biden administration to raise tariffs on Russian imports.

Congress intends to approve the Biden administration’s request for $10 billion in humanitarian, military and economic support for Ukraine, Pelosi said, as part of omnibus government funding legislation this week.

The price of Brent crude oil from the North Sea, the European benchmark, hit a nearly 14-year high at $140 due to the war in Ukraine, heading towards the all-time high of $147.50.

The price of a barrel of Brent oil has risen 33% since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington was in “active discussions” with European nations about banning Russian oil imports, although he refrained from announcing an outright boycott.

Even though the oil is technically still sanctions-free, Russian oil exporters are struggling to find buyers. Shell is one of the only companies still buying Russian oil, although it says it will donate the profits to Ukrainian causes.

The price of gold rises above $2,000 in Asian trade as investors flee to the safe haven. The price of gold is at its highest level since September 2020.

As stock markets open after the weekend in Asia, the benchmark Nikkei 225 in Japan falls more than three percent.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong plunges more than four percent.

US benchmark S&P futures are down more than 1.5%.

Two of the world’s “big four” international accounting firms are pulling out of Russia.

KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers are both announcing that they will end their relationship with their member firms based in Russia. KPMG said it was also pulling out of Belarus.

KPMG International says in a statement that it will be “incredibly difficult” for its Russian and Belarusian businesses to leave the network. KPMG has more than 4,500 employees in both countries.

PricewaterhouseCoopers says it has 3,700 employees at its PwC Russia company and is working on an “orderly transition” for the business.

The other two Big Four firms — Deloitte and Ernst & Young — did not immediately return Associated Press requests for comment.