The Russian war in Ukraine is in its seventh day and financial sanctions on Russian individuals and banks are set to cripple the financial sector. Energy exports have not been the target of sanctions and even though the effect has made buyers and shippers wary, trade volumes have been unmoved so far as current loadings would have traded and had vessels fixed before the invasion. But, with Urals hitting a new record discount to Brent, finding buyers over the coming weeks is set to become increasingly difficult.

European Gasoil imports have fallen to an 11-month low, despite this being the peak demand season. A mild winter in most of the region has combined with faltering demand recovery, meaning just 7.5 million tonnes were imported in January 2022.