We’ve seen the first sign that Vladimir Putin is serious about his threat to turn off the taps.
Gazprom confirmed it’s cut off flows of natural gas to Poland and Bulgaria as they had failed to pay in roubles, adding that supplies will be halted until payment has been made.
European gas prices surged as much as 24pc amid fears the move could be a precursor to Putin turning off the taps for the rest of the continent.
Putin has ordered so-called “unfriendly” nations to pay for gas in rubles, but the EU has resisted, saying such a move would breach sanctions.
5 things to start your day
1) Government urged to address £4.9bn of Covid loan fraud as bags of cash found at border Taxpayers face “eye-watering” losses from Bounce Back scheme but ministers “lack of urgency”
2) Electric car ranges triple to close gap on petrol engines The average battery-powered car can travel almost 260 miles on a single charge
3) How Rishi Sunak mounted the most punishing stealth tax raid in history As inflation pours more money into the Treasury’s coffers, Chancellor finds himself under pressure to help families out
4) Left-wing celebrities shun Twitter after Elon Musk takeover Sadiq Khan and Amnesty International voice concerns that billionaire’s commitment to free speech will lead to ‘toxic Twitter’
5) Twitter staff in uproar over Elon Musk’s plans for the social media giant Employees freight as billionaire focuses on free speech amid claims of anti-conservative bias
what happened overnight
Asian markets were back in negative territory on Wednesday following a rout on Wall Street. There was a minor bounce in early trade for Hong Kong and Shanghai following a report that Xi Jinping had committed to boosting infrastructure spending, while there were losses in Tokyo, Sydney, Seoul, Singapore, Wellington, Taipei, Manila and Jakarta
Coming up today
- Corporate: GlaxoSmithKline, Go-Ahead Group, WH Smith (temporary); Aveva Group, Drax Group, Fresnillo, Lloyds Banking Group, London Stock Exchange Group, Metro Bank, Network International Holdings, Persimmon, WPP (trading update)
- Economics: GfK consumer confidence (ger)pending home sales (US)