Rising tensions over Russia's standoff with Ukraine has sent a shock wave through global stock markets and seen gas prices jump.
The UK's FTSE100 share index fell 108 points at the opening of trading, with it sliding 1.1% at 6,733. Other stock markets suffered even worse falls, as Russia's MICEX stock exchange plunged almost 10% down to 1,304 in what could be their biggest slump since 2009.
FTSE 100 Index reacts to the escalating Ukraine crisis
Germany's DAX fell 1.8% as trading opened, while France's CAC fell 1.7% and Spain's IBEX slipped 1.9%.
Commodity prices hit a six-month high as concerns mount that energy and food supplies could be disrupted by the escalating crisis in Ukraine, which is the main transit route for Russian fuel to reach consumers in the West.
British motorists will also stand to be hit with the RAC motoring group predicting that rising oil prices will have a knock-on effect of pushing up fuel costs and, in turn, petrol pump prices.
RAC head of external affairs Pete Williams said: "The tensions in Ukraine, brought about by Russia's unprecedented move, will unfortunately affect everyone driving a vehicle in the UK as the fuel market is intrinsically linked to major international political events."
UK gas prices rose as high as 61.95p a therm ($10.35 a million British thermal units) before trading at 60 pence this morning, Bloomberg reported.
Joe Conlan, an energy analyst at Inenco, told HuffPostUK: “Gas and power prices have risen sharply in early trading this morning, as tensions continue to escalate in Crimea. The Summer ’14 contract for gas delivery through April – September had risen 9.4% at its highest this morning.
“Gas prices remain volatile and are closely linked to the power price. With Gazpom having issued a statement in the last hour saying they are looking at pricing of gas from the beginning of the next quarter, further price rises may be seen.
"The situation could be worse with Europe having had a mild winter, prices have fallen significantly of late. However, this morning’s rise has eradicated three weeks of constant falls. Should this continue prices are likely to carry on rising in the medium term."
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