Russia’s assault on Ukraine will carry painful economic ripple effects throughout the globe — including at U.S. gas pumps and grocery stores, one expert predicts.
“This is really a disaster for the global economy,” Phil Flynn, a senior market analyst at the PRICE Futures Group and a FOX Business Network Contributor, told WTOP Thursday morning, several hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched the invasion into Ukraine.
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“We’re going to see a lot of pain at the gas pump and at the grocery store,” Flynn said.
Already, the cost of wholesale gasoline has gone up 15 cents a gallon overnight.
“Usually, when you see that type of a spike on the wholesale price, you can almost bet your bottom dollar, it’s going to be coming to a gas station or a pump to you soon,” he said.
If the conflict becomes protracted, and supplies get cut off, “$4 a gallon might start looking cheap,” Flynn said. “We could be talking a national average of $5 a gallon.”
The economic fallout isn’t likely to be limited to oil and gas.
“We’re talking food prices; we’re talking car prices; we’re talking metal prices,” Flynn said. “All these things from Ukraine are very important. We saw wheat, for example, on the board of trade, trade to its highest maximum daily price limit, and we don’t know if that’s going to end today or tomorrow — or if it’s going to keep going higher.”
He added: “What people have to remember is that Ukraine is one of the world’s biggest exporters of grain. People forget that back in the olden days, Ukraine was considered to be the breadbasket of the Soviet Union. So they produce a lot of wheat mainly, but soybeans and corn. They flip-flop from being the world’s third or fourth biggest exporter of these goods, and there’s a concern that if we get into a war, those supplies could be disrupted. And because of that, and because global supplies of grains are already tight, it’s driving those prices substantially higher. ”
President Joe Biden and other Western leaders have pledged harsh economic sanctions against Russia. But Flynn said carrying those out effectively will be tricky.
“They’re talking about massive sanctions on Russia. But, really, the only thing that Russia has that’s worth sanctioning, really, is oil and gas,” Flynn said. “And the problem is, that they can’t do that, because Europe, then, won’t be able to keep the lights on.”
WTOP’s John Aaron contributed to this report.
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