NEW YORK, March 8 — Wall Street retreated in early trading today, ahead of an impending ban on imports of Russian oil, as investors appeared to remain wary and prices were volatile.

The war in Ukraine continues to influence markets, sending prices of oil and other key commodities surging, adding to inflation concerns.

President Joe Biden was expected to announce the ban on US imports of Russian oil later Tuesday, which could push prices even higher.

After dropping nearly 800 points in Monday’s session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was off 0.1 per cent to 32,783.04 about 30 minutes after the opening bell.

The broad-based S&P 500 fell 0.4 per cent to 4,185.91, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.6 per cent to 12,750.82.

“The sense that things could get worse still before they get better looms large over global markets,” said Patrick J O’Hare of

Brent crude futures were closing in on US$130 a barrel, while wheat hovered near its record highs, along with several industrial metals.

The Federal Reserve is set to begin raising interest rates next week to tamp down price pressures, but the decision-making will be complicated by the uncertain impacts of the war in Ukraine on economic growth.

O’Hare said rising nickel prices also will begin to bite, raising costs for producers.

“It is another reminder, too, that the Fed has a real inflation problem on its hands,” he said in an analysis. — AFP