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Expand chart
Data: FactSet; Note: Shows Dutch TTF Gas Monthly Index; Chart: Axios Visuals

Sky-high European natural gas prices are volatile this morning after yesterday's retreat (see chart above) that followed Russian President Vladimir Putin's comments that seemingly signaled more supply in the offing.

What we're watching: What follows the statements about supply from Putin and other Russian officials, in terms of gas via existing infrastructure and the timing of final approval of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

  • "Market analysts quickly suspected that the offer to increase supplies to Europe was likely intended to put pressure on Germany to certify the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline," CNBC reports.

Threat level: "Until there is greater clarity on Russia’s gas send-outs to Europe, we expect EU gas prices to remain volatile and skewed to the upside," Goldman Sachs said in a note.

The big picture: The gyrations as traders mull Putin's comments also highlight Russia's geopolitical influence in Europe, which is heavily reliant on Russian gas.

  • A New York Times piece calls the gas price surge that's rocking European industry and consumers a "birthday present" to Putin, who turned 69 yesterday.
  • They note the Kremlin has "bridled" at European efforts to diversify its supplies, and now "a confluence of events catapulted energy prices to record heights, putting the Russian president in a position to ride to the rescue."

Go deeper

Oct 20, 2021 - World

Putin supports week at home for workers amid rising COVID-19 deaths

A serviceman of Russia's Emergencies Ministry wearing protective gear disinfects Moscow's Belorussky railway station on October 20, 2021. Photo: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday supported a proposal to institute a non-working week to curb record high coronavirus deaths, AP reports.

Driving the news: Putin said Wednesday that he backs a non-working period, where workers will stay at home, beginning Oct. 30 and continuing through the following week, when four of seven days are already state holidays, per AP.

1 hour ago - Sports

Unvaccinated athletes face 21-day quarantine at Beijing Olympics

Logos for the 2022 Winter Olympics at Yanqing Ice Festival in February 2021 in Beijing. Photo: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

Athletes, staff members and journalists at the 2022 Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games who have not been vaccinated against the coronavirus will be required to quarantine for three weeks, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) outlined in its newly-published "playbooks."

Why it matters: The quarantine period is longer than the Games themselves, meaning vaccinations or an earlier arrival date will be required to participate in or cover the Games.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

FTX CEO predicts more U.S. crypto flight

Photo: "Axios on HBO"

FTX doesn't look much like a company valued at $25 billion. Its new headquarters, located in a sleepy part of The Bahamas, is so nondescript as to not even have a sign. But it does expect to soon have neighbors.

Driving the news: Founder and CEO Sam Bankman-Fried tells "Axios on HBO" to expect "more and more crypto flight from the states" if the U.S. doesn't soon create a regulatory regime for cryptocurrencies.