Oil’s relentless surge above $125 a barrel threatens to stoke inflation across Asia, forcing central banks to decide whether to respond to higher prices with tighter policy, or hold off amid the blow to economic growth.

As a net importer of energy, Asia is vulnerable to the oil price spike triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. And with more than 40% of global exports stemming from the region, any sustained price increases will ripple throughout the world.

"Most are huge energy importers, so soaring crude and gas costs will weigh on economic growth,” said Frederic Neumann, co-head of Asian economic research at HSBC Holdings PLC. "But the inflation impact is also substantial, even if the precise impact on individual markets varies. A delicate balancing act for central banks.”