US urges India to get oil from Russia at lower price

Moscow has said it will not trade with any country supporting the G7-imposed price cap
US urges India to get oil from Russia at lower price

India should capitalize on the restrictions that the US and its allies want to impose on Russian oil exports, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in an interview with the Indian media.

“Our objective is to hold down the price that Russia receives for its oil and keep that oil trading. The gainers from this will be particularly those countries that do buy cheap Russian oil, and our hope would be that India would take advantage of this price cap, though its firms are bargaining with Russia,” Yellen told the Press Trust of India (PTI) ahead of her visit to the country.

G7 countries have agreed in principle to restrict sea shipments of Russian oil by blocking insurance and financial services, unless the price of the fuel is kept below a certain level. Member states have claimed that their dominant position in maritime transport will allow the measure to be enforced.

Russian officials have said the country will not sell oil to any state complying with the price cap, which is due to be imposed in early December.

However, Janet Yellen told the Indian news outlet that the US expects Indian buyers to comply with the price ceiling, and that even if they refuse, “we believe the price cap will give them leverage to negotiate good discounts from world markets.”

G7 to set fixed price on Russian oil – Reuters

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India emerged as a major buyer of Russian crude after the US and its allies unleashed unprecedented economic sanctions on Russian trade in retaliation for its decision to send troops into Ukraine. Russian sellers have since been offering discounts to customers.

India, which meets almost 85% of its oil needs through imports, has raised the share of Russian products in its fuel imports, from less than 1% before the Ukraine conflict to a peak of 23% last month. In June, Russia became India’s biggest oil supplier, surpassing Iraq, though traditional suppliers Iraq and Saudi Arabia remain strong competitors. India is currently the second largest buyer of Russian crude after China.

Yellen is scheduled to visit India on Friday to meet with her counterpart, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The trip comes ahead of this weekend’s G20 summit in Bali, which will include a joint meeting of finance ministers. India will assume the rotating G20 presidency in December, after incumbent Indonesia.

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