Putin bans Russian oil exports to countries that implement price cap
President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday (27 December) delivered Russia’s long-awaited response to a Western price cap, signing a decree that bans the supply of crude oil and oil products from 1 February for five months to nations that abide by the cap.
The Group of Seven major powers, the European Union and Australia agreed this month to a $60-per-barrel price cap on Russian seaborne crude oil effective from 5 December over Moscow’s “special military operation” in Ukraine.
The cap is close to the current price for Russian oil, but well beneath the windfall price Russia was able to sell for this year and that helped offset the impact of financial sanctions on Moscow.
Russia is the world’s second-largest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia, and a major disruption to its sales would have far-reaching consequences for global energy supplies.
The decree, published on a government portal and the Kremlin website, was presented as a direct response to “actions that are unfriendly and contradictory to international law by the United States and foreign states and international organizations joining them”.
“Deliveries of Russian oil and oil products to foreign entities and individuals are banned, on the condition that in the contracts for these supplies, the use of a maximum price fixing mechanism is directly or indirectly envisaged,” the decree stated, referring specifically to the United States and other foreign states that have imposed the price cap.
“The established ban applies to all stages of supply up to the end buyer.”
The decree, which includes a clause that allows for Putin to overrule the ban in special cases, stated: “This…comes into force on 1 February, 2023, and applies until 1 July, 2023.”
Crude oil exports will be banned from 1 February, but the date for the oil products ban will be determined by the Russian government and could be after 1 February.
The price cap, unseen even in the times of the Cold War between the West and the Soviet Union, is aimed at crippling Russian state coffers and Moscow’s military efforts in Ukraine.
Some analysts have said that the cap will have little immediate impact on the oil revenues that Moscow is currently earning.
However, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said on Tuesday that Russia’s budget deficit could be wider than the planned 2 percent of GDP in 2023, with the oil price cap squeezing export income, an extra fiscal hurdle for Moscow as it spends heavily on its military campaign in Ukraine.
Russia has been promising to respond officially for weeks, and the eventual decree largely established what officials had already said publicly.
The G7 price cap allows non-EU countries to continue importing seaborne Russian crude oil, but it will prohibit shipping, insurance and reinsurance companies from handling cargoes of Russian crude around the globe, unless it is being sold for less than the price cap.
EU countries have separately implemented an embargo that prohibits them from purchasing seaborne Russian oil.
Russian Urals oil URL-E traded above $56 per barrel on Tuesday, below the price cap level.
Brent crude oil LCOc1 moved a little higher on the news and was up 1.4 percent at $85.1 by 1743 GMT.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Optimistic About IMF Agreement this June
Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif expressed optimism about reaching a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) this month, according to an interview with Turkish news agency Anadolu.
The release of pending bailout funds through the 9th IMF review is crucial for Pakistan to address its severe balance of payments crisis, as the country’s central bank reserves can only cover imports for a month. However, a staff-level agreement to release $1.1 billion out of a $6.5 billion package has been delayed since November, marking the longest delay in staff-level missions to Pakistan since at least 2008.
Sharif stated that Pakistan remains hopeful about the IMF program materializing and assured that the 9th review will fulfill all terms and conditions. He expressed anticipation for positive news this month, highlighting that Pakistan has completed all necessary prior actions to unlock funding. Notably, Pakistan is preparing to announce its Federal Budget on June 9, and last month, the finance minister mentioned that the IMF had requested details about the budget, which the government had planned to share.
Pakistan is currently grappling with an economic crisis, as May witnessed inflation skyrocketing to 37.97%, marking a record high for the second consecutive month and the highest in South Asia. In an attempt to secure IMF funding, the government has implemented measures such as removing exchange rate caps, imposing taxes, increasing energy tariffs, and reducing subsidies. Additionally, key interest rates have been raised to a record 21%.
PM Sheikh Hasina to partake World of Work Summit in Switzerland this June
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to embark on a visit to Switzerland in June to attend the “World of Work Summit: Social Justice for All” in Geneva on June 14-15. The summit serves as a significant platform for global leaders to address the pressing need for enhanced, coordinated, and coherent efforts in promoting social justice.
During the summit, discussions will revolve around the proposal to establish a Global Coalition for Social Justice, which received a positive response from the International Labour Office’s Governing Body at its 347th Session. Should the plans be finalized, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will undertake her visit to Geneva from June 13 to 16, as confirmed by a diplomatic source.
A distinguished lineup of attendees, including French President François Hollande, Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kailash Satyarthi, and representatives from employers’ and workers’ organizations, will address the conference. Over the course of two days, the summit aims to emphasize the crucial role of social justice in fostering a more sustainable and equitable world. Additionally, strategies for enhanced collaboration and cohesive action to advance social justice and ensure policy coherence will be explored.
The summit will provide participants with a platform to share their vision and priorities concerning social justice, as well as showcase the actions they have taken and commit to taking to promote social justice. Furthermore, the outcomes of the summit are expected to inform discussions in other multilateral forums regarding the significance and strategies for achieving greater social justice. These forums include the Sustainable Development Goals Summit, the G20 Summit, and the summits of the BRICS countries, all scheduled to take place in 2023.
Prominent figures such as heads of state and government, the United Nations Secretary-General, the Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), and high-level representatives from employers’ and workers’ organizations will deliver addresses during the summit. Additionally, four panel discussions will bring together governmental representatives, employers’ and workers’ organizations, UN entities, and other international organizations to identify and amplify actions aimed at promoting social justice across the multilateral system. The objective is to commit to a joint, coherent, and coordinated engagement on this crucial issue.
Erdoğan Emerges Victorious in Turkish Presidential Election
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has extended his two-decade-long grip on power in Turkey, securing victory over his rival Kemal Kilicdaroglu in a closely contested presidential runoff election.
With 99.43% of the votes counted, Turkey’s supreme election authority announced Erdoğan’s win with 52.14% of the votes, while Kilicdaroglu received 47.86%. The gap of over 2 million votes between the candidates was insurmountable, ensuring Erdogan’s victory. Even before the official result was announced, Erdoğan celebrated atop a bus in Istanbul, singing a campaign song and declaring his triumph.
Erdoğan hailed the election as a win for Turkey and its democracy, emphasizing the importance of the country remaining united and focused on its goals. The incumbent president has been a dominant figure in Turkish politics, centralizing power, suppressing opposition, and implementing unconventional economic policies. Surprisingly, he garnered support in areas severely affected by financial crises and devastating earthquakes. Erdogan’s victory affirms his populist style of politics and grants him another term as president.
In the aftermath of his win, Erdoğan addressed his supporters from the balcony of the presidential palace, boasting of Turkey’s economic independence despite ongoing financial challenges. Congratulations poured in from various world leaders, including President Joe Biden, President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, President Emmanuel Macron, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and even Erdogan’s former rival, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi of Egypt.
Kilicdaroglu, leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), consoled his supporters at the party’s headquarters in Ankara, acknowledging the people’s desire for change despite what he deemed an unfair election process. He expressed his commitment to continuing the struggle for real democracy in the country.
The opposition had managed to push Erdoğan into a runoff election, an unprecedented occurrence in the presidential system introduced by Erdoğan himself. However, they fell short of securing the majority needed for victory. Kilicdaroglu and his coalition campaigned on returning Turkey to parliamentary democracy, pledging to reverse the changes implemented by Erdoğan during his two decades in power.
Erdoğan dismissed claims of increasing authoritarian control, highlighting that a candidate entering a runoff election cannot be considered a dictator. His campaign focused on his ability to solve the country’s problems, particularly the worsening economic crisis. Despite holding mayorships in major cities, the opposition struggled to gain traction outside their traditional strongholds, while Erdoğan’s support remained strong in provinces that had experienced significant socioeconomic growth under his leadership.
In summary, Erdoğan’s victory in the presidential runoff election solidifies his hold on power in Turkey, offering him another term as president and reaffirming his populist political approach. The country remains deeply polarized, with the opposition vowing to continue the struggle for a more democratic system.
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