Putin decree retaliates to oil-price cap

STORY: Russia says it will ban oil sales to states that stick to a price cap imposed by Western countries.

The retaliatory measure was decreed by Russia President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday (December 27).

It was presented as a direct response to what Moscow called "actions that were unfriendly and contradictory to international law".

The Kremlin ban would stop crude oil sales to countries taking part in the price cap from February 1 to July 1 2023.

A separate ban on refined oil products like gasoline and diesel would also take effect on a date to be set by the government.

The Kremlin said Wednesday (December 28) it did not consult with the OPEC+ group of leading global oil producers on the issue.

The price cap on Russian oil was imposed earlier this month, and aims to cripple Moscow's military effort in Ukraine.

It means oil traders who want to keep access to Western financing must promise not to pay above $60 per barrel for Russian seaborne oil.

That is far below the prices at which Russia could sell oil for much of the past year.

Russia is the world's second largest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia.

Oil prices fell on Wednesday.

As investors grew more worried over how the health crisis in China could hurt the country's economic recovery.

Chinese hospitals have been under intense pressure as the country changes its approach to the global health crisis.