Price Cap Upends Shipping, Export Impact Less Clear

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The G7 price cap and EU embargo on Russian crude seem to be roiling shipping markets more than export volumes. Evidence of traders and shippers conducting deals using the price cap mechanism has proven scant so far, with the trade instead shifting to a “shadow fleet” of non-G7 tankers and services. Market volatility and Russian discounting have pushed Urals prices to $45-$50 per barrel, well below the agreed $60/bbl cap price. Initial data for exports, meanwhile, suggests a mixed picture. Russian oil exports fell by about 10% from 3 million barrels per day in November to 2.7 million b/d in the first 21 days of December, impacted partly by winter storms and port repairs. However, closer analysis of shipping data shows a surge of loadings from Russian ports before the EU import embargo and G7 price cap took effect on Dec. 5, followed by a slump to just 2.2 million b/d in the two weeks after. The key question is whether this represents a temporary fall as markets adjust — as occurred after the February Ukraine invasion — or the start of a more permanent reduction of Russian supply.

Oil Trade, Oil Tankers, Crude Oil, Oil Products, Ukraine Crisis
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