Leaders of the richest democratic economies agreed to investigate an effective cap on oil import prices on Tuesday.
The Group of Seven (G7) nations – including Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the US – met this week at a summit in Bavaria. EU leaders Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel were also present at the meeting. There, attendees agreed measures in order to punish the economy of Russia for the country’s invasion of Ukraine in February. These measures would also have the effect of easing the economic issues caused by existing sanctions imposed by G7 countries.
In practice, the nations would ban the transport, insurance, and financing of oil sold above a given price. While the leaders invited other countries to join in exploring the measures, officials offered few other details.
Since February, G7 leaders and EU nations have introduced increasingly tight restrictions on international trade with Russia. While this initially caused Russian markets to shrink, it also caused the price of Russian oil to quickly jump upward. This left European countries paying more for their energy, pushing Russia’s cash reserves toward a record annual increase.
Despite the rise in trade takings, economists expect Russia’s economy to shrink by up to 10% this year. Russia recently failed to pay upkeep on two of its foreign debt bonds, defaulting for the first time since 1998. Russia’s leaders deny that this represents a “true default”, given the difficulties caused by sanctions on Russian foreign assets. Markets barely reacted to the default, with most traders saying that the economic strife has already become part of the price of everyday trading.
Also at the summit, French President Emmanuel Macron warned that an increase in OPEC’s oil production seems unlikely. Reporters overheard Macron relaying the words of UAE and Saudi Arabian leaders to US President Joe Biden on Tuesday.
“I had a call with [UAE leader] Mohmmed bin Zayed al-Nahyan”, Macron told Biden. “He told me two things. ‘I’m at maximum [production capacity]’, he claims. Then he said the Saudis can increase by 150,000 barrels per day. Maybe a little bit more, but they don’t have huge capacities in the next six months.”