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Russia Offering India Big Discount on Oil Purchase

Russia is offering India significant discounts on direct oil purchases as supplies to other countries decline as a result of sanctions imposed in response to its invasion of Ukraine, according to Bloomberg. Russia is willing to offer high-grade oil for up to $35 per barrel – a price that could rise to $45 per barrel in light of recent price increases – and wants India to buy 15 million barrels in the initial agreement.

Since Moscow has been blocked from SWIFT, Russia has also allowed rupee-ruble-denominated payments through its SPFS financial messaging system, which might make trading more appealing for India, according to Bloomberg.

The offer comes a day after India’s foreign minister, S Jaishankar, defended India’s decision to buy discounted Russian oil, which has been criticized by the US and the UK, in meetings with British foreign secretary Liz Truss. Russia sells more to European countries than India, according to Jaishankar, and India welcomes competitive offers to meet rising domestic demand.

“I think it’s natural for governments to look for excellent bargains for their people when prices go up,” he said, citing estimates that European countries bought about 15% more oil from Russia in March than they did in February.

“…if we look at the big consumers of Russian oil and gas in two or three months, I expect the list will be similar to what it was before, and I suspect we won’t be in the top ten.”

Oil is a hot topic in India, which imports 85 percent of its needs, and rising fuel prices have sparked a flurry of protests.

‘I am not going to tell India what to do,’ Truss said, but he stressed the importance of like-minded nations working together to oppose Putin’s ‘appalling invasion’.

Last month, White House press secretary Jen Psaki stated that while buying Russian oil would not violate US sanctions, India should ‘consider where you want to stand.’ “We made a decision,” she subsequently said, “but every country hasn’t… they have different economic reasons…”

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, global oil prices have risen dramatically, with Brent crude reaching new highs. After’meaningful’ peace discussions and the US’s transfer of reserves, prices have plunged below $100 per barrel.

However, a senior market analyst at Oanda Asia Pacific told Bloomberg that prices will continue to vary between $100 and $120 per barrel in the coming weeks. Indian Oil Corp. and Hindustan Petroleum Corp. are said to have already committed to acquire five million barrels – about a day’s supply – from each other.

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