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UK and EU hit Russian oil cargoes with insurance coverage ban

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The UK and EU have agreed a co-ordinated ban on insuring ships carrying Russian oil, shutting Moscow out of the important Lloyd’s of London insurance coverage market and sharply curbing its capacity to export crude, in accordance with British and European officers.

Lloyd’s has been the guts of the marine insurance coverage trade for hundreds of years and blocking its members from insuring Russian oil cargoes will pile extra stress on world commodity markets, which have been in turmoil since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

The insurance coverage ban is a part of a brand new EU sanctions bundle concentrating on Russian oil exports. Brussels agreed an embargo on most Russia oil shipments late on Monday however the involvement of the UK unlocked the insurance coverage ban. This may have a lot broader penalties for Moscow’s exports and depart it searching for insurance coverage in smaller, much less developed markets.

Insurance has been an enormous sticking level within the growth of the EU oil ban, with underwriters warning of the broader financial penalties of clamping down on a sector that’s essential to worldwide commerce.

There was additionally concern in Brussels that the EU appearing alone on insurance coverage sanctions would imply that extra enterprise flowed to London’s worldwide market. “There is a level playing field issue if London keeps on providing insurance and then a lot of it goes via Lloyd’s of London,” a senior fee official stated.

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, introduced motion on delivery on Tuesday however officers stated it was London’s resolution to drop its opposition that cleared the best way for the brand new sanctions bundle.

Greece and Cyprus, which have important delivery sectors, solely agreed after a dedication from the UK to comply with go well with, officers stated.

The UK authorities refused to remark, however individuals briefed on the plans stated an announcement was imminent on Britain banning insurers from protecting ships carrying Russian oil. “This is something that is happening in a co-ordinated way,” stated one.

Helima Croft, head of commodities technique at RBC Capital Markets, stated: “It’s hard to underplay how significant a move this is by the UK and EU. Taking out insurance will have a huge impact on Russia’s ability to export its oil. It’s one of the toughest sanctions Europe has in its armoury.”

The London insurance coverage market has been bracing for sanctions to be prolonged to the important thing marine sector after strikes to chop off aviation and area cowl to Russian corporations earlier this 12 months.

Senior figures within the Lloyd’s market have pressured to officers in Brussels and Westminster the problem of building the provenance of oil cargoes on ships, in accordance with individuals acquainted with the matter.

They have warned that insurers may pull again from protecting any ships popping out of a selected port, which might have wider financial penalties. Russian ports are additionally a conduit for oil from Kazakhstan, which isn’t beneath sanctions.

A senior fee official added that the G7 nations had been working in direction of an insurance coverage ban. The ban wouldn’t take impact for six months, the official stated. “[Russia] then actually has a big problem shipping the stuff around,” the official stated.

Years of complying with sanctions on Iranian oil cargoes have supplied a template for compliance, stated senior figures within the Lloyd’s market. “The only complication is making sure it is Russian oil to begin with,” stated one. “It’s not the easiest job in the world, but neither is it impossible.”

Brent crude costs have shot nearly 60 per cent larger this 12 months after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine shook up world commodities markets. The worth of refined merchandise comparable to petrol, diesel and jet gas has additionally rallied strongly as a provide crunch in lots of main markets is exacerbated by rising demand.

Russia, the world’s third-biggest crude producer, has to this point discovered consumers for its oil, together with China, India and Turkey. However, Russian exports of refined merchandise have declined.

The rise in vitality costs has been a key think about fuelling the large jolt of inflation internationally this 12 months.

Additional reporting by David Sheppard in London

Source: www.ft.com

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