• Some Chinese buyers have halted purchases of Russian crude ahead of a price cap expected to begin December 5, Bloomberg reported.
  • Traders say they are waiting to see if the price cap allows for better deals on supplies, per the report.
  • Russian officials have said they would not sell to nations that adhere to the US-led price cap. 

Chinese buyers have halted some purchases of Russian crude as a US-led price cap initiative looms in less than two weeks, Bloomberg reported Tuesday. 

Those customers are hesitant to complete purchases because once a price cap sets in, they might be able to secure cheaper supplies, traders told Bloomberg. Now, several cargoes of Russian ESPO crude remain without buyers for December-loading. 

The price cap is expected to coincide with the European Union’s next round of sanctions, which will ban seaborne Russian crude imports into Europe as well as related services to customers worldwide.

The cap is meant to keep Russian crude flowing through global markets and prevent a price spike while also squeezing Moscow’s finances and ability to fund its war in Ukraine. 

Russian officials, however, have said they would not sell oil to nations that implement the plan. 

Since President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine in February, China and India have emerged as big buyers of Russian crude, while the US and other Western nations wean off doing business with Moscow. Northern European buyers have already slashed Russian oil imports by 90%

Meanwhile, China’s biggest oil refiners have reached out to Beijing for help in keeping Russian imports flowing after more sanctions take effect, citing concern over their ability to navigate the payments and insurance required to keep doing business with Moscow, Bloomberg reported last week. 

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