World this week
The Group of Seven nations and Australia joined the European Union on Friday in adopting a $60-per-barrel price cap on Russian oil, a key step as Western sanctions aim to reorder the global oil market to prevent price spikes and starve President Vladimir Putin of funding for his war in Ukraine. Europe needed to set the discounted price that other nations will pay by Monday, when an EU embargo on Russian oil shipped by sea and a ban on insurance for those supplies take effect.
The price cap, which was led by the G-7 wealthy democracies, aims to prevent a sudden loss of Russian oil to the world that could lead to a new surge in energy prices and further fuel inflation. The $60 figure sets the cap near the current price of Russia's crude, which recently fell below $60 a barrel. Some criticize that as not low enough to cut into one of Russia's main sources of income. It is still a big discount to international benchmark Brent, which slid to $85.48 a barrel Friday, but could be high enough for Moscow to keep selling even while rejecting the idea of a cap.
Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin described the G-7′s plan for a price cap on Russian oil as "ridiculous." Speaking to CNBC's Hadley Gamble said the idea was "not only not feasible, I think it's the most ridiculous idea I've ever heard." The Group of Seven nations - the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the U.K. - along with Australia, have reportedly agreed to set a fixed price cap on Russian oil from Dec. 5, but the level has not been announced.
The plan, which has been under discussion for several months, involves a ban on the provision of certain services, such as maritime routes, insurance and financing, to buyers of Russian oil unless it is sold at or below the cap. It is intended to limit the Kremlin's ability to fund the war in Ukraine while also protecting consumers and households from sky-high energy prices. New sanctions are also due in early December that will end all Russian crude oil deliveries to the EU by sea, ahead of a ban on all Russian refined products in 2023. About a week-and-a-half since the world's largest volcano began erupting, Hawaii officials continue to brace for slow-moving lava to intersect with a crucial Big Island road, even though scientists are not sure when or even if that will happen.
On Wednesday morning, lava from Mauna Loa, which began erupting Nov. 27 after being quiet for 38 years, was 1.8 miles (2.89 kilometers) from Saddle Road, also known as Route 200 or Daniel K. Inouye Highway, scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey said. The road connects the east and west sides of the vast island. Last week, officials said the earliest the lava could hit the road was one week. But, as expected, the lava slowed considerably in recent days as it moved across flatter ground, leaving scientists unable to estimate a clearer timeline.
About a week-and-a-half since the world's largest volcano began erupting, Hawaii officials continue to brace for slow-moving lava to intersect with a crucial Big Island road, even though scientists are not sure when or even if that will happen.
Global economic leaders hailed China's move away from its hardline zero-Covid policy, with the IMF chief saying the "decisive actions" would help revive growth both in the country and globally. The relaxation would help to shore up a world economy struggling with the impact of the pandemic and Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the head of the World Trade Organization said after the conference in the eastern city of Huangshan, hosted by outgoing Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.
Beijing on Wednesday announced a loosening of its zero-tolerance approach to coronavirus outbreaks, ending large-scale lockdowns and allowing some positive cases to isolate at home following widespread protests against the restrictions. The decision indicated that the world's second-largest economy is finally shifting towards living with Covid after years of grinding curbs stifled growth. "We welcome very much the decisive actions taken by the Chinese authorities... to recalibrate the Covid policies so as to create a better impetus for the revival of growth in China," Kristalina Georgieva said at a press briefing with the heads of other major economic institutions.
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