Russia set to ban commodity exports following Western sanctions


President Vladimir Putin, pictured on Tuesday, gave his cabinet two days to create a list of products and countries subject to a new export ban.


Photo:

document/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin bans exports of certain commodities and raw materials, according to a decree issued Tuesday evening in Moscow.

The actual products that will be banned from export will be determined by the Russian cabinet, the decree says. Mr Putin gave them two days to draw up a list of countries subject to the ban.

The executive order came hours after President Biden said the United States would ban imports of Russian oil following the country’s invasion of Ukraine and the European Union said it would aim to reduce Russian natural gas imports by two-thirds this year. The UK government also said on Tuesday it was phasing out Russian oil imports by the end of 2022 and exploring options to end Russian gas imports altogether.

Russia is the third largest oil producer in the world and the largest exporter of natural gas. Exports fuel the Russian economy and the West was considered too dependent on them to give up easily. The invasion of Ukraine changed this dynamic.

Oil prices rose following Mr. Putin’s decree. Brent prices, the international benchmark, extended earlier gains to trade 5.9% higher at $130.50 a barrel, before retreating. They remained below Monday’s high of around $139 a barrel.

Russia is also a major supplier of grains and metals such as aluminum, nickel and palladium, of which it accounts for 40% of global production. A sweeping export ban could disrupt global commodity markets. Nickel hit a record high today.

The decree followed earlier moves by the Kremlin in retaliation for Western sanctions. He described the objective of the raw materials export ban as “ensuring the security of the Russian Federation and the uninterrupted functioning of industry”. The ban will be in effect until December 31, according to the executive order.

President Biden announced a ban on Russian oil imports into the United States on Tuesday, amid growing calls from bipartisan lawmakers to act. The United States will also ban imports of Russian natural gas and other energy sources, Biden said. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Write to Alexander Osipovich at alexander.osipovich@dowjones.com and Caitlin Ostroff at caitlin.ostroff@wsj.com

Corrections & Amplifications
Mr Putin has given the Russian cabinet two days to draw up a list of countries subject to the ban. An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the cabinet also had two days to draw up a list of products covered by the ban. (Corrected March 8)

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