Russia bans the sale of gasoline and oil abroad

Fuel shortages in recent months have forced Russia to ban the export of gasoline and diesel to stabilize the domestic market.

On September 21, the Russian Government issued a temporary ban on the sale of gasoline and diesel to all countries, except for four countries of the Eurasian Economic Union including Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. This ban takes effect immediately, aiming to stabilize the domestic market.

"The temporary ban will help saturate the fuel market, thereby helping to lower prices for consumers," the notice said. The Russian Ministry of Energy also affirmed that this measure will prevent the illegal export of motorbike fuel.

In recent months, Russia has been short of gasoline and diesel. This affected many Russian wheat growing regions, due to the need for fuel to harvest.

Wholesale fuel prices in Russia recently skyrocketed and only started to cool down this week. TASS quoted a close source as saying last week that the Russian government was considering two options to stabilize fuel prices. That is to completely ban exports for a period of time to stabilize the country, or increase export tax to 250 USD per ton.

Previously, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said that the increase in wholesale prices was due to increased prices of oil products on the international market. Another reason is that the ruble weakens against the US dollar.

Traders say the Russian fuel market is being affected by maintenance periods at refineries, disruptions on railway lines and a weak ruble stimulating exports.

According to data from traders and financial data firm LSEG, in the first 20 days of September, Russia's exports of gasoline and diesel by sea dropped nearly 30% to 1.87 million tons. Last year, Russia exported a total of 4.82 million tons of gasoline and nearly 35 million tons of diesel.

The country has also restricted exports of 300,000 barrels of crude oil per day in the past few months. This policy will last until the end of the year, aiming to tighten supply and support global oil prices.

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