China added some downward pressure to oil prices this week when it clearly signaled its intent to buy more discounted Russian oil. Between China and India, Russia is racing to pivot towards Asia as the EU attempts to ditch its oil.
Up until now, it has been India whose purchases of heavily discounted Russian crude kept the markets guessing whether Moscow could pull off a comprehensive pivot to Asia. Yet this week, it was China making headlines, with Beijing launching direct government-to-government talks on buying discounted crude to ‘replenish strategic stocks’. This, despite the prospect of an impending Chinese reopening, added some downward pressure to oil prices as ICE Brent trended around $112 per barrel by Friday.