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U.S. Treasury official heads to Indonesia to talk oil price cap on Russia

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WASHINGTON, Aug 5 (Reuters) – A senior U.S. Treasury Department official will visit Indonesia and Singapore next week to talk with counterparts about the potential price cap on Russian oil exports planned as a response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, the department said on Friday.

Elizabeth Rosenberg, a Treasury Department assistant secretary for terrorist financing and financial crimes, will visit Jakarta on Monday and Tuesday, and will visit Singapore, a major oil hub, from Wednesday through Thursday.

She will meet government officials to discuss responses to Russia’s war in Ukraine including the price cap on Russian oil, a major funder of President Vladimir Putin’s war machine. Rosenberg will also meet with business leaders in energy and finance.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has promoted the cap that would limit the amount of oil refiners and traders can pay for Russian crude as a way to help lower global oil prices without reducing supply.

Yellen visited Indonesia last month on a tour of Asia. The United States is “actively briefing partners about the proposal and providing updates on technical discussions we are having with G7 partners and the European Commission,” a Treasury official told Reuters.

Indonesia’s state oil company PT Pertamina said in March it was considering buying crude from Russia as it sought crude for a revamped refinery. But in May it was reconsidering the plan, press reports said.

Critics have said a price cap could lead to higher, not lower prices, if Russia decides to slow oil exports. Such a move could cost Russian oil producers if they have to shut in wells as a result.

China and India have been buying large quantities of discounted Russian oil since the Feb. 24 invasion.

Yellen last month described talks with India on the cap as “encouraging.”

Rosenberg visited India in May as Washington sought ways to keep the country’s purchases of Russian oil from rising.

In Singapore, Rosenberg will also discuss cooperation on constraining North Korea, the crisis in Myanmar, and “strengthening anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism regimes,” Treasury said. (Reporting by Timothy Gardner and Daphne Psaledakis; editing by Diane Craft)

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