In a statement issued Tuesday, the White House said China, Japan, India, South Korea and the United Kingdom would join the initiative following weeks of discussions to formulate a plan to arrest price hikes.
The International Energy Agency, which monitors global oil supplies on behalf of the world’s leading economies, said it respected the decisions made by individual countries on “how best to respond to the specific challenges and circumstances they each face.”
“We recognise that the rise in oil prices is placing a burden on consumers and has added to inflationary pressures during a period when the economic recovery remains uneven and faces a range of risks,” the agency said in a statement.
India has agreed to release 5 million barrels, to be timed in agreement with the other five nations.
“India has repeatedly expressed concern at supply of oil being artificially adjusted below demand levels by oil producing countries, leading to rising prices and negative attendant consequences,” the Indian government said in a statement shortly after the White House announcement.
It said several Indian state governments had already taken “difficult steps” to cut local fuel taxes.
“Despite the high fiscal burden on the government, [they] were taken in order to provide relief to citizens,” it added.
The South Korean government said in a statement that the amount and timing of its oil reserves release would be decided through consultation with the other countries, but said it was expected to be at a level “similar to previous international cooperation cases.”
“The South Korean government decided to participate in the US’s proposal to release oil reserve after taking into consideration of the need for international cooperation to recent sharp rise in international oil prices, the importance of the [South Korea]-US alliance, and the participation of major countries,” it said in a statement from its ministry of foreign affairs.
The UK government said in a statement it will allow companies to “voluntarily release” oil reserves of up to 1.5 million barrels, in what it called “a sensible and measured step to support global markets as we emerge from the pandemic.”
“As we’ve said before, we will work closely with our international partners to do what we can to support the global economy through the transition following the pandemic,” a government spokesperson said.
The world’s second largest economy and biggest importer of oil told CNN on Friday it was working on a strategic oil release. A spokesperson for China’s National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration said China was “pushing forward with crude oil release-related work at the moment.”
The spokesperson declined to comment on whether the move…