As the US and its European allies seek to punish Moscow for annexing the Crimea region of Ukraine, America could push down global oil prices by as much as $12 a barrel by selling 500,000 barrels a day from its strategic reserve.
America's emergency stockpile of oil stands twice as large as the amount required by an international agreement. US business leaders including George Soros have proposed tapping some now to rebuke Russia and US lawmakers are contemplating a sale.
The lower prices would cost Russia about $40bn in lost income from oil and gas sales, or equivalent to 2% of its economy, said Philip Verleger, a consultant who worked in the Ford and Carter administrations.
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