The knowns and unknowns of U.S. Iran oil sanction waivers

Iran’s Economy Minister Farhad Dejpasand

Oil prices spiked in early October on fears that US sanctions on Iran would thin out global petroleum supplies.

Last month, uncertainty around the severity of the sanctions and their impact on global oil supplies pushed USA crude to almost $77 a barrel and Brent to more than $86, their highest levels since late 2014.

The Trump administration on Friday announced it would grant sanctions waivers to eight countries, which allow them to continue importing Iranian crude for 180 days without fear of reprisal from the United States.

Oil, which closed at a seven-month low in NY on Tuesday, slipped further after an industry report was said to show a larger-than-expected increase in USA crude inventories.

China's producer price inflation slowed for the fourth month in October on cooling domestic demand, suggesting that economic momentum in the world's second-largest economy is softening in the face of simmering trade frictions with the United States. However, oil markets were held back somewhat after the USA became the world's top crude producer as its output hit record levels.

He said "the objective is still to drive Iranians exports of oil to zero" despite waivers given to the biggest buyers of Iranian oil, including China, India and South Korea.

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However, the rally proved short-lived after the US Energy Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported a build in crude inventories of 5.8 million barrels for the week to 12 November.

"In the case of Saudi Arabia our regional analyst believes that fiscal deficit will continue to improve but they project the full year deficit at 3.3 percent with Brent assumed at $74/bbl in 2018", said the report.

On the Chabahar Port that has provided India a crucial transport link to Afghanistan, bypassing Pakistan, the spokesperson said India has taken note of the USA statement that exception has been provided under the Iran Freedom and Counter Proliferation Act of 2012 with respect to development of port and the construction of an associated railway line. That policy, in place since 2017, helped end a historic oil price collapse that punished USA energy companies and oil-exporting nations alike.

Oil markets initially rebounded on Wednesday from their lowest level since August after reports emerged of plans by leading producers Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia to curtail production next year to reverse a recent price plunge.

The bigger long term picture is that the United States has displaced Saudi Arabia as the world's most important "swing" producer of oil. Pressure from the lower prices probably will decrease now that the nation's midterm elections are over, Saxo Bank's Hansen said.

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