US may extend Iran waivers if oil prices continue to rise

Gulf News – China, India, Italy, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey — to continue to import oil despite reimposition of nuclear related sanctions on the Islamic Republic from November last year.

In May, the US government is expected to take a decision whether it will continue with the exemptions policy or stop the eight countries from importing Iranian oil.

“The US administration may extend the waivers granted to 8 countries that rely heavily on imports of crude oil from Iran if oil prices continue to rise in the next two months to over $70 per barrel,” said Garbis Iradian, Chief Economist for MENA at Washington based Institute of International Finance (IIF), told Gulf News.

US President Donald Trump also expressed concern over the rising oil prices in a tweet on Thursday.

Currently international benchmark Brent is trading at $67.58 per barrel, up by 0.72 per cent. US crude West Texas Intermediate, on the other hand is at $60.14 per barrel, up by 1.42 per cent.

Oil prices are trending higher on the back of production cuts by Opec and its allies and US sanctions on Iran as well as on Venezuela.

Opec+ will meet in May to decide whether the production cut should continue in the second half of 2019.

“The range of unknowns surrounding Opec and US production levels on the one hand, and the pace of growth in global oil demand on the other, pose a major challenge to projecting oil market balances and price expectations in the short-term.”

Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank also said the biggest risk to oil is renewed worries about global growth and demand.

“Opec and Russia are for various reasons very unlikely to reverse the current course of keeping production tight. The Q4 collapse last year occurred after Opec, led by Saudi Arabia, ramped up production in the belief that Iranian exports would collapse. Instead they were wrong-footed by Trump’s waivers which helped trigger the December collapse.”