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WTI Crude Settles in Bear Market, Down 21% From October Peak

09 November 2018

With major cuts in the cheaper oil imports from Iran, the overall oil import bill is bound to rise further with its consequent adverse effect for the economy. Trump granted 180-day sanctions waivers to China, India, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Greece, Taiwan and Turkey, which together took in over 80 percent of Iran oil exports previous year, Refinitiv Eikon data shows.

The State Department warned the global shipping and insurance industries on November 7 that as part of Washington's "maximum pressure campaign" to get Iran to change its behavior, insuring Iranian tankers will now incur penalties under the sanctions reinstated this week.

"Bernstein Energy expects "Iranian exports will average 1.4-1.5 million barrels per day (bpd)" during the exemption period", down from a peak of nearly 3 million bpd in mid-2018.

JP Morgan said "the lack or difficulty in acquiring shipping insurance will help in reducing exports quickly as they did during last global sanctions".

"The introduction of United States sanctions earlier this week against Iran failed to lift the market given the announcement that eight countries, including three of the world's biggest importers, would receive waivers to carry on buying Iranian crude for up to six months", Hansen said.

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Yet, much of Iran's oil exports are "still unsustainable", says Goldman's Hinds. It makes the United States the world's biggest producer of crude. From then, to pleading for a waiver by accepting U.S. terms to reduce oil imports from Iran by a third before sanctions came into place on November 5, reveals a steady succumbing to USA pressure.

In May 2016, India, Iran and Afghanistan inked a pact which entailed establishment of Transit and Transport Corridor among the three countries using Chabahar Port as one of the regional hubs for sea transportation in Iran, besides multi-modal transport of goods and passengers across the three nations. "Even without the exemptions, we will sell our oil".

A close USA ally, South Korea had stopped buying crude from Iran ahead of the sanctions while still lobbying for exemptions.

This week, reports emerged that South Korea received a waiver allowing it to import around 4 million barrels a month, equal to about 130,000 bpd, of Iranian crude and condensate.

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Oil rose as Opec and its allies were said to plan discussions about fresh production cuts next year, responding to recent increases in oil inventories amid surging U.S. supply.

Refining sources in Japan, however, said they first needed to evaluated the conditions attached to the waivers, with no new orders likely before December.

India is, thus, being given time to phase out its oil imports from Iran in a calibrated fashion. The oil import bill for the current financial year, 2018-19, is expected to rise to $125 billion, i.e., by 42 per cent.

Italy and Greece have completely suspended purchases in recent weeks.

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WTI Crude Settles in Bear Market, Down 21% From October Peak