Economy

Oil hits 2019 high as US tightens squeeze on Iran

Oil hits 2019 high as US tightens squeeze on Iran

West Texas Intermediate for May delivery, which will expire Monday, advanced US$1.35 to US$65.35 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while the more-active June contract rose US$1.38 to US$65.45. NY time. It earlier rose to $74.52, the highest intraday level since November 1.

Trump pulled the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal in May previous year and simultaneously announced the reimposition of strict sanctions. Among these states are Greece, Italy, China, India, Turkey, Japan, and South Korea, as well as Taiwan. Some of the pathology also stems from domestic politics given President Trump's aversion to any initiative by the previous Obama administration, which reached a nuclear deal with Iran.

"China has already indicated its opposition to the U.S. implementation of unilateral sanctions, so it is probably unlikely to see Iranian exports to fall to zero", said Giovanni Staunovo, an analyst at UBS.

Crude oil prices surged on Monday, finishing the session at their highest levels this year after the Trump administration revoked waivers meant to facilitate the free flow of Iranian oil to US allies. Washington, however, granted eight of Iran's biggest oil buyers exemptions that allowed them limited purchases for an additional six months.

"If there is a time for the U.S.to be able to take a hard line it is now, with the Saudis having over 2 million barrels (per day) of spare capacity", said Tony Nunan, oil risk manager at Mitsubishi Corp.in Tokyo.

President Donald Trump said in a tweet that "Saudi Arabia and others in OPEC will more than make up the Oil Flow difference in our now Full Sanctions on Iranian Oil".

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"We do not accept unilateral sanctions and impositions on the issue of how we will establish relations with our neighbors", Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in response to the announcement, which he said "will not serve regional peace and stability". He said US production has risen in recent years by "more than all of Iranian production" so there is adequate capacity should there be a need for oil supplies.

"The United States, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, three of the world's great energy producers, along with our friends and allies, are committed to ensuring that global oil markets remain adequately supplied". The others are China and India.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey has made perhaps the most public case for an extension, with senior officials telling their US counterparts that Iranian oil is critical to meeting their country's energy needs.

The United States had been deliberating over the past couple of months whether or not to renew some of the waivers while avoiding a spike in oil and fuel prices that could hurt USA consumers.

On April 17, Frank Fannon, US Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources, repeated the administration's position that "our goal is to get to zero Iranian exports as quickly as possible".


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