Iran to withstand sanctions; U.S. isolated

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Hinds says that production bump won't necessarily translate into inventory builds, but could push crude oil prices down to $65 per barrel crude by the end of 2019. Based on a four-week average observation, U.S. crude oil net imports reached a record low of 5.2mn bpd in the previous week.

Benchmark Brent crude fell below $70 a barrel for the first time since early April, down more than 18 per cent since reaching four-year highs at the beginning of October.

"If Iranian tankers make calls to your ports or transit through your waterways, this comes at great risk", Brian Hook, the State Department's special representative on Iran policy told journalists.

From around $87 a barrel early October, Brent crude has tumbled by a whopping 15 per cent to less than $72 now, signifying a remarkable correction and confirming that the market actually peaked early last month (as mentioned in the column on October 9, 2018).

USA bank J.P. Morgan said "part of the recent sell-off in oil was due to excessive crude in the physical markets.from elevated production from OPEC whilst Iranian supply was still in the market despite reduction in reported exports".

"Crude oil imports rose ... as uncertainty around tariffs on US imports and sanctions on Iran eased", said ANZ bank following the data release.

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Saudi Arabia said the move would translate into an output rise of around 1 million bpd. Iran said it has so far been able to sell as much oil as it needs to.

"Iran's situation is better than pre-2016 because of high oil prices and the fact that the USA is isolated this time", the report by Reuters quoted a European diplomat as saying. These are also Iran's biggest buyers, meaning Iran will be allowed to still export some oil for now.

Once the waivers expire after 180 days, new waivers are expected to be issued, with a source in China saying his country would likely receive another six months of exemptions, though at a lower rate of around 220,000 bpd.

At the same time, there are growing fears about a possible deceleration in consumption growth, with oil prices falling in tandem with equity markets against the backdrop of a darkening economic outlook. Expectations for weaker-than-anticipated global economic growth, the ongoing U.S.

China National Petroleum said it was still taking oil from Iranian fields in which it has stakes.

Stating that it would mostly be the Iranian people than the government that would have to bear the effects of the sanctions, Zarif said that the government has undertaken steps in order to minimise the effect on the public. Russian Federation and the Saudis have pledged to increase production to more than make up for any lost Iranian supplies.

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