India appreciates USA waiver on Iran-related sanctions

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

Oil prices slipped yesterday as concerns mounts that an economic slowdown may curb fuel demand growth overshadowed the reintroduction of sanctions on Iran.

West Texas Intermediate crude ended Wednesday's session down 54 cents, or almost 1%, at $61.67, its lowest closing price since mid-March (earlier it touched a almost eight-month low at $61.20 per barrel); Brent was down 13 cents to $72 per barrel.

Front-month Brent crude oil futures were at $70.84 a barrel, 19 cents above their last close.

The slump in oil markets has been exacerbated by a U.S. decision to allow eight countries to continue importing from Iran even after the United States hits the Opec member with sanctions.

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".

Consultant FGE estimated the waivers granted to China, India and six other nations will allow Iran to continue shipping 1.2 million to 1.7 million barrels a day, more than previously expected.

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Trump also appeared to hint that his administration may not tighten sanctions on Iran's oil exports if crude prices start rallying again, saying the measures will "maybe" get tougher. The previous daily record of 9.6 million bpd was touched in April 2018. At the same time, Saudi Arabia - under an global cloud over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi - had pledged to pump more oil to stabilize world markets.

CHINA China, the world's biggest importer of crude oil, is also the top buyer of Iranian oil, and its mostly state-owned refiners have lobbied hard for waivers.

Zanganeh claimed the Trump administration may have been able to "superficially" bring fuel prices down ahead of the USA mid-term elections this week but that there's bound to be a hike in prices in the future.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Energy Information Administration revised its outlook for American oil production for 2019. It makes the United States the world's biggest producer of crude.

Also Thursday, Iran's representative to OPEC, Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, claimed that Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia were helping Trump by increasing their own production to keep oil prices low. "OPEC and Russian Federation may use cuts to support $70 per barrel", said Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank. Domestic production surged to a record 11.6 million barrels a day, while stockpiles at the key storage hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, climbed by 2.42 million barrels.

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