After two months of an almost uninterrupted increase, crude oil is set for even more volatility on a string of political events that could see it either touch US$80 or even higher by the end of June or, conversely, slump to deep lows again.
President Donald Trump will start unwinding the string today as he announced his decision on the Iran deal. The prevailing analyst opinion is that economic sanctions will be reinstated within the next couple of months.
While this would be naturally bullish for oil prices, some analysts note that the effect of the sanctions has already been factored into prices, so any immediate impact will be limited. What’s more, CNBC reported recently, that the effect of U.S. sanctions against Iran on the country’s international shipments of crude will also be limited: China and India are unlikely to reduce their intake of Iranian crude as are other buyers, who were previously on the U.S.’ side with regard to the sanctions.
All in all, analysts estimate that new sanctions could remove between 300,000 bpd and 500,000 bpd of Iranian crude from international markets, which compares with 1-1.5 million bpd removed from the market under the initial round of U.S. sanctions under President Obama, who had a lot more support from Western Europe.
That said, there will unquestionably be an effect on prices from Trump’s announcement. This effect could be amplified later in May, when Venezuela holds its presidential elections. The vote scheduled for May 20, and there is little doubt that Washington will question the legality of the outcome.
Venezuela’s oil industry—like its economy—is in shambles, with production down by 50 percent since its peak in the early 2000s to 1.55 million bpd, data from Bloomberg suggests.
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