With oil prices already extending the drop from their highs as the trader “panic attack” identified by celebrated energy analyst Art Berman abates, and approaching a bear market from recent highs, a Friday morning report from Bloomberg will likely ensure that prices continue to move lower.
According to an anonymous “senior administration official”, the US will soon approve waivers for eight countries, including Japan, India and South Korea, that will allow them to continue buying Iranian crude oil even after sanctions are reimposed on Monday. China is also believed to be in talks to secure a waiver, while the other four countries weren’t identified. The waivers are part of a bargain for continued import cuts, which the administration hopes will lead to lower oil prices. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to announce the exemptions on Friday.
Speculation that waivers could be forthcoming had been brewing for some time, and has been one of the factors driving oil prices lower in recent weeks. Pompeo has acknowledged that waivers were being considered for countries who insist that they depend on Iranian supplies,while adding that “it is our expectation that the purchases of Iranian crude oil will go to zero from every country or sanctions will be imposed.” Assuming the US does follow through with the waivers, it’s expected that they would be temporary, and the US would expect that the recipients would continue to wean themselves off Iranian crude. The administration will also reportedly ask that these countries reduce their trade in non-energy goods.
It’s believed that Turkey, another major importer of Iranian crude, may be one of the four working on an exemption, according to Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Donmez told reporters in Ankara on Friday.
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