Oil up as U.S. imposes sanctions on Iran, Tehran defiant

By Stephanie Kelly NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices rose on Monday after a steep five-day slump, as the United States formally imposed punitive sanctions on Iran but granted eight countries temporary waivers allowing them to keep buying oil from the Islamic Republic. The sanctions are part of U.S. President Donald Trump's effort to curb Iran's missile and nuclear programs and diminish its influence in the Middle East

Reuters November 06, 2018 00:05:44 IST
Oil up as U.S. imposes sanctions on Iran, Tehran defiant

Oil up as US imposes sanctions on Iran Tehran defiant

By Stephanie Kelly

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices rose on Monday after a steep five-day slump, as the United States formally imposed punitive sanctions on Iran but granted eight countries temporary waivers allowing them to keep buying oil from the Islamic Republic.

The sanctions are part of U.S. President Donald Trump's effort to curb Iran's missile and nuclear programs and diminish its influence in the Middle East.

Oil markets have been anticipating the sanctions for months. Prices have been under pressure as major producers including Saudi Arabia and Russia have ramped up output to near-record levels, while weak economic figures in China have cast doubt on the demand outlook.

News of waivers on the sanctions limited price gains, and recent weakness in equities markets have fed concerns about global oil demand, said Bob Yawger, director of futures at Mizuho in New York.

"We're not getting the price rally that many participants thought they were going to get out of the Iran sanctions situation," Yawger said.

Brent crude futures gained 89 cents to $73.72 a barrel, by 10:59 a.m. EST (1559 GMT). U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 57 cents to $63.71 a barrel.

Both oil benchmarks have slid more than 15 percent since hitting four-year highs in early October. Hedge funds have cut bullish bets on crude to a one-year low.

The United States has granted exemptions to eight countries, China, India, Greece, Italy, Taiwan, Japan, Turkey and South Korea, allowing them to temporarily continue buying Iranian oil, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday. Some of these are OPEC member Iran's top customers.

U.S. officials have said the aim of the sanctions is eventually to stop all Iran's oil exports.

Pompeo said more than 20 countries have already cut oil imports from Iran, reducing purchases by more than 1 million barrels per day.

Iran said on Monday it would break with the sanctions and continue to sell oil abroad.

China's foreign ministry expressed regret at the U.S. move.

Combined output from Russia, the United States and Saudi Arabia rose above 33 million bpd for the first time in October, up 10 million bpd since 2010, with all three pumping at or near record volumes.

The Abu Dhabi National Oil Co plans to boost oil production capacity to 4 million bpd by the end of 2020 and to 5 million bpd by 2030, it said on Sunday, from output of just over 3 million bpd.

Data from analysis firm Kayrros showed Iranian crude production was broadly unchanged in October from September, with barrels still hitting the market alongside additional production from Saudi Arabia and Russia.

(Reporting by Stephanie Kelly in New York, Christopher Johnson in London and Henning Gloystein in Singapore; editing by Jason Neely and Louise Heavens)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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