Crude oil futures traded lower in mid-morning trade in Asia Monday despite the reimposition of US sanctions on Iran, as investors debated the potential impact of waivers for some importers. At 10:20 am Singapore time (0220 GMT), January ICE Brent crude futures were down 43 cents/b (0.59%) from Friday’s settle at $72.40/b, while the NYMEX December light sweet crude contract was 46 cents/b (0.73%) lower at $62.68/b.
“Worries about impending shortage receded further after the US said it will grant eight nations temporary waivers to continue buying oil from Iran,” UOB analysts said Monday. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo kept the market guessing on Friday when he announced that eight nations would receive exemptions, but declined to identify them.
“We will provide the list of the eight jurisdictions on Monday,” Pompeo told reporters on Friday, adding that the European Union was not one of the jurisdictions. Several analysts said that South Korea, India and Japan were the most likely recipients, while China, the UAE and Turkey were also likely contenders for waivers.
“Turkey alluded to the ongoing negotiations with the US, with the energy minister indicating that it may be among countries that are getting an exemption,” ANZ analysts said Monday. The reimposition of sanctions on November 4 comes days after the US crossed a historic output threshold. The Energy Information Administration reported last Wednesday that US crude oil production averaged a record 11.35 million b/d in August, up 416,000 b/d from July.