US hardens stance on Iran but tries to quell oil price concerns: Fuel for Thought

On April 22, the Trump administration dropped its focus on global oil prices, abandoned its already dubious goal of US energy dominance and learned to love hardline policy idealism over economic pragmatism. That was the day the US said it would push to end all Iranian oil exports, refusing to extend waivers to Iran’s biggest crude and condensate buyers that had been allowed to import some Iran crude despite sanctions. The decision was a shock to market and policy analysts who had almost universally anticipated that these waivers would be at least partially renewed through the summer to prevent a jolt to oil and domestic gasoline prices and global supply. The announcement pushed crude futures prices to six-month highs and could soon push Brent above $80/b for the first time since October 2018, according to S&P Global Platts Analytics. The end of sanctions waivers indicates that the policy hardliners in the Trump administration, led by John Bolton, President Trump’s national security adviser, may have won over the more financially-grounded views of Pompeo and White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, who had resisted the end of waivers, arguing that the impact on prices may be political untenable. A policy decision with… continue reading

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