Expectations that the Trump administration would extend export waivers on Iranian oil have been dashed after the Washington Post reported late Sunday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was preparing to announce on Monday that the US would move to end the exemptions early next month, when the initial 180-day waivers offered to eight countries are set to expire. The news sent oil prices surging in early Easter Monday trade.
Unsurprisingly, crude futures for May delivery climbed as much as 74 cents to $64.74/bbl in New York on the news the US would end the practice of allowing certain countries to import Iranian oil without facing sanctions. Meanwhile, front-month Brent futures topped $74 a barrel, their highest level since Nov. 1.
On Monday morning, Pompeo plans to announce that as of May 2, the State Department will no longer grant sanctions waivers to any country importing Iranian crude or condensate, WaPo said. WSJ, Reuters and others later confirmed the WaPo report.
The decision to end the waivers will impact recipients in different ways: Three of the eight countries that were granted the 180-day waivers back in November - Greece, Italy and Taiwan - have already reduced their Iranian oil imports to zero.
The other countries that will need to cut off imports or face serious repercussions include China, India, Turkey, Japan and South Korea. As of now, China and India are the largest importers of Iranian oil, and if they don't swiftly act to cut down on their imports, bilateral relations with the US could suffer.
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