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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 14 November 2018

US issues waivers on Iranian oil to eight countries

China, India, Greece, Italy, Taiwan, Japan, Turkey and South Korea - which include Opec member Iran's top customers - given temporary exemptions

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the move in Washington on Monday. AFP
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the move in Washington on Monday. AFP

The United States granted exemptions to eight countries allowing them to temporarily continue buying Iranian oil, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday, as Washington reimposed sanctions on Iran's banking, energy and shipping industries.

Some of the eight countries - China, India, Greece, Italy, Taiwan, Japan, Turkey and South Korea - include Opec member Iran's top customers, according to Reuters.

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

The sanctions on Iran’s energy, shipping and banking sectors, lifted as part of the 2015 accord to curb its nuclear enrichment, snapped back at midnight New York time. They are the second round of measures imposed on the country of 80 million since US President Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement in May, saying he wanted a more comprehensive deal.

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The news on waivers came as oil traded near a six-month low as the prospects of a tight global market at the end of the year further receded.

Crude advanced 0.6 per cent in New York before the announcement, Bloomberg said. Hedge funds reduced bullish bets for an eighth week as extra supplies from Opec and the US assuaged concerns of a potential shortfall.

“The US has done a U-turn as compared with its previous announcements” on Iran, said Carsten Fritsch, an analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt. “It thus comes as no surprise that speculators are squaring their net long positions in crude oil, which is likewise weighing on prices.”