Published: Thu, October 25, 2018
Markets | By Jeffery Armstrong

Crude prices plunge as Saudi Arabia reassures market on supply

Crude prices plunge as Saudi Arabia reassures market on supply

"It would be in Russia's best interests not to facilitate Iranian evasion of US sanctions".

China is Saudi Arabia's largest trading partner with a $42 billion turnover a year ago.

"We are going through a crisis", the minister added.

However, in a bid to meet its increasing appetite for oil, India has made it clear it will continue to buy Iranian crude despite the sanctions.

Conclusion In coming weeks, the market will keep its focus on USA sanctions on Iran, which will take effect on November 4. "Two of our oil companies have made nominations to purchase Iranian oil in November. For decades, we have used our oil (production) policy as a responsible economic tool and we have kept it apart from politics", Faleh was quoted as telling TASS in an interview in Riyadh.

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The United States warned Russian Federation on Sunday about assisting any potential Iranian attempts to evade an upcoming round of U.S. sanctions against the Islamic Republic, scheduled to take effect on November 4, months after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew America from the 2015 nuclear deal. Around 10-12 per cent of these shipments are sourced from Iran.

His comments immediately put pressure on oil prices, which were already down about 2%. "That basically means Iran will have to stop importing from China", said an executive with an eastern China-based manufacturer that exported electronic components to Iran until recently.

Like crude oil, reformulated gasoline (RBOB) ended the day lower. The reassurances seem to have worked, with oil markets more focused on American crude stockpiles than the potential fraying of the U.S. -Saudi relationship.

Earlier this month, Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman said the kingdom was fulfilling promises to the United States to make up a shortfall in world oil supplies resulting from the loss of Iranian production under USA sanctions.

Brent crude futures settled at US$76.44 a barrel - a fall of 4.3 per cent or US$3.39 - after plunging 5 per cent to US$75.88, the lowest since Sept 7.

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If the Opec+, as members in the global oil pact are called, see that oil inventories are beginning to rise again, they will intervene to bring back stability to the market, the oil minister said. Looming U.S. sanctions on oil exporter Iran helped support prices, but traders remained concerned about the worldwide energy demand outlook.

Falih said he would not rule out the possibility that Saudi Arabia would produce between 1 and 2 million barrels per day (bpd) more than current levels in future.

Oil is trading more than $10/bbl lower than it was earlier this month, when it reached a four-year high. "OPEC's 15 countries boosted crude output in September to 33.07 million barrels per day, 180,000 barrels per day above August. That is the most OPEC has pumped since July 2017, if the Republic of Congo, which joined the organization in June, is not included", Platts' Jaipuriyar said.

Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub rose by 1.4 million barrels, EIA said. Add to that higher Russian production, a return of Libyan output, and the market is finding healthy supply just at a time when demand is waning.

China's exports to Iran totalled $16.4 billion in 2016, the latest year for which data is available, while imports totalled $14.8 billion in 2016, down one-third from the record $24.3 billion in exports and $27.5 billion in imports posted in 2014, according to data from China's National Statistical Bureau.

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