Oil hits 2019 high as US tightens sanctions squeeze on Iran – business live | Business

A gas flare on an oil production platform in the Soroush oil fields in the Persian Gulf, Iran.

A gas flare on an oil production platform in the Soroush oil fields in the Persian Gulf, Iran. Photograph: Raheb Homavandi/Reuters

Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.

The oil price is bubbling upwards this morning after Washington turned the screw on Tehran, with a new crackdown on its energy exports.

In a move with significant geopolitical implications, the Trump administration has decided to end waivers that allow a group of countries to circumvent its sanctions on Iran.

Currently, China, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey can all still buy Iranian oil without risking US reprisals. Those waivers expire at the start of May, and the White House has decided they will not be renewed.

The move is intended to put more economic pressure on Iran, with president Trump concerned that Tehran is still providing support for for terrorist organizations and destabilising the Middle East.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders argues that the move won’t create oil shortages:

“This decision is intended to bring Iran’s oil exports to zero, denying the regime its principal source of revenue.

“The U.S., Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, three of the world’s great energy producers, along with our friends and allies, are committed to ensuring that global oil markets remain adequately supplied.

However, some analysts fear that the move could rebound. It could upset relations with allies such as India, create further tensions with China, and drive up energy and fuel prices.

Those concerns have already reached the financial markets, where Brent crude has jumped to $74.64 per barrel, up from below $72 last week.

That’s its highest levels since November 2018.

Oil had already spiked once this month, when political instability in Libya raised fears of supply disruption. So, with Opec committed to cutting supplies (to prop up the price), the $75/barrel mark could be breached soon.

Morgan Brennan

White House statement from the Press Secretary on cooperation between the United States, Saudi Arabia, & the United Arab Emirates on Energy and Iran Policies.
( $WTI $BRENT $XLE all higher ) pic.twitter.com/CLBVl73sWi

April 22, 2019

Also coming up today

European stock markets are expected to rise a little this morning, as City traders return to work after the Easter holiday break.


European Opening Calls:#FTSE 7492 +0.44%#DAX 12244 +0.18%#CAC 5584 +0.06%#MIB 21913 -0.20%#IBEX 9591 +0.09%

April 23, 2019

Otherwise, it looks like a quiet day, although new US house sales and eurozone consumer confidence data may make ripples

The agenda

  • 3pm BST: US home sales figures for March
  • 3pm: Eurozone consumer confidence figures for April

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