United States warns against allowing Iranian tankers to port — Global Geopolitical Series

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It has been a brutal sell-off.

United States light crude oil was 25 cents lower at $60.42, down 4.3 per cent this week and off more than 20 per cent since early October, putting it officially in bear-market territory.

Global benchmark Brent crude oil fell by 83 cents or 1.17 percent to $69.82 a barrel, while US light crude futures were down 1.24 percent at $59.92 a barrel. Output from these three countries in October exceeded 33 million barrels per day (bpd) for the first time, meaning they alone meet more than a third of the world's nearly 100 million bpd of crude oil consumption.

Oil extended a run of declines after falling into a bear market, heading for its longest losing streak on record.

There are a number of reasons why oil has sold off as rapidly as it has.

Crude slumped after reaching a four-year high last month as the U.S. allowed eight countries to continue importing oil from the Persian Gulf state even after it hits the Opec producer with sanctions.

US bank J.P. Morgan said the "sell-off in oil was due to excessive crude" from rising production "whilst Iranian supply was still in the market".

We expect the current administration to bring down the Iranian crude exports closer to zero shortly after the sanctions come into force. Washington has granted exemptions to Iran's biggest buyers.

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That is around half of what it has been buying daily from Tehran, on average, since the beginning of 2016.

With output overall rising, supply is ample despite the Iran sanctions now in place, prompting rumblings within the Middle East dominated Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) that renewed supply cuts may be needed next year to prevent a glut.

He said the USA has evidence that Iranian vessels are trying to evade US sanctions by disabling location transponders used to prevent collisions. The U.S. Energy Information Administration that said Wednesday oil inventories rose to 432 million barrels - the seventh week of increases.

United States crude stockpiles have increased for seven consecutive weeks and those are likely to be added to.

But it is not only the United States that has meaningfully raised oil production in recent weeks.

Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia, top producers in an OPEC-led alliance, started bilateral talks on a return to production cuts next year, Russia's TASS news agency reported, citing an unnamed source.

Russian output in October is put at a record 11.4 million barrels per day - an increase of almost half a million barrels per day since it began ramping up production levels in May.

The market focused on record USA crude production and signals from Iraq, Abu Dhabi and Indonesia that output will grow more quickly than expected in 2019.

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Andrew Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates, had a clearer idea of the market's status: "oil supplies are going to be higher than the market anticipated, so it seems to me that the loss of Iranian supplies is only going to be between 1 and 1.2 million bpd, and the OPEC and non-OPEC producers have more than made up for that". Other OPEC members and exporting nations are also turning on the taps.

So the supply story is robust.

Oil prices spiked in early October on fears that USA sanctions on Iran would thin out global petroleum supplies. -China trade war will damp fuel demand as supply grows from multiple directions.

"The market continues to shift from worrying about tightening supplies to acknowledging upside supply risks and weakening demand growth", analysts at JBC Energy wrote in a report.

The market is assuming that, in the short term, prices will carry on falling.

Oil markets on Friday remained weak as rising supply and concerns of an economic slowdown pressured prices, with USA crude now down by 20 per cent since early October.

The selling pressure around crude oil remains unabated so far this week, intensifying the breakdown of the $62.00 mark per barrel today, levels last seen in March. On Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, Iranian state TV quoted the minster as predicting a painful time for global oil customers as USA sanctions take hold, saying waivers that Washington granted to eight major oil-importing countries are not enough for market demands.

That will have profound implications not just for oil prices but, ultimately, geopolitics.

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