Iran sanctions send oil prices, supply concerns higher

Experts said the sanctions could potentially remove up to 1.2 million barrels of oil per day

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a news conference on Monday, April 22, 2019, at the Department of State in Washington. (AP Photo/Sait Serkan Gurbuz)

The Trump administration’s decision to impose sanctions on countries that buy Iranian oil is raising concerns about global crude supply and sending oil prices to their highest levels since October.

Industry experts said Monday that the sanctions could potentially remove up to 1.2 million barrels of oil per day from international markets. But that number will likely be lower, depending on how countries respond and just how much oil Iran continues to export.

READ MORE: Oil and gas sector applauds new Alberta premier’s many pro-business pledges

President Donald Trump wants to eliminate all of Iran’s revenue from oil exports, money he says funds destabilizing activity in the Middle East and elsewhere.

The announcement primarily impacts Iranian oil importers including China, India, Japan, South Korea and Turkey.

“It’s difficult to imagine all exports being cut off, especially since China is still a major buyer of Iranian crude oil,” said Jim Burkhard, vice-president for oil markets at IHS Markit. “How China responds will go a long way to shape just how much Iranian exports are cut or not.”

To make up for the Iranian losses, Saudi Arabia may increase production that the country had recently trimmed, but it “is going to use up all the spare capacity that they have, or pretty darn close to it, and that is going to leave markets feeling tight,” said Shin Kim, head of supply and production analytics at S&P Global Platts.

Oil prices rose more than 2% Monday, helping to lift some energy stocks.

The price of gasoline in the U.S. was already rising and the development could raise prices further.

“We’ve seen that market tighten up considerably even before the Iranian news, and we’re also seeing a number of refining issues in the U.S.,” said Ryan Fitzmaurice, energy strategist at Rabobank.

Rising oil — and gasoline — prices can squeeze consumers, whose spending accounts for about 70% of U.S. economic output. “They can take a bite out of consumers’ purchasing power,” said Scott Hoyt, senior director at Moody’s Analytics, where he follows consumer economics.

But unless energy prices surge considerably higher, a lot faster, Hoyt said he doesn’t expect them to do much damage to the American economy. Employers are hiring, and the unemployment rate is near a five-decade low of 3.8%.

Rising prices are “coming at a time when consumers are relatively well positioned to handle it,” he said. “Job growth is strong. Wage growth is healthy.” And prices at the pump aren’t even up much over the past year: The AAA reports that U.S. gasoline prices average $2.84 a gallon, compared to $2.76 a gallon a year ago.

___

Paul Wiseman in Washington, D.C. contributed to this report.

Cathy Bussewitz, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cyclists see potential and pitfalls in Sooke infrastructure

Getting from Sooke Road to Galloping Goose Trail a challenge for bike riders

Province buys Paul’s Motor Inn to house Victoria’s homeless population

Inn is the second hotel the province has purchased to support vulnerable community

Firefighters called for technical rescue at Sooke Potholes

Woman breaks her leg while walking along riverbed

Sidney blocks off parking spaces to create more sidewalk

Additional measures to create more outdoor space for restaurants and cafe on way

B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

Four senior home outbreaks also declared over, eight still active

Friendly Cove and Kyuquot will remain closed until further notice

Transition of other B.C. communities will be monitored before a decision to ease restrictions

Gold River organizes a shop local initiative to creatively boost economy

Local purchases can earn shoppers $200 gift certificates to be spent on businesses within Gold River

Young killer whale untangles itself from trap line off Nanaimo shore

DFO marine mammal rescue unit arrived as whale broke free from prawn trap line

About 30% of B.C. students return to schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

B.C.’s Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics goes virtual

The annual event partnering RCMP with Special Olympians is dramatically altered by COVID-19

Most Read