Sunday, 09 December, 2018

Iran's President Rouhani seeks to preserve nuclear agreement with Europe

Iranians set fire to a US flag during a demonstration in Tehran Iranians set fire to a US flag during a demonstration in Tehran
Jean Garcia | 16 May, 2018, 21:45

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday the United States was exiting an global nuclear deal with Iran and would impose new sanctions that seek to reduce oil exports from OPEC's third-largest producer.

The recent talks between the USA and European diplomats on how to fix the current Iran agreement foundered on the question of how to address the easing beginning in eight years of the nuclear constraints. The extra demand is helping to wipe out an oil glut that has plagued markets.

President Donald Trump announced that the United States was to levy fresh sanctions against Iran and anyone else who helps it develop a nuclear program. Investors are anxious that renewed sanctions on Iran, a major oil producer, could lead to supply disruptions. This time, analysts expect much less of an impact.

Paul von Maltzahn - former German ambassador to Iran, Egypt and Iraq - tells TRENDS that American policy has undermined the "multilateral approach" that after 2012 halved Iran's oil exports and froze foreign investment and then in 2015 secured the nuclear agreement. It's a matter of seeing if other countries follow the USA or not.

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini insisted that it's not up to the U.S.to determine the deal's future anyway.

Unlike last time, when a broad worldwide coalition supported the sanctions (wary that the Iranian nuclear program could reach a tipping point), many nations now oppose the reimposition of sanctions.

This would essentially end the OPEC-led deal to trim production.

Tencent blows past estimates as WeChat, games drive growth
Net profits increased 65% year-on-year to reach $3.82 billion on revenues of $11.7 billion in the three months to end of March. Other earnings drivers for Tencent included a video subscription service that is similar to that of Netflix.

"At the moment it's not easy to quantify the possible economic impact of the USA withdrawal on European business activities", said the head of the EU's business lobby, Emma Marcegaglia, who called for "legal clarity".

Foreign companies that do business in the country have also been banned from accessing American banking and financial systems. That's about 1 million barrels a day more than in early 2016. If the policy extends to higher tariffs to protect the U.S. oil industry as it did with the steel industry, it is possible that a buying frenzy might be sparked to secure supplies at lower prices. "Because of our technology licenses to many other countries and businesses around the world, as those sanctions kick in, it will have an even broader effect".

It follows a visit by the Iranian diplomat to Beijing on Sunday where he stressed the importance of keeping the accords, which were signed in 2015 with the aim of both halting Tehran's nuclear ambitions and stimulating the country's economy. But so far, Iran's response has been quite restrained. The Venezuelan elections are coming up May 20.

So, the president has to make a decision where America's national interests lie.

"European companies are more exposed to the USA market, they must comply not to get into trouble". OPEC countries are also meeting on June 22 and are expected to clarify whether they plan to fill any shortfall of the Iranian exports; Saudi Arabia has already hinted it would.

Citigroup's Ed Morse expects oil prices to rise past $80/bbl in the short term as Iranian production declines, but with those higher prices creating more production growth in the US and some other places - enough to bring crude down to the low $60s or high $50s in 2019. "Ultimately it's about supply and demand." said Pavel Molchanov from Raymond James. After all, it's a global commodity in a global market.

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