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

Just Posted

Lake Country RV dealer climbs closer to fundraising goal

The Voyager RV Center has raised a total of $80,000 towards their goal of $100,000

Kelowna Comedy hosting Halloween fundraiser show

Ticket sales will be donated to Mamas For Mamas to help families with costumes this year

Legacy Group wants City of Kelowna to rethink its downtown redevelopment plans

The plan envisions redeveloping RCMP site, Kelowna theatre, Memorial Arena and city hall parking lot

Comedian Bruce McCulloch to perform at the Creekside Theatre

McCulloch will be performing his latest standup act Tales of Bravery and Stupidity

Lake Country begins testing bear-resistant garbage carts

The bear-resistant garbage carts are expected to stop bears from scavenging for food

BC SPCA gala returns to Kelowna

Touchstone Law Group is one of three sponsors for the Kelowna gala

Port Moody mayor goes back on unpaid leave during sex assault investigation

Rob Vagramov said he intends to return as mayor in three or four weeks

UBC issues statement after instructor tells students to vote for Liberal Party

University says partisan messaging was not intentional

Cowichan Valley brothers win big in lottery for second time

Playing same numbers net big wins over a three year period

Fatal overdoses down by 33% in B.C., but carfentanil deaths continue to spike

Carfentanil, an illicit drug more powerful than fentanyl, causing more deaths than ever

VIDEO: Meet your Kelowna-Lake Country candidates

All seven Kelowna-Lake Country candidates answer questions about themselves and their policy

VIDEO: Meet your Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola candidates

Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola candidates answer questions about themselves and their policy

Sentencing date set for Vancouver Island father convicted of killing his two daughters

Andrew Berry was found guilty of two counts of second-degree murder last month

B.C. woman finds mysterious coin among Grandma’s collection

Grandmother died when she was very young and her past is not well known to her mother

Most Read