Powerful start to the week, only to see the robust buildup disintegrate by Wednesday – a brief resume of how hopes of a crude price surge went awry this week. On paper, it seemed that last week’s tanker attacks and the ensuing jitteriness about shipping prospects via the Hormuz Strait, coupled with the resumption of US-China trade talks ahead of next week’s G20 summit in Japan, would bring Brent back to $65 per barrel. In fact, Tuesday witnessed the largest daily buildup in prices since the first days of January on the news of OPEC fixing its meeting date and a better prospect of a trade deal between the U.S. and China.
End of business on Wednesday, global crude benchmark Brent traded in the $61.8-62 per barrel frame, whilst American benchmark WTI hovered in the $54.1-54.3 per barrel interval.
1. U.S. Extends Iraq’s Gas-Importing Waiver for Further 120 Days
- The US State Department has extended Iraq’s waivers to import natural gas and electricity from Iran for another 120 days, in what might be perceived as a thickly veiled sign of conflict relaxation.
- Wary of protests emerging in the wake of the 2018 Basrah riots, the first waivers was granted for a period of 45 days, followed by two consecutive 90-day exemptions.
- Iraq imports roughly a third of its 14-15 GW electricity demand, primarily by importing gas via cross-border pipelines into the Diyala, Baghdad and Basra provinces that are fed from Iran’s…