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Asia Buyers of Iran Oil Hopeful of US Waivers

Asia Buyers of Iran Oil Hopeful of US Waivers Asia Buyers of Iran Oil Hopeful of US Waivers

Asian buyers of Iranian oil are gaining confidence they will win US consent for some imports to continue even after American sanctions snap back next month.
Major Iranian customers South Korea, India and Japan are in talks with Washington for waivers, highlighting the specific reasons they need to continue purchases, according to people familiar with the discussions, Bloomberg reported on Friday.
Despite the upbeat tone, the exemptions from the US have not been finalized and may not end up being approved, they said, asking not to be identified because the negotiations are confidential.
The US has so far insisted that all purchases from Iran must drop to zero in an effort to put pressure on the Islamic Republic to negotiate a new nuclear deal, after President Donald Trump in May walked away from a 2015 pact negotiated by his predecessor Barack Obama. 
Even before American sanctions take effect, the oil market has tightened beyond what the White House expected, briefly sending Brent crude to a four-year high over $85 a barrel.
If South Korea, India and Japan obtain waivers, it is likely to be for lower imports than in the past with a commitment to continue reducing purchases over time.
“We evaluate waivers on a case by case basis,” said US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert. But she cautioned that Washington was not planning to provide blanket exemptions to Asian countries.
Some Asian buyers halted Iranian oil imports ahead of the Nov. 4 deadline
Iranian exports have slumped by 30%, or over 800,000 barrels a day, over the past six months, meanwhile, buyers are scrambling to find alternative supply at a time when higher crude prices and a stronger dollar have boosted the import bills for American allies. 
>India’s Dilemma 
In India, the local currency is tumbling and public protests are flaring over higher costs before elections next year.
The South Asian country had planned to cut purchases to zero in November, but refiners later decided on limited imports after the government asked them to subsidize retail fuel prices. South Korea has stopped buying shipments since July and was the first among major buyers to cut imports to zero.
Japan has temporarily halted loading Iranian oil ahead of the US sanctions that will take effect on Nov. 4. The Asian nation will continue to negotiate “tenaciously” with America to maintain crude imports from the Persian Gulf state, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko said last month.
Top Iranian customer China remains a wildcard. Its government has said it opposes unilateral measures by the US, with which it is fighting a trade war.

 

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