Oil Climbs as Market Eyes Iran Supply Risks

India defies US sanctions pressure; allows state refiners to use Iran tankers

OPEC oil output hits 2018 high

Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi warned on Tuesday that Tehran would withdraw from the nuclear deal if the Europeans fail by November 4 to design a mechanism to safeguard Iran's main interests, including oil sales and banking payments, in the accord.

Each nation which was earlier deal with Iran for crude oil has reduced their supply after the U.S. sanctions. The United States has since been trying to persuade countries to economically isolate Iran. Given the current upside momentum, this price level could easily be achieved later today especially if additional U.S. Gulf oil operations are shutdown once the hurricane's path and strength are determined.

Yet for all the pushback and negotiations, an emerging pattern shows USA sanctions are succeeding in throttling Iran's sales to its customers even before the measures take effect in early November. Beijing, for its part, has threatened to retaliate with $60 billion worth of new duties on US imports to China.

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Oil prices were also under pressure as worldwide shippers stopped loading Iranian oil in preparation for US sanctions against Iran.

India's move follows China, which too continues buying Iranian crude, relying on vessels owned by National Iranian Tanker Co (NITC). Cargoes to South Korea plunged over 40 per cent in July, while Japanese firms have said September-loading shipments may be their last.

Still, worries persist that the market is due for a tightening anyway: Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia-Pacific at OANDA, said Brent was "supported by the notion that USA sanctions on Iranian crude oil exports will eventually lead to constricted markets". The secondary sanction could be in various forms but the most throbbing would be being blocked from American financial System which no country could afford.

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The last time there was a major disruption in the flow of oil through Hormuz was in 1984 during the Iran-Iraq war when both sides attacked each other's oil facilities and tankers. Even if the waivers are provided, they will be based on the promise of keeping flows limited.

In August, Russia produced 11.21 million barrels of oil per day according to data mailed by Russian energy ministry to Bloomberg.

Brent crude futures were lower on Tuesday afternoon in Asia, trading down 0.10 percent to $78.07 per barrel. However, in the third week of August, prices bounced back to $70 per barrel.

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"My sense is that the big issue going forward, if this emerging market crisis morphs into something more troubling, is not just (oil) demand growth but total demand", said Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at futures brokerage AxiTrader. A stronger dollar makes greenback-denominated oil more expensive for holders of other currencies.

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