With operations in Syria ramping up, Turkey’s Trade Minister, Ruhsar Pekcan, told reporters on Thursday that she expected the United States to extend the current waiver which allows the country to buy Iran’s crude oil. In November, the US placed sanctions on Iran’s oil exports, but granted several exemptions to the Gulf state’s biggest customers, allowing them to continue buying crude. She also claimed that ongoing talks between Ankara and Washington might soon lead to the US lifting tariffs currently affecting particular goods, according to a report from Seeking Alpha. Last weekend, President Trump took to Twitter to announce cooperation between Turkey and the United States in the battle against ISIS, shortly after he announced he would be withdrawing US forces from Syria.
“President @RT_Erdogan of Turkey has very strongly informed me that he will eradicate whatever is left of ISIS in Syria….and he is a man who can do it plus, Turkey is right “next door.” Our troops are coming home!” wrote Trump on Twitter.
The price of crude oil remained relatively high throughout 2018, but the Iranian sanctions, waivers on those sanctions, and the increase in supply by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in November have led to the suppression of crude prices. Although Brent crude sank after Christmas, it made a small rally at the opening of the market on Friday. However, depending on the latest report surrounding the US stockpile, those gains may be short-lived, according to a report from Reuters.
“If the [US Energy Information Agency] data shows a rise in U.S. crude inventories, that would cap price gains,” said Ahn Yea-Ha, a Kiwoom Securities commodity analyst based in Seoul, South Korea during an interview with Reuters. The US Energy Information Agency (EIA) is expected to make their announcement regarding US production on Friday.
To reverse the downward trend in crude prices, OPEC along with other major oil producers have reached an agreement to slow down production during the first few months of 2019. Russia’s Energy Minister, Alexander Novak claims that his country will slash its oil yield by “3 and 5 million tonnes,” between January and June of next year. The rest of OPEC and its allies will also slow their cumulative production by more than a million barrels per day.
As of this writing, Brent crude is trading at $53.09 per barrel, according to Market Insider. That price is roughly 40 percent lower than the commodity’s high in October. West Texas Intermediate, another benchmark oil, is currently sitting right above $45.50 per barrel.