Goldman says removal of Iran oil sanctions waivers to have limited impact

The ticker symbol and logo for Goldman Sachs is displayed on a screen on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., December 18, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

(Reuters) - Goldman Sachs expects the United States’ decision to end waivers from sanctions on imports of Iranian oil to have a limited impact on prices, even though the timing of the halt is much more sudden than expected.

“While we acknowledge the near-term upside price risks, we reiterate our fundamentally derived Brent price trading range of $70-75 per barrel for the second quarter of 2019,” the bank wrote in a note on Monday.

The United States on Monday demanded that buyers of Iranian oil stop purchases by May 1 or face sanctions, a move to choke off Tehran’s oil revenues. In response, crude prices rose to six-month highs on fears of a potential supply crunch. [O/R]

The bank still expects declining prices into 2020 due to better supplied markets next year and high uncertainties around whether the Organziation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and fellow producers will continue to abide by their agreement to curb output to support prices after June.

The U.S. investment bank sees Iranian production declining by 900,000 barrels per day (bpd) compared to the immediately available global spare capacity of 2 million bpd, which is set to grow further later this year.

The U.S. policy announcement should support Middle East Dubai crude prices relative to Brent prices given the quality mismatch between the lost Iran volumes and the lighter compensating crudes from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, it added.

Reporting by Swati Verma in Bengaluru; editing by Christian Schmollinger