Breakingviews

Iran nuclear deal is huge potential step forward

By Edward Hadas
July 14, 2015

The hope is that the 100-page agreement will help keep oil cheap, spur rapid growth in the Iranian economy and lead to less fighting in the Middle East. But sanctions can be revived quickly if things don’t go to plan. Mistrust remains endemic. Optimists will have to be patient.

Oil is grounded in a sub-$60 bear market

July 7, 2015

Brent crude fell over 6 percent on the back of worries about Greece and the prospect of an Iran nuclear deal. The latter has a much bigger, if delayed, impact. As U.S. shale drillers cut costs fast and Saudi Arabia goes for volume, ample supply is likely to keep a lid on prices.

Iran deal moves oil closer to long bear market

By Edward Hadas
April 7, 2015

A framework deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program is likely to bring the country’s oil exports way up. Like Saudi Arabia, Iran gains more from market share than it loses from low prices. Higher-cost producers will take time to adjust.

Even a weaker Islamic State will drag on economy

By Edward Hadas
December 23, 2014

Cheap oil may now be the biggest worry for Middle Eastern economies, but the struggle against the radical group also has the potential to undermine growth. Even if IS has peaked, its ideology remains a problem, especially for Iraq and Turkey. Iran could end up gaining ground.

Iran sanctions’ impact could prove slippery

January 9, 2012

Iran’s nuclear ambitions are a problem, but more sanctions may not be a solution, especially if China doesn’t cooperate. Iran will suffer, but may just become more determined. Without a realistic plan for unwinding sanctions if they fail, they will just distort oil markets.

China will fudge Iran oil sanctions

January 12, 2012

Simple disobedience of the U.S. freeze would give China cheap oil, but it can’t afford the cost of angering Uncle Sam. Total obedience would push up prices, and could spark social unrest in China. But Beijing can probably find a middle way: do just enough to placate the Americans.

China will fudge Iran oil sanctions

January 12, 2012

Simple disobedience of the U.S. freeze would give China cheap oil, but it can’t afford the cost of angering Uncle Sam. Total obedience would push up prices, and could spark social unrest in China. But Beijing can probably find a middle way: do just enough to placate the Americans.

Higher oil price should burn itself out

February 21, 2012

Robust demand – created by a reviving U.S. economy, loose money and vigorous Asian buying – is pushing Brent above $120 a barrel. Supply fears may keep trading volatile. But absent a serious dust-up with Iran, higher prices should be mostly self-correcting.

Sanctions could cost Iran $50 bln

March 30, 2012

Top buyers of Iranian crude are cutting back and the government may soon have to offer discounts to shift supplies. The higher crude price would only partly counter these factors. Tehran could lose half its oil revenue and soon face the pinch.

Iran offers Egypt limited lesson in subsidy reform

April 26, 2012

The IMF says Cairo should look to Tehran’s example in its bid to reform energy subsidies. But a poor country like Egypt can hardly afford Iran’s near-universal and inflationary cash handouts at a time when it needs to slash public spending.