Quick move lower in oil


Keep an eye on oil as headlines cross saying the US has lifted sanctions on Iran individuals. Crude is quickly down to $69.14 from $70.10.

This looks like a precursor to a nuclear deal. Iran has long insisted that sanctions -- including those on individuals -- come off before they return to a deal. The US has argued that some sanctions on individuals are not due to the nuclear deal but for other reasons.

I'm speculating, but it looks like the US has lifted some individual sanctions to get the ball rolling. That's a sign that a deal is coming.

The next big question is how much a deal is priced in? And what will OPEC+ do in response (potentially slow the pace of production hikes). Iran has said it can restore its output in 3 months. There's another question about how much oil is Iran already exporting covertly as well.

Update: the US deleted sanctions on 3 people in Iran, including 1 oil official. Oil has bounced back to $69.49 from a low of $68.68 in a hint this doesn't necessarily signal a deal, or that a deal is already largely priced in.

Update 2: The WSJ has bit more of an optimistic take on the moves, saying "more than a dozen former Iranian officials and energy firms, an action that comes amid stalled nuclear negotiations and that U.S. officials say signals Washington's commitment to easing a broader pressure campaign if Tehran changes its behavior."