Donald of Arabia, Oil Sanction Idiocy: Another Oil Shock Coming

Mike Mish Shedlock

I did not believe Trump would be so foolish as to force the entire world to accept Iranian sanctions. I was wrong.

Here's my general policy: When you are wrong, it's best to admit it or someone will admit it for you, in a worse way.

I was wrong about how far Trump would carry his foolish policy on Iran.

Hedgeye energy analyst Joe McMonigle got it correct as this Energy Flashback shows.

Choking Point

Yesterday, Trump tightened the noose on Iran. How tight?

Consider this International Law Advisory on Iranian Sanctions.

The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and Trump Administration officials have explained that primary and secondary sanctions will be reimposed after 90- or 180-day “wind-down” periods, depending on the business activity, and that failure to halt sanctioned activity by the end of the wind-down period would risk “severe consequences.”

President Trump’s NSPM indicates that “all” of the sanctions waived or lifted under the JCPOA will be reimposed. These changes most likely will be implemented through new Executive Orders (EOs) from the president; termination of the periodic statutory sanctions waivers that have been issued by the Secretary of State; and changes to licenses, licensing policy, and the SDN list that will be made by OFAC. While there are numerous questions still outstanding about how the new sanctions may be implemented on a practical level, it is clear that the greatest impact of the reimposition of the sanctions will be on non-US entities, including non-US entities owned or controlled by US persons.

Sanctions Subject to 90-Day Wind-Down

  • The purchase or acquisition of US dollar banknotes by the Government of Iran
  • Iran’s trade in gold or precious metals
  • The direct or indirect sale, supply, or transfer to or from Iran of graphite, raw, or semi-finished metals such as aluminum and steel, coal, and software for integrating industrial processes
  • Significant transactions related to the purchase or sale of Iranian rials, or the maintenance of significant funds or accounts outside the territory of Iran denominated in the Iranian rial
  • The purchase, subscription to, or facilitation of the issuance of Iranian sovereign debt
  • Iran’s automotive sector

Sanctions Subject to 180-Day Wind-down Period

  • Iran’s port operators, and shipping and shipbuilding sectors, including the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL), South Shipping Line Iran, or their affiliates
  • Petroleum-related transactions with, among others, the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), Naftiran Intertrade Company (NICO), and National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC), including the purchase of petroleum, petroleum products, or petrochemical products from Iran
  • Transactions by foreign financial institutions with the Central Bank of Iran and designated Iranian financial institutions under section 1245 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, as amended (NDAA)
  • The provision of specialized financial messaging services to the Central Bank of Iran and Iranian financial institutions described in Section 104(c)(2)(E)(ii) of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions and Divestment Act of 2010 (CISADA)
  • The provision of underwriting services, insurance, or reinsurance
  • Iran’s energy sector

Economic War on Iran

That article was written on June 6, before yesterday's bombshell that I described as Economic War on Iran: Trump Sets Sanction Policy for Entire World.

Theoretically, Iran Can Use Bitcoin to Avoid US Sanctions.

That is still correct but it requires a major willing participant such as India. And India previously did state it would not honor the sanctions.

Did that change yesterday?

A friend whose opinion I value offered this comment:

Yesterday afternoon, the Trump Administration noted that this was a big “national security” priority and no waivers were going to be granted.

Thus, if India continues to import Iranian oil, it will also be sanctioned. The US is now compelling other countries to follow its policy or face serious economic consequences. Because the US is such an enormous part of the world economy, it has tremendous potential power. But it has never actually wielded its power in this way. Honestly, I think that governments have little choice but to comply. India is already beginning steps to comply. Iran is just not worth it.

And it is now that people understand this scheme, it is affecting oil prices. The Iranian oil really is going to stop being available.

First Time

I incorrectly counted on this: The "US has never actually wielded its power in this way."

Oil Shock

I do not believe Saudi Arabia can step up production enough to counteract a complete shutdown of Iranian oil. Even it it can, OPEC might agree to do so, then not do it.

Venezuelan oil is already kaput. Now Iran.

Don't be fooled by US oil exports.

The US does export oil, but it still imports more than it exports. If oil prices keep rising, the US cannot avoid another oil shock.

The shock will impact the EU, Japan, China, and India even more than the US.

Very Recessionary

This is very recessionary. It is one thing to have oil prices rise due to demand, it is another thing to have oil prices soar because of idiotic actions imposed on the world.

A recession within a year is not out of the question. Indeed, Rosenberg's Recession Call, which has been soundly ridiculed in many places, looks pretty good if these oil sanctions stick.

For discussion, please see Rosenberg's Call: Recession, Rising Inflation, Cooling Commodities, S&P 500 Top.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (23)
No. 1-23
shamrock
shamrock

Why is he imposing sanctions exactly? What are the demands that must be met to get the sanctions lifted? He had a pretty good first year, focused all on tax cuts, domestic regulations, and Obamacare. Now the insidious half of his agenda.

Mike Mish Shedlock
Mike Mish Shedlock

Editor

Trump says Iran not honoring the deal. His top general, former sec of state Tillerson, and the EU all disagree.

Now the whole world has to go along.

vboring
vboring

Between corn being used for ethanol and domestic oil production, expensive oil is good for a big chunk of red counties.

2banana
2banana

Today's lesson is the difference between a Treaty and an "agreement" -so sad obama could not figure out how to run his administration without EOs, making up laws he wished he had, sending the IRS/EPA/DOJ after his political enemies and international "agreements."

They all expected Hillary to keep the game going...

Tomorrow's lesson is going to be on the difference between a law by democratically elected legislators and judicial fiat rulings by unelected judges that can easily overturned the same way they were installed.

hmk
hmk

Is there not the possibility that Iran will enter into a new agreement that could end this?

Carlos_
Carlos_
(deleted message)

Good proxy but vulnerable from twitter Trump and trade. Long BP since the time the whole world hated it.

mbass100
mbass100

an oil price increase is great for saudi and russia, trumps buddies

Tengen
Tengen

FYI the link you provide puts the high water mark at $4.72 (in 2018 USD), and that was in July 2008 when Bush was pres.

2banana
2banana

You are correct. The point is still valid though even if off by a few pennies. Much higher gas prices at the pump under the obama administration than the Trump administration (so far)

Webej
Webej

Nobody will ever believe again that you can come to an agreement with the USA. America is fast eroding its position on the world stage. At present it may be able to bully the rest of the world, but the rest of the world will consolidate their interests and make sure they are not so easily subject to divide and conquor. The US has shown that any type of cooperation or multi-lateralism is a lost cause. The idea that allies will support American policy ever again, or that the US can form an international coalition to organize sanctions voluntarily, will never happen again. The US is destroying what little is left of anything resembling an international "order". They are unpredictable and vacillate, behaving contrary to international law, and are in fact the most rogue actor on the international stage -- the only ones that refuse to even attend a conference on getting rid of nuclear weapons. The US has committed aggression against scores of countries the past decades, while the last time Iran moved against a neighbouring country was the 18th century. Being blamed for being a threat and for sponsoring terrorism is a little rich coming from a country that has invaded scores of countries recently, responsible for more than 50% of global military spending, murders people by drone in half the countries of the world, and only this week has again been rescuing more ISIS top commanders by helicopters in Al-Hasakah,

Mike Mish Shedlock
Mike Mish Shedlock

Editor

Excellently Stated!

Tengen
Tengen

It's interesting that the rise of Trump was meant to be a grenade lobbed at elites and the status quo. He may indeed disrupt things, but Americans will feel a lot of pain as our corrupt system founders. We still have a lot more to lose than many around the world.

The true beneficiaries of Trump might be people in the "Here Be Dragons" territories that want an end to the American empire. Joe Sixpack may not realize it, but the elites weren't just screwing him, they were screwing untold billions around the world even harder.

Stuki
Stuki

Progressives say homes, education and health care are too unaffordable, as well. Then go right ahead and pursue policies that, singularly and obviously to anyone with a functioning intellect, make them less affordable.

Inability to reason about even the most obvious effects of contemplated actions, are what being complete and utter idiots are all about, after all...

Sechel
Sechel

I didn't believe the United States was going to be successful in bringing back the Iran sanctions but it does appear this is where things are headed. Oil is fungible though. How do you prove crude ultimately came from Iran vs Saudi Arabia assuming the grades are similar

her_hpr
her_hpr

Actually, chemical analysis of the oil can pretty well pinpoint location of origin. Maybe not exactly which well it came from but definitively which field . . . .

sachvik
sachvik

Recession is guaranteed if Trump continues like this. And that will mean no 2nd term for him as President... If Trump thinks this show of power will force Iran to the negotiating table, this will certainly fail - the ayatollahs of Iran know they only have to wait (a maximum of) 2 Trump terms, after which someone more rational will come to power in the USA.

ManAboutDallas
ManAboutDallas

This is the point where China and Russia finally say "Enough!" and start greasing the skids; in fact, this was probably the reason for the yuan-for-oil-for-gold contract and China wanted to be READY when it happened. The U.S. can "punish" one or two sanction violators, but not DOZENS.

ManAboutDallas
ManAboutDallas

As for India, this is probably why Modi has been piling up the Frequent Flyer Miles to Moscow and Beijing recently; connect the dots.


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