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US Sanctions against Iran to push oil prices to $90 a barrel – analysts

Washington’s tough stance against the Islamic Republic, along with reported declines in US stockpiles, has already driven American crude prices to the highest level since 2014.

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PIC Credit : Reinhard Rohner / Global Look Press

Disruption to crude oil supplies from Iran as a result of US sanctions may push oil prices to $90 a barrel, according to analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Washington’s tough stance against the Islamic Republic, along with reported declines in US stockpiles, has already driven American crude prices to the highest level since 2014. US crude oil benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) jumped to $73.37 per barrel on Friday, while Brent crude futures were trading at $78.83.

“We are in a very attractive oil price environment and our house view is that oil will hit $90 by the end of the second quarter of next year,” Hootan Yazhari, head of frontier markets equity research at the financial institution told CNBC.

“We are moving into an environment where supply disruptions are visible all over the world, and of course President Trump has been pretty active in trying to isolate Iran and getting US allies not to purchase oil from Iran,” he added.

Earlier this week, Washington demanded its allies cut all oil imports from Iran starting November with no exemptions expected to be granted. A senior State Department official pledged to enforce pressure on the countries to stop funding the Islamic Republic. The hardline position is a part of a broader agenda set by the US administration to cut Tehran off the global economy and the world political arena.

However, most of key importers of Iranian oil and petrochemicals took no notice of the US’ nearly one-sided policy towards the country. On Thursday, joint secretary for international cooperation at India’s petroleum ministry, Sunjay Sudhir, said that India doesn’t recognize unilateral sanctions and will preserve its right to ignore Washington’s demand.

Turkey’s Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci has also rejected the US demand, saying that Ankara would keep buying Iranian crude, pursuing Turkish interests.

The latest developments came shortly after members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC countries led by Russia announced plans to ramp up crude production. The cartel with its allies is reportedly seeking to regulate the oil market after a rally of over 40 percent over the last year.

The step was taken amid growing concerns that crude futures would rise enough to dent global demand due to Venezuela’s shrinking production, looming disruptions to Iran’s supplies, and production declines across the world.

Source : RT

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Global markets under pressure over fear of coronavirus spread

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Stock Market Down

Mumbai, Jan 24 : Fears that the outbreak of coronavirus in China may disrupt economic activity and global growth has sent the stock markets tumbling.

Chinese health authorities on Friday said that 830 cases of pneumonia caused by coronavirus were confirmed in 29 provincial-level regions in the country. The pneumonia has so far claimed 25 lives.

A sharp adverse reaction from Asian, US and European markets was witnessed because China is entering one of its busiest travel periods on account of its Lunar New Year holiday. The virus outbreak could hurt demand.

On Thursday, Chinese stock markets logged its biggest slide in eight months. However, Indian markets closed higher as the oil prices plunged significantly. The global oil benchmark, Brent slipped to $62 a barrel as the virus outbreak in China may dent fuel demand.

Meanwhile official sources told IANS that though over 500 Indian students study in Wuhan city’s medical colleges and universities, most of them had left for home for the Chinese New Year holidays.

Deaths due to the virus have revived memories of the SARS epidemic, caused by a coronavirus, which killed nearly 800 people and infected more than 8,000 others across the world in 2002-2003.

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SC stays NCLAT order on RoC plea for changes in Tata-Mistry verdict

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Cyrus Mistry

New Delhi, Jan 24 : In a major development in the Tata Sons-Cyrus Mistry row, the Supreme Court on Thursday stayed the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal’s (NCLAT) order dismissing the Registrar of Company’s (RoC) plea to modify its verdict on the Tata Sons matter.

Tata Sons had challenged in the apex court the NCLAT’s January 6 order on conversion of Tata Sons from a public to a private company.

Agreeing to hear the Tata Sons’ plea, the apex court on Friday issued a notice to the parties concerned. The three judge bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde will hear the matter along with the main plea filed by Tata Sons against NCLAT’s verdict.

The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) had on January 6 rejected the plea by the RoC to modify the appellate tribunal’s judgement in the Tata-Mistry case.

The NCLAT had in its December 18 verdict termed the RoC’s decision to allow conversion of Tata Sons from a public to private company as illegal, while the RoC had filed a plea at the appellate tribunal to remove the word “illegal” from its verdict, among other observations.

The two-judge bench headed by NCLAT Chairman Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya had observed that the judgment did not cast any aspersions on the RoC.

Posting the matter for hearing after four weeks, the Supreme Court had, on January 10, stayed the NCLAT order reinstating Cyrus Mistry as Tata Sons Chairman. Chief Justice S.A. Bobde said the NCLAT had granted a prayer not made.

However, Mistry has already made a statement that he is no longer interested in taking up the chairmanship of Tata Sons.

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Swamy warns against Air India sale, wants House panel to vet his note

It has been reliably learnt that the Rajya Sabha member had expressed reservations over privatisation of Air India the meeting of a Parliamentary consultative committee earlier this month.

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Subramanian Swamy

New Delhi, Jan 23: The government’s plan to sell national carrier Air India may face political and legal headwinds with senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy raising the red flag against the decision.

Days before the launch of bidding process by inviting Expressions of Interest (EoI) from potential suitors, Swamy has warned against such move, saying the issue was currently being discussed by a Parliamentary panel.

“Right now, it (Air India disinvestment) is before the consultative committee and I am a member of that. I have been asked to give a note which will be discussed in the next meeting. They can’t go ahead without that,” Swamy told IANS.

“If they do, I will go to court. They know that too,” he cautioned.

A vocal opponent of Air India privatisation, Swamy had earlier suggested to list 49 per cent of Air India shares on stock exchanges while government holds 51 per cent in the carrier as an alternative to selling its entire stake to private companies.

It has been reliably learnt that the Rajya Sabha member had expressed reservations over privatisation of Air India the meeting of a Parliamentary consultative committee earlier this month.

After its failed first attempt, the Modi government has shown great zeal this time to sell Air India. It is set to offer a sweetened deal to potential buyers this time around by removing a large chunk of the debt and liabilities from the airline books.

Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had earlier said that Air India will be shut down, in case the disinvestment exercise is not successful.

Sources told IANS that the preliminary information memorandum (PIM) inviting EoI has been tentatively scheduled to be unveiled on January 27.

Air India is proposed to be sold along with its subsidiary Air India Express and ground-handling joint venture company Air India Singapore Airport Terminal Services Ltd (AISATS) in which it has 50 per cent stake.

Air India on January 10 came out with tender for engaging aircraft asset management companies for carrying out technical audit of its entire fleet.

A Ministerial panel on Air India chaired by Home Minister Amit Shah on January 7 approved the draft EoI and a share purchase agreement (SPA) for the airline’s disinvestment.

(Nirbhay Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])

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