Most French firms ‘won’t be able to stay’ in Iran: France’s finance minister

French oil group Total has already indicated it is unlikely to stay in the country after the new sanctions announced by US President Donald Trump. (AFP)
Updated 19 June 2018
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Most French firms ‘won’t be able to stay’ in Iran: France’s finance minister

PARIS: Most French companies hoping to keep doing business in Iran after the US imposes new sanctions on the country will find it impossible to do so, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said Tuesday.
These companies “won’t be able to stay because they need to be paid for the products they deliver to or build in Iran, and they cannot be paid because there is no sovereign and autonomous European financial institution” capable of shielding them, Le Maire told BFM television.
The new sanctions announced by US President Donald Trump in May after he pulled out of a 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran would punish any foreign firm operating in Iran which also does business with the US or in dollars.
“Our priority is to build independent, sovereign European financial institutions which would allow financing channels between French, Italian, German, Spanish and any other countries on the planet,” Le Maire said.
“It’s up to us Europeans to choose freely and with sovereign power who we want to do business with,” he added.
“The United States should not be the planet’s economic policeman.”
Le Maire and his EU counterparts have been trying to secure exemptions for their firms, many of which rushed back into Iran after the landmark accord curtailing Tehran’s nuclear program.
But French oil group Total and carmaker PSA have already indicated they are unlikely to stay in the country, while Renault has said it will remain despite the sanctions — though it does not sell its cars in the US.
Analysts have warned it would be nearly impossible to protect multinationals from the reach of the “extraterritorial” US measures, given the exposure of large banks to the US financial system and dollar transactions.
The first round of the new sanctions, targeting Iran’s auto and civil aviation sectors, are scheduled to go into effect on August 6.


Oil rises after US Navy destroys Iranian drone

Updated 11 min 57 sec ago
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Oil rises after US Navy destroys Iranian drone

  • The International Energy Agency is revising its 2019 global oil demand growth forecast to 1.1 million barrels per day
  • Speculators have exited options positions that could have provided exposure to higher prices in the next several years

TOKYO: Oil prices rose more than 1 percent on Friday after the US Navy destroyed an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz, a major chokepoint for global crude flows, again raising tensions in the Middle East.
Brent crude futures were up 82 cents, or 1.3 percent, at $62.75 by 0100 GMT. They closed down 2.7 percent on Thursday, falling for a fourth day.
West Texas Intermediate crude futures firmed 61 cents, or 1.1 percent, at 55.91. They fell 2.6 percent in the previous session.
The United States said on Thursday that a US Navy ship had “destroyed” an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz after the aircraft threatened the vessel, but Iran said it had no information about losing a drone.
The move comes after Britain pledged to defend its shipping interests in the region, while US Central Command chief General Kenneth McKenzie said the United States would work “aggressively” to enable free passage after recent attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf.
Still, the longer-term outlook for oil has grown increasingly bearish.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) is reducing its 2019 oil demand forecast due to a slowing global economy amid a US-China trade spat, its executive director said on Thursday.
The IEA is revising its 2019 global oil demand growth forecast to 1.1 million barrels per day (bpd) and may cut it again if the global economy and especially China shows further weakness, Fatih Birol said.
“China is experiencing its slowest economic growth in the last three decades, so are some of the advanced economies ... if the global economy performs even poorer than we assume, then we may even look at our numbers once again in the next months to come,” Birol told Reuters in an interview.
Last year, the IEA predicted that 2019 oil demand would grow by 1.5 million bpd but had already cut the growth forecast to 1.2 million bpd in June this year.
Speculators have exited options positions that could have provided exposure to higher prices in the next several years, market participants said on Thursday.
US offshore oil and gas production has continued to return to service since Hurricane Barry passed through the Gulf of Mexico last week, triggering platform evacuations and output cuts.
Royal Dutch Shell, a top Gulf producer, said Wednesday it had resumed about 80 percent of its average daily production in the region.