India ends Iranian oil imports

The Trump administration has ramped up economic pressure on Iran. (Reuters)
Updated 23 May 2019

India ends Iranian oil imports

  • India's ambassador to the US says India had already sharply decreased its imports from Iran

WASHINGTON: India has ended all imports of oil from Iran, its ambassador in Washington said Wednesday, becoming the latest country to comply with threatened US sanctions.
India had already sharply decreased its imports from Iran and bought one million tons of crude in April, the last month before Washington stepped up its pressure campaign against Tehran and ended all exemptions to sanctions, Ambassador Harsh Vardhan Shringla said.
“That’s it. After that we haven’t imported any,” Shringla told reporters during a briefing on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s election victory.
Shringla said that energy-hungry India has also ended all imports from Venezuela because it considered itself a partner of the United States — but said the shift had caused pain at home, with Iran formerly supplying 10 percent of India’s oil needs.
Calling Iran “an extended neighbor” of India with longstanding cultural links, Shringla declined to say if New Delhi shared President Donald Trump’s concerns about Tehran.
“This is an issue that has to be dealt with, really, between the United States and Iran. We are only, in many senses, looking at it as a third party,” Shringla said.
But he added: “We would not like to see a move toward any escalation in any way in that area, for the simple reason that we depend very heavily on stability in that part of the world.”
Trump last year pulled out of a multinational pact under which Iran drastically scaled back its nuclear work in return for promises of sanctions relief.
The Trump administration has instead ramped up economic pressure on Iran and recently deployed military assets including an aircraft carrier strike group to the area.
The United States as of May 2 has ended exemptions it had given to eight governments from its unilateral order to stop buying Iranian oil.
Turkey, which enjoyed a waiver and vocally disagreed with the US policy, has also stopped importing oil from Iran, a Turkish official said Tuesday.
State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus welcomed the news from Turkey.
“We want the whole world to comply with these sanctions, and we’re grateful for our partners and allies that are respecting them,” she told reporters.


Banking shares help key Saudi index edge up 0.2 percent

Updated 49 min 16 sec ago

Banking shares help key Saudi index edge up 0.2 percent

  • Property shares weigh on Egypt; other Gulf markets mixed

Most Gulf stock markets moved marginally amid falling oil prices on Wednesday, while Egypt’s blue-chip index declined, led by property shares.

DUBAI: Oil prices slipped toward $59 a barrel on data showing a bigger-than-expected rise in US crude stocks, while the prospect of deeper output cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies offered support.

Saudi Arabia’s index extended gains from the previous session to close 0.2 percent up. Al-Rajhi Bank gained 0.7 percent, while Alinma Bank rose a further 1.3 percent.     

On Tuesday, Alinma reported a rise in third-quarter profit to SR713 million ($190.10 million) compared to 637 million a year earlier.    

However, gains were capped by losses in petrochemical stocks.

Sahara International Petrochemical (Sipchem) slid 2.8 percent following a more than 38 percent plunge in third-quarter net profit.

The petrochemical maker said it was due to a decrease in selling prices for most of the products.

Egypt’s blue-chip index decreased 0.5 percent, with most stocks on the index falling. Property stock Talaat Mostafa lost 1.7 percent and El-Sewedy Electric was down 1.5 percent. Among other stocks, developer Madinet Nasr also decreased 1.9 percent. 

Egypt’s nonoil private sector contracted for the second consecutive month in September, according to the IHS Markit Egypt Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI).     

In Dubai, the index closed 0.3 percent down with Emaar Properties shedding 1.1 percent and Dubai Islamic Bank  falling 0.6 percent. 

The Abu Dhabi Index added 0.3 percent, extending gains for a third straight session, with First Abu Dhabi Bank and Aldar Properties gaining 0.4 percent and 1.8 percent respectively. 

Qatar’s index dipped 0.2 percent, extending losses for a fifth straight session, as Qatar Fuel declined 1.6 percent and Mesaieed Petrochemical ended 2.2 percent lower.

But Commercial Bank edged up 0.2 percent after it reported a rise in nine-month profit to QR1.50 billion ($412.09 million) compared to QR1.35 billion a year earlier.