Brent crude posted some losses on Friday and closed slightly below 110 USD per barrel (USD/bbl) level. During the weekend, oil market saw some bearish news. On Sunday, a U.S. aircraft carrier sailed safely through the Straits of Hormuz into Persian Gulf during the long planned rotation and replaced another carrier which had earlier left the Gulf. On Saturday, Iran’s Revolutionary Corps Deputy Commander eased previous hostile rhetoric as he said that U.S. warships had
been present in the Gulf for many years and the decision to send a new ship into Gulf should be interpreted in such a manner.
Earlier last week, the U.S. reiterated it was ready to resume international talks related to disputable Iran’s nuclear programme. Therefore, we maintain our view that any form of armed conflict remains very unlikely and that the tensions between the U.S. and Iran might fade out in months ahead, especially after a parliamentary election in Iran (due to March).
However, the EU ambassadors agreed today to impose a ban on imports of Iranian crude as of July 1st, Reuters said today citing an anonymous EU source. The final word is expected to be said later today. Let us remind that the EU countries which are heavily dependent on Iranian crude (e.g., Greece, Italy) objected some parts of the proposal earlier this month, requiring longer “grace period” to be able to offset missing oil. Nonetheless, such an agreement, if fully approved, is expected to have an impact on the slope of forward curve rather than on prices of nearby contracts.
Although copper erased some previous gains on Friday, the metal posted solid gains in a second consecutive week and closed above 8000 USD per ton (USD/t) level. Regarding the CFTC CoT report, it showed that speculators changed their stance towards copper from bearish to bullish (see the chart). This week, the activity might be somehow muted as China celebrates Lunar New Year.