Oil Posts Biggest Weekly Drop Since February as U.S. Approves Iran Waivers

© Reuters.  Oil drops almost 7% on week as U.S. approves waivers for Iran sanctions.
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The Trump Administration seems to be achieving its tri-fold agenda of punishing Iran while balancing the world’s energy needs and keeping oil prices low, as crude markets posted on Friday their largest weekly loss since February.

Eight countries, including Japan, India, South Korea and China, will be given waivers to continue importing oil from Tehran once export sanctions against the Islamic Republic start this weekend. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo confirmed that it will be eight nations, but added that details will be announced on Monday.

Crude oil markets fell further on the news, adding to Thursday’s 3% drop and losses since Monday that culminated in their worst week since February.

U.S. WTI settled down 55 cents lower at $63.14 per barrel. For the week, it lost 6.6%.

U.K.Brent crude, the international benchmark for oil, was down 11 cents at $72.78 by 2:42 PM ET (18:42 GMT). Like WTI, it was also off 6.6% on the week.

Data showing the first weekly drop in four for the U.S. oil rig count didn’t help, with just one rig reported off for this week.

Just a month ago, Brent hit four-year highs above $86 and WTI scaled 2014 peaks of nearly $77. But all that changed in October, with U.S. crude losing 11% and the U.K. benchmark 9%, their most since July 2016.

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