Iran: the specter of an oil crash recedes

The renewed tensions between the United States and Iran have so far not led to a surge in oil prices, which have lost 5% since Washington’s assassination of Iranian General Ghassem Souleimani on Friday, January 3.


The dreaded oil crash did not happen. While several experts were worried about a potential surge in crude oil prices after the assassination of Iranian General Ghassem Soleimani on Friday, January 3 by the United States, followed overnight from Tuesday to Wednesday by a response from Tehran with missile fire against US troops in Iraq, the price of a barrel of oil remained fairly stable. If Iranian retaliation, in particular, made Brent and WTI jump 4.5% on Wednesday, the former reaching $ 71.75 (record since mid-September), the latter rising to $ 65.65 (record since late April), they have since declined significantly.

This Friday, January 10, a barrel of Brent from the North Sea for delivery in March was worth 65.20 dollars in London, down 0.26% compared to the close of the day before. In New York, WTI’s US barrel for February lost 0.35% to $ 59.35. Since the close last Friday, the prices of the two benchmark barrels have fallen by around 5%, after five consecutive weeks of increases. In the end, these tensions between the United States and Iran “seem to have dissipated as quickly as they have ignited”, comments Craig Erlam, analyst at Oanda.

The threat of the blockade of the Strait of Hormuz

All the more so as the fear of a blockage of the Strait of Hormuz by Tehran, which would then cause major upheavals on the oil market, now leaves most observers perplexed. “For several reasons Iran can not bring itself to this, judge Clément Therme, researcher at CERI-Sciences Po, who edited the book”Iran and its rivals ” to be published in February 2020 (Composed past). On the one hand, the United States would consider such a gesture to be an act of war. On the other hand, the strait is very important for several Asian countries, starting with China, which buys Iranian oil and is one of the concerned states.