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Indian companies DEFY President Trump by purchasing Iranian Oil despite USA sanctions

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Brent crude prices are now hovering around US$86 a barrel and global traders are betting that they will go past US$100.

US crude was down by 1 cent at $74.28 a barrel, having fallen as low as $73.07 in the previous session to close the day just 5 cents lower.

China has pledged to ignore U.S. sanctions and keep buying Iranian oil.

Oil prices held little changed on Tuesday, as more evidence emerged that crude exports from Iran are declining in the run-up to the reimposition of USA sanctions, while a hurricane moved across the Gulf of Mexico.

Some energy market analysts expect around 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) to disappear once US sanctions against Iran come into force, while others have warned as much as 2 million bpd could come offline over the coming months.

Additional US sanctions, on Iran's oil and banking industries, will be imposed in November. Worldwide crude oil prices had reached a record high of $147 per barrel in July 2009.

"Despite the mischief of the Americans, Iran's oil exports have surpassed state budget outlay projections", Vice President Es'haq Jahangiri said last week. There are concerns a shortfall in Iran's oil production could prompt global oil supply to fall and prices to rise. However, this time it is likely to skirt Washington's embargo on dollar payments by using rupees, while payments will probably be routed through Indian banks to avoid any U.S. financial intervention.

Pradhan said that while speaking to Saudi Arabia's energy minister Khalid A. Al-Falih two days ago he had reminded him of Opec's June decision and added that perhaps the increase in oil productions had not taken place.

The world's third-largest oil importer, India relies upon Iran for 9.4% of its crude supplies: in 2017-18 the country brought in 220.4 million metric tonnes of oil from a number of sources.

The U.S.'s sanctions on Iranian oil come into effect on November 4, but at least one country says it won't be playing ball.

The current stance differs drastically from the administration's position just four months ago, when Trump was pressuring his administration to fully enforce USA sanctions on Iran.

The Saudi's also said that it plans to lift crude output next month to 10.7 million bpd, a record. For 2018/19, the real economic growth was expected to moderate, but still, the International Monetary Fund expected Iran's economy to grow by 4 percent in 2018/19, forecasting stable oil production in line with the OPEC cap on Iran's production.

In the United States, almost 40 percent of daily crude oil production was lost from offshore U.S. Gulf of Mexico wells on Tuesday because of platform evacuations and shut-ins ahead of Hurricane Michael.

If forecasts prove accurate, the hurricane would largely miss major oil-producing assets in the Gulf, analysts said, but a change of track could widen the impact.

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