'Pretty striking': Oil price plunges to six-week low

US pressures SWIFT to cut off Iran from global banking transactions to enforce sanctions

Oil prices plunged about 5 per cent on Tuesday to two-month lows as a selloff in US equity markets raised worries about demand growth and after Saudi Arabia said it could supply more crude quickly if needed, easing concerns ahead of USA sanctions on Iran.

Economist Intelligence Unit energy analyst Peter Kiernan said it would be self-defeating for Saudi Arabia to cut oil supply, as it would risk losing market share to other exporters while losing its reputation as a stable player in the market.

"If 3 million barrels per day disappears, we can not cover this volume".

"Iran oil sanctions and Jamal Khashoggi's saga are clear examples of the indisputable role geopolitics play in oil, and this is expected to impact oil price and volatility at a time when markets are just about balanced", JP Morgan said in a note to clients.

Saudi Arabia said last week it would retaliate against any punishment for the killing.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Sunday dismissed concerns that oil prices could rise, saying the market had already factored in the loss of Iranian oil.

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"It will become an open-ended agreement to continue to monitor and work together to stabilize the markets".

Iran's minister of petroleum says Saudi Arabia has submitted to USA pressure, violating an OPEC agreement reached in June not to raise its production. Riyadh has refrained from using oil as a direct weapon since then. "I cannot give you a guarantee, because I cannot predict what will happen to other suppliers, " al-Falih said, when asked if the market could avoid crude trading at triple-digits again. "That policy has been consistent for many years", Falih said. He added that Riyadh had capacity to increase output to 12 million bpd and Gulf OPEC ally, the United Arab Emirates, could add a further 200,000 bpd.

The United States warned Russian Federation on Sunday about assisting any potential Iranian attempts to evade an upcoming round of U.S. sanctions against the Islamic Republic, scheduled to take effect on November 4, months after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew America from the 2015 nuclear deal.

In other news, US drillers added four oil rigs in the week to October 19, bringing the total count to 873, Baker Hughes energy services firm said on Friday, raising the rig count to the highest level since March 2015.

The reassurances seem to have worked, with oil markets more focused on American crude stockpiles than the potential fraying of the U.S. -Saudi relationship.

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