The United States is poised to grant waivers to India and South Korea that will allow the countries to continue buying oil from Iran, despite the renewal of U.S. sanctions next week, according to news reports.
The Trump administration gave oil buyers 180 days to wind down purchases of Iranian crude in May, when President Donald Trump announced he was abandoning a nuclear accord with Iran and restoring sanctions on its economy. The administration told importers to completely cut off purchases by Nov. 4, but it is widely expected to allow some countries to continue reducing purchases beyond that date.
On Thursday, The Economic Times reported that the administration will allow India to purchase 1.25 million tons of Iranian oil each month through March. A source told the English-language Indian newspaper that India and Washington have "broadly agreed on a waiver" and that "India will cut import by a third."
India, the second-largest purchaser of Iranian oil, imported about 22 million tons from Iran in the 2017-2018 period, according to the paper.
High crude prices and a deteriorating Indian rupee have caused oil price inflation in the country and sparked protests over fuel costs. While Brent crude is trading at about $75, India is essentially paying double that after inflation, Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, told CNBC this week.