From Irina Slav:
Iran has introduced a discount on the June contract for its heavy crude going to Asia, just a few days after Saudi Arabia announced a price increase for its own June contract for the continent. With the discount, Iranian oil will be noticeably cheaper for Asian clients than both Saudi and Iraqi crude.
The motivation behind Iran’s move is easy to see. The country is starving for oil revenues. It has a lot of work to do on its oil production and transport infrastructure to boost production, and it has just begun to recover from years of harsh sanctions.
Asia is a priority destination for its crude, so Iran has been lowering prices in parallel with pumping more oil. In March, for example, its exports to Asia marked a 50 percent increase on the year. Even factoring in the sanctions that were in effect last March, a 50 percent increase is a substantial achievement.
Competition between Iran and the Saudis for Asian orders is likely to increase downward pressure on crude prices.
Light crude shows no signs of easing, with June futures at $47/barrel. Expect resistance between $48 and $52/barrel. Penetration of the rising trendline would warn of a correction to test primary support at $32 but earlier penetration of the long-term descending trendline suggests that a bottom is forming and primary support is likely to hold.