Sep 10, 2019

Oil prices fall after John Bolton resigns

John Bolton. Photo: Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump's removal of national security adviser John Bolton sent oil prices downward Tuesday after gains earlier in the day.

Why it matters: Removal of the hawkish Bolton raises the prospect of easing U.S.-Iran relations.

Where it stands: Brent crude futures were trading at $63.60 per barrel when the news hit and then tumbled by over $1, clawed back somewhat and then fell again, per Bloomberg data. Brent is currently trading in the mid-$62 range.

  • West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark, also dropped quickly by over $1 and is now in the mid-$57 range.

What they're saying: "This is a knee-jerk reaction given that Bolton has been so adversarial with Iran," Matt Smith of the firm ClipperData tells CNN.

But, but, but: It's unclear to what extent Bolton's exit may lead to any changes in the U.S. posture.

  • In a note Tuesday, ClearView Energy Partners points out that the Bolton era included U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, public criticism of Russia and sanctions against Venezuela.
  • However, "we would caution against the a priori conclusion that a post-Bolton administration might materially pivot from those positions," the company writes, because it's unclear who will replace him and other hawkish Trump officials remain in place.

The intrigue: Separately, oil demand growth estimates in the U.S. Energy Information Administration's latest outlook released today are also bearish for prices.

  • "EIA expects the rate of consumption growth for global liquid fuels to fall below 1 million barrels per day in 2019 for the first time since 2011," the EIA reports.
  • EIA sees consumption growing by 900,000 barrels per day, which is 100,000 less than its prior outlook.

Go deeper

Trump ousts John Bolton as national security adviser

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted Tuesday that he has asked national security adviser John Bolton to resign.

"I disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions, as did others in the Administration, and therefore I asked John for his resignation, which was given to me this morning. I thank John very much for his service."

What they're saying: Bolton tweeted that he offered Trump his resignation on Monday night, and that the president said they would discuss tomorrow. If Trump did not notify Bolton of his decision, it would mark yet another instance of a high-ranking administration official being fired via tweet.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Sep 10, 2019

Trump rips into John Bolton, denies he resigned

Bolton with his bag packed, on a trip to Nashville last May. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump addressed the reasons behind John Bolton's removal as national security adviser on Wednesday, telling reporters that Bolton "made some very big mistakes" and was "not getting along with people in the administration."

The backdrop: The tumultuous working relationship between Trump and his ultra-hawkish adviser ended suddenly on Tuesday. Trump tweeted that he'd fired Bolton, who then claimed to have resigned. Trump insisted that it was his decision to terminate Bolton, but said his former top aide "can do whatever he can do to spin it his way."

Go deeperArrowSep 11, 2019

Bolton resigned after Trump suggested relieving Iranian sanctions

John Bolton meets with Belarus' president on August 29. Photo: Yuri Oreshkin\TASS via Getty Images

Former national security adviser John Bolton resigned the day after a Monday discussion about Iran policy in which President Trump raised the possibility of relieving some sanctions, a person close to Bolton tells Axios.

What happened: Bolton did not favor giving the Iranians relief and believed the maximum pressure campaign was working, the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.

Go deeperArrowSep 14, 2019