Oil Prices Steady Amid US Sanctions Against Iran

Oil Prices Steady Amid US Sanctions Against Iran

Oil Prices Steady Amid US Sanctions Against Iran

Crude oil prices have increased more than 10% over the past month after President Donald Trump signaled it is likely the USA will withdraw from a 2015 worldwide agreement with Iran that eased sanctions in return for curbs to the country's nuclear program, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Worldwide benchmark Brent crude futures for the July delivery rose by 0.8 percent to $78.93 per barrel, marking a new high after hitting a 3-1/2 year high of $78.53 during the previous session.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $70.88 a barrel, down 8 cents, though still not far off their November 2014 high of $71.89 a barrel reached last week.

"Geopolitical concerns, tightening product inventories and robust demand provided support for prices", OPEC said in the filing.

"President Donald Trump's decision this week to restore punitive sanctions on Iran, OPEC's third biggest producer, has dominated discussion of oil markets and energy stocks", reports CNBC.

The surge in oil prices comes at a time of tight supply amid record Asian demand and voluntary output restraint by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC producers, including Russian Federation.

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At 1100 GMT, ICE July Brent crude futures were trading at $79.14/b, up 91 cents from Monday's settle, while NYMEX June WTI crude futures were 65 cents higher at $71.61/b.

"For 2018, oil demand growth is forecast to increase by around 1.65 million barrels a day to average 98.85 million barrels a day", the report said, revising upward from its forecasting last month.

A almost 200% jump in oil prices over the past two-plus years could soon create a "particularly hostile environment" for global investors, Citibank economists warned Monday.

The tightening market has all but eliminated a global supply overhang which depressed crude prices between late 2014 and early 2017.

OPEC data presented on Monday showed that crude stockpiles from members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) was down to 9 million barrels above the 5-year average and lower than the 340 million barrels above the average in January 2017.

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