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Oil hits $80, highest since Nov 2014, on Iran concerns

May 17
10:28 2018

Oil prices hit $80 a barrel on Thursday for the first time since November 2014 on concerns that Iranian exports could fall because of renewed U.S. sanctions, reducing supply in an already tightening market.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 reached an intraday high of $80.18 a barrel before receding to $79.67 at 1326 GMT.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 41 cents at $71.90 after also hitting their highest since November 2014, at $72.30 a barrel.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision this month to withdraw from an international nuclear deal with Iran and revive sanctions that could limit crude exports from OPEC’s third-largest producer has boosted oil prices.

France’s Total (TOTF.PA) on Wednesday warned that it might abandon a multibillion-dollar gas project in Iran if it could not secure a waiver from U.S. sanctions, casting further doubt on European-led efforts to salvage the nuclear deal.

VENEZUELA DROP

A rapid decline in Venezuela’s crude production has further roiled markets in recent months.

“The geopolitical noise and escalation fears are here to stay,” said Norbert Rücker, head of macro and commodity research at Swiss bank Julius Baer. “Supply concerns are top of mind after the United States left the Iran nuclear deal.”

Global inventories of crude oil and refined products dropped sharply in recent months owing to robust demand and OPEC-led production cuts.

Continue Reading at Reuters

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