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Oil Prices Steady Amid US Sanctions Against Iran

15 May 2018
Oil Prices Steady Amid US Sanctions Against Iran

Oil prices were stable on Tuesday as ongoing production cuts by OPEC and looming USA sanctions against Iran threatened to tighten the market amid signs of ongoing strong demand. Brent, the global benchmark, rose $1.11, or 1.44%, to $78.23 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.

In China, the world's biggest oil importer, refinery runs rose almost 12 percent in April compared with the same month a year ago, to around 12.06 million barrels per day, marking the second-highest level on record on a daily basis, data showed on Tuesday.

"Iran jitters helped push oil prices higher but a broader stabilization of crude futures near 3½-year highs can be tied to several big, prevailing trends", according to CNBC.

This followed stepped up tension in the Middle East after the opening of the United States of America's Embassy in Jerusalem, Israel.

The latest OPEC data also suggested that the global oil glut had been significantly cut, with oil inventories in developed nations falling to 9 million barrels above the five-year average at the end of April.

OPEC will discuss whether the production caps should be adjusted at a meeting next month.

Those data added to a healthy picture of global oil production as producers pounce on higher prices.

Otunuga told Arab News that the price of oil has further room to rise this week.

Oil service giant Baker Hughes reported on Friday the number of rigs operating in American oil fields rose by 10 to a total of 844.

At the current price, Nigeria generates $33.0 per barrel as excess revenue, amounting to $75.9 million per day.At the current oil price, the excess crude oil account is expected to reach $76 million per day, about 16.2 per cent, up from $65.4 million recorded in April, 2018.

Discussing global economic growth, however, OPEC pointed out that "the build-up of potentially disruptive concerns has increased", citing the latest U.S. sanctions on Russian Federation, tariffs on Chinese products in combination with considerable requests by the trade negotiations with China, U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum, prolonged North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations, and the U.S. withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran.

"The issue of sanctions on Iran is likely to preclude any more pronounced price slide", Commerzbank analysts said in a note.

Last week, Trump vowed to quit the landmark 2015 accord and promised to re-impose sanctions on Iran. With an Iranian diplomatic delegation due to Beijing, Moscow and Brussels this week, investors would be closely watching for any further geopolitical headlines, Mr. Hansen added.