Oil prices firm on OPEC cuts, strong demand and looming Iran sanctions

Oil prices firm on OPEC cuts, strong demand and looming Iran sanctions

Oil prices firm on OPEC cuts, strong demand and looming Iran sanctions

Brent for July settlement rose as much as 90 cents to $80.18 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, the highest since November 2014, and was at $79.90 as of 1:39 p.m. local time.

"The impact of crude prices on WPI will be much higher because the commodities that are there in it are linked to the global crude prices".

John Kilduff, founding partner at energy hedge fund Again Capital, blamed oil's failure to hold earlier gains to traders taking profits off the table and "crisis fatigue".

Lingering geopolitical fears following US President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal threatens to post a potential supply loss of 1 million barrels of crude oil.

"There was no new catalyst today, no new rhetoric from key players".

In a televised speech, Trump announced the exit, adding he would not sign the waiver of nuke-related sanctions against Iran.

Russian companies also traded with Iran when USA sanctions were in place before the deal.

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A debate has broken out in the market over the effectiveness of the sanctions, largely because China and US allies in Europe still support the nuclear deal.

Beyond OPEC's cuts, strong demand as well as falling output from Venezuela and a USA announcement earlier this month to renew sanctions against OPEC-member Iran helped push Brent up by 20 percent since the start of the year.

France's Total warned on Wednesday that it might abandon a multibillion-dollar gas project in Iran if it could not secure a waiver from US sanctions, casting further doubt on European-led efforts to salvage the nuclear deal. The EIA reported that USA crude oil imports averaged 7.6 million barrels per day last week, up by 278 thousand barrels per day from the previous week.

"Goldman sees Brent rising to as high as $82.50 a barrel, with the current rally has room to run, particularly from a returns perspective, as the current fundamental backdrop for oil is now more bullish than expected as strong demand now faces supply disappointments", BI quoted Goldman Sach's as saying.

That has been exacerbated by legal rulings against Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA, including in favour of ConocoPhillips, which last week enforced a US$2 billion award at four PDVSA facilities in the Caribbean.

"The screws are really tightening on Venezuela", Dan Yergin, vice chairman of IHS Markit, told CNBC Wednesday.

Beyond OPEC's cuts, strong demand, falling output from Venezuela and a US announcement this month that it would renew sanctions against OPEC member Iran have helped push up Brent by 20 percent since the start of the year. Gasoline inventories decreased by 3.8 million barrels last week while distillate fuel inventories decreased by 0.1 million barrels last week. An EIA report Thursday revealed a weekly rise in US supplies of the commodity that was generally in line with market expectations.

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