Thursday, 18 October, 2018

Oil at 4-year peak, Brent above $85/bbl ahead of Iran sanctions

King Salman King Salman
Orlando Vargas | 03 October, 2018, 16:41

Global crude oil is heading towards to $90 per barrel, the highest since 2014 as a result of looming sanctions against Iran by the US.

West Texas Intermediate for November delivery rose as much as 29 cents to $75.59 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, and traded at $75.52 at 11:30 a.m.in Tokyo.

Worldwide benchmark Brent crude oil futures were at $85.28 per barrel, up 30 cents (0.4%) from their last close. In post-settlement trade, the contract continued to strengthen, rising to US$85.45 a barrel, the first trade above US$85 since November 2014.

Brent has risen by more than 20% from its most recent lows in August, Reuters reported.

Crude prices have been mainly lifted by looming U.S. sanctions that target Iran's oil industry, which at its most recent highest level this year provided nearly 3 percent of the world's almost 100 million barrels of daily consumption.

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OPEC and traders fundamentally disagreed for nearly the entire run up in oil prices in 2007/8, with OPEC insisting the market was well-supplied while traders continued to bid up prices amid concerns about shortages.

"I think the NAFTA 2.0 deal helps prices - it takes away from some of the concerns that the trade war was going to impact growth", said Phil Flynn, an analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago. "The NAFTA deal would boost oil prices because it increases the growth prospects not only for Canada and the USA, but for North America as a whole", Phil Flynn, an analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago, told Reuters.

United States sanctions are due to begin on November 4, and analysts are seeing a potential shortage of spare production capacity in the short-term, which might prompt huge storage drawdowns.

"Iran has attempted to downplay the impact of looming USA sanctions by claiming that it has no intention of reducing oil production". Most of the bullish trend came in response to the fact that the United States is ready to put sanctions on Iran and soon the supplies will drop in the market. "However, such optimistic claims are falling on deaf ears", PVM Oil Associates strategist Stephen Brennock said. As concerns over a global crunch due to the loss of Iranian oil mount, President Donald Trump and King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia discussed efforts to maintain supplies. Also, several major buyers in India and China have revealed plans to cut purchases of Iranian oil.

However, China's Sinopec is halving loadings of crude oil from Iran this month, in a sign that pressure from Washington is having an effect. Five analysts estimated that crude stocks rose about 1.1 million barrels in the week ended September 28.

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