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

Reuters  |  LONDON 

By Ron Bousso

LONDON (Reuters) - 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 reached an intraday high of $80.18 a barrel before receding to $79.67 at 1326 GMT.

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

France's Total on Wednesday warned that it might abandon a in if it could not secure a waiver from U.S. sanctions, casting further doubt on European-led efforts to salvage the nuclear deal.

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, and commodity research at Swiss Julius Baer. "Supply concerns are top of mind after the left the nuclear deal."

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

were expected to drop further as the peak summer driving season nears, offsetting increases in U.S. shale output, analysts said.

Several banks have in recent days raised their oil price forecasts, citing tighter supplies and strong demand.

Further supporting prices, on Thursday said it was halting crude exports from a major Nigerian pipeline.

EVERYTHING BULLISH?

On the flip-side, however, could hit consumption, the International Energy Agency warned on Wednesday as it lowered its global growth forecast for 2018 to 1.4 million barrels per day (bpd) from 1.5 million bpd.

The IEA said global would average 99.2 million bpd in 2018, although U.S. said consumption would cross 100 million bpd "this summer".

Leading production increases is the United States, where crude output has soared by 27 percent in the last two years to a record 10.72 million bpd, putting it within reach of top Russia's 11 million bpd.

(Additional reporting by in Singapore; Editing by and David Goodman)

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, May 17 2018. 19:21 IST
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