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Global crude oil prices inch up on possible Iran sanction worries

05 May 2018

Crude futures strengthened on Friday morning in Europe on the back of the looming risk of a U.S. withdrawal from the Iranian sanctions deal and other geopolitical risks, while waiting for further signals of growing United States production later in the day.

Brent crude oil futures were at $73.56 per barrel at 0947 GMT, up 20 cents from their last close.

USA light crude was 51 cents higher at $68.94, and was on track to gain just over 1 percent on the week.

ANZ analysts Daniel Hynes and Soni Kumari wrote: "Rising geopolitical risks have been a big factor behind oil's strong rise this year".

Additionally, the latest Reuters survey of OPEC production showed it pumped around 32 million barrels per day (bpd) in April, slightly below its target of 32.5 million bpd, due largely to plunging output in Venezuela.

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Technical analysis from Reuters' Wang Tao showed the market may retest a price support level at $72.39 per barrel after peaking around a resistance at $75.45.

Trump has all but chose to withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear accord by May 12, sources said, though exactly how he will do so remains unclear.

The Iranian Foreign Minister said on Thursday that the USA demands for a change in the nuclear deal are unacceptable.

With the stock market falling, Rob Haworth, senior investment strategist for US Bank Wealth Management, said he would expect oil prices to be lower than they now are.

Investors are concerned that sanctions against Iran could cut oil supplies. "Investors are anxious about supplies after Iran took a tough stance in its response to the United States", Wang Xiao, Head of Crude Research with Guotai Junan Futures said, adding prices may fall if expectations for new sanctions ease.

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While European officials are looking to remain in the deal, President Trump has "all but decided" to exit the deal according to various reports in the media. But they have also started work on protecting European Union. But they have also started work on protecting EU-Iranian business ties if Mr Trump makes good on his threat to withdraw.

Iran resumed its role as a major oil exporter in January 2016 when global sanctions were lifted in return for curbs on Tehran's nuclear program.

Surging production in the Permian shale basin is outpacing pipeline capacity, while local refining issues have exacerbated oversupply in the region.

The United States now produces more crude oil than top exporter Saudi Arabia, and two weeks of USA inventory builds have limited the oil market's upside.

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Global crude oil prices inch up on possible Iran sanction worries