Oil Prices Gaining Traction Amid US Sanctions On Iran, Venezuela 

Yemisi Izuora 

Oil prices stabilised on Wednesday as markets remained relatively tight amid US sanctions on crude exporters Iran and Venezuela.

The US West Texas Intermediate, WTI, crude futures were at $61.56 per barrel at on Wednesday, 17 cents, or 0.3 per cent, above their last settlement, while the Brent crude oil futures were at $69.94 per barrel, 6 cents, or 0.1 per cent, above their last close.

With US sanctions on Iran and Venezuela in place, analysts said global oil markets remained tight.

“The tight and price-supportive fundamental outlook has not gone away,” said Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Denmark’s Saxo Bank.

The United States re-imposed sanctions on Iran in November last year, demanding all countries stop importing oil from the country.

Iran has said it will defy the sanctions and continue to export oil.

Most analysts expect its crude export to fall to little more than 500,000 barrels per day, down from around 1 million bpd in April, as governments largely bow to American pressure.

Washington has also slapped sanctions on Venezuelan oil exports, further disrupting crude supply.

Wednesday’s firmer prices partly reversed bigger price falls earlier in the week, which were triggered by announcements from Washington that the United States would this Friday further hike import tariffs on Chinese goods.

“Intensifying trade tensions are raising question on oil demand prospects,” ANZ bank said on Wednesday.

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