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Brent crude hits new 3½-year high as sanctions' impact unclear

Brent crude hits new 3½-year high as sanctions' impact unclear”

Brent and WTI last week reached their highest since November 2014 at $78 and $71.89 per barrel respectively.

Both oil futures contracts hit their highest since November 2014 last week at 78 dollars and 71.89 dollars a barrel respectively, as markets anticipated a sharp fall in Iranian crude supply once U.S. sanctions bite later this year.

The supply is greater in the USA were production has now seen a large increase in production bringing the total of barrels produced per day to 10.7m.

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Tuesday reported a large build of 4.85 million barrels to the USA crude oil inventories for the week ending May 11. "Brent is pricing in the idea that all the risk to supplies is overseas - there's a concern that all the supplies that are tight in Europe are only going to get tighter".

Despite Wednesday's dips and some indicators implying the financial oil has overshot physical oil, overall crude market conditions have tightened since 2017 when the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) started to withhold supplies to push up oil prices.

The United States last week withdrew from an worldwide nuclear accord with Iran and announced renewed sanctions against the country. The cartel also said its output rose slightly last month, mainly via Saudi Arabia, but raised its demand forecast for next year by 25,000 barrels per day to average 98.85 million barrels per day.

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Since the accord was reached at the end of 2016, oil prices have climbed to their highest in almost four years to exceed $77 a barrel, up from $30 in early 2016.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced the dissolution of the nuclear deal with Iran and promised to impose tough sanctions against Tehran. As the dollar strengthens, investors can retreat from dollar-denominated commodities like oil.

OPEC figures published on Monday showed that oil inventories in OECD industrialised nations in March fell to 9 million barrels above the five-year average, down from 340 million barrels above the average in January 2017.

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"Germany has said it will protect its companies from USA sanctions, Iran has said French oil giant Total has yet to pull out of its fields and all the while it seems the Chinese are ready to fill the void created by the U.S". Yesterday, the Energy Information Administration said it expected shale oil production to hit 7.178 million barrels daily next month thanks to a record-high monthly increase of 144,000 bpd.



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