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Oil surges amid OPEC caution to offset Iran sanctions

Tuesday 23/April/2019 - 06:21 PM
Sada El Balad

(Reuters) - Oil prices hit their highest in about six months on Tuesday as sources said Gulf OPEC members were ready to raise output only if there was demand before offsetting any shortfall following a U.S. decision to end waivers for buyers of Iranian crude.

Output in Saudi Arabia، the world’s top oil exporter and de facto leader of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries، will rise in May، but that it is not related to Iran sanctions، the sources said.

The sources said Saudi production in May will also still within its production target under a OPEC+ supply-cutting deal، which has led global supply cuts since the start of the year aimed at propping up crude prices. The group is set to meet in June to discuss output policy.

The United States on Monday demanded that buyers of Iranian oil stop purchases by May 1 or face sanctions، ending six months of waivers which allowed Iran’s eight biggest buyers، most of them in Asia، to continue importing limited volumes.

U.S. President Donald Trump said he was confident that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates will fulfill their pledges to make up the difference in oil markets، a U.S. official told reporters Monday.

“The Saudis aren’t rushing to fill what could be a substantial supply gap in the market،” said John Kilduff، a partner at Again Capital Management LLC. “The market has gotten tight globally over the course of the last several months، primarily because of the efforts of Saudi Arabia.”

U.S. crude futures rose 89 cents a barrel، or 1.3 percent، to $66.44 by 11:52 a.m. EDT (1552 GMT). The level was the highest since Oct. 31. Brent crude rose 48 cents a barrel to $74.53. Brent earlier touched $74.70، a level not seen since Nov. 1.

Edited by: Mohamed Emad

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