Oil prices inch down but supported by Iran concerns

Oil prices inch down but supported by Iran concerns

Oil prices inch down but supported by Iran concerns

Money managers decreased bullish ICE Brent crude oil bets by 7,396 net-long positions to 612,486, weekly ICE Futures Europe data on futures and options show.

The price of crude oil is ending the day higher by $0.47 or 0.69% at $68.57. The global benchmark crude traded at a $6.43 premium to June WTI.

The World Bank in its latest forecast said global prices of crude oil, gas, and coal will rise by 20 percent this year. Prices climbed as high as $75.47 last week, levels not seen since November, 2014.

The oil bulls believe that OPEC countries will drive oil prices even higher in order to meet their increasing revenue needs. "I expect the market to have a good finish for the week given the uncertainty around the Iran deal", Baruch said. This month, WTI has gained around 4.5 percent.

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Geopolitical tension in the Middle East and an economic crisis in OPEC member Venezuela could also keep prices elevated for the rest of 2018, analysts said.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $67.98 a barrel, down 12 cents, or about 0.2 percent, from their last settlement. The contract fell 0.4% last week.

Iraq awarded contracts for just over half of the energy deposits offered in an auction that failed to attract bids from most of the big oil companies that initially expressed interest.

The nervousness around a potential breakdown in the deal is also spilling over into the physical oil market. Based on recent developments, all signs point to the likelihood of Trump walking away from the Iran deal on May 12.

"French President Macron appears to have little hope that he would be able to persuade U.S. President Trump to remain in the nuclear agreement ..."

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According to General Electric's Baker Hughes energy services firm, USA drillers added five oil rigs in the week to April 27, bringing the total count to 825, the highest level since March 2015. The rig fleet has expanded throughout the entire month of April, adding a total 28.

Crude production in the United States C-OUT-T-EIA has soared more than 25 percent since mid-2016 to a record 10.59 million barrels per day (bpd).

According to the its April commodity markets outlook, oil prices will average $65 a barrel through 2018, 22% higher than the average price of $53 in 2017, due to the combined effect of production cut by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, and its allies led Russian Federation, and an increase in demand for the products.

US crude production C-OUT-T-EIA has soared more than 25 percent since mid-2016 to a record 10.59 million barrels per day (bpd).

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