SINGAPORE (Reuters) – International oil prices hit their highest levels since late 2014 on Tuesday, driven by expectations of new US sanctions on Iran and continued reluctance by OPEC to meet strong demand.
Brent Crude Oil Futures, the international benchmark index for oil prices, climbed up to $ 75.20 on Tuesday, levels not seen since November 201
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures were $ 68.84 a barrel, up 20 cents, or 0.3 percent, from the last settlement.
Markets were boosted by supply cuts to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which were launched in 2017 for market support, and the potential for renewed US sanctions on Tehran.
The United States must decide by 12 May whether to end the Iranian nuclear treaty and instead renew the sanctions against the OPEC member, which would further exacerbate global supplies.
"Crude oil prices are now at their highest levels in three years, reflecting continued concerns over geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, which account for nearly half of global oil supply," ANZ Bank said Tuesday.
OPEC's efforts to streamline its markets are led by top exporter Saudi Arabia, where state-controlled oil company Saudi Aramco is demanding higher prices ahead of a partial quotation planned for this or in 2019.
"Oil Starch That comes from Saudi Arabia's recent commitment to raise oil back to $ 70 to $ 80 a barrel and inventories back to normal," said William O Loughlin, an investment analyst Australian company Rivkin Securities.
OPEC supply management and the threat of new sanctions come just as demand in Asia, the world's largest oil-consuming region, reaches new record levels as new and expanded refineries start shipping from China to Vietnam.
Reporting by Henning Gloystein; Editing by Joseph Radford