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The world is now watching the growing tensions in the Middle East, and oil market analysts are guesstimating just how much Iranian oil supply the renewed US sanctions could stifle.

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

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $70.88 a barrel, down 8 cents, though still not far off their November 2014 high of $71.89 a barrel reached last week. American measures could cut the Persian Gulf nation's crude exports, and traders are watching whether OPEC and its allies will end their agreement to curb supply and increase production instead to fill in the gap. The renewal of sanctions is due to take between 90 and 180 days, with the most important limitation reportedly having to do with Iran engaging in financial operations with the USA dollar, as well as Iran's oil sales and other energy-related investments, including those through the Central Bank of Iran. Looking at trading volumes, the recent move up has been accompanied by lower volumes.

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Crude oil prices are now stable - both Brent and WTI are only slightly lower.

Futures for September delivery on the Shanghai International Energy Exchange fell 1.2 percent to 465.5 yuan a barrel. The previous round of sanctions cut Iran's output in half.

France's oil major "TOTAL" has not yet announced its withdrawal from Iran's oilfields as the company has promised to develop a number of phases of this field. The two parties didn't disclose whether the world's biggest crude importer will scale back purchases in light of the renewed sanctions.

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Francisco Blanch, commodity and derivative strategist at the bank said in a report published "There is also a risk of United States dollars 100/bbl, as our forward balances embed OPEC "tapering" and no major drop in Iranian crude exports".

Oil price is now trending towards $80 per barrel following bullish trading that heightened yesterday in the worldwide market which saw the price leap to $78 yesterday, up from $67 April average.

The Cboe/Nymex Oil Volatility Index dropped 3.3 per cent on Friday to the lowest level since April 6.

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As a result of the new USA sanctions, companies worldwide must stop doing business with Iran or risk US fines or other punishment. Other likely beneficiaries include Russian Federation and Venezuela , as well as other oil-producing nations in the Middle East .

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.


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