Washington: U.S. oil rose above $70 a barrel for the first time since November 2014 as traders braced for a re-imposition of U.S. sanctions on the Middle East crude producer Iran.
Futures in New York and London jumped as much as 1.4 percent. While President Donald Trump has threatened he’ll pull out of a deal between Iran and world powers as a May 12 deadline nears, he’s signaled he’ll be open to negotiation. The 2015 accord eased sanctions on OPEC’s third-largest member in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program, and renewed American measures may stifle the Middle East nation’s crude exports.
Iran has come out against higher prices, after a rally of over 12 percent this year on output cuts by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies as well as rising geopolitical risks in the Middle East. Crude at $60 to $65 a barrel is “suitable,” an official from the OPEC producer said on Sunday, signaling a split with fellow group member Saudi Arabia that’s said to be aiming for $80 oil. The cartel will meet next month in Vienna.
While refusing to reveal what he’ll do by May 12, Trump repeated his belief the existing accord is “a horrible agreement for the United States.” But, he added, “That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t negotiate a new agreement.” Meanwhile, America’s European allies continue to back the deal, saying it has been essential to reining in Iran’s nuclear program.