Global oil prices have reached their highest level since November 2018, aided by supply cuts, US sanctions against Iran and Venezuela, and conflict in Libya.
International benchmark Brent futures gained 28 cents to touch $70.62 per barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude traded 30 cents up at $63.39 a barrel, reported Reuters.
Member countries of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other key petroleum producers, known as OPEC+, have reduced output by 1.2 million barrels per day (Mbpd) in 2019. The supply cuts, along with on-going US sanctions on Iran and Venezuela, have driven the oil prices in 2019.
FXTM chief market strategist Hussein Sayed was quoted by Reuters as saying: “OPEC’s ongoing supply cuts and US sanctions on Iran and Venezuela have been the major driver of prices throughout 2019.
“However, the latest boost was received from an escalation of fighting in Libya, which is threatening further supply disruption.”
Although a number of factors are supporting oil prices concerns over rising crude production in the US, which may bring down the market, continue. Crude production in the US touched a record of 12.2 Mbpd in March 2019. Crude exports from the country have also increased, touching 3 Mbpd earlier in 2019.
Last week, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak stated that Russia may increase production later in 2019 if the OPEC+ supply cut deal is not extended. Concerns over economic slowdown also persist, which in turn may dent fuel consumption.