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Oil up amid reports of more Iran sanctions

LONDON, April 2, 2019 – Oil prices gained on Tuesday in Asia following reports that the U.S. is considering imposing more sanctions on Iran.

US Crude Oil WTI Futures was up 0.3% to $61.80 by 12:15 AM ET (04:15 GMT).

The US crude rose 33% for the Jan 1 to March 31 period. The last time it gained more for a quarter was during Q2 2009, when it rose about 40%.

The international Brent Oil Futures also traded 0.3% higher to $69.19. It rose 26% for the first quarter, its best gain in 10 years.

 

Citing an unnamed senior Trump administration official, Reuters reported that Washington is considering more sanctions against Iran “that would target areas of its economy that have not been hit before.”

The report also suggested that unlike last time when the US imposed sanctions on Iran, the Whitehouse may not grant waivers to a group of eight importers when the current waivers expire next month.

In other news, better-than-expected data from China and the US, the world’s two largest oil-consuming nations, were cited as supporting oil prices.

Surveys released on Monday showed that manufacturing activity in China expanded more than expected in March. The Caixin manufacturing purchasing managers’ index rose to 50.8 from 49.9, above the 50-mark that separates expansion from contraction and its strongest level since last August.

Meanwhile, data on Friday also showed a sixth-straight weekly fall in the US oil rig count to a near-one-year low, suggesting lower production ahead.

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