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Aside from security concerns, growing US crude supplies are capping price gains.

The political situation in Venezuela, partially arising from and contributing to the economic crisis gripping the country, has meant the South American country has been unable to invest in its petrochemicals industry, and its output has fallen to about 1.5 million barrels a day, half its peak in the 2000s. Top crude oil exporter Saudi Arabia's, for its part, exported 9.3 million bpd in January, while Russian Federation exported 7.4 million bpd, the bank added. Since sanctions were eased as of January 2016, Iran's crude production has nearly doubled and its exports soared last month to record levels. The U.S. has to ratify it once every six months, and the next deadline for that is May 12. "While there could be profit-taking given current oil prices, it will be limited as concerns over Iran are rising". Open interest and traded volumes for Shanghai crude also hit a fresh record on Monday.

Prices have also gotten a lift from strong global demand and supply cuts by OPEC and Russian Federation.

Expressing doubts over Iran's sincerity, Trump has threatened to walk away from the 2015 agreement by not extending sanctions waivers when they expire on May 12, which would likely result in a reduction of Iran's oil exports.

Aside from security concerns, growing US crude supplies are capping price gains.

The U.S. dollar was also trading strongly on Monday, holding close to four-month highs after strong U.S.jobs data gave a positive outlook about the country's economy.




Brent crude futures were up 73 cents per barrel to $75.60 per barrel and U.S. WTI futures were up 64 cents per barrel to $70.36 as of 2:06 p.m. HK/SIN. As the spread between the two benchmarks widens, WTI trades at a significant cost advantage against Brent as well as other crude benchmarks.

US crude is also competing for market share in China against traditional exporters Saudi Arabia, Russia and Iran.

Trump has said that unless European allies rectify the "terrible flaws" in the global accord by May 12, he will refuse to extend US sanctions relief for the oil-producing Islamic Republic.

The European oil and gas share index was up 0.4 percent.

The most significant impact of sanctions would be on Iran's plans to increase oil-production capacity, so the long-term impact on the market could be higher than in the short term, says Alhajji. Saudi Arabia remained the second largest supplier to China in Q1 this year, although its exports were down 5.7 percent from a year ago.


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