Oil up over 2% on concerns over Iran, slower United States output growth

Oil prices climb as Iran sanctions loom

Brent crude futures have made a firm breach of the descending trendline which has curbed price action previous.

Oil prices could soon rise above $80 a barrel as American sanctions on Iran move closer, Venezuelan production falls and Libyan supplies face disruption, the International Energy Agency has warned.

Oil traders were also watching the progress of category 4 Hurricane Florence, which is expected to make landfall in the USA by Friday. This comes amid the Iranian oil sanctions which are set to be imposed on November 4th, while the USA have also demanded nations to drop Iranian imports to zero.

"Oil cut earlier losses and rose towards its highest level this year on Wednesday, after a drop in USA crude inventories and as the prospect of the loss of Iranian supply added to concerns over the delicate balance between consumption and production".

Two supertankers left Iran's oil terminal Kharg Island en route to China late on Wednesday-the first Iranian oil shipment to its single biggest oil customer in 18 days, which was the longest gap between crude-laden tankers departing for China in three years, according to tanker-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg.

Brent crude futures were last down 23 cents on the day at $78.83 a barrel by 3pm, having touched a session peak of $79.66, the highest since late May, when the price broke above $80.

"Markets. are expecting substantial price pressure as Iran sanctions loom", said Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia-Pacific at futures brokerage OANDA in Singapore.

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"Things are tightening up", the agency said in its monthly report, but added: "As we move into 2019, a possible risk to our forecast lies in some key emerging economies, partly due to currency depreciations versus the U.S. dollar raising the cost of imported energy".

Demand for crude from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will moderate in 2019 to 31.9 million bpd, from an estimated 32.3 million bpd this year, the IEA said.

"Second-largest producer Iraq boosted its output 90,000 bpd to 4.65 million bpd".

With Middle East crude markets also tightening, many Asian refiners are seeking alternative supplies, with South Korean and Japanese imports of US crude hitting a record in September.

"World demand will average 98.82 million bpd in 2018, a demand growth of 1.62 million bpd", said S&P.

The US crude production is expected to rise 840,000 bpd to 11.5 million bpd next year, lower than a previous expectation for a rise of 1.02 million bpd to 11.7 million bpd, the US Energy Information Administration said in a monthly report.

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