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Oil holds gains as Mideast clashes raise risks after Saudi cuts

Oil holds gains as Mideast clashes raise risks after Saudi cuts”

Investors also drew attention to statements by Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih about their readiness to ensure the stability of the oil market after the USA decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal with Iran.

The surge in oil prices comes at a time of tight supply amid record Asian demand and voluntary output restraint totaling 1.8 MMBPD by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC producers, including Russian Federation.

Oil prices fell on Wednesday, weighed down by ample supplies despite ongoing output cuts by producer cartel OPEC and looming US sanctions against major crude exporter Iran.

Despite these downward forces, the market retains support from OPEC and other producers' production cuts and USA sanctions on Iran. American measures could cut the Persian Gulf nation's crude exports, and traders are watching whether OPEC and its allies will end their agreement to curb supply and increase production instead to fill in the gap.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih had signaled last month that the kingdom is prepared to keep supply restrained, even though inventories are back to normal.

Despite the dips, both financial oil benchmarks remained close to their November 2014 highs of $79.47 and $71.92 a barrel respectively, reached the previous day. Prices rose 26 cents to close at $70.96 on Monday.

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Brent for July settlement rose 44c to $78.67 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, after Monday's $1.11 gain. Total volume traded was about 37% below the 100-day average.

OPEC, for its part, estimated that the excess oil inventories in the OECD had shrunk to just 9 million barrels.

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec), has not restricted the number of barrels available but has not made up for the loss of barrels from Iran.

OPEC on Monday reported it's cutting production by more than is required.

Fifty-five Palestinians were killed in confrontations with Israeli troops Monday after tens of thousands converged on the Gaza Strip border to protest the United States embassy. With more than 1 200 people wounded by live fire, it was the deadliest day in Gaza since Hamas's last war with Israel in 2014.



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