NEW YORK (Reuters) by Jessica Resnick-Ault – Global benchmark Brent crude stabilized near 3-1/2-year highs on Friday as the prospect of new U.S. sanctions on Iran tightened the outlook for Middle East supply at a time when global crude production is only just keeping pace with rising demand. U.S. crude slipped slightly as domestic production continues to surge. The United States plans to reintroduce sanctions against Iran, which pumps about 4 percent of the world’s oil, after abandoning a deal reached in late 2015 that limited Tehran’s nuclear ambitions in exchange for the removal of U.S. and European sanctions. The global oil market is balanced, with top exporter Saudi Arabia and No.1 producer Russia having led efforts to curb oil supply to prop up prices. “It’s the same witches brew of bullish stuff: Iran, Venezuela, the lack of alacrity by Saudi Arabia to bring more oil onto the market,” said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital in New York. Prices may strengthen later in the day as traders shore up their positions, he said. “It’s definitely not an environment to go home short over the weekend.” Brent crude LCOc1 was flat at $77.47 a barrel by 1:33 p.m. EDT [1733… continue reading
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