LONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices rose more than 3 percent on Wednesday, hitting 3-1/2-year highs, after U.S. President Trump abandoned a nuclear deal with Iran and announced the “highest level” of sanctions against the OPEC member. Ignoring pleas by allies, Trump on Tuesday pulled out of an international agreement with Iran that was agreed in late 2015, raising the risk of conflict in the Middle East and casting uncertainty over global oil supplies at a time when the crude market is already tight. Brent crude oil touched its highest since November 2014 at $77.20 a barrel. The benchmark contract was up $2.15 a barrel, or more than 2.8 percent, at $77.00 by 0730 GMT. U.S. light crude was up $1.90 a barrel, or almost 2.8 percent, at $70.96, near highs also last seen in late 2014. In China, the biggest single buyer of Iranian oil, Shanghai crude futures hit their strongest in dollar terms since they were launched in late May. “Iran’s exports of oil to Asia and Europe will almost certainly decline later this year and into 2019 as some nations seek alternatives in order to avoid trouble with Washington and as sanctions start to bite,” said Sukrit Vijayakar,… continue reading
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