Oil hits 2019 high on U.S. plan to tighten squeeze on Iran

NEW YORK (Reuters) by Stephanie Kelly – Oil prices jumped more than 2 percent on Monday to a near six-month high, on growing concern about tight global supplies after the United States announced a further clampdown on Iranian oil exports. Washington said it will eliminate in May all waivers allowing eight economies to buy Iranian oil without facing U.S. sanctions. “The geopolitical risk premium is back in the oil market, in a big way,” said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital LLC in New York. “Most, if not all, legitimate commercial interests will avoid Iran oil purchases. Iran’s flow will be reduced to a trickle.” Brent crude futures rose $1.77, or 2.5 percent, to $73.74 a barrel by 11:02 a.m. EDT (1502 GMT). The session high of $74.31 a barrel for the international benchmark was the highest since Nov. 1. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures climbed $1.37, or 2.1 percent, to $65.37 a barrel. The contract hit $65.87 a barrel, the highest since Oct. 31. In November, the United States reimposed sanctions on exports of Iranian oil but granted waivers to Iran’s eight main buyers: China, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Italy and Greece. They were allowed to… continue reading

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