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Oil rises as U.S. renew sanctions against Iran

Oil prices rise as US renews sanctions against Iran

Once again, Oil prices have been perky today following yesterday's bullish market on due to the revived US sanctions against Iran and after Saudi Arabia's production contracted.

"The US seems hell-bent on regime change in Iran", said Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at futures brokerage AxiTrader.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate and international-benchmark Brent crude oil futures are trading higher early Monday amid reports of a drop in Saudi crude production in July and speculation that American shale drilling may be plateauing.

Saudi Arabia pumped around 10.29 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude in July, two OPEC sources said on Friday, down about 200,000 bpd from a month earlier.

The Iran sanctions have officially been cast.

Sanctions that went into force on Tuesday target Iran's access to the us dollar, its trade in gold and other precious metals, and other financial measures tied to the national currency, the rial.

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USA sanctions on Iran's energy sector are set to be re-imposed after a 180-day "wind-down period" ending on November 4.

Brent futures LCOc1 rose 90 cents, or 1.2 percent, to settle at $74.65 a barrel, after hitting a session high of $74.90.

Along with geopolitical tensions that could impact Iran's crude output, traders are also keeping a close eye on USA inventories, which are expected to fall 3.3 million barrels in the week ended August 3, according to analysts polled on Tuesday.

"You can not order 2 million barrels like ordering a coffee somewhere", Beat Wittmann, a partner at financial consultancy Porta Advisors, told CNBC recently.

WTI faced further resistance, he said, amid a reported uptick in USA imports of Saudi oil. President Donald Trump announced in May the U.S. would withdraw from the deal, which offered sanctions relief in exchange for restraints on Tehran's nuclear weapons program.

Many energy analysts believe new sanctions will remove far less of Iran's barrels than the last time when about half its oil exports were erased from the market as a result of United States and European sanctions. All countries must stop importing Iranian oil by then, the State Department said in June, or face sanctions.

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Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said his country opposes sanctions on Iran, but will abide by them to protect its own interests.

Saudi Arabia's crude production dropped about 200,000 bpd last month, two sources at the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said on Friday, despite a pledge by the Saudis and top producer Russian Federation to raise output from July, with Saudi Arabia promising a "measurable" supply boost.

This is not about bombarding the market with oil and pushing the price into the $50s, it is about preparing the market and easing the transition, he said.

Energy prices are firm still on the reports that Saudi Arabian crude output unexpectedly fell in July.

Additionally, there are also reports that many USA shale oil drillers posted disappointing quarterly results in recent weeks, hit by rising operating costs, hedging losses and a drop in crude prices away from 2018 highs reached between May and July.

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