Oil prices hit 2019 highs amid supply cuts, trade talk hopes

Oil price SURGE: Spike in price after US sanctions in Iran and Venezuela and OPEC cuts

India Becomes Biggest Buyer of Venezuelan Oil After US Sanctions – Reports

In November, Saudi Arabia's crude oil exports had jumped by 534,000 bpd month on month to 8.24 million bpd-the highest level in two years as the Kingdom moved to offset supply losses from Iran with the return of the USA sanctions on Tehran's oil industry.

Further to the above events, crude prices have been affected by United States sanctions against oil exporters and OPEC-members, Iran and Venezuela.

Despite some caution around trade, global oil markets remain relatively tight because of supply cuts led by the Middle East dominated Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), with top crude exporter Saudi Arabia cutting the most.

For both benchmarks, these were their highest levels since November 20, 2018.

It had at that time bought about 6 million barrels of USA crude oil under single tender for delivery between November 2018 and January 2019. Iran's exports, while down steeply since the sanctions began in November, have risen in early 2019, according to tanker data and sources.

Prices have been bolstered by a tightening market because of supply cuts organized by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and some non-affiliated producers like Russian Federation.

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Seven Venezuelan oil-laden vessels loaded for USA refiners Valero Energy Corp and Chevron Corp have been stranded since sanctions were announced on January 28, as state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela SA demands upfront payment for the cargoes.

A rise of 0.6 percent from their last close. "China trade talks", said Harry Tchilinguirian, global head of commodity markets strategy at BNP Paribas. This continued the 2018 trend, in which China recorded the first annual drop in vehicle sales on record.

Saudi Arabia's crude oil exports plunged by almost 550,000 bpd to 7.687 million bpd in December 2019, down from a two-year high in November, as the Kingdom started to limit supply after the USA granted waivers to eight Iranian customers and the market swung into oversupply.

According to the Reuters report, International Olympic Committee chairman Sanjiv Singh said the new annual contract with the USA will begin from April.

That means the USA rig count is higher than a year ago when fewer than 800 rigs were active.

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