Oil futures continue to take a spike with more than USD$2 a barrel on Monday, a steep level not seen since November 2014, as Iran braces for the upcoming second wave of economic sanctions implemented by the U.S. following the Islamic Republic's alleged violation of the 2015 Nuclear Pact, while a North American trade deal fosters growth in the region.
Brent crude, against which Nigeria's oil is priced, increased by $1.59 to $84.32 per barrel as of 6:30pm Nigerian time, while US West Texas Intermediate rose by $1.67 to $74.92 per barrel. Total volume traded was about 18 percent below the 100-day average.
Global benchmark Brent crude oil futures were at $85.28 per barrel, up 30 cents (0.4%) from their last close. In post-settlement trade, the contract continued to strengthen, rising to US$85.45 a barrel, the first trade above US$85 since November 2014.
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Bijan Zanganeh said in an interview on state television that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries lacked the capacity to produce more oil to make up for the drop in Iranian sales. And, as concerns over supply remain elevated, a growing pool of analysts are anticipating the price of the valuable commodity could hit $100 per barrel.
"At the United Nations, Trump said that OPEC is to blame for increasing oil prices and it had increased the prices so it needs to increase oil production". Some market players are predicting the new US-Canada-Mexico free-trade deal will spur more demand. China's Sinopec said it had halved loadings of Iranian oil in September.
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The Nigerian government has pegged crude oil price at $51 per barrel in the 2018 budget with a daily production of 2.3 million per barrel per day.
With about 1.5 million barrels per day of Iranian oil expected to go offline on Nov 4, prices could "rocket higher with the flashy US$100 per barrel price tag indeed a reasonable-sounding target", he said.
"Even if they (Saudi Arabia) wanted to bend to President Trump's wishes, how much spare capacity does the Kingdom have?" he asked.
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With oil prices soaring, there are concerns over their inflationary effect on demand growth, especially in Asia's emerging markets where weakening currencies are further adding to high fuel import costs.