January 20, 2018, 6:53 pm
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Oil posts strongest year opening since 2014

SINGAPORE- Oil prices posted their strongest opening to a year since 2014 on Tuesday, with crude rising to mid-2015 highs amid large anti-government rallies in Iran and ongoing supply cuts led by OPEC and Russia.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $60.61 a barrel, up 19 cents, or 0.3 percent, after hitting $60.73 earlier in the day, ther highest since June 2015.

Brent crude futures, the international benchmark, were at $67.12 a barrel, up 25 cents, or 0.4 percent, after hitting a May 2015 high of $67.27 a barrel earlier in the day.

It was the first time since January 2014 that the two crude oil benchmarks opened the year above $60 per barrel.

“Growing unrest in Iran set the table for a bullish start to 2018,” the US-based Schork Report said in a note to clients on Tuesday.

Anti-government protesters demonstrated in Iran on Sunday in defiance of a warning by authorities of a crackdown, extending for a fourth day one of the most audacious challenges to the clerical leadership since pro-reform unrest in 2009.

Even without the unrest in Iran, which is a major oil exporter, market sentiment was bullish.

“Falling inventories globally and strong economic growth offset the restart of the Forties pipeline and the resumption of production following a pipeline outage in Libya,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at futures brokerage Oanda in Singapore. 

The 450,000 barrels per day (bpd) capacity Forties pipeline system in the North Sea returned to full operations on Dec. 30 after an unplanned shutdown. – Reuters
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