OPEC to Focus on Oil inventory While Others Debate Iran Sanctions Impact

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"The commitment of Saudi Arabia and the rest of Opec to the production cuts is a major factor in supporting the price at the moment, as well as the possibility of reduced exports from Iran due to sanctions", said William O'Loughlin, investment analyst at Rivkin Securities.

West Texas Intermediate crude for June delivery traded up 11 cents at $70.81 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 8:40 a.m. local time.

Final data for the country's April crude imports data will be released by state-run Korea National Oil Corp (KNOC) later this month.

OPEC is to focus on oil inventory, rather than price.

"US sanctions on Iran take centre stage in the oil market", said Norbert Ruecker, head of macro and commodity at Julius Baer Group in Zurich.

Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), a 14-member oil producer group, raised its forecast for global oil demand in 2018 slightly, expecting the world to consume 98.85 million barrels a day, 1.65 million barrels a day higher than past year.

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It remains unclear how hard USA sanctions will hit Iran's oil industry. But how much those exports fall will depend on the reaction of the countries that import Iranian oil: China, France, Russia, U.K.

Michael Wittner, an analyst at Societe Generale, forecasts USA sanctions will remove 400,000-500,000 BPD of Iranian crude from the global oil market, Reuters reported. This is why the sanctions against Iran is going to impact Brent much more than it is going to impact WTI crude oil. Unfortunately for motorists, that glut has been drained by a combination of strong global demand and production cuts from Venezuela and a collection of OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers. The production agreement with Russian Federation and non-OPEC members is slated to run through year-end but it could potentially end earlier, be modified or even extended beyond beyond 2018.

The tightening market has just about solved the global supply overhang that has weighed down oil prices between 2014 and 2017.

In a television interview, U.A.E. Energy Minister Suhail Al Mazrouei said "don't worry about supply", because OPEC has an adequate "buffer" of potential production to offset barrels lost through renewed sanctions.

LaForge, from Wells Fargo Institute, says the supply-demand balance in the oil market is already shifting toward oversupply, given that growth in demand is limited by an economic expansion that at least in the U.S.is in its later stages.

Speaking to analysts, Scaffardi said the lack of Iranian crude supplies would be a problem in terms of prices but not volumes.

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