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Oil Rises as 'Alarm Bells' Sound Over Unraveling Iran Nuke Deal

Oil Rises as 'Alarm Bells' Sound Over Unraveling Iran Nuke Deal

Oil Rises as 'Alarm Bells' Sound Over Unraveling Iran Nuke Deal

Oil prices edged lower on Monday as a rising rig count in the United States pointed to higher production, but prices held near more than three-year highs and were on track to rise for a second consecutive month.

Futures in NY traded close to little changed Monday, yet remain poised for a 4.9% advance this month.

Weekly data on Tuesday that showed a rise in USA crude inventories also subdued the oil price somewhat. French President Emmanuel Macron's prediction that the USA will pull out of the nuclear deal has boosted speculation over reduced shipments from the Islamic Republic. Prices are being supported by continued adherence to the OPEC-led production cuts, increased demand from Asia, possible supply disruptions in Iran and turmoil in Venezuela.

"Generally, (the rig count) took the edge off an otherwise bullish market", said SEB chief analyst for commodities Bjarne Schieldrop. "There's a lot of profit in the books here for the non-commercials".

Crude futures sunk in European morning trading Monday, as the market booked profits amid signals from the United States that shale producers were taking advantage of stronger prices, although analysts have warned that the risk of the U.S. withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal is still bullish for the market.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures were up 23 cents on the day at $68.33 a barrel. Total volume traded was about 22 percent below the 100-day average.

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OPEC and its partners agreed to cut oil output by 1.8 million barrels per day since January past year, an effort which has recorded a 149 percent success, and has boosted prices to $74 per barrel as at Thursday.

Brent crude futures were up 31 cents at $74.95 a barrel by 12:17 p.m. EDT (1617 GMT). The global benchmark crude traded at a $6.43 premium to June WTI.

The recent Dollars strength has negatively impacted Gold as the intensity of the USD correction caught most traders by surprise.

Brent crude, the worldwide benchmark traded in London, closed at a level not see since late 2014. The US dollar was also up 0.3%, which is typically bearish for oil prices, as it makes the product more expensive for investors holding other currencies.

U.S. drillers added five oil rigs in the week to April 27, bringing the total count to 825, the highest level since March 2015, General Electric's Baker Hughes energy services firm said.

USA crude inventories likely rose by 1.3 million barrels last week, while gasoline and distillate stockpiles fell, a preliminary Reuters poll showed on Monday ahead of data by the Industry group the American Petroleum Institute later in the day.

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