Oil jumps 2 % as market tightens, more gains seen

On Monday morning, Brent crude, the main European futures contract, rose above $80 United States a barrel to $80.43 United States at mid-morning. Trump said last week that OPEC "must get prices down now!" but Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said on Monday OPEC had not responded positively to Trump's demands.

Reuters reported that oil prices rose about 2% today as markets tightened ahead of Washington's new sanctions against Iran, with some traders forecasting a spike in crude to US$100 per barrel. USA light crude was $1.35 higher at $72.13.

For all these urgent supply pressures, the world's largest oil producers adopted a sit-back-and-wait approach at their meeting in the Algerian capital on Sunday.

South Korea has bought no Iranian crude oil for about three months after the reimposition of US sanctions on Tehran, a spokesman for the Iranian oil ministry was quoted as saying on Sunday by the ministry news website SHANA.

The Joint OPEC-Non-OPEC Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) is being convened in Algiers with the oil and energy minister of OPEC and non-OPEC countries including Russian Federation. However, the consensus has now moved to as much as 1.5 million barrels daily as the USA is "incredibly serious" about its measures, he said.

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Commodity traders Trafigura and Mercuria said they expected Brent crude to climb above $90 by Christmas and to pass $100 early in 2019. -China trade war and supply, especially from the USA, was seen sufficient in the next 12 months, said Janet Kong, BP Plc's head of trading in Asia.

"The market is well-supplied", Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said after a meeting of OPEC and its allies over the weekend. "The reason Saudi Arabia didn't increase more is because all of our customers are receiving all of the barrels they want".

The market was "increasingly concerned about dwindling (U.S.) inventories", ANZ bank said on Monday.

"Trade war and emerging-market contagion fears could still serve to keep a lid on prices in the near term, but we believe that the geopolitical risks remain skewed quite heavily to the upside", wrote analysts led by Helima Croft, global head of commodity strategy at RBC Capital Markets, in a note.

The U.S. decision to re-impose sanctions on Iran is already forcing refiners to look elsewhere for supplies of the heavy, sour crudes supplied by the Islamic Republic.

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