* Brent hits $75.47, highest since Nov. 27, 2014
* OPEC-led supply cuts, strong demand lift prices
* Oil also buoyed by threat of U.S. sanctions on Iran
* U.S. crude inventories expected to have fallen
(Updates prices, adds comment)
By Ayenat Mersie
NEW YORK, April 24 (Reuters) - Oil prices slipped on Tuesday
as concerns over the possibility that the United States might
reinstate sanctions against Iran faded somewhat, alleviating
worries about the future of Iranian exports.
U.S. President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel
Macron pledged to try to resolve U.S.-European differences on
Iran, though Trump stopped short of saying he would not abandon
the international nuclear deal.
Renewed sanctions against Tehran could harm Iran's ability
to export its crude.
Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia-Pacific at futures
brokerage OANDA, said new sanctions against Tehran "could push
oil prices up as much as $5 per barrel."
Brent traded as high as $75.47 and was down 82 cents
at $73.80 at 2:09 p.m. EDT (1809 GMT). West Texas Intermediate
(WTI) crude fell 93 cents to $67.71, retreating from the
November 2014 high it hit on Thursday.
WTI's discount to Brent <WTCLc1-LCOc1> was as wide as $6.27
Tuesday, the most since Jan. 5, on rising U.S. production.
"We're still really nestled within 3-1/2 year highs," said
Gene McGillian, manager of market research at Tradition Energy
in Stamford, Connecticut.
"With oil prices near $70, a dollar here or there is not
really enough to move the needle," he said.
Brent prices hit their highest since Nov. 27, 2014 before
slipping. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries'
decision that day not to curb output subsequently sent prices
Oil began recovering in 2016 as OPEC discussed a return to
market management with the help of Russia and other non-members.
A deal to rein in output started in January 2017 and has been
deepened by a steep output drop in Venezuela.
Meanwhile, demand in Asia, the biggest oil-consuming region,
has risen to a record.
"Prices are being driven up by tight supply due to high
production outages in Venezuela plus the cuts implemented by
OPEC and Russia," said Carsten Fritsch, analyst at Commerzbank.
"What is more, demand appears robust."
Growing U.S. demand, indicated by continued strong refinery
utilization rates, is very supportive to prices, said Bob
Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho.
"You could get rid of all of these geopolitical headlines
-Syria, trade - and if you did that, you would still have a very
impressive demand situation in the United States," said Yawger.
The latest U.S. inventory figures are expected to show a
2.6-million-barrel drop in crude stocks.
The American Petroleum Institute, an industry group,
releases its inventory data at 4:30 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, a day
before the government's supply report.
(Additional reporting by Alex Lawler and Henning Gloystein;
Editing by Dan Grebler)
First Published: 2018-04-24 03:10:33
Updated 2018-04-24 20:31:02
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