Investing.com – Oil prices firmed on Friday morning in Asia, with Brent crude creeping ever closer to $80 per barrel, a level it has not seen since November 2014, as supplies tighten while demand remains strong.
for June delivery were trading at $71.58 a barrel at 11:30PM ET (03:30 GMT), up 0.13%. for July delivery, traded in London, were up 0.29% at $79.53 per barrel.
for September delivery were up 1.80% at 485.40 yuan ($76.20) per barrel.
Geopolitical risks continue to prop up prices, and an unexpected fall in U.S. inventories pushed them up further.
U.S. crude inventories fell by 1.4 million barrels in the week to May 11, and gasoline stocks fell by 3.79 million barrels.
Meanwhile, looming U.S. sanctions against Iran, which currently produces 4% of global oil supplies, raised fears that oil markets will face shortages later this year when trade restrictions take effect.
In Venezuela, production also plunged to 1.5 million barrels last month, its lowest level in decades due to its ongoing economic crisis.
On the other hand, U.S. crude is increasingly appearing on global markets as a result of its surging production.
Oil prices have surged more than 70% over the last year as demand has risen sharply while production has been restricted by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), led by Saudi Arabia, and other producers, including Russia.
Morgan Stanley (NYSE:) raised its Brent price forecast to $90 per barrel by 2020.
But demand is likely to moderate with the dollar strengthening, higher oil prices and softening economic growth.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) lowered its global oil demand growth forecast for 2018 from 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) to 1.4 million bpd.
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