HSBC flags 'risk' of $100/b oil price spike as bank revises forecast

HSBC flags 'risk' of $100/b oil price spike as bank revises forecast

United States efforts to isolate Iran have disrupted shipments from OPEC's No 3 supplier at the same time that American crude stockpiles dwindled to a 3 1/2-year low.

Oil prices fell on Thursday, slipping back from four-month highs as investors focussed on the risk that emerging market crises and trade disputes could dent demand even as supply tightens. Supplies at the Key storage hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, rose by an estimated 900,000 bbls last week, according to a market forecast.

US production has returned to 2014 boom levels, but the energy agency said USA output will grow more slowly next year due to bottlenecks in getting oil to markets.

In a monthly report, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said world oil demand next year will rise by 1.41 million barrels per day, 20,000 bpd less than last month and the second consecutive reduction in the forecast.

Futures in NY dropped as much as 0.8 per cent after two days of gains.

In addition, the European Union, which had previously joined the targeting Iranian oil exports in 2012, has shown its unwillingness to follow Washington's lead this time around, openly vowing to rebel against the USA sanctions regimen and increasing the likelihood that Europe will continue to buy some Iranian oil despite US threats.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 futures rose $1.12 to settle at $70.37 a barrel, a one-week high.

Tanker data suggest Iranian crude exports are already off by about 500,000 bpd - some of it floating in tankers in the waters of the Gulf waiting to find ports to unload.

The US has stepped up pressure on buyers to halt Iranian energy imports from November.

Gordon Gray, HSBC's global head of oil and gas equity research, said there were "real risks" that Brent could hit $100 a barrel.

Benchmark Brent crude oil LCOc1 was down 70 cents a barrel at $79.04 by 0830 GMT.

NEW YORK, Sept 12 (Reuters) - Oil futures climbed on Wednesday, with Brent reaching $80 a barrel, after a larger-than-expected drop in US crude inventories and as USA sanctions on Iran added to concerns over global oil supply. In August, rising output in Libya, Iraq, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia offset declines in Iran, which is about to face new USA sanctions that are already hurting Iranian exports, and in Venezuela. "Things are tightening up". "The situation should be closely watched, the right decisions should be taken", he said.

That month Russian Federation produced 11.247 million bpd, a post-Soviet Union record-high.

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