Oil holds gains as markets tighten amid OPEC cuts, Iran sanctions

Oil prices race to $80 as US drilling rises

And reports suggest markets anticipate a sharp fall in Iranian crude supply once USA sanctions bite later this year.

Investment analyst William O'Loughlin said Saudi Arabia's and the rest of OPEC's dedication to cut production is a huge factor in maintaining oil prices at the moment, as well as the potential for less exports from Iran because of the sanctions.

"Iran jitters helped push oil prices higher but a broader stabilization of crude futures near 3½-year highs can be tied to several big, prevailing trends", according to CNBC.

The possibility of a shortfall in crude supplies should be able to support prices, along with the tight market, which may be known from the American Petroleum's (API) oil stockpile report later in the day and on data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) that is due to be released on Wednesday.

President Trump's decision to pull the US out of the Iran nuclear deal "constitutes a major geopolitical shift" which could trigger a move in the direction of "stagflation", a global strategy team at Citi, led by Mark Schofield, said in a research note, CNBC reported.

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"For 2018, oil demand growth is forecast to increase by around 1.65 million barrels a day to average 98.85 million barrels a day", the report said, revising upward from its forecasting last month.

In China, the world's biggest oil importer, refinery runs rose almost 12 percent in April compared with the same month a year ago, to around 12.06 million barrels per day, marking the second-highest level on record on a daily basis, data showed on Tuesday.

The tightening market has all but eliminated a global supply overhang that depressed crude prices between late 2014 and early 2017.

Brent crude was up 20 cents at 77.32 dollars a barrel by 1315 GMT and USA light crude rose 10 cents to 70.80 dollars.

Opec figures published on Monday showed that oil inventories in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) industrialised nations in March fell to 9-million barrels above the five-year average, down from 340-million barrels above the average in January 2017.

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