International oil prices rose to their highest level of the year on Tuesday
Reuters reported in Tokyo on April 2. Oil prices rose to new 2019 highs on Tuesday as strong economic data from China eased demand concerns, as well as the possibility of more U.S. sanctions on Iran and supply disruptions in Venezuela. Brent crude was up 32 cents, or 0.5 percent, at $69.33 a barrel as of early (0212) Tuesday morning, after hitting $69.50, the highest since mid-November last year. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures rose 30 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $61.89 a barrel, after topping $62 for the first time since early November.
Economic data from the United States and China released on Monday supported oil prices, and China's manufacturing index in March unexpectedly returned to growth for the first time in four months. The most significant monthly increase in China's PMI data since 2012 will ease concerns about potential threats to oil demand. On the supply side, a senior Trump administration official told reporters on Monday that the United States is considering further sanctions against Iran, which would target previously unhit sectors of the economy. At the same time, the United States may not maintain the eight-nation sanctions waivers for Iranian oil exports that expire next month. In addition, Venezuela's crude oil export terminal was suspended due to power supply interruption, and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) production cut production, which pushed the group's supply in March this year to a four-year low. (From China Energy Network)