Oil prices surpassed their three-year highs on Monday as supplies remained tight and traders waited for news regarding the possibility of fresh U.S. sanctions against Iran. U.S. President Donald Trump has set this coming Saturday, May 12, as the date by which European nations must fix their deal with Iran over its nuclear program. If a solution is not found, Trump may decline to extend sanction relief for Iran. Trump’s decision could have serious impact on the price of oil.
Brent crude futures were up 73 cents per barrel to $75.60 per barrel and U.S. WTI futures were up 64 cents per barrel to $70.36 as of 2:06 p.m. HK/SIN.
The U.S. dollar was also trading strongly on Monday, holding close to four-month highs after strong U.S. jobs data gave a positive outlook about the country’s economy. Though the non-farm payroll report released on Friday showed that the U.S. added fewer jobs than anticipated, unemployment hit a rate of 3.9 percent, a 17 ½-year low. Wall Street responded positively to the news, with all three major indexes closing higher on Friday.
The greenback was trading at 109.23 against the yen in the mid-afternoon in Asia, and $1.1937 against the euro, near Friday’s four-month low of $1.1910. British pound was also hovering near a four-month low, trading at $1.3542.
The rising U.S. dollar put pressure on gold prices which dropped for the third consecutive week last week. Gold was trading at $1,314.70 per ounce in the mid-afternoon on Monday.