Oil prices hovered near 2019 peaks in early trading on Tuesday after Washington abruptly moved to end all Iran sanctions waivers by May, pressuring importers to stop buying from Tehran.
Brent crude futures were at $74.33 per barrel at 0051 GMT, up 0.4 percent from their last close and not far off 2019 highs of $74.52 reached on Monday.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $65.79 per barrel, up 0.4 percent from their previous settlement, and also just a notch below their $65.92 2019 peak from Monday.
The United States on Monday demanded that buyers of Iranian oil stop purchases by May 1 or face sanctions, ending six months of waivers which allowed Iran’s eight biggest buyers, most of them in Asia, to continue buying limited volumes.
Before the reimposition of sanctions last year, Iran was the fourth-largest producer among the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) at almost 3 million barrels per day (bpd), but April exports have shrunk well below 1 million bpd, according to ship tracking and analyst data in Refinitiv.
Source: Radio Pakistan