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Crude has rallied this month on concern that President Trump's decision to quit an worldwide accord with Iran and reimpose sanctions will strain global supplies just as markets are already tightening.

Brent crude has hit $80 per barrel for the first time since November 2014.

Bullish bets by money managers on global benchmark Brent crude have declined for four weeks since mid-April, while front-month futures have jumped more than 10 percent over the past month.

"At $80 per barrel, there will be some impact on demand", warned Patrick Pouyanne, CEO of French oil explorer Total SA.

Members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, said they have enough capacity to fill in any supply gap if renewed sanctions curtail Iran's exports.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $71.67 a barrel, up 18 cents, or 0.3 percent, from their last settlement. The coming USA sanctions pushed up oil prices last week after President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the nuclear deal.

U.S. President's Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal and re-impose sanctions on Iran, now a major exporter of crude, has roiled markets.

"Global inventories are approaching long-run averages, suggesting that the coordinated OPEC/non-OPEC supply cuts have been successful", said Jack Allardyce, oil and gas research analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald.

But betting that oil prices have hit a ceiling and liquidating bullish positions is a "dangerous" game, according to Goldman Sachs.

In addition, the IEA has cut its oil consumption forecasts as higher prices work to reduce future demand.

Recall that economists warn that rising oil prices pose a danger to the current economic expansion and may reduce the effects recently enacted U.S. economic stimulus.

The bottleneck in North America likely contributed to a 4.9 million barrel rise in US crude oil inventories, to 435.6 million barrels, that the private American Petroleum Institute reported on Tuesday.

Not all the news was bullish on Wednesday, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Wednesday that it had lowered its global oil demand growth forecast for 2018 from 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) to 1.4 million bpd.

US crude stockpiles slipped for a second week as the summer driving season approaches, government data showed Wednesday. Additionally, the IEA said although supplies now only stand at 98 million bpd due to supply cuts led by OPEC, the IEA said that "strong non-OPEC growth...will grow by 1.87 million bpd in 2018".

The IEA, which represents some of the world's largest consumer countries, also said it too would be "ready to act if necessary to ensure that markets remain well supplied".


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