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Oil prices steady at $74.61pb on falling U.S. crude stocks, Iran sanctions

Oil prices held steady on Wednesday, supported by a report of rising U.S. crude inventories as well as the introduction of sanctions against Iran. Front-month U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were at $69.28 per barrel at 0408 GMT, up 11 cents from their last settlement. Brent crude oil futures LCOc1 were at $74.61 per barrel, down 4 cents from their last close. Both futures contracts have risen during the previous two sessions. “Crude oil prices rose as the reality of U.S. sanctions on Iran weighed on sentiment. News from key buyers suggests the market is already adjusting to the new regime,” ANZ bank said in a note on Wednesday.

The U.S. government introduced a raft of new sanctions against Iran on Tuesday, targeting Iran’s purchases of U.S. dollars – in which oil is traded – metals trading, coal, industrial software and its auto sector. From November, Washington will also target Iran’s petroleum sector. Iran is the third-largest producer among the members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). It shipped out almost 3 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude in September, equivalent to around 3 percent of global demand.