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Oil Holds Near 2019 Highs

Oil prices held near a six-month high on Tuesday after the U.S. said it wouldn't renew Iran oil waivers once they expire.

It is expected that the U.S. decision not to renew waivers previously granted on Iran oil import sanctions would further squeeze supply.

Brent crude rose by 23 cents or 0.3 percent to $74.27 per barrel, after hitting its highest level since November at $74.70.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were up 42 cents or 0.65 percent at $65.97 per barrel.

In November 2018, the Trump administration had granted six-month waivers to major importers of Iranian oil, including India, China, Turkey, Japan and South Korea.

The U.S. on Monday announced that it would not extend waivers to buy Iranian crude oil for them when those waivers expire early next month. The buyers of Iranian oil have to stop purchases by May 1 or face sanctions.

Following U.S.'s decision, Iran has threatened that it will shut the Strait of Hormuz, a key chokepoint for Persian Gulf crude producers, according to a report in Bloomberg.

Saudi Arabia's energy minister Khalid Al-Falih said in a statement that the country would coordinate with other crude producers to ensure that adequate supplies are available and the market "does not go out of balance."

"In the next few weeks, the Kingdom will be consulting closely with other producing countries and key oil consuming nations to ensure a well-balanced and stable oil market, for the benefits of producers and consumers as well as the stability of the world economy."

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