Crude prices were under pressure in early action on Tuesday, retreating from three-and-a-half-year highs, as investors waited on an announcement by President Donald Trump on whether the United States will pull out of the 2015 international nuclear deal and reinstate sanctions against Iran.
New York-traded WTI crude futures slumped 76 cents, or around 1.1%, to $69.98 a barrel by 3:35AM ET (0735GMT). The U.S. benchmark settled above $70 for the first time since November 2014 on Monday after rising as high as $70.84.
Meanwhile, Brent crude futures, the benchmark for oil prices outside the U.S., dipped 67 cents, or 0.9%, to $75.52 a barrel, after climbing to $76.34 in the last session, its highest since November 2014.
Oil prices soared on Monday, before pulling back in electronic trading after President Donald Trump tweeted he will be announcing his decision on the Iran deal on Tuesday at 2:00PM ET (1800GMT), four days earlier than expected.
Should Trump pull the U.S. out of the agreement, Iranian crude exports could be hit, adding to tightness in the oil market.
Iran, which is a major Middle East oil producer and member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), resumed its role as a major oil exporter in January 2016 when international sanctions against Tehran were lifted in return for curbs on Iran’s nuclear program.
Meanwhile, investors will also focus on fresh data on U.S. commercial crude inventories to gauge the strength of demand in the world’s largest oil consumer and how fast output levels will continue to rise.
Industry group the American Petroleum Institute is due to release its weekly report at 4:30PM ET (2030GMT). Official data from the Energy Information Administration will be released Wednesday, amid forecasts for an oil-stock drop of around 1.1 million barrels.
Natural gas futures were a shade lower at $2.740 per million British thermal units.
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