Oil futures rose by over 1% on Friday (3 February) as US President Donald Trump slapped fresh sanctions on Iran, after the country's ballistic missile test, and amid signs big oil producers are cutting production.
In a statement, the White House unveiled new measures against 13 individuals and 12 entities following Tehran's ballistic missile test. Trump also said "nothing is off the table" on the subject of dealing with Iran, including the revisiting of an international settlement over the Islamic Republic's nuclear programme.
At 3:49pm GMT, the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) front month futures contract was up by 1.03% or 57 cents to $53.91 per barrel, while Brent was 1.10% or 62¢ higher at $57.18 per barrel.
Meanwhile, according to a survey by Reuters, Opec members have delivered on about 82% – of their deal to lower supply – by 1.16 million barrels per day in January.
Fawad Razaqzada, technical analyst at FOREX.com, said: "So far there has been no evidence to suggest the deal will collapse and oil market participants therefore have little reason to expect a collapse in prices.
"I think crude prices would have been somewhat higher at this stage had it not been for growing expectations that oil production in the US could soon rise sharply again. The Trump administration's unilateral move on Iran won't have a deep impact on oil prices, unless the UN reinstates economic sanctions on Iran again, which is very unlikely."
Elsewhere, gold and silver remained on positive turf as the dollar remained weak on dovish comments on US monetary policy by the Federal Reserve. While keeping interest rates unchanged, the US central bank said it "expects that, with gradual adjustments in the stance of monetary policy, economic activity will expand at a moderate pace. Near-term risks to the economic outlook appear roughly balanced."
At 4:04pm GMT, the Comex gold futures contract for April delivery was 0.11% or $1.30 higher at $1,220.60 an ounce, while spot gold was up 0.18% or $2.22 at $1,218.18 an ounce, well clear of the psychologically important $1,200-level.
In a related development, the World Gold Council (WGC) said investors' takings via exchange-traded funds (ETFs) helped total global demand climb by around 2% to 4,309 metric tonnes in 2016, the highest since 2013. Total gold supply rose 5% to 4,571 tonnes.
Specifically on ETFs – which allow investors to put money into physical gold without having to buy and store the yellow metal – data points to takings totalling 532 tons for 2016; the second-highest figure on record.
In turn, that meant total ETF demand came in at a four-year high of 1,561.1 tonnes; a rise of 70%, as the election of Donald Trump as US President, Brexit, the Italian Referendum and fears of other upheavals in Europe sent investors scurrying toward gold-related funds.
Alistair Hewitt, head of market intelligence at the WGC, said: "Geopolitical issues have driven continued inflows into gold-backed ETFs. Last year saw an unprecedented degree of political upheaval, which underpinned huge institutional investor flows into gold."
Hewitt added that uncertainty was already extending into 2017 with "fringe parties polling especially well" in many countries, including the Netherlands, France, Italy and Germany.
Finally, Comex silver was 0.44% or 8¢ higher at $17.51 an ounce, but spot platinum slid 0.14% or $1.37 to $999.05 an ounce.