STORY: IMF WARNS OF IRAN OIL SHOCKDATELINE: Jan. 26, 2012LENGTH: 0:00:45LOCATION: WashingtonCATEGORY: ECONOMYVOThe International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Wednesday that global crude prices could rise 20 to 30 percent if Iran halts oil exports as a result of U.S. and European Union sanctions. The IMF said financial sanctions against Tehran may be "tantamount to an oil embargo" and would imply supply declines of about 1.5 million barrels per day from Iran, the world's fifth-largest oil producer. That volume of supply disruption would be comparable to losses in output from Libya last year due to civil war that pushed oil prices over 100 U.S. dollars a barrel.Iran has threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz shipping route, through which 20 percent of oil traded globally flows. The comments add pressure to the Obama administration as it tries to get countries to reduce imports of Iranian oil without pushing prices higher ahead of the November U.S. presidential election.
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