By Amanda Cooper
LONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices eased on Wednesday but were still heading for a fifth consecutive quarter of gains, driven by an impending drop in Iranian exports in the last three months of the year when global demand heats up.
Brent crude futures were last down 49 cents on the day at $81.38 a barrel by 1351 GMT, after having risen to as much as $82.55 on Tuesday, the highest since November 2014.
U.S. crude futures were down 35 cents at $71.93 a barrel.
The United States will apply sanctions to halt oil exports from Iran, the third-largest producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), from Nov. 4. The pending loss of Iranian supply has been a major factor in the recent surge in crude prices.