Opec confident China-US dispute won't hit demand

15 August, 2018, 19:19 | Author: Shannon Aguilar
  • Saudi Arabia reins in oil production as demand forecasts waver

Despite this cautious oil market sentiment, there are drivers that are keeping prices from falling further.

"While there has been minimal impact so far on Iran's crude production ahead of renewed U.S. sanctions, Washington's move to apply the toughest ever measures on Iran could result in an even steeper reduction than ... seen during the previous round of sanctions" when its exports fell by 1.2 million barrels per day (mbd) said the IEA.

Although Brent crude oil has become about 8 percent more expensive this year in dollars, the price increase has been 14 percent in China's renminbi and more than 18 percent in Indian rupees.

On Friday, the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned the energy market outlook could become "far less calm" as USA -imposed oil sanctions against Iran take effect.

Benchmark Brent crude oil LCOc1 was down $1.01 a barrel at $71.45 by 9:51 a.m. EDT (1351 GMT).

Crude slid as economic turbulence in Turkey and the strengthening greenback heightened concerns about global oil demand.

In America, the number of working rigs targeting oil rose by 10 to 869 last week, rising to the highest level since March 2015, Baker Hughes data showed.

That is compounding worries that a deepening trade war between the United States, China and the European Union will squeeze business activity in the world's biggest economies.

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OPEC countries have increased oil production by 40,700 barrels per day, to 32.32 million barrels in July 2018 thanks to the contributions of such countries as Kuwait, Nigeria, UAE and Iraq, the OPEC's August report said.

"When we publish our next report in mid-September, we will be only six weeks away from the US's deadline for Iran's customers to cease oil purchases", said the IEA. He is reportedly also considering the sale of some of the U.S.'s emergency oil supplies to deflate crude prices, according to a report in Reuters.

LONDON-Oil prices fell Wednesday after data showed a rise in US crude stockpiles, following days of volatile trading.

Beyond the darkening economic outlook, Phillip Futures said hedge funds had reduced bullish bets because of "rising production levels from OPEC and the United States".

In spite of the cautious mood in oil markets, bullish sentiment found some support from expectations that USA sanctions against Tehran would restrict Iranian crude exports, tightening global supply.

Iran is selling oil and gas at a discount to Asian customers as it prepares for the return of USA sanctions, state news agency IRNA reported on Tuesday.

Iran is the third-largest producer among the members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

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