Oil edges up on Iran sanctions, but US-China row mutes trading

Oil Prices Gain on Falling U.S. Inventories

Oil price leaps to $74 per barrel as US inventory drops

Brent crude oil futures were at $74.65 per barrel, down 13 cents from their last close.

The EIA cut its 2018 USA crude production growth forecast on August 7 to 10.68 million barrels per day (bpd) from 10.79 million bpd amid lower crude prices.

That notion has quickly taken a back seat to the familiar worry that market demand may actually wan due to the escalating trade war between the US, and China, the latest development of which saw the imposition on Thursday of 25 percent tariffs on $16 billion worth of each other's goods; both countries have now imposed tariffs on a combined $100 billion of products since early July, and Washington still has a list of another $200 billion worth of Chinese imports that could face duties.

The shift shows how trade is being affected even before U.S. sanctions targeting Iran's crude exports snap back into effect in early November.

“This week's report was bullish for crude, ” said Societe Generale oil analyst Michael Wittner.

On the supply side, the decision by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) to increase output again to compensate for production losses in Iran and Venezuela is already taking effect, with the group adding more than 300,000 barrels in the last month. The three fields contribute about 45,000 to 50,000 bpd to the North Sea's Forties and Brent crude streams.

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U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $67.93 per barrel, up 10 cents.

The US/China trade tensions fuelled concerns that global economic growth could slow, weakening worldwide energy demand.

Both oil benchmarks saw low liquidity during early trading on Friday.

Official government data from the Energy Information Administration is due Wednesday, and could show a 2 million barrel decline in crude stocks, according to a survey of oil analysts conducted by The Wall Street Journal. According to a survey whose results were compiled by Bloomberg, stockpiles at the Cushing, Oklahoma storage hub went up by 900,000 barrels in the previous week.

Chinese ship owners are no longer accepting Iranian oil and its using its own tankers to supply oil to top U.S. customers as the impending American sanctions are expected to disrupt worldwide trade.

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