Oil prices dip as demand outlook dims; Iran sanctions provide some support

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

"Any further escalation in the trade conflict between them is clearly an important downside risk and could lead to a further slowdown in oil demand growth for 2019, leading to a downward pressure on oil prices", said Sushant Gupta, research director at energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $67.43 a barrel, down 20 cents, or 0.3 percent from their last settlement.

Oil prices rose more than 1% Friday as US sanctions against Iran looked set to tighten supply.

Front-month Brent crude oil futures were at $72.63 per barrel at 0509 GMT, down by 18 cents, or 0.25 percent from their last close.

Oil held steady even as Turkey's economic strife sparked an emerging-market sell-off, fueling fears of broader market turmoil.

Traders expect growth to slow further as the Iran sanctions take hold, the trade spat between the United States and China escalates, and as Asia's emerging markets show signs of cooling. As growth in the Eurozone and in China (the world's largest importers of crude oil) continue to decelerate, demand is softening accordingly.

US President Donald Trump has said that Saudi Arabia's ruler King Salman had agreed to soon raise oil output by up to 2 million barrels per day (bpd) to make up for lost Iranian barrels as a result of the sanctions.

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Saudi Arabia's 200,000 b/d July production drop to 10.29 million b/d as reported in OPEC's monthly report shows Saudi Arabia is "not doing what they said", said Gene McGillian, analyst with Tradition Energy.

U.S. oil output from seven major shale basins is expected to rise 93,000 bpd in September to 7.52 million bpd, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Monday.

For the moment the IEA did not change its forecast for global demand for oil to increase by 1.4 mbd.

Hedge funds and other money managers cut their bullish positions on USA crude to the lowest level since June, data showed on Friday.

Despite 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 ranks second globally in natural gas reserves, fourth in proven crude oil reserves and is the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) third-largest producer, exporting about 2 million barrels of crude per day.

Reports of faster supply increases from major global producers are also putting downward pressure on the market after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other oil producers led by Russian Federation agreed in June to ease production curbs to make up for lost supplies out of Libya, Venezuela and Iran.

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