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Commodities - Oil Prices Firm on Rising US Crude

10 August 2018

Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, was up 0.3% to $72.50 a barrel on London's ICE Futures exchange.

Other than the four key importers, the European Union has said it will not enforce United States sanctions which are to be imposed on Iran's oil and banking sectors on November 4.

A greater commitment to US crude may help shield India from supply disruptions when sanctions on oil aimed at curbing the Islamic republic's nuclear program begin in early November.

West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark, shed 2% to $67.70 per barrel after the Ministry of Commerce released a new list of American goods that will be subject to tariffs.

The US, which in May pulled out of a landmark nuclear deal and said sanctions will be re-imposed on Iran within 180 days, has threatened to cut off access to the American banking system for foreign financial institutions that trade with Tehran. Gasoline inventories were seen down by 1.7 million barrels, and distillate inventories were expected to rise by 220,000 barrels.

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Flows from Iran to China and India - its two key customers - remained high, but exports to South Korea, Europe fell steadily as these buyers start to elsewhere.

Oil prices rose after the sanctions went into affect, but gains were limited as market participants lacked clear signs on just how much the proposed oil sanctions would affect Iranian crude output, Kilduff said.

On top of the impact on the broader global economy, there is growing worry in the crude oil market about Chinese demand.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 19 cents, or 0.3 percent, at $68.68 barrel.

Crude prices settled slightly lower on Thursday, extending the previous session's losses as the escalating China-U.S. trade dispute casts doubt over the outlook for oil demand. "Refiner demand for crude oil remains high, however, as does consumer demand for gasoline".

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Some analysts said that global crude supply losses could range from 600,000 to 1.5 million barrels per day due to the re-imposition of US sanctions on Iran.

On the 4 hour chart, crude oil is crossing above a solid resistance level of $69.45.

Analysts estimated that Iranian production would drop further amid the restored sanctions and drive the oil price further up.

For the past week, crude imports averaged 7.9 million barrels a day, up by 182,000 compared with the previous week.

However, July imports were still the third-lowest so far this year. They said Iranian exports were likely to drop by up to 1-million bpd by November, but even that could push Brent to $85 a barrel if oil markets were hit by other disruptions in producer countries such as Libya or Venezuela.

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Commodities - Oil Prices Firm on Rising US Crude