Published: Fri, November 02, 2018
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Trump’s Iran sanctions resolve faces test from oil-thirsty China, India

Trump’s Iran sanctions resolve faces test from oil-thirsty China, India

Brent crude oil futures were down 8 cents, to $77.54/Bbl at 1:38 p.m. ET, dropping roughly 6.3% this month, and threatening to post the worst decline also since July 2016.

In a June tweet Trump wrote that he had spoken to the Saudi King about the need to increase Riyadh's daily oil production to two million barrels due to an unstable situation in Iran and Venezuela and added that King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud had agreed with the suggestion.

West Texas Intermediate crude for December delivery dipped 87 cents to settle at $65.31 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest since August 15.

"Oil prices have fallen in the past two weeks, and the lower prices do not come as discounts", he said.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Tuesday high oil prices were hurting consumers and could dent fuel demand at a time of slowing global economic activity.

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He pointed to "weakening global economic growth, the ongoing US-China trade war, monetary policy tightening, fears of a hard Brexit (and) Italy's budget woes" as main reasons for the sell-offs.

Only 280,000 barrels were sold out of one million offered, and went for $74.85 per barrel, more than $4 below the initial asking price.

Prices were pressured as US inventories were expected to rise for a sixth straight week as other top producers Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation signalled potential output increases.

That's an increase of 10 million bpd since the start of the decade and means these three producers alone now meet a third of global crude demand.

Even with United States sanctions on Iranian exports due to come into force on 4 November, oil prices have fallen about $10 a barrel since four-year highs reached in early October.

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Investors awaited industry data on US crude inventories due to be released at 4:30 p.m. EDT on Tuesday.

Iran sold oil to private buyers through its energy exchange for the first time on Sunday, as part of its efforts to counter the imminent return of U.S. sanctions.

The new round of Washington's anti-Tehran sanctions are expected to enter into force on November 4, with the stated goal of bringing the country's oil exports to zero.

Hedge fund managers continued to liquidate former bullish positions in oil last week, with signs of short-selling appearing for the first time in over a year.

In a sign that oil supply remains ample despite the looming United States sanctions against Iran's petroleum exports, crude output from the world's top three producers - Russia, the USA and Saudi Arabia - reached 33-million barrels a day for the first time in September, Refinitiv Eikon data showed.

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