Oil prices rise on Iran sanctions, but US-China row mutes trading

Oil prices rise on Iran sanctions, but US-China row mutes trading

Oil prices rise on Iran sanctions, but US-China row mutes trading

"With countries including China and India unwilling to completely cut Iranian oil imports, and with the European Union also refusing to endorse the withdrawal from Iran nuclear deal, the USA finds itself in a compromising position to negotiate with Iran's customers to reduce oil imports", the statement added.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were at $67.95 per barrel at 0044 GMT, up 9 cents, or 0.1 percent, from their last settlement.

USA crude imports last week eased by 249,000 barrels per day to 8.3 million bpd.

"As the USA continues to mount pressure on its allies to prescribe to unilateral sanctions on Iran, Iran's major energy customers, including China and India, have indicated their defiance to the US's request", law firm Zaiwalla and Company Managing Partner said in a statement.

The U.S. government reimposed sanctions on Iran this month after withdrawing from a 2015 worldwide nuclear deal, which Washington saw as inadequate for curbing Tehran's activities in the Middle East and denying it the means to make an atomic bomb. Tehran says it has no ambitions to make such a bomb.

Meanwhile, China, the world's biggest oil importer and Iran's biggest customer, is said to have rejected a United States request to halt purchases from the producer, dealing a blow to Trump's efforts to isolate the Middle East nation and force it into negotiations.

"Investors remain cautious as Wednesday's surprise gain in USA stockpiles remained fresh in their minds", the bank said on Friday.

A survey of the market by Vanguard, yesterday, showed that the price of Brent rose from over $72 to $74.17 per barrel.

Gasoline stocks fell by 4.9 million barrels, compared with analyst expectations in a Reuters poll for a 713,000-barrel drop.

In options activity, December 2018 puts for oil at $50 a barrel traded, though the volume was thin with just a few hundred contracts exchanged, said Bob Yawger, director of futures at Mizuho in NY.

Two major geopolitical events have been affecting the volatility of oil prices: US President Donald Trump is sticking to his pledge to cut off Iran from the rest of the world with economic sanctions, squeezing the country's energy trade.

The dollar fell after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said steady rate hikes are the best way to protect the USA economic recovery.

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

It is interesting to note that the U.S. oil rig count (an indicator of future oil production) has been flat in the past two months.

A view of Equinor's oil platform in Johan Sverdrup oilfield in the North Sea, Norway August 22, 2018. Oil production will stop during the strikes.

However, this week, because of falling United States crude oil inventories, the price of United States crude has once again risen.

Hedge funds and other money managers cut their bullish wagers on USA crude futures to the lowest level since mid-June.

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