The reduction in participation shows that "the summer-time doldrums are here and there's not a lot of direction for this market at the moment", said John Kilduff, a partner at New York-based hedge fund Again Capital LLC. "It's duck and cover and keep an eye on your Twitter feed".
"We're just getting tighter and tighter here in the U.S.in terms of supply, particularly in Cushing", said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital Management in NY. Early Market Call - as of 8:35 AM EDT WTI - Sep $70.05, up 1.36 cents RBOB - Aug $2.1708, up 1 cent HO - Aug $2.1636, up 1 cent View the Sprague Refined Products Market Watch Report in a downloadable pdf format by clicking below.
Meanwhile, Brent lost almost $11 over three sessions spread throughout the first four weeks of July. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo laid out terms for a meeting between the USA and Iranian leaders. The United States continues to affirm its desire to reduce Iran's oil exports to zero, while Iran has threatened to retaliate by closing the Strait of Hormuz.
Last month, Brent fell more than 6 percent and USA crude slumped about 7 percent, the biggest monthly declines for both benchmarks since July 2016. The White House later walked back that claim, saying the king would take an increase under consideration.
According to the Reuters survey, Saudi Arabia's production in July so far has been 10.65 million bpd, up from 10.60 million bpd in June, but exports were close to June's levels because the Saudis increased domestic use at power plants and refineries. Both headlines suggested that Saudi Arabia and Moscow were making good on their vow to raise output to prevent the market from overheating.
As of Friday, WTI was down more than 7% over the last four weeks, as heavy losses in a handful of trading sessions wiped out a string of modest daily gains for the benchmark.
Meanwhile, oil prices dropped after Trump seemed to jettison bellicose threats against Iran on Monday, saying in a dramatic about-face that he was willing to meet the country's leaders without pre-conditions.
Russian Federation and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries boosted output in July, according to a Reuters production survey on Monday.
At 408.7 million barrels, the EIA said, crude oil inventories were below the five-year seasonal average.
The final big drop came the following week later on July 16, with US crude down nearly $3 a barrel and Brent dropping almost $3.50. OPEC´s collective adherence with supply targets has slipped to 111 percent in July from a revised 116 percent in June, the survey found, meaning it is still cutting more than agreed. Mnuchin told reporters the administration wanted to avoid roiling oil markets as it pursued its Iran policy.
The price of Brent crude was actually up 76 cents at $75.52 per barrel, while the US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose by $1.51 to settle at $70.21 per barrel. Brent fell toward $74, down about 6.5 percent in July.