Oil Slips as Economic Concerns Counter Tightening Supplies

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Oil prices held firm on Tuesday, with USA fuel markets seen to be tightening, although the release of crude from the American strategic reserve somewhat offset an expected supply cut due to upcoming sanctions against Iran.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures were up 41 cents at 69.00 a barrel after dropping 2.5 percent on Thursday.

The market tumbled early in the session as investors focused on the bearish elements of the IEA report, said Bob Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho in NY.

Benchmark Brent crude was marginally higher at $79.08 a barrel after touching as high as $79.66 earlier in the day, the highest since late May, when the price broke above $80 a barrel.

Oil futures in NY climbed 2.5 percent, while gasoline futures popped higher by 2.8 percent on Tuesday.

While analysts and market participants are estimating how much Iranian crude oil will come off the market with the US sanctions, signs have started to emerge that Iran's refined oil products and condensate flows are also being disrupted, according to an S&P Global Platts analysis, citing trade and market sources and trade flow data.

"According to Bloomberg, in case the Iran sanctions come into place, oil price could go up to $150 a barrel", reported ET.

The American Petroleum Institute is scheduled to release its weekly count of stockpiles later Tuesday, followed by the US government's tally on Wednesday.

Kemp concluded his forecast by citing Energy Information Administration figures showing that USA crude production in 2018 will likely average 10.66 million bpd, down from 10.79 million bpd at the time of its July forecast. "The situation should be closely watched, the right decisions should be taken", he said.

Novak said global oil markets were "fragile" due to geopolitical risks and supply disruptions, but added his country could raise output if needed.

The senior government official here confirmed that the US-India summit last week discussed India scaling up American oil imports as part of US measures to cut its trade shortfall.

Should markets overheat and prices spike, Novak said Russian Federation could raise output.

OPEC said the world will need 32.05 million bpd from its 15 members in 2019, unchanged from last month.

Oil traders were also watching the progress of category 4 Hurricane Florence, which is expected to make landfall in the United States by Friday.

The report provides further indication of the rapid oil demand that helped OPEC and allies get rid of a supply glut will moderate in 2019.

Refinery crude runs rose by 210,000 bpd and utilization rates increased 1 percentage point to 97.6 percent of total capacity, EIA data showed.

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