Oil Prices Hit 7-Week Low As Trade War Heats Up

10 August, 2018, 14:45 | Author: Dave Hampton
  • Prepare for $90 oil after sanctions against Iran take effect – analyst

"There is room for [prices in] the crude market to soften a bit more", says John Woods of JJ Woods Associates, adding that inventories could rise further as refineries head toward maintenance season after the summer driving season.

The US government brought a string of new sanctions against Iran on Tuesday, aiming at Iran's purchases of US dollars - in which oil has always been traded - metals trading, industrial software, coal, and its automobile industry.

US crude stockpiles were expected to have dropped 3.3 million barrels last week.

The reimposed sanctions initially target Iran's United States dollar purchases, metals trading, coal, industrial software and its auto sector. Crude oil will be exempt.

Crude oil prices are under pressure because a tariff on imported US crude oil means a drop in demand. This threatens supply. On Wednesday, China said it will impose tariffs of 25 percent on a further $16 billion in US imports.

The mounting trade tension has raised concerns that global economic growth will slow, lowering demand for crude oil in the process.

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U.S. crude stocks fell 1.35 million barrels the week ending August 3, falling short of the 3.7-million barrel decline expected by analysts polled by S&P Global Platts, and well below the 6 million-barrel decline reported by the American Petroleum Institute Tuesday evening.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 30 cents, or 0.4 percent, at $69.31 barrel.

Japanese officials visited Washington last week seeking an early exemption to continue to buy Iranian crude but US officials have refused to comment on the talks.

However, many European countries, China and India, oppose the sanctions, but the United States government said it wants as many countries as possible to stop buying Iranian oil.

Oil price rose today amid reports that the USA restored sanctions against Iran, the world's fifth-largest oil producer. If more oil leaves the market than expected then the bulls will win the supply/demand battle.

Analysts have predicted the sanctions could put more than two million barrels per day at risk.

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Iran is the third-largest producer among the members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec).

Total gasoline inventories increased by 2.9 million barrels last week, according to the EIA, and are now about 4% above the five-year average range.

China's announcement came just a day after the U.S. Trade Representative's office released a finalized list of $16 billion worth in Chinese goods that will be hit with tariffs, effective August 23.

"You can not order 2 million barrels like ordering a coffee somewhere", Beat Wittmann, a partner at financial consultancy Porta Advisors, told CNBC recently.

The U.S. crude oil production went down to 10.8 million barrels per day.

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Samar Badawi is the sister-in-law of Raif Badawi's wife Ensaf Haidar, who lives in Canada and recently became a Canadian citizen. The move follows vigorous calls by Canada for the immediate release of activists that have been detained.

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