Saudi Arabia And Iran Reignite The Oil Price War

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Iran's oil exports peaked at nearly 3 million bpd in May this year, but they have since fallen to around 2 million bpd as Asian buyers, including Japan, South Korea and India, began to shun its crude ahead of the sanctions.

At 10:45 am Singapore time (0245 GMT), ICE October Brent crude futures were up 32 cents/b (0.44%) from Monday's settle at $72.93/b, while the NYMEX September light sweet crude contract was 33 cents/b (0.49%) higher at $67.53/b. "But this was not enough to prevent the inventory build".

Not a single tanker has loaded crude oil from the United States bound for China since the start of August, Thomson Reuters Eikon ship tracking data showed, compared with about 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) in June and July.

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But analysts predict Iran could still see its oil sales drop by around 700,000 barrels per day from their current level of around 2.3 million.

According to secondary sources, total OPEC-15 crude oil production averaged 32.32 million barrels per day in July, an increase of 41,000 barrels per day over the previous month, the cartel said in its Oil Market Report.

Analysts said expansion of positions by participants was in line with a firming trend overseas, where oil prices rose after a report from OPEC confirmed that top exporter Saudi Arabia had cut production to avert looming oversupply.

In February, Saudi Arabia freed nine Iranian fishermen detained for two years, accusing them of entering its waters. OPEC expects non-OPEC supply to expand by 2.13 million bpd next year, 30,000 bpd more than forecast last month.

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June's OPEC meeting ended with a commitment for just under 1 million b/d of increased output, supported by Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation.

While OPEC output rose in July, the group also lifted forecasts for supply from its rivals for the rest of the year.

"This week, we saw the IEA [International Energy Agency] maintain its projections for global oil demand in 2018, while OPEC made a minor downward revision".

Trade tensions with the US have weakened currencies in emerging markets as investors pull cash out of countries like India and China and convert it to USA dollars, which are still seen as a safe haven.

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