Oil supported as new hedges placed, but rising global…


LONDON-Oil prices edged up Friday after a week of oscillating between steep losses and gains.

According to two officials, the USA hasn't been able to persuade China to reduce Iranian oil purchases, but Beijing has reportedly agreed not to increase its oil imports from Iran, Bloomberg reports.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 were down 13 cents, or 0.2 percent at $73.32 a barrel by 0052 GMT, after rising 1.5 percent on Thursday.

On Tuesday, data released by the American Petroleum Institute showed USA crude stockpiles to have risen by 5.59 million barrels in the week, compared to analyst expectations for a 2.8 million-barrel drawdown.

Initially, the OPEC+ members agreed on a combined cut of 1.8 million bpd but lower production by a number of countries in fact made the cuts deeper, raising fears of global oil shortages and a potential spike in the oil prices as a result.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for September delivery traded at $67.85 at 3:51 p.m.in Tokyo.

"Oil has been rebounding every time prices fall to near $68 since mid-July", Makiko Tsugata, a senior analyst at Mizuho Securities Co., said by phone.

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Crude oil costs experienced their worst monthly decline in over two years in July as a multi-year high in barrel prices broke away amidst plans by OPEC and Russian Federation to boost production limits. "A lot of this is the risk premium priced in for Iran and when do we start seeing an impact on supply there", Patterson said.

Despite the decline, China "continues to hold the mantle as the leading Asian destination for US crude", said the firm's commodity research director, Matt Smith.

The FOMC interlude was even less of an event than expected but that belies some of the headline risk creeping back into play, as the market has been waiting for a Whitehouse press release on China tariffs which has left investors to speculate if this will confirm the overnight chatter the United States is proceeding with Dollars 16 bln in tariffs.

"There are a lot of escalation points that could occur very quickly and that worries me", Jonathan Barratt, chief investment officer at Ayers Alliance in Sydney, said. West Texas Intermediate, the US benchmark for the price of oil, was down 0.1 percent to $68.89 per barrel.

Oil prices are also feeling the effects of tensions over global trade, which could cause economic growth to slow.

The price jump earlier this summer had come about in large part because of President Donald Trump 's decision to pull the US out of an worldwide agreement to curb Iran's nuclear program.

Trump has turned up pressure on China for trade concessions by proposing a higher 25 percent tariff on $200 billion of Chinese imports. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected a decline of 2.8 million barrels.