Oil prices drop as escalating trade war clouds demand outlook

Crude Oil Pump

Crude Oil Pump

The head of OPEC says the oil cartel must stick together for the good of the global economy as Iran faces renewed USA sanctions.

The trade dispute is raising concerns about the potential for slower growth in oil consumption, offsetting supply concerns stemming from the upcoming US sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program.

OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo said on Tuesday that OPEC and non-OPEC countries aim to agree a framework for long-term cooperation by December, when the oil producers plan to meet in Vienna.

In July, Saudi Arabia saw its highest crude oil stocks draw in eight months at 5.51 million barrels, after the Kingdom unexpectedly reduced its production compared to June while it kept exports stable, S&P Global Platts reported on Tuesday, citing data by the Joint Organizations Data Initiative (JODI).

China said it had no choice but to retaliate against new U.S. trade measures after Trump imposed 10 per cent tariffs on about $200 billion worth of Chinese imports.

A leading Iranian official said on Saturday that Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation had taken the oil market "hostage" and accused other producers of turning the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries into "a USA tool".

A committee of OPEC members and other producers is to meet on September 23 in Algiers to review compliance with their output targets.

Nawaz Sharif, daughter Maryam Nawaz's jail term suspended by Islamabad High Court
Dozens of jubilant supporters chanted "Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif!" outside the court after the decision was announced. Sharif, who served three non-consecutive terms as prime minister, was in London during his trial earlier this year.

Official U.S. government data is due to be released on Wednesday.

Brent crude futures dropped 44c, or 0.6%, to $77.61 a barrel by 4.24am GMT. The rally could stop and prices could turn lower if someone counters with concerns over future demand in the wake of the announcement of additional tariffs on China by the United States.

" Oil markets are in a tug of war as Iran sanctions will continue to provide near-term support, while discussions around global demand in the wake of this morning's tariffs and speculation of further OPEC supply increases should temper upside ambitions", Oanda head of trading Stephen Innes said.

Reuters previously reported Saudi Arabia wants crude to stay between $70 and $80/Bbl maximizing revenue and keeping a lid on prices until us congressional elections.

Saudi Arabia has mentioned several times recently that they have no desire to push oil prices over $80/barrel, a move higher may be unavoidable as USA sanctions on Iran are set to come into effect beginning November 4th.

Russia's energy minister, Alexander Novak, said on Monday that the country is ready to cooperate with the U.S.to balance the oil market, after the two had a meeting last week to talk about boosting oil output to offset the shortfall from Iran.

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