Prices Up Over 1 Percent as OPEC Official Warns of Limited Supply

Tale of Two Oil Markets Brent Bulls Split From US Optimists

For oil investors this is both the best of times and the worst of times depending on which crude benchmark you trade

Earlier this month, Saudi shipments into the USA reached a four-week average of 1 million barrels a day for the first time since late 2017, according to government data.

In comments published Saturday, a senior Iranian official said that OPEC has "not much credit" left as some members are turning it into "a tool for the USA".

Iranian crude oil export loadings have declined by 580,000 bpd in the past three months, Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts said in a note to clients.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is concerned by threats to crude supply from large producers such as Iran, the group's top official said.

Beijing on Tuesday quickly added US$60 billion of USA products to its import tariff list in retaliation for President Donald Trump's planned levies on US$200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

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"Considering the high demand and low supply in the market, America's sanctions can not drop Iran's oil sale to zero ..."

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate futures were trading up 0.8% at $69.54 a barrel.

Brent may fall more than $1 to $76.37 a barrel while WTI crude prices may revisit the September 14 low of $67.94, he wrote.

The world's biggest crude exporter believes it may no longer be possible to avoid higher prices as USA sanctions on Iranian exports crimp supply, according to people familiar with Saudi Arabia's view.

Shale explorers added last week the most oil rigs in a month as a pipeline bottleneck in the busy U.S. Permian Basin is encouraging drilling in other areas.

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Oil prices firmed on Tuesday after Saudi Arabia indicated it was comfortable with a higher price range ahead of a meeting between major producing countries in Algeria.

Bloomberg reported that while Saudi Arabia had no desire to push prices higher than US$80, it may no longer be possible to avoid it.

Since spring when the Trump Administration said it would impose the sanctions, crude traders have priced in a risk premium reflecting the supply shortages that may occur when exports from Iran, the third-largest Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) producer, are cut.

Oil markets dropped on Tuesday as the latest escalation in the Sino-US trade war clouded the outlook for demand, although concerns over tightening supply offered prices some support.

Iranian oil exports have plunged about 35 percent since April, the month before Trump ripped up the diplomatic deal that President Barack Obama negotiated to curtail Tehran's nuclear program and announced new oil sanctions.

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