Oil Steady as Emerging-Market Fears Escalate Amid Turkey Crisis

Randal Sanchez
August 15, 2018

Shipping data shows annualised growth in demand from Asia's five largest oil importers - China, India, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan - fell from more than 3.5 percent in 2016 to around 2 percent so far this year.

West Texas Intermediate crude for September delivery slid 38 USA cents to US$67.25 a barrel at 9:53 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The reduction will depend on whether buyers of Iranian oil receive waivers that would allow some imports.

Benchmark Brent crude oil settled 74 cents higher at $US72.96 a barrel.

Analyst say trade disputes between the United States and China as well as turmoil in emerging markets could curb growth and energy demand.

"With these risks from sanctions, from the escalating trade war with China and even from smaller local things like with Turkey, it all feeds into a risk to the demand picture further out", he added.

Meanwhile, West Texas Intermediate crude prices went up by 16 cent to United States dollars 67.79 a barrel while Brent crude edged up by 7 cent to USD 72.88 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The Trump administration has forecast that worldwide buyers will cut Iranian imports by as much as 1 million barrels a day once renewed sanctions take effect, according to people familiar with the matter.

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In a monthly report, OPEC said the world will need 32.05 million bpd of crude from its 15 members in 2019, down 130,000 bpd from last month's forecast. US light crude was up 90 cents at $68.10.

“The direct impact on global demand for oil is negligible, ” Fritsch said.

OPEC itself, using secondary sources, estimated in a report published on Monday that Saudi production was at a slightly higher level of 10.39 million bpd last month.

Oil futures fell more than $1 a barrel on Wednesday, pressured by a weaker global economic growth outlook and a report of rising USA crude inventories even as Washington's sanctions on Iran looked likely to curb that country's crude supplies.

Despite the cautious mood in oil markets, bullish sentiment found some support from expectations that USA sanctions against Tehran would restrict Iranian crude exports, tightening global supply.

However, a revival from lower levels can not be ruled out in the next quarter as United States sanctions on Iranian oil exports are due to take effect in November that may cut two-third of its exports and in turn tighten global supply.

Opec, the cartel that pumps about a third of the world's oil, said its modelling suggested "that the tariffs, under the most likely case, will not have a significant..."

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