Oil prices claw back some ground, but demand worries drag

The national flags of Russia and Saudi Arabia are seen during an OPEC meeting in Vienna

Iran and India traded 4.71 million tons of non-oil commodities worth 2.18 billion USA dollars during the first five months of the current Iranian fiscal year from March 21 to August 22, Eghtesad online news website reported on Saturday. "The looming supply gap that the loss of Iranian oil exports represents is still ahead of us and that early November U.S. deadline to reduced imports to zero is fast approaching".

It is also encouraging other oil producers such as Saudi Arabia, Russia and other member states of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to pump more to meet the shortfall.

Bloomberg's tanker tracking data revealed there are now eight tankers holding 14 million barrels of Iranian crude or condensate, a form of light crude extracted from gas fields, anchored in the Persian Gulf.

Iran is now OPEC's third-largest producer, but the U.S. wants to cut its production down to zero by November as part of sanctions imposed on the country.

He said efforts by US President Donald Trump to remove Iran from the oil market through sanctions had allowed Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia to take OPEC as a hostage.

Weaker-than-expected U.S. Producer Inflation and Consumer Inflation reports also drove traders into gold, however, gains were limited by rising U.S. Treasury yields ahead of a widely expected Fed rate hike later this week.

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At press time, Brent crude is trading at $78.35 per barrel, having clocked a low of $77.87 yesterday.

Under the United States pressure to lower oil prices, the OPEC and its allies agreed in June to boost production, having participated in a supply-cutting deal in place since 2017. The first row of new sanctions against Iran were put in place in August, while more hard-hitting sanctions against the country's energy sector will take effect on November 4. Despite that fact, there are many risks that have caused the downfall in prices.

The U.S. led the world in oil production for much of the last century until the Soviet Union and later Saudi Arabia passed it during the 1970s.

Top refiner Indian Oil Corp wants to lift 6 million barrels each in September and October, while Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals would load 3 million barrels each for those two months, the sources said.

"It increases the odds that there will be less oil coming out of there", said Phil Flynn, an analyst at Price Futures Group.

Novak also said that sanctions on Iran brings "huge uncertainty on the market - how the countries, which buy nearly 2 million bpd of Iranian oil will act".

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