Oil prices fell about 2 per cent on Wednesday as a surprise increase in USA crude stockpiles fed concerns about global oversupply, while investors anxious that trade tensions could hit energy demand. The market expected 1.3 million barrels of gasoline draw. Thursday's data suggests last week's increase might have been an anomaly, traders said.
"There's an expectation that the build from this week will be gone next week", said Phil Flynn, an analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.
Trade tensions "continue to weigh on the broader markets and obviously commodities", said Matt Sallee, who helps manage $16 billion at Tortoise Capital Advisors LLC in Leawood, Kansas.
West Texas Intermediate crude for September delivery dropped $1.10 to settle at $67.66 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Futures reversed course after trading lower on concerns about oversupply early in the session.
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Saudi Arabia's production increase shows it's delivering on promises to prevent prices from damaging the global economy after Brent crude reached a three-year high above $80 a barrel earlier this summer.
Alongside Russia, OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia and other members of the Middle-East dominated oil cartel agreed in late June to begin increasing production by up to 1 million barrels per day starting in August.
"Oil is holding up reasonably well".
Crude prices remained supported by the prospect of an Iranian supply squeeze following the imposition of U.S. oil sanctions, with yesterday's rally stymied by short-term bearish supply factors that continue to weigh on prices.
On Monday, August 6, the first set of USA sanctions on Iran will snap back, so we will be probably looking at tougher actions over August and September, Croft said.
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U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of an global nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions on Iran has angered Tehran.
Although the sanctions don't officially take effect until November, Iran is already seeing customers flee as the United States imposes penalties on buyers after Trump quit a nuclear accord with the country.
After Trump called for a 15 percent increase in tariffs on Chinese goods earlier this week, Beijing on Friday announced it was targeting $60 billion worth of US goods in response.
Fears that Chinese demand could taper fueled the pullback on Friday after state oil major Sinopec cut its purchases of USA crude.
Analysts said widening of positions by participants amid pick up in spot demand against tight stocks position on restricted supplies from overseas markets mainly kept crude palm oil prices higher at futures trade. The author has made every effort to ensure accuracy of information provided; however, neither Kitco Metals Inc. nor the author can guarantee such accuracy.
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