Oil prices rise on tighter supply outlook

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"While we have some bearish factors, including rising USA oil production, a trade war between the USA and China isn't drastically escalating, and that sense of relief is supporting prices".

A Reuters survey indicates the 15-member OPEC oil cartel increased output by 70,000 barrels per day in July. U.S.net imports declined by 2.5 million barrels per day during that week.

Crude has declined about 6% this month, as simmering trade tensions between the USA and China push prices lower at a time when American shale output continues to surge.

"A fresh dose of price angst has come from an unexpected source", said Stephen Brennock of oil broker PVM. "Demand for crude oil from refiners is very high, and gasoline demand remains sky-high, as well", said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital Management in NY.

Consultants JBC Energy estimated Saudi Arabia raised production by 310,000 barrels a day to 10.8 million a day in July.

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OPEC and allies agreed last month to boost supply as U.S. President Donald Trump urged producers to offset losses caused by new U.S. sanctions on Iran and to dampen prices, which this year hit $80 a barrel for the first time since 2014.

"Despite a rise in refinery runs, a cratering in crude exports last week yielded a whopping crude build of 5.6 million barrels on the Gulf Coast - leading to a solid build of 3.8 million barrels for total US stocks", said Matt Smith, director of commodities research at ClipperData.

The final big drop came the following week later on July 16, with US crude down nearly $3 a barrel and Brent dropping almost $3.50.

But following the drop in oil price to an all-time low, OPEC and other major producers, including Russian Federation started to withhold output in 2017 to rein in oversupply that had depressed prices since 2014.

Oil was steady near $70/bbl as supply risks from Saudi Arabia to the United Kingdom threaten to strain global markets.

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Another major event on Wednesday was Yemen's Houthi's attack on the Saudi oil tanker in the Red Sea.

But they also said the ongoing global trade tensions could hurt demand. Despite all the pipeline bottlenecks, the increase of rig counts is a negative factor for oil prices. WTI fell 1.3 per cent on Friday, marking a fourth week of declines.

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This market update is provided for information purposes only and is not intended as advice on any transaction nor is it a solicitation to buy or sell commodities. As a result, more US crude oil would be shipped to Asian market. "China trade wars continue to weigh on prices, while the halt in Saudi shipments through the Red Sea waterway has seemingly failed to provide a bullish fillip", said Stephen Innes, head of trading APAC at OANDA Brokerage.

According to Smith, geopolitical tension remains a counterweight to this, as the "war of words" between Iran and the United States ratcheted up this week.

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