Oil Trades Near Lowest Level in a Month

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Crude prices fell sharply Thursday, with the USA benchmark tallying a two-day drop of more than 4% following a fourth straight weekly climb in crude inventories that has seen domestic supplies swell by a total of 22 million barrels over that period.

US West Texas Intermediate crude for October delivery was higher 12 cents, or 0.2 percent, $69.87 per barrel, after falling 3 percent in the previous session to settle below $70 for the first time in a month.

NIOC head Ali Kardor said US President Donald Trump had been trying to reduce Iran's oil exports for months.

The global price for oil plummeted on Wednesday, with the USA crude futures sinking below $70 per barrel, the first in this month, following the increase of the country's crude stockpiles by 6.5 million barrels, triple that of what analysts had originally forecasted.

There have also been concerns in New Delhi following fresh United States sanctions on Iran, set to come into effect on November 4, since the West Asian nation is a major supplier of crude oil to India.

US lawmakers pointed at the Saudi leadership over the disappearance and suggested sanctions could be possible.

"Ten to 20 percent of our daily volumes are trading in European and Asian hours. names that we never came across are now regulars", Johnson said, as quoted by Reuters.

A looming "seasonal scale back in refinery demand...could result in oil stock builds", a portion of the report reads, which was circulated among OPEC officials on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia will quietly add extra oil to the market over the next couple of months to offset a drop in Iranian production but is anxious it might need to limit output next year to balance global supply and demand as the United States pumps more crude.

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"The impact of the inventor y-jump weighed on the market and oil seems bearish", stated Kaname Gokon, who is a trader in Japan.

Brent for December settlement was at $79.89 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

"The looming Iranian supply disruption and the conflict between the US and Saudi Arabia are pushing traders to take a cautious stance at the moment", Will Yun, a commodities analyst at Hyundai Futures Corp., said by phone from Seoul.

Two takeways from Wednesday's trading activity: first, the resiliency and determination of USA producers continue to undercut persistent arguments from the analytical community that American output has hit its peak and won't be able to help compensate for the loss of Iranian crude due to the sanctions.

Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs Raveesh Kumar said India has already conveyed to the United States about its position on the matter. The war in Yemen is where the Saudis are most exposed to US leverage.

Turkey's biggest oil importer, TÜPRAŞ, is in talks with USA officials to obtain a waiver allowing it to keep buying Iranian oil after Washington reinstates sanctions on Iran's energy sector in November, industry sources told Reuters.

In spite of this analysis, there is uncertainty about the future of oil prices, as some analysts say that spare capacity in OPEC countries, especially in Saudi Arabia, has become limited after the Kingdom increased its production to 10.7 million barrels per day.

The oil weapon does not work, which is why Saudi Arabia is unlikely to employ it in the dispute over the disappearance of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Kardor said Iran was scheduled to sign a new oil contract with a foreign company within two weeks, ISNA reported.