China 'shifts to Iranian tankers to keep oil flowing'

Although major Gulf region producers such as Saudi Arabia Kuwait and the UAE will try to ramp up production Shum said it will not be sufficient to address the shortfall in supply. — Reuters pic

Although major Gulf region producers such as Saudi Arabia Kuwait and the UAE will try to ramp up production Shum said it will not be sufficient to address the shortfall in supply. — Reuters pic

New Delhi, Aug 20 Crude oil futures declined by Rs 13 to Rs 4,558 per barrel today as speculators reduced bets amid a weak trend overseas. The September contract CLc1 expired on Tuesday and settled 92 cents higher to $67.35 a barrel.

Worries that oversupply would weigh on the US market and that a trade dispute between the United Stated and China would slow economic growth and hurt demand for oil have been at the forefront recently.

West Texas Intermediate crude for delivery next month settled at US$65.91 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, up US$0.45.

"The general indicators have been very bearish here as of late", Mizuho Securities USA LLC futures division director Bob Yawger said.

Brent crude futures rose 38 cents to settle at $72.21 a barrel, a 0.5 percent gain. "Immediately stronger exports from key producing regions are keeping global benchmarks in contango - meaning near-term prices are lower than longer-term ones - signaling a well-supplied market".

The first round of USA sanctions, which included cutting off Iran and any businesses that trade with it from the US financial system, went into effect on August 7.

"We continue to discuss our Iran policy with Chinese counterparts and the implications of our reimposition of sanctions", the official said, responding to the Reuters report.

China keeps buying Iranian oil despite United States sanctions on Iran, shifting cargoes to ships owned by National Iranian Tanker Co (NITC) for imports, Reuters reported.

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However, oil exports from southern Iraq are on course to hit another record high this month, two industry sources said, adding to signs that OPEC's second-largest producer is following through on the group's agreement to raise output.

Still, traders said overall market sentiment was cautious because of concerns over the demand outlook amid the trade dispute between the United States and China.

The American Petroleum Institute is to publish its weekly update on USA oil supplies.

"Investors remain cautious as Wednesday's surprise gain in US stockpiles remained fresh in their minds", ANZ bank said on Friday.

A Chinese delegation is due in Washington this week to try to resolve the dispute, but U.S. President Donald Trump told Reuters on Monday he does not expect much progress and that resolving the disagreement will "take time".

Analysts surveyed Monday by S&P Global Platts were expecting latest USA crude stocks data to show a 3.37 million-barrel draw for the week ended August 17 - they had also expected a decline in last week's survey, but stocks instead posted a 6.81 million-barrel build.

The announcement last week that the two countries are returning to the negotiation table spurred optimism a full-blown trade war could be averted.

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