Published: Fri, September 21, 2018
Finance | By Jaime Brady

OPEC chief: Cartel must stay together as United States sanctions Iran

OPEC chief: Cartel must stay together as United States sanctions Iran

OPEC and non-OPEC producers Russian Federation started withholding oil supplies in 2017 to end a global glut and prop up prices.

Brent crude, the global benchmark, was up 0.7% to $78.61 a barrel on London's Intercontinental Exchange.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was up 83 cents at $69.74 per barrel, after rising over $1 to $69.95.

The countries are the world's two largest economies.

In July, Saudi Arabia saw its highest crude oil stocks draw in eight months at 5.51 million barrels, after the Kingdom unexpectedly reduced its production compared to June while it kept exports stable, S&P Global Platts reported on Tuesday, citing data by the Joint Organizations Data Initiative (JODI).

USA crude inventories fell 2.1 million barrels last week to 394.1 million barrels, the lowest level since February 2015, government data showed.

Iran's oil exports are falling as more buyers, including its second-largest buyer India, cut imports ahead of US sanctions that will be re-imposed in November.

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United States crude stocks increased by 1.2 million barrels according to the American Petroleum Institute (API), sharply reversing the market forecast of -2.7 million barrels, raising prospects for a widening premium in the Brent versus WTI with crude runs worsening in Europe and Asia. According to reports, Iran's crude exports are already falling as the US prepares to curb Tehran's ability to sell oil and participate in global financial markets.

A committee of OPEC members and other producers is to meet on September 23 in Algiers to review compliance with their output targets.

U.S. oil takes a step backwards as American crude inventories continue to outstrip demand.

"The brinkmanship between Beijing and Washington has the potential to severely impact the competitiveness of US crude oil and petroleum products in the Chinese market, and it will also deter Chinese investment in the USA energy sector", said Abhishek Kumar, senior energy analyst at Interfax Energy in London.

Sanctions affecting Iran's petroleum sector will come into force from November 4.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Monday that Washington would slap 10% tariffs on another $200 billion Chinese imports, except smart watches from Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Fitbit and other consumer products including bicycle helmets and baby vehicle seats.

Official inventory data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration will be released on Wednesday.

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