Oil markets muted as U.S.-China trade war remains unresolved

Oil Prices Gain on Falling U.S. Inventories

Oil price leaps to $74 per barrel as US inventory drops

USA crude imports last week eased by 249,000 barrels per day to 8.3 million bpd.

The strength of the greenback has an inverse relationship to the price of crude oil. Refinery utilization rates remained unchanged last week at 98.1 percent of total capacity, the highest rates since 1999.

After fading into the print, WTI rebounded after API reported a bigger than expected crude draw.

Brent crude oil LCOc1 settled up $1.09 a barrel, or 1.5 percent, at $75.82 a barrel.

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According to EIA, U.S. crude oil production hit 11 million barrels per day which was 100,000 barrels per day higher than the previous week. “For the US trade restrictions will trim off about one quarter of a percentage point from real GDP growth to 2.3 percent in 2019.”.

US commercial crude oil inventories C-STK-T-EIA fell 5.8 million barrels last week, the EIA said on Wednesday, more than three times forecasts. "This is largely due to a tightening fundamental outlook on the back of looming Iranian supply shortages", said Stephen Brennock, analyst at London brokerage PVM Oil Associates.

Negative pressure on the price of oil could emerge from decisions by the office of the U.S. Trade Representative, which has scheduled hearings this week on additional trade pressure on China.

Today, three months before the November deadline when the sanctions are due to take effect, Iran's outflow has already fallen by around 430,000 barrels and the nation has to rely more on its own fleet of tankers to carry oil to its customers, clearly showing that buyers are hesitant to continue purchasing Iranian oil.

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Meanwhile, China, the world's biggest oil importer and Iran's biggest customer, is said to have rejected a USA request to halt purchases from the producer, dealing a blow to Trump's efforts to isolate the Middle East nation and force it into negotiations.

Opec has started to boost supplies following a deal with Russian Federation and other allies in June, although producers have been cautious so far.

Signs of tighter supply countered concern about slowing oil demand stemming partly from the trade dispute between the U.S. and China, the world's two largest economies.

USA and Chinese officials were set to resume talks on Wednesday, but Trump said he expected there will be no real progress.

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