Malaysiakini News

Oil prices rise on Iran sanctions, but US-China row mutes trading

Reuters  |  Published:  |  Modified:

Oil prices rose on Friday as US sanctions on Iran are expected to cut significant volumes of crude from the market, although trading was muted by concerns over the unresolved trade dispute between Washington and Beijing.

Brent crude oil futures were at US$75.07 per barrel at 0424 GMT, up 34 cents, or 0.5 percent, from their last close.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at US$68.24 per barrel, up 41 cents, or 0.6 percent.

Traders said the supply versus demand outlook for oil markets was relatively tight because of the looming US sanctions against Iran, which will target oil exports from November.

Iran is the third-biggest producer within the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), exporting on average around 2.5 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude and condensate this year, equivalent to around 2.5 percent of global consumption.

Energy consultancy FGE says it expects this figure to drop below 1 million bpd by mid-2019.

Despite this, sentiment in markets was cautious and liquidity in crude futures relatively low, traders said, after US and Chinese officials talks aimed at resolving an escalating trade dispute ended on Thursday with no major breakthrough. Instead, both countries activated another round of duelling tariffs on US$16 billion worth of each other's goods.

"Investors are likely to feel nervous as the two countries vow to step up the pressure," ANZ bank said on Friday.

- Reuters

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