Oil rises but set for second weekly fall as supply concerns ease


Such a tariff would make American crude oil uncompetitive in China, and US oil sellers will have to find alternative buyers for their crude to replace the volumes they are now selling to their second-largest oil customer after Canada. But in May, India's imports of USA crude oil jumped by nine times the April volumes-signifying that at least a partial switch is already underway.

Brent crude futures were down 65 cents, or 0.8 percent, at $78.21 a barrel by 0627 GMT, having fallen to as low as $77.60.

On Wednesday, September WTI crude oil futures settled at $68.86, down $3.70 or -5.37% and September Brent crude oil futures finished the session at $73.40, down $5.46 or -7.44%.

Asian refiners could find plenty of bargain spot crude cargoes in the third-quarter as the recent cuts in major Middle Eastern crude official selling prices, and China's ongoing threats to impose hefty import duty on U.S. oil could set the stage for intense price competition between North American and Persian Gulf crude suppliers. Total volume traded was about 33 percent above the 100-day average.

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S&P Global Platts data showed that the spread between the front-month WTI swap and same-month Dubai crude swap tumbled to minus $7.74 early last month, but the discount has narrowed to $2.96/b last Friday. The contract climbed 1.5 percent on Tuesday. As well as consumer items, including clothing, television components and refrigerators, the list of goods targeted by the White House also includes petroleum products, such as motor fuels, kerosene and naphtha.

As far as India's imports of Iranian oil are concerned, there have been signs that buyers are preparing back-up plans in case they are unable to import Tehran crude when the sanctions hit.

Still, there are already signs the threat of the renewed United States sanctions are discouraging some Asian countries from buying Iranian crude. Furthermore, the EIA also revised its expectation of the U.S. Oil demand growth to 330,000 barrel per day in 2019 compared to 260,000 bpd in the previous report.

"The market fell out of bed yesterday as support failed (but was)... probably overdone to the downside", said Robin Bieber, technical analyst at London brokerage PVM Oil Associates. United States crude output has remained above the 10 million barrels per day mark since February. Royal Dutch Shell Plc. shut a North Sea field and workers threatened to escalate labor action at the weekend. In Venezuela the oil-rig count declined for the sixth straight month to a 15-year low.