U.S. crude exports to China fall ahead of tariffs

The USA through May 2018. The upward surge has stalled for the last two months. U.S. production was down 30,000 bpd in May

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $68.70 per barrel at 0847 GMT, down 26 cents from their last settlement.

US stockpiles have been in the spotlight because they rose unexpectedly last week, stoking fears that the market is becoming oversupplied.

The producer group on June 23 agreed with Russian Federation and nine other allies on a one million bpd output increase to head off any supply shortages emerging from USA sanctions on Iran and Venezuela's continued decline, among other market disruptions.

Crude palm oil prices went down by 0.30 per cent to Rs 595.50 per 10 kg in futures market today as speculators cut down positions in line with weak Malaysian palm oil prices and on muted spot demand.

A mixed U.S.jobs report and data showing total OPEC production were offsetting supply-side strains and left the price of oil searching for direction early Friday.

Higher crude output from the Saudis, along with Nigeria and Iraq, pushed up total production from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries by 300,000 barrels a day, offsetting losses from a spiraling economic collapse in Venezuela, political clashes in Libya and the onset of US sanctions against Iran.

Futures in NY dropped 1.6 percent on Wednesday.

US crude was off by 5 cents at $68.91, after gaining almost 2 percent in the previous session.

Escalating trade war could result in a notable drop in demand for crude oil.

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Alongside Russia, OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia and other members of the Middle-East dominated oil cartel agreed in late June to begin increasing production by up to 1 million barrels per day starting in August.

The market's expectation was 2.8 million barrels of crude oil draw.

Saudi Arabia's output rose by 230,000 barrels a day in July to 10.65 million barrels per day. That's equivalent to about 11.21 million barrels a day, a jump of 140,000 from a month earlier, according to Bloomberg calculations based on the ministry's data.

China's Unipec has also suspended purchases of USA crude amid the growing trade row, sources said.

Oil prices traded slightly higher on Thursday, reversing course after a report suggested crude stockpiles at the USA storage hub at Cushing, Oklahoma fell in the latest week.

"Unipec saying they won't buy USA crude and China saying they won't comply with Iran sanctions are bearish", Jakob from Petromatrix said.

Senior Iranian officials have warned the country would not easily yield to a renewed USA campaign to strangle Iran's vital oil exports.

Nonetheless, the tough talk from Washington on trade with China has put pressure on oil prices.

After Trump called for a 15 percent increase in tariffs on Chinese goods earlier this week, Beijing on Friday announced it was targeting $60 billion worth of USA goods in response. "Yet, we remain much more concerned about the ongoing USA sanctions on Iran", analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in a research note published last week.

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