Iran offers discount oil to Asia

Jean-Sebastien Evrard  AFP  Getty Images

Oil prices dipped on Monday as rising trade tensions dented the outlook for fuel demand growth especially in Asia, although USA sanctions against Iran still pointed towards tighter supply.

Oil prices slid Monday after inventories at a key USA crude delivery hub jumped last week, adding to demand concerns.

Iran is the third-largest producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, behind Saudi Arabia and Iraq, pumping 3.65 million bpd in July, Reuters data show.

Crude LCOc1 edged lower after the OPEC report was released, trading below $73 a barrel.

"The direct impact on global demand for oil is negligible", Fritsch said. Although higher than the 2019 demand forecast, this is up a mere 41,000 bpd from June as the Saudi cut offset increases elsewhere.

But the kingdom said last month it did not want an oversupplied market and it would not try to push oil into the market beyond customers' needs. This was said to be due to weaker-than-expected oil demand data from Latin America and the Middle East in the second quarter.

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Beyond the darkening economic outlook, Phillip Futures said hedge funds had reduced bullish bets because of "rising production levels from OPEC and the United States". Non-OPEC production is now expected to be 59.62 million bpd in 2018, a 2.08 million bpd increase from past year.

Meanwhile, production fell by 57,000 to 600,000 bpd in Libya, by 53,000 to 10.39 million bpd in Saudi Arabia, with output from Venezuela dropping by 48,000 to 1.28 million bpd, according to OPEC.

Turkey is a relatively small oil consumer, accounting for less than 1 million barrels per day (bpd) or around 1 percent of global demand, but Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch says the impact of the Turkish crisis could be considerable.

"The equities and the US dollar are keying primarily off of the unfolding saga in Turkey and although the lira has posted a significant rebound today, the standoff between Turkey and the U.S.is showing no sign of progress", Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates, said in a note.

But OPEC expects oil supply by countries outside the cartel to increase by 2.13 million bpd next year, 30,000 bpd more than forecast last month, boosted by new USA shale production.

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