Oil prices drop as escalating U.S.-China trade war…

Crude Oil Pump

Crude Oil Pump

Oil markets slipped on Tuesday as the latest escalation in the Sino-US trade war clouded the outlook for crude demand from the two countries, the world's top crude consumers.

West Texas Intermediate crude for October delivery advanced 94 cents to settle at $69.85 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Commenting on Iran's oil supply, "we believe that the full effect of the Iranian oil sanctions has yet to be seen and we feel that the next 5-6 week anticipatory phase of the official sanctions will associate with steady speculative buying interest", Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates, told Reuters on Monday.

Beijing on Tuesday quickly added US$60 billion of USA products to its import tariff list in retaliation for President Donald Trump's planned levies on US$200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

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Brent crude futures had dropped 22 cents, or 0.28%, to US$78.81 (RM326) per barrel by 0042 GMT, chipping away at Tuesday's 1.26% gain.

As the market evaluates the impact of sanctions on Iran, a growing trade dispute between the U.S. and China has the potential to weigh on demand.

Futures in NY closed 1.8 percent higher last week amid signs that looming US sanctions on Iran are whittling global supply levels.

Refineries in the United States consumed about 17.7-million barrels a day of crude oil last week while China's refiners used about 11.8-million barrels a day in August, according to government data from the countries, the most among the world's countries.

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Global oil prices edged up from early losses on Monday despite assurances from Washington that Saudi Arabia, Russia and the United States can raise output fast enough to offset falling supplies from Iran and elsewhere.

U.S. crude futures CLc1 were up $1.08 at $70.93 a barrel by 11:15 a.m. [1515 GMT], after the U.S. Energy Information Administration said crude and gasoline stockpiles fell last week.

Bloomberg reported Tuesday, citing unnamed Saudi sources, the kingdom was now comfortable with prices above $80 per barrel, at least for the short-term.

Opec secretary-general Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo said: "Iran is not only a founding member of Opec, it's a very important member of this organisation".

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The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers including Russian Federation meet on September 23 in Algeria to discuss how to allocate supply increases within their quota framework to offset the loss of Iranian supply.

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