Oil trades below $69 as investors weigh mixed inventories report

India’s dilemma Donald Trump or cheap Iran oil

Media: Japan halts imports of oil from Iran

"Just spoke to King Salman of Saudi Arabia and explained to him that, because of the turmoil & disfunction in Iran and Venezuela, I am asking that Saudi Arabia increase oil production, maybe up to 2,000,000 barrels, to make up the difference.Prices to high!" A drastic reduction of Iran's oil exports (for example, by more than one million bpd) would likely boost Saudi production to numbers not seen since the late 1960s, in an attempt to fulfill market demands.

Saudi Arabia expects its crude exports to drop by roughly 100,000 barrels per day in August as the world's top oil exporter works to ensure it does not push oil into the market beyond its customers' needs, the kingdom's OPEC governor said on Thursday.

A Reuters survey of Opec production showed Saudi output at a near-record, up 700,000 barrels a day at 10.70-million barrels a day.

“Weekly shifts in the USA crude stocks are being increasingly influenced by worldwide trade and this was certainly the case with this week's data, ” Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates said in a note.

The sources did not disclose how much of June's 100,000 barrel per day (bpd) increase came from stocks.

"Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation talking about supplying the markets, that would certainly have the potential to weigh on market sentiments", Lipow said.

The impact of US sanctions on Iran's oil shipments, which remains highly uncertain, will play a big part in determining the final outcome.

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The WSJ's report comes amid a growing reluctance by Western companies to buy Iranian oil and a hesitation by banks to finance energy deals in anticipation of United States sanctions. Holding production steady would mean shipping less crude than Saudi Arabia indicated after the Opec deal. The goal is to bring down oil prices-and gasoline prices-ahead of the mid-term elections in November, the same month in which the renewed US sanctions on Iran are returning. JXTG Holdings and Idemitsu Kosan are the two Japanese suppliers of Iranian oil and both of them were warned by the USA to halt oil trade with Iran completely.

Another victor if US sanctions are adopted widely would be Saudi Arabia.

With so many factors shifting the balance between global supply and demand, the appetite for additional Saudi crude may change, especially as the extent of Iran's losses becomes clearer.

"The dollar was a one-way ticket for the last couple of weeks and basically reversed directions, giving us some strong support", said Phil Flynn, analyst at Price Futures Group.

US crude oil production last week hit 11 million barrels per day (bpd) for the first time in the nation's history. For decades, the WTI contract based in Cushing, has been the benchmark for USA oil prices, but Houston has surpassed Cushing in terms of importance.

The JCPOA allowed foreign money to flow into Iran in exchange for oil exports and other trade, but the Iranian people saw none of this.

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