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Oil prices edge up, U.S.-China trade war in focus
09 July 2018, 11:44 | Kelvin Horton
Brent crude futures LCOc1 fell 25 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $77.14 per barrel by 0317 GMT from their last close.
Oil prices gained on Monday following the data last week that showed USA crude inventories slumped to their lowest in as long as three years.
The South Korean embassy in Tehran on Saturday denied that the country has stopped oil imports from Iran, IRAN Daily reported.
Although just 5 percent of China's overall crude imports, these supplies are worth $1 billion a month at current prices - a figure that seems certain to fall should a duty be implemented. "I do expect that at least over the next few weeks, the Brent-WTI spread is going to narrow".
On Friday, western media reported that South Korea will not lift any Iranian crude and condensate in July, halting all shipments for the first time in six years amid USA pressure to cut all imports of Iranian oil from November.
Top exporter Saudi Arabia told OPEC it raised oil output by nearly 500,000 barrels per day last month, OPEC sources said, a sign Riyadh wants to make up for shortages elsewhere and dampen prices.
FGE said the US government may grant some waivers to allies that are particularly reliant on Iranian supplies, and that some Iranian oil would also be smuggled into markets.
A rise in supply will reverse some of the output cuts that OPEC and other major producers put in place in early 2017 to end several years of glut.
Investors also expect information on how much exports from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states will be increased.
USA markets also garnered support from a government employment report showing better-than-expected growth in jobs.
World oil prices are growing, despite the growth of drilling activity in the USA, on expectations of irregularities in the schedule of supplies of this raw material from Libya and Canada.
"We're seeing a bounce to the upside thanks to spillover from a really good jobs number and strength in equity markets, as well as a draw in Cushing stocks", said Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates.
Asian oil refiners are racing to secure crude supplies in anticipation of an escalating trade war between the United States and China, and as Washington plans tough sanctions against Iran aimed at shutting the country out of oil markets.
"Because the oil market is already in tight supply due to the numerous outages, this would drive worldwide prices (Brent) further up", Commerzbank said in a note.
Highlighting that issue, JTD Energy's Driscoll said US oil sellers were "already discounting" their crude.