Oil prices drop as U.S. inventory rises

Gulf of Mexico production was down 99,000 bpd in April and down another 75,000 bpd in May

Gulf of Mexico production was down 99,000 bpd in April and down another 75,000 bpd in May

Market participants await the next fundamental development to drive prices, which is likely to be news of who stopped buying Iranian barrels for August.

Oil prices went down on Wednesday as official data showed that USA crude stockpiles rose unexpectedly last week.

"Tariffs look set to kick in as soon as September, meaning that any barrels arriving on Chinese shores will be hit with a 25% tariff - taking US crude from an approximately $4/Bbl discount vs. global benchmarks, to a premium of approximately $13.50/Bbl", he added. Brent crude, the global benchmark, shed 2.2 per cent to $72.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $68.70 per barrel at 0847 GMT, down 26 cents from their last settlement. Crude oil production is now expected to average 11.8 million bpd in 2019.

Saudi Arabia, Russia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have increased production, as agreed at a meeting in June, to help to compensate for an anticipated shortfall in Iranian crude supplies once USA sanctions come into force later this year.

Futures in NY dropped 1.6 percent on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, according to EIA, U.S. crude oil production was 10.9 million barrels per day which was 100,000 barrels per day lower than the previous week.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday reported a large build in crude oil inventories and a production decline in the week ending July 27.

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

Russian oil output rose by 150,000 barrels per day (bpd) in July from a month earlier to 11.21 million bpd, energy ministry data showed on Thursday.

Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub fell by 1.3 million barrels, EIA said.

China said it would hit back if the United States takes further steps on trade. Additionally, he said, USA monthly figures for production fell in May, suggesting that output may be curbed later in the year, he said.

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

Brent prices fell more than 6 percent and USA crude slumped about 7 percent, the biggest monthly declines for both benchmarks since July 2016.

"It is nearly certain that China will impose additional duties on oil and refined products imported from the US if the Trump administration implements additional tariffs on the next tranche of Chinese goods".

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 US goods in response.

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