Oil prices rise on Iran sanctions, but US-China row mutes trading

Oil Prices Gain on Falling U.S. Inventories

Benchmark Brent crude oil was up 60 cents a barrel at $75.33 by 0935 GMT.

India's crude oil imports declined amid fear of sanctions from the U.S. as back in June the United States has also asked all countries including India, to stop oil imports from Iran by November or else face sanctions from the US.

"As the U.S. continues to mount pressure on its allies to prescribe to unilateral sanctions on Iran, Iran's major energy customers, including China and India, have indicated their defiance to the US's request", law firm Zaiwalla and Company Managing Partner said in a statement.

Iran, a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) and Opec's third-largest oil producer, said earlier this week no other Opec member should be allowed to take over its share of oil exports.

US inventory data has been volatile in recent weeks, with the EIA last week reporting a 6.8 million barrel increase in crude stocks for the week prior.

“This week's report was bullish for crude, ” said Societe Generale oil analyst Michael Wittner.

According to BNP Paribas' London head of commodity markets strategy, Harry Tchilinguirian, considering the amount of oil lost from Iranian exports, it would need increases in production from other suppliers like Saudi Arabia to stabilize the oil market. The three fields contribute about 45,000 to 50,000 bpd to the North Sea's Forties and Brent crude streams.

Signs of tighter supply countered concern about slowing oil demand stemming partly from the trade dispute between the United States and China, the world's two largest economies.

USA crude inventories fell 5.8 million barrels last week, the Energy Information Administration said, exceeding the 1.5 million-barrel draw forecast by analysts polled by Reuters.

The sufficient supply of West African crude cargoes has been limited by a slowdown in oil demand from Asia, having little to no effect on global oil prices. According to a survey whose results were compiled by Bloomberg, stockpiles at the Cushing, Oklahoma storage hub went up by 900,000 barrels in the previous week.

Oil markets were steady on Friday as the unresolved trade dispute between Washington and Beijing muted activity. It came second to the US port district of Chicago, at 19 percent.

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