Oil prices fall as OPEC boosts supplies

The FOMC interlude was even less of an event than expected but that belies some of the headline risk creeping back into play, as the market has been waiting for a Whitehouse press release on China tariffs which has left investors to speculate if this will confirm the overnight chatter the United States is proceeding with USD 16 bln in tariffs.

Overall U.S. crude oil inventories actually rose by 3.8 million barrels last week to 408.74 million barrels C-STK-T-EIA , the EIA data showed.

USA crude was off by 5 cents at $68.91, after gaining almost 2 percent in the previous session.

USA crude oil exports averaged 1.31 million barrels per day last week, down by 1.37 million barrels per day from the previous week.

Brent for October settlement rose 44 cents to $72.83 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

The nation's production may remain around the 11.2 million barrels a day level for the remainder of the year, the government official said, citing the oil ministry's most recent calculations.

When Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation agreed to boost oil production in late June, they assured traders high output wouldn't flood the market.

American oil production in May actually inched down from April by 0.3 percent, according to EIA's Monthly Crude Oil and Natural Gas Production report.

Traders said prices rallied early when industry information provider Genscape reported that crude inventories at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub for USA crude, dropped 1.1 million barrels since Friday, July 27.

The net imports averaged 6.44 million barrels per day last week, up by 1.35 million barrels per day from the previous week. Phil Flynn, a market analyst at the PRICE Futures Group in Chicago, said in a daily emailed market report that was supporting the spike in prices on Thursday.

China's Unipec has also suspended purchases of US crude amid the growing trade row, sources said.

Worries about the possible loss of Iranian supply are being somewhat offset by concerns that global trade tensions could slow economic growth and crimp energy demand.

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries has said that crude oil production has gone up in July as Saudi Arabia pumped more volumes into the global market.

Senior Iranian officials have warned the country would not easily yield to a renewed USA campaign to strangle Iran's vital oil exports.

The Reuters survey released earlier this week suggests that OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) increased production last month by 70,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 32.64 million bpd, a new high for the year.

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