Oil Holds Above $57 as Iran Tension Stirs Concern Over Supply

Oil Holds Above $57 as Iran Tension Stirs Concern Over Supply

Oil held gains as rising tension in the Middle East kept investors wary of potential disruptions. -China trade progress opens the door for increased Chinese buying of USA crude oil.

U.S. Crude Oil WTI Futures were up 0.2% to $57.61.

OPEC and its allies last week agreed to extend oil supply cuts until March 2020 to prevent prices from sliding amid soaring production from the United States.

Oil prices have been under pressure amid worries of weakening demand.

"OPEC+ realizes that the Sino-American trade dispute is a serious threat to the global economy, and therefore to oil demand and oil prices", says Omar Al-Ubaydli, research director at Bahrain think tank Derasat.

Japan's core equipment orders fell by essentially the most in eight months, knowledge confirmed on Monday, in an indication the worldwide commerce tensions are taking a toll on company funding. A Reuters survey showing OPEC oil output had sunk to a new five-year low in June was also cited as supportive.

"Demand is soft", said Olivier Jakob, an analyst at Petromatrix.

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OPEC, pressured by United States output, abundant global crude supplies and weak oil demand growth, agreed last week to extend by nine months daily oil output cuts first announced in December aimed at supporting prices and soaking up excess supplies.

Iran's state TV recently aired a program showing an Iranian-flagged tanker under U.S. sanctions that delivered one million barrels of crude oil to China, one of the remaining partners to the nuclear deal and which has rejected Washington's efforts to cut Tehran's oil exports to zero.

Iran threatened to restart deactivated centrifuges and step up its enrichment of uranium to 20% in a transfer that additional threatens the 2015 nuclear agreement that Washington deserted previous year.

Washington has imposed sanctions that eradicate advantages Iran was meant to obtain in return for agreeing to curbs on its nuclear program underneath the 2015 cope with world powers.

Iran said on Sunday it will shortly boost its uranium enrichment above a cap set by a landmark 2015 nuclear deal, prompting a warning "to be careful" from US President Donald Trump, who pulled out of the pact a year ago. Last month, U.S. President Donald Trump called off air strikes at the last minute in retaliation for Iran shooting down a U.S. drone over the Gulf, which followed attacks on two oil product tankers in the nearby Gulf of Oman by unidentified assailants.

Oil also gained support from reports expected to show a drop in US crude inventories.

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