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Oil ETFs Boost News of Iraqi Production Cuts

12 September 2019

Boosting the market's good mood, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday that U.S. crude oil stockpiles fell last week to the lowest in almost a year, as refineries raised output and imports fell.

The API numbers had USA crude inventories down by 7.2 million barrels in the week ended September 6 to 421.9 million, compared with analysts' expectations in a Reuters poll of a decrease of 2.7 million barrels. The session high was $63.26.

Oil prices gained on Thursday in Asia amid positive Sino-U.S. trade developments.

Not only will the easing of sanctions on Iran bring new oil into the market, but experts are saying it may hit the market before the end of the year. Bolton, a hawk on Iran, had practically blocked all attempts of diplomacy between the Trump administration and Tehran while in office, those in the know said.

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"Oil traders are reacting to the fact, as we expected, that Bolton quit over the suggestion that the USA loosen sanctions on Iran", said Phil Flynn, analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.

Over the past four weeks, crude oil imports averaged about 6.69 million b/d, down by 883,000 b/d year-on-year; crude oil exports averaged about 3.05 million b/d, up by about 1.48 million b/d year-on-year.

The expansion in America's exports in June was helped by a surge in crude-oil shipments to more than 3 million barrels a day, the IEA said.

US crude stocks have fallen almost 22 million barrels in a span of just three weeks, with the draws coming unusually at the tail end of summer, when driving activity in the U.S.is typically on the decline.

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The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) saw the price of its reference basket of crude oil components drop by 7.9% in August to $59.62 a barrel, more than the 7.3% drop in Brent crude or the 4.7% drop in West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude. Indeed, the cartel's monthly report highlighted the need for production cuts to prevent more oversupplies.

Iraq's and Nigeria's oil ministers pledged on Thursday to reduce oil output to comply with their OPEC output targets. "Understandably, OPEC is anxious and the market even more at what lies ahead for the cartel". The ongoing trade dispute also made it hard for US shale shipments to find markets in recent months, the IEA said.

Gasoline stocks fell by 4.5 million barrels, the industry group said, compared with analysts' expectations of an 847,000-barrel decline in a Reuters poll.

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Oil ETFs Boost News of Iraqi Production Cuts