Oil rises amid surging China crude imports

Oil rises amid surging China crude imports

Oil rises amid surging China crude imports

U.S. President Donald Trump has said he had called Saudi Arabia and OPEC and told them to lower oil prices, but he did not say whom he spoke to or when the conversations took place.

Worldwide benchmark Brent crude was trading at $70.39 per barrel at 0700 GMT, posting a 0.78% increase, after closing Tuesday at $69.84 a barrel.

Propane/propylene inventories increased by 1.0 million barrels last week and were about 17 percent above the five-year average for this time of year.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch (NYSE:) said it expected Saudi Arabia "to bring back oil production slowly as Iranian barrels exit the market", adding that overall it saw Brent crude oil prices having a floor at $70 per barrel in current market conditions. The move came after China backtracked on a wide range of core USA demands.

Wednesday's firmer prices partly reversed bigger price falls earlier in the week, which were triggered by announcements from Washington that the United States would this Friday further hike import tariffs on Chinese goods.

In an interview with Mehr News Agency, the former envoy highlighted that "one cannot talk with certainty about this issue, but controlling the flow of dollar into Iran can be one of the issues subject to the new USA sanctions". Led by Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, the trade talks are due to resume on Thursday in Washington.

Brent fell $1.36 to settle at $69.88 per barrel, the lowest settle since April 4, and West Texas Intermediate dropped 85 cents to end at $61.40, the lowest since March 29.

South Korea imported 202.12 million barrels of crude from the Middle East in Q1, which accounted for 72.5% of its total imports of 278.69 million barrels, according to the latest data from the state-run Korea National Oil Corp.

US sanctions have already halved Iranian crude exports over the past year to less than 1 million barrels per day (bpd), with shipments to customers expected to drop to as low as 500,000 bpd in May as sanctions tighten.

The U.S.' output of crude rose to 11.7 mbpd in November 2018 to overtake Russian Federation as the world's largest crude oil producer.

Gains in the oil market were held in check by a spike in US crude inventories and rising oil production, which hit a record 12.3 million barrels per day (Mmbpd) two weeks ago.

With Iran and Venezuela, which is the fifth largest supplier of crude to India, coming under United States sanctions, India has also started exploring higher oil imports from other Latin American countries such as Brazil and Mexico with which it has shared a healthy economic relationship.

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