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Concerns also remain over how much oil will be removed from global markets by renewed sanctions on Iran, despite worries that demand growth could weaken amid a trade disputes between the United States and China, the world's two biggest economies.

The American Petroleum Institute reported after the close of trading Tuesday that US crude oil inventories declined 5.17 million barrels last week.

US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were up 28 cents, or 0.4%, at $66.12 per barrel.

Singaporean bank said on Friday that Chinese data showed a "steady decline in activities" and that "the economy is facing added headwinds due to rising trade tensions with the U.S".

A trade standoff between the U.S. and China continues to weigh on crude prices. Tehran says it has no ambitions to make such a bomb.

"Third-party reports indicate that Iranian tanker loadings are already down by around 700,000 bpd in the first half of August relative to July, which if it holds will exceed most expectations", US investment bank Jefferies said on Friday.

Nigeria earned as much as N7.93 trillion ($26 billion) from oil exports between January and July this year, making it the sixth largest revenue earner among the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) member nations.

Distillates built more than expected and gasoline drew down more than expected.

Rising fuel prices push up United Kingdom inflation for first time in 2018
House prices in the West Midlands rose the fastest in the United Kingdom compared with a year ago, according to official figures. There has been a rise in time taken to complete a property sale from 16 weeks previous year to 18 weeks on average.

"The strength is really primarily from the weak dollar and also you're getting another week of expectations that you will see crude stocks drop", said Gene McGillian, manager of market research at Tradition Energy.

In options activity, December 2018 puts for oil at $50 a barrel traded, though the volume was thin with just a few hundred contracts exchanged, said Bob Yawger, director of futures at Mizuho in NY.

According to the news report by Bloomberg, the price of oil went up despite low trading volumes, just ahead of the weekly crude oil supply data report in the US.

It will be tough for India to import crude oil from other sources with high import costs in the presence of weak Indian rupee.

It is interesting to note that the USA oil rig count (an indicator of future oil production) has been flat in the past two months. Oil production will stop during the strikes.

Oil prices rose 3%, with Brent crude futures hitting a three-week high.

The speculator group cut its combined futures and options position in NY and London by 15,723 contracts to 341,132 in the week to August 21, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said on Friday.


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