Oil markets on Friday remained weak as rising supply and concerns of an economic slowdown pressured prices, with USA crude now down by about 20% since early October.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude fell 82 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $59.85 by 9:03 a.m. ET (1403 GMT).
Front-month Brent crude oil futures were at $70.69 a barrel, 4c above their last close.
One is that, although U.S. sanctions against Iranian oil exports finally kicked in earlier this week, the impact of those sanctions has been mitigated by the Trump administration's decision to grant "waivers" to eight countries - China, India, Turkey, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Greece and Taiwan - allowing them to continue importing at least some Iranian oil for the next six months.
Analysts said expectations of an economic slowdown in coming months was outweighing supply-side risks to crude markets from the reintroduced USA sanctions against Iran, which started on Monday. When they meet this weekend, the producers will have to contend with not only the threat of a glut, but also the risk to demand from faltering emerging-market economies and a trade war between the US and China.
China and India were the largest markets for Iranian crude before the onset of sanctions and will remain such for the upcoming six months. "I am not at the liberty to give you details about the quantum of crude oil that we will continue to import [from Iran]", said the spokesperson.
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Crude output hit 11.6 million bpd, a weekly record, though weekly figures can be volatile.
Crude has tumbled 20 percent since touching a four-year high last month as apprehension over sanctions targeting Iranian oil exports evaporated, in part because of exemptions handed to some of the Islamic Republic's biggest customers.
USA crude stocks climbed by 7.8 million barrels in the week ending November 2 to 432 million, data from the American Petroleum Institute showed on Tuesday.
Russia's TASS news agency, citing an unnamed source, reported that Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia - the biggest producers in an Opec-led alliance that has been limiting supply since 2017 - had started bilateral talks on curbing supplies. The EIA expects output to break through 12 million bpd by mid-2019, largely thanks to a surge in shale oil production. It makes the United States the world's biggest producer of crude.
At the session low, WTI touched $61.30/Bbl, falling 20.4% from last month's almost four-year high level of $76.90/Bbl. That policy, in place since 2017, helped end a historic oil price collapse that punished US energy companies and oil-exporting nations alike.
Also Thursday, Iran's representative to OPEC, Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, claimed that Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia were helping Trump by increasing their own production to keep oil prices low. Mr. Hook explained that with global insurers gone, Iranian tankers are now relying on domestic insurances which according to the State Department will not be able to monetarily protect countries that allow Iranian vessels to post should a maritime accident such as an oil spill takes place. Pressure from the U.S.to lower prices probably will decrease now that the nation's midterm elections are over, Saxo Bank's Hansen said.