Oil edges up on supply concerns

Crude is averaging about $72 a barrel this year and the International Energy Agency warned last week that prices could rise above $80

Oil traded near $69 a barrel on signs of increased drilling by American producers and investor optimism that Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation will fill in potential supply losses from Iran.

Brent crude futures dropped 44 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $77.61 per barrel by 0424 GMT.

Reuters reported on September 5 that Saudi Arabia wants oil to stay between $70 and $80 a barrel to keep a balance between maximizing revenue and keeping a lid on prices until us congressional elections. "It casts doubts on whether Saudi Arabia will increase output to compensate for the loss of Iranian crude once sanctions come into effect", said Carsten Fritsch, an analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt.

U.S. crude inventories rose by 1.2 million barrels to 397.1 million in the week to Sept 14, according to data released on Tuesday by the American Petroleum Institute (API).

"Iran is not only a founding member of OPEC, it's a very important member of this organization".

The head of OPEC says the oil cartel must stick together for the good of the global economy as Iran faces renewed USA sanctions.

He did not specify how crude producers would compensate for declining exports from Iran, with new U.S. sanctions due to hit the Islamic republic´s oil industry on November 4.

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USA crude stockpiles rose by 1.2 million barrels to 397.1 million in the week to September 14, the American Petroleum Institute said.

OPEC ministers are also slated to meet this Sunday, but no decisions or adjustments are expected to be made while the OPEC group meets to discuss output policies and their compliance.

U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry said in an interview with Reuters on Friday that he did not expect any price spikes and that the world's top three oil producers could between them raise global output in the next 18 months.

Bloomberg reported that while Saudi Arabia had no desire to push prices higher than US$80, it may no longer be possible to avoid it.

USA sanctions affecting Iran's petroleum sector will come into force from November 4.

U.S. President Donald Trump is likely to announce new tariffs on about $200 billion on Chinese imports as early yesterday, a senior administration official told Reuters on Saturday.

Oil eased on Wednesday, but held near its highest level this year, as concerns that producers may fail to cover a supply shortfall once US sanctions on Iran come into force outweighed an increase in USA inventories.

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