Trade tensions weigh on oil prices

China rejects US demand to reduce Iran oil imports: report

Repeating the pattern of past weeks, crude prices on Friday ended the week down by 0.4 percent for West Texas Intermediate and 1.5 percent for Brent, this time in reaction to China state oil major Sinopec cutting its purchases of USA product due to the trade spat between both countries.

Under the 2015 pact, signed by the US, UK, Britain, China, Russia and the European Union, Tehran agreed to scale back its uranium enrichment programme.

"There are rising concerns, all this time we have uncertainties on the Iran sanction and uncertainties over tariffs, as we certainly don't need any more trigger for a significant swing [in prices] in one way or another", said Jim Ritterbusch, an analyst in Galena, Illinois.

Iran's currency plummeted this week in the lead-up to 7 August, when Washington is due to reimpose a first lot of economic sanctions following Trump's withdrawal from the nuclear deal.

Overall U.S. crude oil inventories actually rose by 3.8 million barrels last week to 408.74 million barrels, according to data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), however stocks at the key Cushing storage hub in Oklahoma fell by 1.3 million barrels, the EIA data showed.

The US administration has vowed to impose sanctions on any company continuing to buy oil from Iran after the November 4 deadline.

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has warned the U.S. against any attempt to stop Tehran's oil trade, threatening to block the strategically important Strait of Hormuz. "It shows they have not thought about its consequences", Rouhani was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA while on an official visit to Austria's capital, Vienna, in July.

She told CNBC with regards to the USA sanctions against Iran kicking in next week, "we're looking at tougher rhetoric and potentially tougher actions over August and September".

Also last month, China, which is Iran's biggest customer, said it did not accept unilateral sanctions against Iran.

When pressed by CNBC to answer the questions she was raising, Croft replied, "I think this market will tighten at the end of this year", and added that Venezuelan production continues to fall and will be a contributing factor.

Between April and July India's oil imports from Iran has risen by an annual 40% to about 677 500 bpd, the data showed. In the same month a year ago shipments amounted to 415 000 bpd.

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