Oil dips as USA storm threat eases; Iran sanctions loom

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OANDA's Innes said it was too early to say whether economic slowdown would put a serious dent in oil prices.

USA crude oil hasn't traded at $95 a barrel in since 2014, but this is the year that could change.

"These Iranian barrels that we're going to lose, it's really going to hurt".

The waterway is a strategic artery linking Middle East crude producers to key markets in Asia Pacific, Europe, North America and beyond, through which a third of the world's sea-borne oil passes every day.

Japan has been seeking a waiver that would allow it to continue importing Iranian oil, but it appears unlikely to win one, Jiji Press agency and other local media reported in recent days.

The currency has been volatile for months because of a weak economy, financial difficulties at local banks, and heavy demand for dollars among Iranians who fear the pullout of Washington from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal and renewed US sanctions could shrink Iran's exports of oil and other goods.

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WTI is now trading at $70.6 per barrel, and Brent is trading at $8.2 per barrel premium to WTI.

Edward Bell, analyst at Emirates NBD bank in Dubai, agreed: "Iranian production is already showing signs of decline, falling by 150,000 Bpd last month ..." S&P suggested that the September 11th OPEC meeting may well spark an increase in production from Iraq and possibly even its fellow members if Iran continues to struggle.

Output from OPEC's second-biggest producer has jumped to a record and is set to expand further, reflecting higher investment in the country's southern fields following crude's rally. It is due to this high count of oil rigs that the U.S. has been able to maintain such high production rates.

FGE estimates Iran's exports will slump to below 1 million barrels a day by mid-2019, while industry consultant Energy Aspects Ltd. expects a plunge of 1.5 to 1.7 million in daily shipments by the end of this year from current levels of about 2.5 million. Thanks to the US Labor Day holiday, trading volumes in both US and European crude oil futures were relatively light.

Mohammed bin Hamad Al Rumhy, oil minister for Oman, remarked, "There is a danger that the demand will be impacted as well: people often focus on the supply side - what happens if Iran stops supplying - but what happens if China reduces its consumption?"

China's manufacturing activity grew at the slowest pace in more than a year in August, with export orders shrinking for a fifth month, a private survey showed on Monday.

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