Oil prices up on surprise fall in US crude stockpiles

US crude inventories fell by 2.1 million barrels last week, compared with analyst expectations for a build of 2.2 million barrels, American Petroleum Institute data showed. (The Texas Tribune via AP)
Updated 17 October 2018
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Oil prices up on surprise fall in US crude stockpiles

  • US crude inventories fell by 2.1 million barrels last week
  • ‘The market is reacting to the unexpected decline as inventories tend to rise at this time of year’

TOKYO: Oil prices extended gains into a fourth session on Wednesday, buoyed as industry data showed a surprise decline in US crude inventories.
US West Texas Intermediate crude was up 25 cents, or 0.4 percent, at $72.17 a barrel by 0648 GMT on Wednesday, having settled up 14 cents.
Brent crude was up 26 cents, or 0.3 percent, at $81.67 a barrel, after settling up 63 cents the session before. The global benchmark, which hit a more than two-week low late last week as equity markets dropped, is trading around $5 below a four-year high of $86.74 marked on Oct. 3.
US crude inventories fell by 2.1 million barrels last week, compared with analyst expectations for a build of 2.2 million barrels, American Petroleum Institute data showed after Tuesday’s settlement.
“The market is reacting to the unexpected decline as inventories tend to rise at this time of year,” said Tomomichi Akuta, senior economist at Mitsubishi UFJ Research and Consulting in Tokyo, adding that anxieties about the outlook for the global economy were capping gains.
US gasoline stocks dropped by a larger-than-expected 3.4 million barrels, while distillate fuel stockpiles declined by a smaller-than-expected 246,000 barrels, the API data showed.
Inventory data from the US Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration is due at 1430 GMT on Wednesday.
A claim by the US that it aims to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero is a “political bluff”, the head of the state-run National Iranian Oil Company was quoted as saying on Wednesday.
US sanctions on Iranian oil exports are due to kick in on Nov. 4, while Iran has accused Saudi Arabia and Russia of breaking an OPEC-led agreement on output cuts by producing more crude.


Iraq, Iran discuss boosting bilateral trade

Updated 17 November 2018
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Iraq, Iran discuss boosting bilateral trade

  • Both countries could raise annual bilateral trade to $20 billion from the current level of $12 billion
  • Iraqi President Barham Salih arrived Saturday and met with his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani

DUBAI: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday Iran and Iraq could raise annual bilateral trade to $20 billion from the current level of $12 billion, in remarks carried live by state television.
“Today, the economic relations between the two countries reach about $12 billion (per year) and, through bilateral efforts, we can raise this figure to $20 billion,” Rouhani told visiting Iraqi President Barham Salih.

Salih's Iran visit comes less than two weeks after the United States restored oil sanctions that had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal.
State TV says Barham Salih arrived Saturday and met with his Iranian counterpart, President Hassan Rouhani.
Iran, which has had major influence over Iraq since the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, is hoping to maintain exports to its neighbor despite the renewed sanctions. Iraq is Iran’s second-largest market after China, buying everything from food and machinery to electricity and natural gas.
Trade between the two countries was some $7 billion in 2017, and they have vowed to boost it to $8.5 billion this year.

(With AP)