Oil holds gain near $69 amid declining USA crude inventories

Saudi Arabia Reduced Oil Production in July

Oil prices were steady on Wednesday, buoyed by a report of rising U.S. crude inventories as well as the re-imposition of sanctions against Iran.

Prices of the barrel of the West Texas Intermediate are trading on a weaker footing today after the EIA reported U.S. crude oil inventories decreased less than initially estimated by 1.351 mbpd during the week ended on August 3.

Saudi Arabia will probably want to ensure that output decisions remain attributed to OPEC or OPEC+ rather than assume sole responsibility or joint accountability with Russian Federation, which is not a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Net U.S. crude imports fell last week by 358,000 barrels per day.

Higher production from Russian Federation and members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries has put downward pressure on crude oil prices in recent weeks, the agency said.

The US government brought a string of new sanctions against Iran on Tuesday, aiming at Iran's purchases of US dollars - in which oil has always been traded - metals trading, industrial software, coal, and its automobile industry.

United States economic sanctions against Iran took effect this week.

However, a US plan to reduce Iran's oil exports to zero will not succeed, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was cited as saying by an Iranian newspaper on Wednesday.

He noted that: "Anyone doing business with Iran will NOT be doing business with the United States". U.S.net imports of crude oil is a very important value for the oil price movements.

Former Shell Oil President John Hofmeister on the outlook for oil prices. Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation are already calling the shots, making the big decisions on oil output bilaterally. Production from the unofficial leader of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) unexpectedly fell in July by 200,000 from a month earlier to 10.29 million barrels per day, sources told Reuters on Friday.

The FTSE's rally was also supported by a slight improvement across the U.S. markets as they enjoyed a brief respite from the trade tariff tit-for-tat which dominated the start of the week.

The dollar index.DXY was trading 0.2 percent lower.

USA investment bank Jefferies contributed to the analytical concerns by stating in a note that, "the Saudi and Russian production surges appear to be more limited" than expected.

A first batch of U.S. sanctions against Iran, which shipped out nearly three million barrels per day (bpd) of crude in July, officially came into effect Tuesday. Some analysts warned that a global heat wave could also now affect oil demand.

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