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Iran says Trump can not bring oil prices down by 'bullying'

17 October 2018

State oil company Saudi Aramco plans to supply Indian buyers with an additional 4 million barrels of crude oil in November, several sources familiar with the matter said last week.

US President Donald Trump has vowed "severe punishment" if the Saudis ordered the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

While most oil analysts have attributed the sharp rise of premium crude prices since April to over $80 a barrel at least in part to the loss of Iranian exports, the US special envoy for Iran, Brian Hook, told reporters in Paris on October 15 that the market is doing fine with less Iranian oil.

Saudi Arabia is committed to meeting India's rising oil demand and is the "shock absorber" for supply disruptions in the oil market, Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Monday.

US President Donald Trump can not bring oil prices down by "bullying" other nations, Iran's oil minister said on Tuesday, adding that the market was suffering from short supply. US light crude was 40 cents lower at $71.38.

The National Iranian Oil Company announced that Tehran is resurrecting an oil exchange it used to sell oil during a last round of global sanctions four years ago, before most sanctions were lifted under Iran's 2015 nuclear deal in exchange for curbs on Iran's nuclear activities.

Analysts forecast that USA crude stockpiles rose last week for the fourth straight week, by about 2.2 million barrels, according to a Reuters poll ahead of weekly inventory reports.

Data from the American Petroleum Institute (API) is due at 4:30 p.m. EDT (2030 GMT) while the U.S. Department of Energy will release official data at 10:30 a.m. EDT (1430 GMT) on Wednesday.

Zanganeh said the rise of oil prices was a "self-inflicted pain" caused by United States sanctions against Iranian energy exports, and could be resolved by lifting the measures. Meanwhile, front-month USA crude futures traded near the smallest premium to the 12th month in about 10 months.

"We think that one of the major factors that is leading to a scaling back of long positions is a reappraisal of short-term fundamentals by investors", Standard Chartered analysts said in a note.