Trump on falling oil prices: 'That's because of me'

Secretary Jeremy Hunt

Oil markets on Friday remained weak as rising supply and concerns of an economic slowdown pressured prices, with U.S. crude now down by around 20 percent since early October.

West Texas Intermediate for December delivery traded 6 cents lower at $60.61 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 3:20 p.m.in Singapore.

The United States re-imposed sanctions on Monday to choke Iran's oil and shipping industries, while temporarily allowing top customers such as China and India to keep buying crude from the Islamic Republic.

Analysts said expectations of an economic slowdown in coming months was outweighing supply-side risks to crude markets from the reintroduced USA sanctions against Iran, which started on Monday.

The U.S. "sincerely hopes" accidents do not occur, he said, but he noted that an Iranian tanker was involved in an accident in the East China Sea in January that resulted in the loss of the ship and a massive oil spill. The previous daily record of 9.6 million bpd was touched in April 2018. It granted temporary exemptions to eight countries allowing them to continue importing Iranian oil, although it said the ultimate goal is to completely halt exports from Iran.

In the USA, crude production increased to 11.6 million barrels per day last week, the highest level on record, according to Energy Information Administration data. Russia's TASS news agency reports that Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia are in bilateral talks to orchestrate another round of output cuts when producers meet next month.

Crude has tumbled nearly 20% since touching a four-year high last month as bearish supply signals around the globe crowded out concerns about disrupted exports from Iran and Venezuela. It makes the United States the world's biggest producer of crude. "Self-insured Iranian tankers engaging in unsafe behavior, with many tons of crude oil on board, is courting environmental and financial disaster".

"An analysis of crude export weighted fiscal breakeven price for major gulf economies (Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE) suggests optimal price level of ~$70.6/bbl".

Meanwhile, Opec's production in October reached the highest level since 2016, and Russian Federation hiked its output last month to a post-Soviet record of 11.4 million barrels a day. However, under the USA sanctions, the eight "constituencies" that were granted Significant Reduction Exemption (SRE) have the possibility to import up to 1.5 mbpd, making the sanctions whammy largely rhetoric. Pressure from the U.S.to lower prices probably will decrease now that the nation's midterm elections are over, Saxo Bank's Hansen said.

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