Turkey's Tupras 'in talks' with US for Iran sanctions waiver

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Oil prices nudged higher on Friday but were set for a second weekly drop amid higher US crude inventories, an ongoing Sino-US trade war and concerns over the death of a prominent Saudi journalist.

Global benchmark Brent crude has fallen nearly US$8 per barrel since reaching a four-year high of US$86.74 on Oct 3, weakened by lower forecasts for global economic growth as the United States and China impose tariffs on billions of dollars of each others' goods.

The price of Brent crude stands at about $84 per barrel, after having risen to $86 per barrel, as the November 5 deadline for imposition of U.S. sanctions against Iran's oil trade in the world comes closer, raising serious concerns in oil markets.

The EIA report indicated a massive decline of crude exports by 1.8 million barrels per day, which is characterized as bearish by the agency.

Crude oil futures for November ended up $0.47, or 0.7%, at $69.12 a barrel. Even as the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi kept the market on edge, President Donald Trump cautioned against putting the entire US-Saudi relationship at risk. "That comes after prices dropped sharply on Wednesday as US crude stockpiles surged more than what the market had expected".

"Stocks are building", said Olivier Jakob, oil analyst at Petromatrix.

Crude stockpiles in the United States have risen for four straight weeks, the longest run of gains since early 2017.

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Oil traded near the lowest level in a month after a bigger-than-expected gain in American stockpiles overshadowed tensions between the USA and Saudi Arabia over a missing critic of the kingdom.

The gains were supported by U.S. -Saudi tensions after Trump pledged "severe punishment" should the kingdom be linked to Khashoggi's disappearance.

In part, the improved supply picture has come about because the surge in oil prices during August and September forced both the White House and Saudi Arabia to adapt their positions.

Continued weakness in global equities was also a weight on crude this week, analysts said, underlining worries about global growth prospects and dampening demand for assets perceived as risky, including most commodities.

US sanctions on Iranian oil take effect on November 4 and buyers are already stopping or scaling back their Iranian crude dealings, according to tanker data and industry sources.

Refiners in Turkey, India and possibly China are reportedly negotiating with USA officials over waivers to enable them to continue purchasing at least some Iranian oil after November 4.

The rising tensions between the US and Saudi Arabia that had caused crude prices to increase earlier this week proved not to be a factor on Wednesday, partly due to USA president Donald Trump now seeming to give the kingdom the benefit of the doubt in its declaration that it had nothing to do with the disappearance of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

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