Crude Oil Gets a Surprise Build: Struggling at $70

Oil markets still pressured by persistent risk of oversupply

Oil futures settled lower in Europe and the USA on Friday, ending a three-day streak after Russia's energy minister indicated that a coalition of producers could pump more crude than agreed by the end of the year. The U.S. government's supply report is due on Wednesday.

Oil prices extended losses in post-settlement trade, with us crude at $68.32 a barrel, after data from the American Petroleum Institute showed domestic crude inventories rose 5.6 million barrels last week.

Crude oil prices softened ahead of the start of US trading Tuesday on possible wiggle room in Iran and steady personal incomes in the United States.

Oil prices fell on Tuesday, with Brent futures set for their biggest monthly loss in two years, as oversupply concerns rose after a Reuters survey showed OPEC output rose in July to its highest for 2018.

The latest declines came as a Reuters survey of analysts forecast another jump in OPEC's output for July and Russian Federation said its oil production would hit a 30-year high above 11 million bpd this year.

Futures in NY were little changed after climbing 2.1 percent on Monday, the biggest gain in more than a month.

Analysts believe that stocks fell by 2.8 million barrels, or by 0.7 percent, to 402.1 million barrels.

Brent crude, the global benchmark, dropped 40 USA cents to $73.81 a barrel by 8.32am GMT, adding to a 1.8% loss in the previous session.

Brent and USA crude both logged their biggest daily drop for the month on July 11, after Libya resolved a major disruption to its crude exports and Saudi Arabia reported a almost 500,000 bpd jump in its oil output.

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Oil prices have rebounded from recent lows over the last two weeks, as looming sanctions on Iran have already started to curtail exports from that country.

Brent crude ended the week up 1.7%, WTI added 0.6% - the first weekly gains for both contracts in four weeks.

USA crude futures were seen averaging $67.32 a barrel in 2018, compared with $66.79 forecast last month and an average of $66.16 until now.

Oil bulls are venturing back into the market as global conflict sparks concern that supply disruptions will leave buyers scrambling for barrels.

A survey of 44 economists and analysts forecast Brent crude to average $72.87 a barrel in 2018, 29 cents higher than the $72.58 projected in the previous month's poll and above the $71.68 average so far this year.

"China trade wars continue to weigh on prices, while the halt in Saudi shipments through the Red Sea waterway has seemingly failed to provide a bullish fillip", said Stephen Innes, head of trading APAC at OANDA Brokerage.

A factor contributing to exceeding the target was the addition of 320,000 BPD of production from Congo, along with increases in Kuwait, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria. Crude oil prices in the second quarter benefited from the sustained production cuts by Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC allies and the continued uncertainty with respect to Iran's oil operations. China's independent refiners were once the toast of the oil town, courted by everyone from OPEC producer Saudi Arabia to energy giant BP Plc and top independent trader Vitol Group.

While technology stocks continued to suffer, overall Wall Street pushed higher following a Bloomberg News report that senior U.S. and Chinese officials are seeking to restart negotiations to end an escalating trade war.

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