Crude oil sells at $78.24 as output peaks

A man puts gas in his car at a Shell filling station in Tokyo Friday Nov. 28 2014

The Iranian currency hit a new low against the U.S. dollar as the country's economy continues to weaken amid fears that the re-imposition of sanctions by the United States would stifle the oil exports from the country.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were at $70.04 per barrel at 0034 GMT, up 24 cents, or 0.3 percent from their last settlement. US crude CLc1 was 10 cents higher at $69.90.

The U.S. wants to reduce Iran's oil exports effectively to zero with renewed sanctions in November after pulling out of the nuclear deal between Iran and western powers in May.

Japan has been seeking a waiver that would allow it to continue importing Iranian oil, but it appears unlikely to win one, Jiji Press agency and other local media reported in recent days. "Fears of an impending supply crunch are gaining traction".

The risk of declining Chinese demand for oil is worrying Middle East officials more than Iran's supply curbs as a result of US sanctions. The country produced an average of 11.21 MMbopd in August, according to data emailed Sunday by the Russian Energy Ministry's CDU-TEK unit.

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The second-largest production increase came from Iraq and the United Arab Emirate with each raising daily oil output by 80,000 barrels during the period under review.

USA crude CLc1 was down 72 cents at $69.15.

What's noteworthy about OPEC's August performance is that while production from the cartel's de facto leader Saudi Arabia edged up 10.48 million bpd, this was still intentionally lower than the kingdom's 10.60 million bpd showing for June - suggesting that if the Saudis chose to put aside worries about flooding the market and pump full out, OPEC could arguably put to rest persistent criticism that it isn't able to make up for shortfalls from Iran or Venezuela.

The world's top oil buyers are discovering that USA sanctions on Iran will squeeze their trade flows whether they agree with America or not.

China's manufacturing activity grew at the slowest pace in more than a year in August, with export orders shrinking for a fifth month and employers cutting more staff, a private survey showed Monday. A larger than expected drop of 600,000 bpd in Iranian exports helped to drive prices higher still. He stated that it was not yet clear whether such economic headwinds would be able to topple oil prices. Kitco Metals Inc. and the author of this article do not accept culpability for losses and/ or damages arising from the use of this publication. The author has made every effort to ensure accuracy of information provided; however, neither Kitco Metals Inc. nor the author can guarantee such accuracy. It is not a solicitation to make any exchange in commodities, securities or other financial instruments.

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