Oil heads for third weekly slump as market selloff accelerates

Oil Drops on Stock-Market Swings

With U.S. sanctions on Iran coming into effect on November 4, the global oil trade will surely feel the impact.

The price of a barrel of Brent crude, the leading global benchmark, is up to near $77 a barrel, from $67 at the beginning of the year. In recent weeks, the oil market has carefully watched growing strains in the U.S. -Saudi relationship over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. "International demand and trade concerns are what the market is grabbing onto here".

Still, oil markets remain nervous ahead of USA sanctions against Iran's crude exports, which kick in from November 4.

US crude CLc1 was down 56 cents, or 0.8 percent, at $66.77 a barrel.

Brent crude oil prices reached a peak above $85 per barrel and WTI above $76 per barrel earlier in October, amid concerns about reductions in the global supply.

"If global demand contracts more than we think, that doesn't bode well for oil demand". India is among the largest importers of Iranian crude oil and the jump in imports comes amid increasing pressure from the United States on Iran's oil customers to cut purchases.

Futures fell as much as 1.7% in NY on Friday, on pace for the longest spell of weekly declines since August. That's in contrast to a pledge made just days ago by Saudi Minister Khalid Al-Falih to pump flat out.

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US crude ended Friday's session 26 cents higher at $67.58, posting a loss of 2.2 percent loss this week.

Saudi Arabia's OPEC governor said on Thursday the oil market could face oversupply in the fourth quarter.

Oil futures rose mid-week as the focus returned to looming U.S. sanctions on oil exporter Iran, helping prices recover from a two-month low earlier in the week.

Meanwhile, U.S. production is soaring, boosted by technological advances that have enabled drillers to tap shale formations, with output this year forecast to overtake the previous annual record in 1970. Traders were also reacting to Saudi Arabia's assurance that it would make up for the loss of Iranian oil, by playing a "responsible role" in the market.

The official stressed that the Ministry of Petroleum and NIOC have geared up to offer the crude oil via the stock exchange in a bid to diversify oil sales and keep the country's quota in the global oil market.

"The market looks negative with lower numbers likely", said Robin Bieber, technical analyst at London brokerage PVM Oil.

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