Crude oil prices rise in April

Hossein Fereidoun brother and top aide of moderate Iranian President Hassan Rouhani sits in a conference in Tehran Iran. Iran’s semi-official ISNA news agency says President Hassan Rouhani’s brot

Benchmark Brent crude edged down 0.1 percent to $70.33 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 0.4 percent at $61.88 per barrel.

The EIA said in its regular weekly report that slumped by almost 4 million barrels in the week to May 3, versus forecasts for a build of 1.2 million barrels.

"Moderate requests have been received from customers for June liftings, which will all be met, most notably from countries which previously had waivers from sanctions against purchases of Iranian crudes that were recently discontinued by the USA administration", the Gulf source said.

The country is the world's biggest oil importer.

Oil prices drifted lower on Thursday as fears that the U.S. The decision to end waivers "is meant to bring Iran's oil exports to zero", Washington said, warning countries that continue to buy Iranian crude after the May 2 deadline will risk facing USA sanctions.

Fuji Oil said Iranian oil accounted for about 20 percent of the company's supplies in the financial year through March, down from around 30 percent the previous year.

Imports for the first four months increased 16.4 percent on the year to 31.89 million tonnes, customs said.

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This compared to a hefty 9.9-million-barrel inventory build last week, which pressured prices substantially, adding to already significant pressure from rising production in the US and elsewhere that countered concern about lost Iranian supply.

Finally, for 2020, the EIA forecast USA output will average 13.38 million bpd, making the United States the world's biggest oil producer ahead of Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia. Washington, though, aiming to cut Iran's sales to zero, said in April all sanctions waivers for those importing Iranian oil would end at the beginning of May.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the green against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, fell by 0.01% to 92.26. "China trade war is impacting everything", said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital LLC, a NY hedge fund focused on energy.

The latest news from the EIA that replacement barrels for the lost Iranian crude oil may not arrive for months, is actually supportive news.

Charting-wise, we have seen a deterioration through trendline support, with the price finding support on the 200-day simple moving average (SMA) indicator. The demand is expected to rise by 1.5 million b/d in 2020, up from expected growth of 1.4 million b/d in 2019.

Looking ahead, all eyes remain on the US-China trade developments, with the US tariff hike looming this Friday, which may influence the risk trend and eventually impact the risk asset, oil.

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