oil rises $1, settling at $70.46, but posts 3rd straight weekly loss

Oil prices rose on Friday as a weakening dollar and lower expected August oil exports from Saudi Arabia supported the market, overtaking concerns about U.S.-China trade tensions and supply increases.

Despite Friday’s gains, crude futures posted a third consecutive weekly decline as supply increases pulled prices lower during the course of the week.

The expiring U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude contract for August delivery ended Friday’s session up $1, or 1.4 percent, to $70.46 a barrel, while the more heavily traded September contract was trading 10 cents higher at $68.34 just before the settle.

Brent oil was 47 cents higher at $73.05 a barrel by 2:27 p.m. ET.

Crude futures got a boost as the U.S. dollar slumped on comments from President Donald Trump that China and Europe are manipulating their currency and the Federal Reserve is hurting economic growth by raising interest rates.

A weaker greenback typically supports oil prices because it makes crude, which is sold in dollars, more affordable to holders of other currencies.

“The dollar was a one-way ticket for the last couple of weeks and basically reversed directions, giving us some strong support,” Flynn said.

Prices are also finding some support after OPEC’s largest oil producer, Saudi Arabia, said it would temper its exports next month.

There was also bullish news from American oilfields, where U.S. energy companies this week cut oil rigs by the most since March. Drillers cut 5 oil rigs in the week to July 20, bringing the total count down to 858, General Electric’s Baker Hughes energy services firm said in its closely followed report on Friday.

However, trade tensions continued to weigh on the market, providing a ceiling for any gains, traders said. Trump said in a CNBC interview he was ready to put tariffs on all $500 billion of imported goods from China.

Lower oil demand in the United States and China caused by an economic slowdown from their trade dispute would likely weigh heavily on markets.

“The impact on world economic growth of a levy of this magnitude will be severe and will likely have a strong negative impact on markets,” said Olaf van den Heuvel, chief investment officer at Aegon Asset Management.

The People’s Bank of China on Friday reduced its midpoint for the yuan for the seventh straight trading day to the lowest in a year.

The yuan then retreated to a near 13-month low, although it rebounded later.

Signs of Russia and Saudi Arabia increasing oil production, as well as last week’s surprise build in U.S. crude stockpiles, have also weighed on prices, said Tariq Zahir, analyst at Tyche Capital Advisors.

“You’re having supply come back on to the markets, so it’s not surprising to see a little bit of weakness,” Zahir said.

A group of Norwegian drilling rigs workers agreed on Thursday to end a strike that began on July 10, removing a threat to oil and gas production in the region.

“[A]cting as a further brake on upside potential was the conclusion of an oil workers’ strike in Norway,” analyst at London brokerage PVM Oil Associates Stephen Brennock said.

Source: Reuters

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