Oil slips as focus shifts to demand in coming months

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The drop in demand for OPEC crude means there will be less strain on other producers in making up for supply losses in Venezuela and Libya, and potentially in Iran as renewed USA sanctions kick in.

As oil prices have risen, profits "have improved, but they're not there yet in terms of making money", Todd Heltman, a senior energy analyst at investment firm Neuberger Berman Group LLC, told the WSJ.

Oil prices decreased on Monday as data showed that inventories at a major US crude delivery hub rose last week.

Crude prices have dipped in recent weeks, reflecting less worry about supplies following increased output by Russian Federation and several OPEC nations, the International Energy Agency said in its latest monthly report about the global oil market.

According to state-run media in Iran, Chinese companies are keen on buying oil from Iran despite unilateral sanctions put in place by the United States.

Gloomy months lie ahead of Nigeria and other crude oil exporters as OPEC on Monday forecast lower demand for crude next year.

The effects of the economic slowdown will take time to manifest, but analysts say investors are already becoming cautious.

Rapid oil demand that helped OPEC balance the market is expected to moderate next year.

World trade volume growth peaked in January at nearly 5.7 per cent year-on-year, but fell to less than 3 per cent by May, according to the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.

Weaker currencies in Asia and tariff-suppressed trade slows economic growth, reduces purchasing power, and eventually hits fuel demand. Brent, the global benchmark, shed 0.3% to $72.74 a barrel.

"The direct impact on global demand for oil is negligible", Fritsch said. While the question of Iranian supply remains in the background, crude oil traders have been ignoring supply-related concerns in recent history.

Australia, another rich economy in the region, has also seen strong demand, importing some 370,000 bpd in July, up from an average of 333,000 bpd in the first half of the year. Gasoline production averaged 10.2 million bpd, from 9.9 million bpd the week before last.

Iran is the third-largest producer in the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, behind Saudi Arabia and Iraq, pumping 3.65 million bpd in July, media data show. The original figure for June was 130 percent. Mee is even more bullish, seeing the ultimate loss of supply at more than 2 million bpd.

Brent, meanwhile suffered its fifth week of declines in six, as investors anxious that global trade disputes, most notably between the US and China, could slow economic growth and hurt demand for energy.