Oil holds at seven-week high on gulf storm, USA stockpiles draw

US oil stockpiles fell by 8.13 million barrels last week spurring a spike in oil prices

Oil prices fell on Thursday as OPEC forecast slower demand for its crude next year, with crude futures easing from their highest in more than a month after US producers cut about half of their output in the Gulf of Mexico ahead of what could be one of the first major storms of the Atlantic hurricane.

Major producers from BP Plc to Chevron Corp. have evacuated crews from offshore installations and nearly one-third of Gulf crude output has been halted.

Nevertheless, oil prices are down on the day, with the price of WTI crude falling slightly by $0.05 per barrel or 0.08% at $60.38 per barrel at 3:30pm EST.

Futures in NY rose as much as 0.8 per cent after settling above US$60 a barrel on Wednesday for the first time since May.

West Texas Intermediate indecent for August provide won 6 cents to US$60.49 a barrel on the Original York Mercantile Substitute as of 8:53 a.m.in Original York.

Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell said there were risks that prices gains in the U.S. might persistently undershoot the central bank's inflation target and that the country's labour market was not running hot. U.S. President Donald Trump vowed Wednesday to impose more sanctions on Iran and accused it of violating the nuclear accord that he withdrew from previous year. The contract closed on the ideal stage since Might 22 on Wednesday.

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Tropical Storm Barry formed with heavy rains expected across the north-central U.S. Gulf Coast, the National Hurricane Center said.

"Imports down, exports likely up and refinery utilisation at yearly highs", he said.

Brent for September added 43 cents, or 0.6 per cent, to $67.44 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe Exchange. It climbed 4.4% to $67.01 on Wednesday, the highest close since May 29. Royal Dutch Shell Plc has also evacuated non-essential personnel at seven platforms and BP also began removing offshore personnel. USA crude stocks fell 9.5 million barrels in the week to July 5, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said, more than triple the 3.1 million-barrel draw analysts had expected as refineries ramped up output.

At current OPEC output levels of 30 million bpd, the IEA predicted that global oil stocks could rise by 136 million barrels by the end of the first quarter of 2020.

The situation in the Middle East remained tense.

Five boats believed to belong to Iranian Revolutionary Guards approached a British oil tanker on Wednesday and asked it to stop in Iranian waters close by, but withdrew after a British warship warned them over radio, a USA defence official said on Thursday.

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