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Traders are also monitoring reports of multiple unsold crude oil cargoes around the Atlantic Basin, with producers including Russian Federation and Nigeria cutting prices for certain grades.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $67.43 a barrel, down 20 cents, or 0.3 percent from their last settlement.

Benchmark Brent crude oil was steady at 72.71 dollars a barrel by 1130 GMT.

Brent for October settlement traded at US$72.61 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, down 20 USA cents.

Crude slid to the lowest in seven weeks as economic turbulence in Turkey and the strengthening greenback heightened concerns about global oil demand.

But he said prices would remain under pressure as USA gasoline demand slows going into the fall and refiners shut for maintenance, pushing more crude into storage.

Prices have been suppressed below US$70 this month as fears of a trade war between the United States and China temper gains, with neither side showing signs of backing down.


Investors are concerned about the world economy as trade disputes between escalate between the United States and its major trading partners.

Iran is the third-largest producer among the members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). By November, those sanctions reach into the Iranian energy sector and could isolate as much as 1 million barrels of oil per day at a time when the market has little room for artificial shocks.

"The high crude prices appear to have been taking a toll on demand", said Sukrit Vijayakar, Director of Indian oil consultancy Trifecta. Some oil bulls are preparing for oil prices of US$150 and even US$200, Reuters reported yesterday, citing prominent hedge fund manager Pierre Andurand and Jean-Louis Mee, chief executive of Westbeck Capital.

U.S. and Brent crude are under pressure early Thursday as investors continue to react to the bearish API data, talk of lower demand and the strengthening U.S. Dollar.

However, keeping with the bearish tone of the market, hedge funds and other money managers reduced their bullish positions in U.S. crude futures and options in the week ending on August 7, data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed on Friday. Yet, bullish sentiment found some support from expectations that looming USA sanctions against Iran could significantly hamper its crude exports.

However, a revival from lower levels can not be ruled out in the next quarter as United States sanctions on Iranian oil exports are due to take effect in November that may cut two-third of its exports and in turn tighten global supply.


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