Oil rallies almost 2 percent on China import boost, US-Iran tensions

Angola falls back from leading oil production in Africa

The global crude market will rebalance next year if the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) holds output at current levels - but oil prices are not expected to rise in 2018, a new forecast has suggested.

Oil prices have dropped following reports of an increase in U.S. crude inventories despite the OPEC-led efforts to rebalance the market.

The West Texas Intermediate for November delivery decreased 0.70 USA dollar to settle at 50.60 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for December delivery lost 0.69 dollar to close at 56.25 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange.

Traders said the oil market pulled back from even higher gains - both contracts were up over 2 percent - earlier in the day out of relief that Trump did not immediately seek to impose sanction on Iran. In China, the world's second-biggest oil market, crude imports in September jumped to the second-highest on record.

RCMA Group Energy managing director David Maher said: "OPEC doesn't really have a choice but to extend cuts unless they're happy to risk sub-$40 per barrel prices again".

As Oil Price writes in the article Draw In Crude Inventories Lifts Oil Prices, EIA's report could reinforce oil price optimism, especially now that oilfield operators in the Gulf of Mexico are returning to normal operation after shutting down 92 percent of production capacity because of Hurricane Nate.

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Chinese oil imports fell by 179,000 barrels a day in August, but remained above 8 million barrels a day.

Baker Hughes will release its weekly North American rig count survey around 1:00 p.m. EDT (1700 GMT).

Unrest in Iraq also underpinned prices.

U.S. president Donald Trump is also expected to make an announcement on the Iran nuclear deal, which is due for renewal this weekend. At least 6,000 Kurdish fighters have been deployed in the oil-rich Kirkuk province following "threats" of attack from Iraqi forces, media network Rudaw reported.

"Such a move could constrain the flow of much-needed foreign investment to Iran's upstream sector, which in turn will be detrimental to oil exports from the country", said Abhishek Kumar, senior energy analyst at Interfax Energy's Global Gas Analytics in London.

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