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Oil prices flat on US inventories hike

LONDON, September 19, 2018 – Oil prices were flat on Wednesday, as U.S. crude stockpiles rose higher than expected.

West Texas Crude oil futures for November fell 0.01% to $69.58 a barrel as of 5:09 AM ET (9:09 GMT). Meanwhile Brent crude futures, the benchmark for oil prices outside the U.S., decreased 0.18% to $78.89 but still remained near four-year highs.

Data from the American Petroleum Institute (API) showed on Tuesday that U.S. crude stocks hiked by 1.2 million barrels to 397.1 million in the week to Sept. 14, opposed to market expectations of a drop of 2.7 million barrels.

 

Prices of oil have been driven higher in recent months as investors anticipate pressure from U.S. sanctions against Iran. The sanctions, which are expected to go into effect on November 4, have already caused Iran’s crude exports to fall.

Meanwhile the U.S.-Sino trade war escalated after China said it would impose new tariffs on U.S. goods worth $60 billion, effective Sept. 24. The new tariffs are in response to U.S. tariffs on Monday of 10% on $200 billion in Chinese goods, which will go up to 25% at the end of the year.

Donald Trump previously stated that the U.S. would impose tariffs on another $267 billion of additional imports if China retaliates.

Investors were also looking ahead to weekly crude oil inventories from the Energy Information Administration, which are due later in the session.

In other energy trading, Gasoline RBOB Futures rose 0.07% at $2.0070 a gallon, while heating oil decreased 0.11% to $2.2333 a gallon. Natural gas futures slipped 0.10% to $2.930 per million British thermal units.

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