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Oil prices climb on tightening US market


[SINGAPORE] Oil prices edged up on Wednesday, lifted by a report of declining US fuel inventories amid the ongoing crude supply outage at Syncrude Canada in Alberta, which usually supplies the United States.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at US$74.60 a barrel at 12.44am GMT, up 46 cents, or 0.6 per cent, from their last settlement. WTI the previous day hit its highest since November 2014 at US$75.27 a barrel.

Brent crude futures were at US$77.82 per barrel, up 6 cents from their last close.

Trading activity is expected to be limited on Wednesday due to the US Independence Day holiday.

US crude inventories fell by 4.5 million barrels in the week to June 29 to 416.9 million barrels, according to the American Petroleum Institute (API) on Tuesday. Gasoline and distillate stocks, which include diesel and heating oil, were also down, the API said.

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Traders said the decline in fuel inventories was largely down to the outage at Syncrude Canada's 360,000 barrels per day (bpd) oil sands facility near Fort McMurray, Alberta, which is expected to last through July.

Outside North America, looming US sanctions against major oil exporter Iran were the focus of attention.

The US government plans to shut Iran's oil exports out of the market from November, demanding that all countries stop buying its oil.

To make up for potential shortfalls in supply from Iran sanctions as well as other disruptions including Libya and Venezuela, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) has agreed with Russia and other oil-producing non-Opec members to raise output from July.

Opec-member Iran, however, has warned it would not accept other producers reaping the benefits by taking its market share.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday said it was "unwise to imagine that some day all producer countries will be able to export their surplus oil and Iran will not be able to export its oil."


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