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10 October 2018, 08:53 | Austin Hogan
Oil prices rise as Iranian crude exports fall
Brent crude, the global benchmark, was down $1.38 to $82.78 per barrel at 1041 GMT.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 67 cents to settle at $74.96 a barrel, a 0.90 percent gain.
India, the world's third-largest oil importer, is a major importer of Iranian oil.
Oil prices held little changed on Tuesday, as more evidence emerged that crude exports from Iran are declining in the run-up to the reimposition of USA sanctions, while a hurricane moved across the Gulf of Mexico.
That's down from at least 2.5 million bpd in April, before President Donald Trump in May withdrew the United States from a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and reimposed sanctions.
Hedge funds cut their bullish wagers on US crude in the latest week to the lowest level in almost a year, data showed on Friday.
The industry has been worrying that an entirely effective ban on Iranian oil exports would strain supplies.
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"Instead they're talking about 'sufficient pressure, ' which is their language for allowing banks to keep Iran connected to the global financial system, including through SWIFT or with oil waivers", the source said, referring to new efforts by officials in the Treasury Department and European allies to keep Iran connected to the premier worldwide banking system. The early October figures add to signs, however, that Iranian exports are falling more steeply than expected, stretching the ability of Saudi Arabia, non-OPEC Russia and other producers to fill the gap.
Iran's crude exports fell further in the first week of October, according to tanker data and an industry source, taking a major hit from USA sanctions and throwing a challenge to other OPEC oil producers as they seek to cover the shortfall.
With the European Union considering the creation of a "special objective vehicle" before November to facilitate trade with Iran, India hopes to find a way to settle payments to Tehran.
USA sanctions against Tehran are widely expected to have an immediate impact on Iran's oil exports, although the estimates of exactly how much of the country's oil could disappear from November 4 vary widely.
In the United States, almost 40 percent of daily crude oil production was lost from offshore U.S. Gulf of Mexico wells on Tuesday because of platform evacuations and shut-ins ahead of Hurricane Michael. Late in the session, traders will get the opportunity to react to the latest data from the American Petroleum Institute.
The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday cut its global economic growth forecasts for 2018 and 2019.
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