Oil edges up on Saudi output cut and Iran sanctions

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LONDON (Aug 14): Oil prices rose on Tuesday after Saudi Arabia said it had cut production in July, although concerns over a slowdown in global economic growth kept a lid on markets.

Benchmark Brent crude oil was up 60 cents at US$73.21 a barrel by 0745 GMT. US light crude was 60 cents higher at US$67.80.

Saudi Arabia told the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries that it had reduced crude output by 200,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 10.29 million bpd in July.

OPEC itself, using secondary sources, estimated in a report published on Monday that Saudi production was at a slightly higher level of 10.39 million bpd last month.

But both figures suggest the kingdom, de facto leader of OPEC, is keen to avoid a repeat of a global glut that has depressed prices over the past few years.

Saudi Arabia is OPEC's biggest producer and the only major exporter that can easily adjust output to balance global supply.

The lower Saudi output comes at a time of expected export declines from Iran as the United States re-imposes sanctions on Tehran's oil industry.

But output from non-OPEC countries, particularly the United States, is rising quickly, limiting demand for OPEC oil.

OPEC expects oil supply by countries outside the cartel to increase by 2.13 million bpd next year, 30,000 bpd more than forecast last month, with much of the increase coming from new US shale production.

US oil output from seven major shale basins is expected to rise 93,000 bpd in September to 7.52 million bpd, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in a monthly report on Monday.

Global oil demand is also rising, but not as fast as supply.

The OPEC report said it expected world oil demand to grow by 1.43 million bpd in 2019, down from 1.64 million bpd in 2018.

OPEC said the demand slowdown would come on the back of potentially lower economic growth as a result of trade disputes between the United States and China as well as emerging market turmoil.

China's economy is showing further signs of cooling as the US prepares to impose even tougher trade tariffs, with investment in the first seven months of the year slowing to a record low and retail sales softening, data showed on Tuesday.