Oil falls after Trump presses OPEC to offset Iran sanctions

China defiant on US Iran oil decision

Global benchmark Brent crude was trading at $71.33 per barrel at 0650 GMT, posting a 0.2% loss, after it closed Monday at $71.48 a barrel.

Trump is walking a tightrope, as he tries to completely cut off Iran from global oil markets and thereby put the nation's economy under pressure to push Tehran to bow to US demands while also attempting to keep gas prices low in the United States.

That could leave global supplies thin as the US chokes off Iranian exports and unrest flares elsewhere.

Two of the world's largest oil buyers are teaming up and looking to leverage their power by jointly sourcing crude at a better price.

Iran's economy is expected to slide deeper into recession this year and inflation is set to surge to almost 40 per cent or more as Tehran struggles to keep its economy afloat in the wake of tighter USA sanctions and Washington's goal of curtailing the country's oil exports to zero, a senior International Monetary Fund official said.

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USA sanctions on Iran, rising unrest in the Middle East and North Africa and oil price volatility are dragging regional economic growth, the International Monetary Fund said Monday.

Washington, which re-imposed sanctions against Iran's oil exports last November, this month demanded buyers of Iranian oil to stop purchases by May or face sanctions, ending six months of waivers which allowed Iran's eight biggest buyers to continue importing limited volumes.

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) overstate their oil capacities, Iran's state news agency IRNA reported on Friday.

"There was an uptick even without Venezuela due to Falih's comments", said analyst Olivier Jakob at Petromatrix.

OPEC and other allies led by Russian Federation have agreed to cut output by around 1.2 million bpd for six months until the end of June.

Sri Lanka bans burqas for 'public protection' after bomb attacks
President Maithripala Sirisena said the ban was meant to ensure national security, helping authorities to identify people. Dozens of suspects have since been arrested in security forces' raids, but officials warn more militants remain at large.

The kingdom's exports in April will be below 7 million barrels per day (bpd), while production is around 9.8 million bpd, Saudi officials have said.

OPEC, Russia and other non-members, an alliance known as OPEC+, agreed in December to reduce supply by 1.2 million bpd from January 1.

Nigeria says the Egina field produces condensate, a type of light oil excluded from the OPEC cuts.

"We believe that the (fall in prices) is probably due to the situation on the futures market being now overbought", Commerzbank wrote in a note.

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