Saudi Aramco offers to increase oil supply to India

India's oil imports from Iran down 57% in April

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $62 per barrel, down $0.12, making good on some earlier losses.

USA sanctions on crude exporters Iran and Venezuela, as well as supply cuts by OPEC and Russian Federation, also supported prices.

The latest US EIA data showed an unexpected drop in the US crude inventories by 4 million barrels in the week to May 3. "We should increase production and raise our (non-oil) exports and resist America's plots against the sale of our oil". Crude from the US, an alternative exporter, comes at a hefty price.

Brent crude oil futures were at $69.94 per barrel, 6 cents, or 0.1 percent, above their last close.

But analysts said there's little sign that China will step away from talks, with Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang telling reporters that "China's team is preparing to go to the United States for the discussions".

Fuji Oil said Iranian oil accounted for about 20 percent of the company's supplies in the financial year through March, down from around 30 percent the previous year.

Most analysts expect Iran's crude exports to fall to little more than 500,000 bpd, down from around one million bpd in April, as governments largely bow to USA pressure.

"EIA expects some tightness in global oil markets during the second and third quarters of 2019, but anticipates that growing production in the United States and key OPEC countries will ensure that global supplies continue to meet demand moving forward", EIA Administrator Linda Capuano said in a statement. -China trade dispute upset risk appetite, boosting demand for safe-haven assets.

Oil's gains were capped by a sluggish Wall Street, which had trouble finding direction on worries that a breakdown in trade talks between the world's top two economies will drag global growth lower.

We're looking for another choppy, two-sided session on Wednesday unless there is a major surprise in the government's weekly inventories report.

Besides, Trump had also added that further tariff hikes on hundreds of billions of Chinese exports might have been on the cards, that rekindled volatility over riskier assets such as crude oil.

"Alternative supplies to Iranian oil for Japan are likely to come mainly from the Middle East given the existing supply chains", Takayuki Uematsu, senior executive officer at Cosmo Energy Holdings Co Ltd, told an earnings news conference on Thursday.

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