Oil prices steady as equity markets weigh, geopolitics support

* Dollar up on U.S. August jobs report; trade tensions
* S&P 500 drops as strong jobs data stoke U.S. rate hike
* U.S. diesel, gasoline stocks up after lackluster driving
* U.S. oil drillers cut rigs for 2nd week in three -Baker

(Adds CFTC data, Iraq news)
By Ayenat Mersie
NEW YORK, Sept 7 (Reuters) - Oil prices were steady on
Friday, with U.S. crude slipping on weak global equity markets
while Brent inched up on geopolitical factors, including violent
protests in Iraq.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures
settled down 2 cents at $67.75 per barrel. Brent crude futures
settled up 33 cents at $76.83 a barrel.
For the week, U.S. crude lost almost 3 percent, while Brent
was down 0.8 percent.
Geopolitical developments lent Brent some support, as
protests in the southern Iraqi city of Basra heated up and the
civil war in Syria threatened to escalate, analysts said.

"The situation in Basra has really flamed up ... that's
giving Brent some help here," said John Kilduff, partner at
Again Capital in New York.
In post-settlement trading, Brent prices drifted higher
after Iraqi protesters entered a 400,000 barrel per day oilfield
facility operated by Lukoil and held two staff members hostage.

U.S. oil prices had gotten a boost early in the week as the
approach of Tropical Storm Gordon forced the closure of Gulf of
Mexico oil platforms and threatened Gulf Coast refineries.
Speculators in the week to Sept. 4 raised their bullish bets
on U.S. crude to the highest in a month, the U.S. Commodity
Futures Trading Commission said on Friday.
"The market got too juiced up before the tropical storm ...
a lot of the weakness in the week (since) has been unwinding
from that," said Phil Flynn, analyst at Price Futures Group in
The storm ultimately weakened and moved away from
oil-producing areas and energy companies restarted operations
shut as a precautionary measure.
The dollar rose on Friday against a basket of other
currencies after the U.S. Labor Department's closely
watched employment report showed U.S. job growth surged in
A stronger greenback makes it more expensive to buy
dollar-denominated commodities like oil.
Escalating trade tensions along with the jobs data, which
raised concerns about the possibility of a quickening pace of
U.S. interest rate hikes, pressured global equity markets. Wall
Street's three major indexes all moved lower, while the
pan-European STOXX 600 had its worst weekly performance
since the end of March.
At the same time, U.S. oil prices remained weighed down by
official data showing that U.S. gasoline inventories
had risen by 1.8 million barrels while distillate
stockpiles climbed 3.1 million barrels.

"This bears all the hallmarks of a disappointing summer
driving season. As a result, the alarm bells are now ringing
that a gasoline glut will persist for the foreseeable future,"
Stephen Brennock of London brokerage PVM said.
The U.S. rig count, an indicator of future output, fell in
the week to Sept. 7, according to data from General Electric's
Baker Hughes energy services unit. U.S. energy companies cut
rigs for the second week in three.

(Additional reporting by Ahmad Ghaddar in London and Henning
Gloystein in Singapore; editing by Marguerita Choy, Bill Berkrot
and G Crosse)

First Published: 2018-09-07 02:59:09
Updated 2018-09-07 22:52:28

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