Top Iranian general says his troops 'ready to confront' US

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USA crude oil inventories last week tumbled more than expected to their lowest level since 2015 as exports jumped and stocks at the Cushing hub dropped, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate CLc1 rose 27 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $68.79, having risen almost 1 percent in the previous session.

US crude stockpiles dropped 3.16 million barrels last week, while inventories at the Cushing storage hub in Oklahoma fell by 808,000 barrels, the API was said to report.

The market gave up gains as attention returned to oversupply risk.

"The oil market does not seem to be overly concerned about the recent tussle between the United States and Iran as prices remain close to three-month lows", said Carsten Menke, commodities research analyst at Swiss private bank Julius Baer.

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Pompeo said that Iranian People are beginning to see that it is not the model that they want.

US inventories of crude, gasoline and distillates fell last week, the American Petroleum Institute was said to report.

Stockpiles at the hub were expected to fall for the 10th consecutive week, traders said.

The Saudi energy ministry said Thursday that the country was temporarily halting the shipments "until the situation becomes clearer" and maritime transit "is safe", according to a statement from the Saudi-led military coalition operating in Yemen.

The war of words between U.S. President Donald Trump and his counterpart in Iran over oil exports and sanctions is shining a spotlight on the narrow, twisting conduit for about 30 percent of the world's seaborne-traded crude.

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An evolving trade conflict between the United States and China has caused oil to retreat from the highs of June and spurred price volatility, which had risen last week to the highest level since February.

Even though most believe that oil prices would increase if Iran shut down the Strait of Hormuz or engages in military conflict with the United States, oil prices apparently have been little moved from the development so far.

Iran's IRNA news agency reported on July 25 that, after Rohani mentioned "baseless comments" by "some USA leaders", he told a cabinet meeting "there is no need for us to respond to any nonsensical comment and answer back to them".

A powerful commander of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards said on Thursday Donald Trump should address any threats against Tehran directly to him, and mocked the USA president as using the language of "night clubs and gambling halls".

He was reacting to Trump's all-caps tweet addressed to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, in which he threatened the Islamic Republic with actions "the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before".

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