* Kuwait committed to implement lower output deal -oil minister
* Global economic outlook darkens amid trade war -Ifo
* IEA says oil demand hurt by trade war, slowing economy
(Updates prices, adds comment)
By Collin Eaton
HOUSTON, Aug 12 (Reuters) - Oil prices were little changed on
Monday as expectations that major producers would continue to reduce
global supplies ran into worries about sluggish growth in crude demand
due to the U.S.-China trade war.
International benchmark Brent crude settled at $58.57 a barrel,
up 4 cents. West Texas Intermediate (WTI)
futures settled at $54.93, up 43 cents.
Investors were torn between forecasts of slowing global oil demand
growth and chatter about renewed efforts by major producers to curtail
output and support prices, analysts said.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its
allies, known as OPEC+, have agreed to cut 1.2 million barrels per day
(bpd) since Jan. 1.
Kuwait was "fully committed" to the OPEC+ agreement, Oil
Minister Khaled al-Fadhel said, adding that Kuwait has cut its own
output by more than required by the accord.
He said fears of a global economic downturn were
"exaggerated," and said global demand for crude should pick
up in the second half, helping reduce the surplus in oil inventories gradually.
Analysts said in a sign that de-facto OPEC leader Saudi Arabia
intends to support prices, state-run Saudi Aramco is ready to launch
what could be the world's largest initial public offering.
The Saudi government will decide when the IPO will take place
based on its perception of "what would be the optimum market
condition," senior Aramco executive Khalid al-Dabbagh said in an
The official said Saudi Aramco has signed a letter of intent with
India's Reliance to potentially buy a stake in its refining and
"The Saudis will need a higher price for oil for its IPO, and
this confirms they'll do whatever it takes to get oil prices up,"
said Phil Flynn, an analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.
Analysts said more reductions were needed to support prices as
forecasters and government agencies issue gloomy predictions for the
global economy and oil demand growth.
The economic outlook has deteriorated worldwide as the trade
dispute between the United States and China escalates, Germany's Ifo
economic institute said in its quarterly survey of nearly 1,200
experts in more than 110 countries.
"It's going to take the market far longer to come back into
balance, which has forced OPEC and non-OPEC producers to continue with
their production cuts," said Andy Lipow, president at Lipow Oil
Associates in Houston.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Friday that mounting
signs of an economic slowdown had caused global oil demand to grow at
its slowest pace since the financial crisis of 2008.
Tensions between the United States and Iran were also seen
contributing to firming oil prices, analysts said.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said the launch of a U.S.
maritime security mission in the Persian Gulf has turned the region
into "a matchbox ready to ignite because America and its allies
are flooding it with weapons."
Much of the world's oil passes through Strait of Hormuz near the
Persian Gulf. The U.S. security mission began after explosions damaged
six tankers in May and June, and Iran seized a British-flagged tanker
the following month.
Iranian officials "are saying it's a narrow passage area and
the U.S. is going to stir up geopolitical problems," said Bill
Baruch, an oil trader at Blue Line Futures in Chicago. "That
A weakening dollar also propped up oil prices as investors
feared the trade war would slow U.S. economic growth, analysts said. A
softer greenback makes dollar-denominated crude cheaper for foreign
On Friday, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission said
hedge funds raised their net long positions in U.S. crude futures and
options in the week to Aug. 6. It was a signal some investors are
"trying to pick the bottom," said Robert Yawger, an analyst
at Mizuho in New York.
"They took the opportunity to get in," Yawger said.
"The spec(ulator) community appears to want to trade these
INDIA ENERGY IMPORTS Global oil demand growth
(Reporting by Collin Eaton in Houston Additional reporting by
Bozorgmehr Sharafedin, Jane Chung Editing by Marguerita Choy and