Oil prices held steady today as a fall in US crude inventories to the lowest levels since 2015 supported the market, although Sino-US trade tensions and economic weakness from emerging markets remained a concern. 

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $67.93 per barrel in early trade, up 16 cent from their last settlement. 

International Brent crude futures were up eight cents at $76.58 a barrel.

Analysts said that oil inventory data released last night showed a larger-than-expected draw in crude inventories. 

US commercial crude oil inventories fell by 4.3 million barrels to 401.49 million barrels in the week to August 31, the lowest since February 2015, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) data showed. 

Despite that, analysts said prices were curbed by a rise in refined product stocks and a relatively weak US peak fuel consumption season this summer, known as the driving season. 

Gasoline stocks rose by 1.8 million barrels, while distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, climbed by 3.1 million barrels, the EIA data showed. 

Ongoing emerging market weakness as well as potential new US import tariffs on Chinese goods were also weighing on oil market sentiment. 

On the supply side, US crude oil production last week remained at a record 11 million barrels per day (bpd), a level it has largely been at since July.

Outside the United States, US sanctions against major oil producer Iran, which from November will target oil exports, are fuelling expectations of a tighter market towards year-end.

Washington has indicated it may offer temporary sanction waivers to allied countries that are unable to immediately cease imports from Iran.