Oil Slips Amid US-China Trade Tensions

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Oil Slips Amid US-China Trade Tensions

Oil prices saw a wide variation over the past week, regaining some losses on Wednesday after the U.S. released data showing a surprise fall in crude inventories. The contract rose 50c to $63.51 on Tuesday.

Prices had gone just above $71 per barrel early this year. -China trade war weighed on the markets, even as the government reported that the nation's supply of crude fell last week.

At the time of writing, WTI traded at US$62.38 a barrel and Brent crude was at US$67.11.

USA storage dropped by 4.62 million barrels to 425.3 million barrels last week, while outbound shipments of crude expanded to a record, according to an Energy Information Administration report Wednesday.

Analysts surveyed by Reuters had predicted a small gain in stocks.

Also potentially weighing on markets are the rising trade tensions between the USA and China.China slapped tariffs of up to 25 percent on 128 US products including frozen pork, as well as wine and certain fruits and nuts, in response to USA duties on imports of aluminium and steel, the country's finance ministry said on Sunday night.

Futures were little changed in NY. Brent crude -0.20% to $68.19/bbl.

This week's lowest prices of $66.69 per barrel in London and $62.06 in NY were reached just before the release of the U.S. inventory data. Soybeans are largely considered one of China's biggest weapons in the trade war, offering a way to harm the USA economy and hurt President Trump politically, since many farming states backed Trump in his presidential election.

Global markets from equities to oil recovered after investor optimism grew that the United States and China will step back from the brink of a trade war. As a result, any disruption to Iranian crude oil is likely to have a significant impact on prices for the commodity. In a reflection of general atmosphere of nervousness, gold prices increased.

"People are focused on the fundamentals of oil and they are very strong right now", Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures Group Inc.in Chicago, said by telephone.

Saudi Oil Minister Khalid Al-Falih recently spoke about long-term co-operation running over 10 to 20 years.

"I have high confidence that it will stagnate economic growth", said Michael McAllister, exploration and production equity analyst at MUFG in NY.

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