Oil steady as easing US-China tension, US stockdraw support

by Ben Pena April 9, 2018, 0:16
Oil steady as easing US-China tension, US stockdraw support

Futures in NY slipped as much as 2.1 percent to the lowest intraday price since March 20. That would be the biggest drop since January if confirmed by the Energy Information Administration's data on Wednesday. Trump also tried to quell trade war fears on Wednesday, Tweeting that "We are not in a trade war with China".

A slightly stronger USA dollar weighed on prices.

"The two countries are using discretion in their actions, and it does not look like the situation is developing into a full-scale trade war yet", said Tomomichi Akuta, senior economist at Mitsubishi UFJ Research and Consulting in Tokyo.

The crude oil prices went up after surprising data for drops in USA inventories.

Iran may be faced with sanctions pressures next month and Venezuela's political issues are creating problems in its oil sector. West Texas Intermediate, the US benchmark for the price of oil, was down 0.42 percent to $63.27 per barrel. The contract rose 50c to $63.51 on Tuesday. Total volume traded was about 39 percent below the 100-day average.

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Brent for May settlement, which expires Thursday, added 74 cents to end the session at $70.27/bbl on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Prices slipped 10 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $68.02 Wednesday.

Even after crude was propped up in February by rising geopolitical risks surrounding the USA and Middle East producer Iran, it's still struggling to recover to the highs of January, with concerns over a global trade war also weighing on prices.

Prices pared losses after the Energy Information Administration released data showing USA crude inventories USOILC=ECI fell by 4.6 million barrels in the latest week. Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, rose by 537,000 barrels, versus expectations for a 1.1 million barrels drop.

Global equities rose after the United States expressed willingness to negotiate a resolution on trade after proposed USA tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese goods prompted a quick response from Beijing that it would retaliate by targeting key American imports. China's Ministry of Commerce said it would levy 25 percent tariffs on imports of 106 US products including automobiles and aircraft. All three major US stock indexes were higher on Thursday [.N], after the United States said it could negotiate with China on trade issues. China's ambassador to the U.S., Cui Tiankai, also said his first choice would be to consult the U.S. over trade.


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