Oil prices rally on eased trade tensions

11 April, 2018, 12:37 | Author: Franklin Nunez
  • Oil prices rally on eased trade tensions

New York-traded West Texas Intermediate crude futures jumped $1.56, or about 2.5 per cent, to $65.02 a barrel while Brent crude futures, the benchmark for oil prices outside the USA, rose $1.66, or roughly 2.4 per cent, to $70.31 a barrel.

Brent crude for June delivery traded 1.8% lower Friday, at $67.07 a barrel.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 jumped $2.39, or 3.5 percent, to settle at $71.04 a barrel.

In physical oil markets, Opec's number two producer Iraq said on Monday that it was keeping prices for its crude supplies in May steady. Both have erased their losses from last week, when concerns over a possible trade war between the two largest economies contributed to declines of more than 4 percent.

US crude inventories rose by 1.8 million barrels in the week to April 6 to 429.1 million, according to a report by the American Petroleum Institute (API) on Tuesday, compared with analysts' expectations for a decrease of 189,000 barrels.

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The remarks helped soothe investor jitters over the ongoing tit-for-tat tariff dispute between the USA and China, which investors had feared might escalate into a full-blown trade war between the world's two largest economies.

U.S. WTI crude futures were at $62.31 a barrel at 0643 GMT, up 25 cents, or 0.4 percent, from their previous settlement.

"If China was to impose counter tariffs on USA crude, it would become quickly very heavy for the US supply and demand picture, resulting in US crude oil price pressure that would have a negative impact on global oil prices", according to Petromatrix.

The American Petroleum Institute will publish storage data later today while the US Energy Information Administration releases its monthly report on US production.

Past the trade dispute, changes in the Trump administration have triggered fears over the possibility of returning U.S. sanctions on main oil exporting countries, including Iran, Venezuela, and Russian Federation. U.S. President Donald Trump promised a "major response" within 24 to 48 hours to an alleged chemical attack in Syria, which he said could be the work of the Syrian government, Iran, Russia or all three.

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Oil markets have been supported by healthy demand and supply cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

"Oil prices remain rangebound with WTI oil right in the middle of the $60-$65 per barrel range that has largely held since January of this year", said William O'Loughlin, investment analyst at Australia's Rivkin Securities.

Still, growing USA crude stockpile, which has risen since mid-2016 to 10.46 million bpd, have become a hindrance to OPEC's plan to contain the supply glut and bolster prices.

The United States late a year ago overtook top exporter Saudi Arabia as the world's second biggest crude producer.

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