Oil holds near US$63 as crude stocks drop, trade tensions abate

08 April, 2018, 02:13 | Author: Shannon Aguilar
  • A chemical and oil products ship enters New York Harbor

The trade spat between the United States and China has also been escalating, with China replying with tariffs on some US$50 billions of U.S. imports after the White House announced more tariffs on Chinese products last week; the potential trade war has been rattling financial markets, especially in Asia.

Futures gained as much as 0.7 percent in NY.

The strength of the USA dollar was a headwind for oil, said Bill Baruch, president of Blue Line Futures in Chicago.

Brent for June settlement lost 25c to $67.87 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

Futures in NY slipped as much as 2.1 percent to the lowest intraday price since March 20.

"We're seeing the reaction across the board. crude oil is keeping an eye on stocks and with S&P (futures) down. we're seeing renewed weakness ahead of the EIA this afternoon", Saxo Bank head of commodities strategy Ole Hansen said.

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"Russia's report on a modest build of 0.02 million b/d in production, along with market expectations on the Saudi's plan to reduce physical crude oil contracts, weighed in slightly on prices, too", Phillip Futures investment analyst Benjamin Lu said.

Global equities sank after China unveiled its charges, which match the scale of proposed USA tariffs announced earlier this week and ratchets up tension in a brewing trade war between the world's two largest economies.

Prices last week rose to a recent high of $71 per barrel, before crashing by 4% early this week and staging a partial recovery on Wednesday. The extent to which it counterbalance output cuts from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will be critical, said Gene McGillian, manager of market research at Tradition Energy in Stamford.

Output from the 14 members of OPEC dropped to 32.04 million barrels a day in March, the lowest since last April, according to a Bloomberg News survey.

The Energy Information Administration said gasoline inventories had also fallen by 1.1 million barrels to 238.5 million barrels, while distillates gained 500,000 barrels at 129.5 million barrels.

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