Oil prices tumble amid trade worries

Adjust Comment Print

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. Two rallies last week ran out of steam just beyond $71, a chart pattern known as a double top, which is usually bearish.

Trade war fears have added volatility to a stock market already responding to Trump's feed on Twitter. Brent crude -0.20% to $68.19/bbl. That would be the biggest drop since January if confirmed by the Energy Information Administration's data on Wednesday.

Before the rebound late on Wednesday, after the release of the Energy Information Administration (EIA) inventory data, WTI and Brent had hit two-week lows after China proposed a broad range of tariffs on USA exports, feeding fears of a trade war.

Brent crude, the worldwide benchmark, rose 58 cents to $69.92 a barrel at 0850 GMT. Brent and U.S. prices at about the same time the previous week had been, respectively, well above $68.50 per barrel and $64 per barrel.

Global markets from equities to oil recovered after investor optimism grew that the US and China will step back from the brink of a trade war.

The surprise drop in USA stockpiles has boosted optimism that surging shale output may not derail OPEC's efforts to drain a glut.

More news: Man drives van into restaurant in Germany, killing two plus himself
More news: Trump blasts media for EPA chief's ethical problems
More news: No mousing around as Disney offers to take Sky News

Oil held above $63 a barrel on cautious optimism that the market will re-balance as OPEC production falls, while investors keep a wary eye on USA supplies.

Hitting back on the Trump administration's plan to levy tariffs on $50 billion-worth of its goods, China proposed duties on USA imports including soybeans, aircraft, cars and chemicals. In a reflection of general atmosphere of nervousness, gold prices increased.

There was a significant impact in USA commodity markets, with soybeans recording their biggest one-day fall in nearly a year. Crude oil inventories were higher than estimates (+1.6m vs. +0.9m expected).

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

Palladium lost 2.1pc to $945.75 per ounce, earlier hitting $938.22, its lowest level since October 11, and was set to fall more than 9pc this month, the steepest drop since December 2016.

Chatter in the market suggests that Saudi Arabia will be cutting the price for the crude grades it sells to Asia, sparking off speculation that Aramco will aiming to recapture lost market share and signalling an end to the production freeze.