Published: Wed, April 11, 2018
Economy | By Shawn Conner

Oil prices jump 2% on waning trade war

The dips came after a more than 2 per cent rally on Monday during European and American trade hours.

Oil prices rose on Tuesday as the trade tensions between China and the United States showed further signs of ease.

Oil markets stabilized on Monday after having lost around 2 percent last Friday as concerns grew over the impact on global growth from an intensifying trade dispute between the United States and China, as well as increased US drilling activity.

United States benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures were up 1.62 per cent at $64.45 a barrel.

Brent crude futures were at $67.42 per barrel, up 31 cents, or 0.5 percent.

Oil prices have been in a volatile situation for the past few days, due to concerns over a continuous trade dispute between the USA and China, and uncertainty over the supply and demand balance of global oil markets.

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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.

Oil prices have scored gains of almost five per cent in the last two sessions, recovering much of what they lost last week when the U.S.'s decision to slap China with tariffs on $50 billion worth of gold sent crude on a dive to a two-week low.

In other energy news Tuesday, the U.S. Energy Information Administration raised its 2018 and 2019 price forecasts for WTI and Brent crude.

Also supportive to crude prices was the weakness of the US dollar.

Departures from the accord would result in renewed sanctions against Iran, which would hurt its oil industry.

"In addition to the risk of protectionism, there has been a significant change in the Trump administration that has raised risks of potential sanctions on key oil exporting countries including Iran, Venezuela and Russian Federation", U.S. bank JPMorgan said.

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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).

However, soaring USA crude production, which has jumped by a quarter since mid-2016, threatens to undermine Opec's efforts.

"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.

The report comes a week after Crown Prince Mohammed first told Time magazine that he expected Aramco's public launch to coincide with higher oil prices.

Previous US sanctions has already hit Iran's production by more than 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd).

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