From the Field
Oil prices steady amid Sino-US trade doubts
LONDON, March 22, 2019 – Oil prices were little changed on Friday in Asia as traders remained cautious amid the latest news on the Sino-US trade war.
US Crude Oil WTI Futures was unchanged at $59.98 by 1:49 AM ET (05:49 GMT). International Brent Oil Futures edged up 0.1% to $67.92.
The US crude benchmark rose above the $60 resistance earlier this week after the Energy Information Administration announced a surprise crude inventory drawdown of nearly 10 million barrels last week versus expectations for a 300,000-barrel build.
Oil prices in general were supported by supply cuts led by the he Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-affiliated allies such as Russia.
US sanctions on Iran and Venezuela were also cited as a tailwind for the oil market.
Traders are closely monitor the latest news on the ongoing Sino-US trade war. Analysts are concerned that Chinese oil demand, which represents over 12 percent of total world demand, might be negatively affected if the trade war drags on.
Uncertainty surrounding a potential trade deal increased earlier this week after US President Donald Trump said he’ll keep tariffs on China “for a substantial period of time.”
“We’re not talking about removing them, we’re talking about leaving them for a substantial period of time, because we have to make sure that if we do the deal with China that China lives by the deal,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Wednesday.
“They’ve had a lot of problems living by certain deals.”
High-level officials from the US and Chinese are set to begin a new round of trade talks next week in Beijing. US officials are aiming to reach a deal with China by the end of April, reports said.