Oil up as investors gauge US report, trade tensions
LONDON, July 30, 2018 – Oil prices edged up on Monday as investors digested a strong U.S. GDP report and the continued trade concerns between the U.S. and China.
Crude Oil WTI Futures for September delivery rose about 2% to USD 70.11 per barrel at 1:22PM GMT, while Brent Oil Futures for October delivery rose a little over half a percent to USD 75.39 for one barrel.
U.S. second-quarter GDP grew at 4.1%, marking the quickest pace of growth since 2014, but trade tensions between the U.S. and China remain high despite an easing between the United States and the EU.”Concerns around the U.S.-China trade wars continue to weigh on prices, while the halt in Saudi shipments through the Red Sea waterway has seemingly failed to provide a bullish fillip,” said Stephen Innes, head of trading APAC at OANDA Brokerage.
Last week, Saudi Arabia said it was temporarily halting all oil shipments through the Red Sea shipping lane of Bab al-Mandeb after an attack on two big oil tankers by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement also pushed oil prices higher.
Following the attack, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said in a statement that one of the crude carriers sustained minimal damage.
“Saudi Arabia is temporarily halting all oil shipments through Bab al-Mandeb Strait immediately until the situation becomes clearer and the maritime transit through Bab al-Mandeb is safe,” the minister said.
Meanwhile, U.S. energy companies added three oil rigs in the week to July 27, the first time in the past three weeks that drillers have increased activity, data on Friday showed.
The U.S. Dollar Index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of other currencies, edged 0.04% higher to 94.51 on Monday. The U.S. Federal Reserve is due to meet on Tuesday and Wednesday and is widely expected to reaffirm the outlook for further gradual rate rises.