United States oil closes lower Friday after Trump's latest China trade threats

United States oil closes lower Friday after Trump's latest China trade threats

United States oil closes lower Friday after Trump's latest China trade threats

Geopolitical concerns elevated crude prices on Tuesday after President Donald Trump canceled his scheduled trip to multiple South American countries to focus on the USA response to developments in Syria.

Crude prices rallied for the second day in a row yesterday, as appetite for riskier assets improved after a speech by Chinese President Xi Jinping eased concerns about a trade conflict between the United States and China.

Brent crude futures were last up US$1.35 at US$70.00 a barrel by 1418 GMT, while West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose US$1.30 to US$64.72 a barrel.

On Tuesday, Brent crude rose 3.5 percent, while WTI gained 3.4 percent overall.

Traders said weekly United States fuel supply data would give further market guidance.

Official data from the Energy Information Administration will be released today, amid forecasts for an oil-stock gain of around 0.2 million barrels.

As the leading crude oil importer and the world's biggest energy consumer, China acts as a major determiner of global oil prices.

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

"China is the main importer (after Canada) of US crude oil, to the tune of about 400,000 barrels per day", Petromatrix said, Reuters reported.

"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.

"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 United States late previous year overtook top exporter Saudi Arabia as the world's second biggest crude producer. Analysts polled by S&P Global Platts expect the agency to report a weekly rise of 100,000 barrels in crude stockpiles, along with declines of 2 million barrels in gasoline and 1.2 million barrels in distillate supplies.

Saudi Arabia Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Wednesday that the world's biggest exporter of crude oil will not sit by and let another supply glut surface, implying that the de-facto leader of the oil producer cartel of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) would continue to withhold supply in order to tighten markets and prop up prices.

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