Boats float in front of the Vopak oil storage terminal in Johor, Malaysia. Picture: REUTERS/HENNING GLOYSTEIN
Boats float in front of the Vopak oil storage terminal in Johor, Malaysia. Picture: REUTERS/HENNING GLOYSTEIN

Tokyo — Oil prices slipped on Tuesday as investors awaited US crude inventory data for a pointer on oil demand trends, while concerns about slower economic growth overshadowed signs of a thawing in the trade war between Washington and Beijing.

Brent futures were down 6c at $61.51 a barrel by 3.11am GMT, having fallen 0.7% on Monday.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was down 12c at $55.69, after falling 1.5% in the previous session.

Prices rose sharply last week amid a decline in US inventories and signs of an easing in the US-China trade war, but worries on Monday about weaker economic growth offset hopes of a rise in oil demand even if trade talks progress.

“The inventory read last week is still reverberating through trading, though we did see that finally start to give way last night, but we can see there is little appetite to go on with it today,” said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney.

US crude inventories were forecast to have increased by about 700,000 barrels last week, according to a Reuters poll of analysts, having unexpectedly fallen the previous week, the first decline in six weeks.

US crude oil stockpiles at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for WTI, have risen by about 1.5-million barrels in the week to October 25, traders said earlier, citing data from market intelligence firm Genscape.

The American Petroleum Institute releases industry data later on Tuesday, while the US government’s Energy Information Administration releases inventory data on Wednesday.

The US trade representative is studying whether to extend tariff suspensions on $34bn of Chinese goods set to expire on December 28, the agency said on Monday.

US President Donald Trump said earlier on Monday he expected to sign a part of the trade deal with China ahead of schedule but did not elaborate on the timing.

Leaders of the world’s two biggest economies are working to agree on the text for the first phase of a trade agreement announced by Trump on October 11. Trump has said he hopes to sign the deal with China’s President Xi Jinping in November at a summit in Chile.

The trade war has hit economic growth about the world and kept oil prices rangebound for months.