Oil falls again on trade deal fatigue and US crude stocks increase
Rising Middle East tension, particularly in Iraq where a commodities port was blocked, is helping support oil prices
London — Oil extended declines to $62 a barrel on Tuesday, pressured by limited progress in efforts to resolve the trade conflict between the US and China, as well as an expected rise in US crude inventories.
A Chinese government source was quoted by CNBC on Monday as saying there was gloom in Beijing about prospects for a trade deal. The long-running dispute has hit economic growth prospects and clouded the outlook on oil demand.
Brent crude, the global benchmark, was down 49c at $61.95 a barrel at 9.37am GMT. It had reached $63.65 — the highest since September 24 — on Thursday. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude dropped 36c to $56.69.
“The less-than promising reports coming from China on the trade war may have taken some of the energy out of the rally,” said Craig Erlam, analyst at brokerage Oanda. “We’re certainly seeing less momentum in the recent rallies.”
Oil also declined on the prospect of a further increase in US crude inventories, suggesting ample supplies. The average estimate from six analysts polled by Reuters was for crude inventories to have risen by about 1.1-million barrels in the week to November 15, representing a fourth consecutive weekly gain.
The American Petroleum Institute (API) releases its supply report at 8.30pm GMT on Tuesday and the government’s official figures are due on Wednesday.
Oil found some support from tension in the Middle East, home to top exporter Saudi Arabia and other core oil cartel Opec members.
Protesters in Iraq blocked a commodities port on Tuesday and people took to the streets in Iran to demonstrate against a rise in petrol prices.
The US said on Monday that it will no longer waive sanctions related to Iran’s Fordow nuclear plant, while armed members of Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement seized a vessel towing a South Korean rig over the weekend.
Brent has rallied about 15% this year, supported by a supply pact between Opec and allies including Russia (Opec+). Producers meet in Vienna over December 5-6 and are expected to extend the pact beyond March.