Oil prices up on hopes of U.S.-China trade war truce

12 Sep 2019

Oil prices increased on Thursday, regaining some heavy losses from the last session, bolstered by easing trade tensions between the U.S. and China.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 rose 45 cents, or 0.7%, to $61.26 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures CLc1 gained 50 cents, or 0.9%, to $56.25 a barrel.

The increase followed China exempting U.S. anti-cancer medication and other goods from tariffs, while U.S. President Trump announced a delay to tariff rises on billions of dollars’ worth of Chinese goods.

Furthermore, these latest concessions arose before a scheduled meeting over the next few days targeted at bringing an end to the ongoing trade war between the world’s two largest economies.

Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA commented: “The postponement of the next round of China tariffs by President Trump ... has the global growth story back in full swing.”

However, “further rallies in Asia look limited today” ahead of the European Central Bank (ECB) rate review.

Later on Thursday, the ECB is forecast to ease policy to bolster diminishing growth, Reuters reports.

Thursday’s price rise followed both of the main global benchmarks suffering a steep decline yesterday on reports Donald Trump had weighed easing Iran sanctions. This could likely boost crude supply around the world during a period of mounting concerns regarding oil demand.

In addition, on Wednesday the U.S. Energy Information Administration stated that U.S. stockpiles of crude oil dropped last week to the lowest level in almost a year, as refineries increased output and imports declined.

Stephen Innes, Asia Pacific market strategist at AxiTrader stated: “Historical inventory patterns suggest that stocks should begin to hit seasonal bottom sometime in the next two-three weeks.”

Crude inventories edged down for the fourth consecutive week, falling 6.9 million barrels in the week to September 6, more than twice as much as analysts’ forecasts of a 2.7 million-barrel drawdown.

U.S. crude oil inventories were at their lowest point since October last year, at 416.1 million barrels, and around 2% under the five-year average for this time of year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

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