Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

Crude oil plunges after Trump tariff threat, Libya ports reopen

Russell Knight | 12 July, 2018, 11:21

The markets were under pressure before the regular session opening on Wednesday in reaction to the release of a new list of tariffs on China by the United States. This action would substantially weaken demand for U.S. WTI crude oil.

Tripoli-based Libya National Oil Corp said on Wednesday four export terminals were being reopened after eastern factions handed over the ports, ending a standoff that had shut down most of Libya's oil output.

China was the second largest importer of USA crude in Q1, according to US government data, and China has not yet imposed tariffs on US crude.

USA crude oil stocks fell by almost 13 million barrels last week, the most in almost two years, dropping overall crude stocks to their lowest point since February 2015, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday. This was the biggest price slide in almost two years.

"Both oil contracts have recently stalled around key long-term and psychologically-important levels at $80 and $75 respectively, as market participants weigh the risks of a potential correction in prices", Fawad Razaqzada, an analyst at FOREX.com, said in a note.

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Oil prices were falling Wednesday following the announcement by the Trump administration of new tariffs on Chinese goods. "If these tariffs are introduced, there will be an impact on global growth and demand".

Secondly, the recent rally was being supported partly from a drop in Libyan output. Hedge funds and other money managers with bullish wagers appeared to pare long positions, pulling back from positions added as crude approached three and a half year highs last month, Saucer said.

The decline in overall inventories was partially due to a fall-off in stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub for USA crude futures, which were down by 2.1 million barrels. This will bring additional crude to the market.

The selling pressure intensified as trade tensions between the US and China raised concerns about demand.

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