Wednesday, 18 September, 2019

Prices Capped by Demand Concerns, Underpinned by Weak Dollar

President Donald Trump announced August 1 that he will hit China with punitive tariffs on another $300 billion in goods escalating the trade war Oil prices drop as US-China trade war fuels growth concerns
Patty Aguilar | 05 August, 2019, 16:57

Oil prices fell on Monday on renewed global economic growth concerns after US President Donald Trump threatened to escalate a trade war with China with more tariffs, which could limit fuel demand in the world's two biggest crude consumers.

Brent crude was down 50 cents, or 0.8%, at $61.39 a barrel by 0029 GMT.

"The escalation of trade measures only reinforces concerns over global economic growth and hence by extension global oil demand growth", said Harry Tchilinguirian, global oil strategist at BNP Paribas in London.

US crude was down 24 cents, or 0.4%, at $55.42 a barrel. This led to a 1% drop in WTI crude for the week and a 2.5% weekly loss for Brent crude.

"The market is still digesting the impact of the tariffs on oil markets, but given China has been taking very little USA crude year-to-date, we see little scope for the tariffs to directly impact market fundamentals", RoboResearch Commodities Strategist Ryan Fitzmaurice said in a note. Over the long-run, however, a prolonged trade dispute will hurt demand for crude oil.

The tariffs, due to take effect September 1, intensify the trade war between the world's top two economies and oil consumers.

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A lower yuan would raise the cost of dollar-denominated oil imports in China, the world's biggest crude oil importer. China does not respond well to threats and has the ability to retaliate in indirect ways against U.S. trade measures, BofAML added.

Trump abruptly decided on Thursday to slap 10% tariffs $300 billion in Chinese imports, stunning financial markets and ending a month-long trade truce.

While Brent is expected to retain the price of $60 per barrel forecast for next year, any move by China to reinitiate Iran crude purchases could send oil prices into a tailspin, said the Bank of America Merrill Lynch in a new report.

The announcement extends United States tariffs to almost all imported Chinese products.

China, once the top buyer of US crude, had slashed its purchases past year as the trade war dragged on.

"The oil market has been the highest hit asset around from the trade war and this only exacerbates the situation", said John Kilduff, founding partner of Again Capital. US shipments surged by 260,000 barrels per day (bpd) in June to a monthly record of 3.16 million bpd, US Census Bureau data showed on Friday.

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