Oil is firm but trade dispute keeps traders edgy


Brent crude futures were at $67.43 a barrel, up 32c, or 0.5%.

Before the rebound late on Wednesday, after the release of the Energy Information Administration (EIA) inventory data, WTI and Brent had hit two-week lows after China proposed a broad range of tariffs on USA exports, feeding fears of a trade war.

New York-traded West Texas Intermediate crude futures jumped $1.56, or about 2.5 per cent, to $65.02 a barrel while Brent crude futures, the benchmark for oil prices outside the US, rose $1.66, or roughly 2.4 per cent, to $70.31 a barrel.

Chinese and US officials have also softened their rhetoric over their trade spat, easing worries over the potential for a slowdown in demand for oil.

The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for May delivery rose 2.09 US dollars to settle at 65.51 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for June delivery added 2.39 dollar to close at 71.04 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange. "The odds of a coordinated response to the chemical-weapon attack in Syria (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/trump-issues-warning-after-dozens-killed-in-apparent-chemical-weapons-attack-in-syria-2018-04-08) is making short selling more unsafe".

"Oil prices rose sharply (on Monday) as a weaker United States dollar and easing concerns about the trade war saw investor appetite return", ANZ bank said.

Oil prices are still showing a gain so far this year, thanks to healthy demand and by supply restraint led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, which started in 2017 to rein in oversupply and prop up prices. "Usually, what the Saudis want, the Saudis get", said Flynn.

Ex-South Korean president gets 24 years in prison for corruption
The leader was, however, conspicuous by her absence at the court since she boycotted the trial accusing to be biased against her. Park acknowledges her ties with Choi in a nationally televised speech, but denies breaking the law.

Crude prices at the end of last week closed down roughly 2%, capping their worst week in two months, as the U.S. threatened new tariffs on Chinese imports and Beijing responded in kind.

The American Petroleum Institute will publish storage data later on Tuesday while official data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration is due on Wednesday.

Also helping were comments from Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih, who said oil cartel OPEC will continue to steward the market.

Gasoline futures on NYMEX also jumped, gaining 2.93% to $2.0423 a gallon, as the DoE's Short-Term Energy Outlook showed the average retail price hitting $2.74 in Summer 2018, nearly 14% more than in the year before.

U.S. WTI crude futures CLc1 were at $65.40 a barrel, down 11 cents, or 0.2 percent from their last settlement. "However, oil market fundamentals are tightening and oil prices looks set to be squeezed higher as long as OPEC+ sticks to its cuts". Analysts polled by S&P Global Platts expect the agency to report a weekly rise of 100,000 barrels in crude stockpiles, along with declines of 2 million barrels in gasoline and 1.2 million barrels in distillate supplies.

May natural gas ended at $2.656 per million British thermal units, down 1.4%.