Oil markets tense on Middle East crisis, US-China trade spat

Oil markets tense on Middle East crisis, US-China trade spat
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* Escalating Syria crisis lifts crude to highest since late2014

* Trade dispute between U.S. and China also keeps market onedge

* But rising U.S. supplies to weigh on markets – analysts

* Shanghai crude futures trade record volumes (Adds comment, updates prices)

By Henning Gloystein

SINGAPORE, April 12 (Reuters) – Oil markets remained tenseon Thursday on concerns over a military escalation in Syria,although prices were some way off Wednesday’s late-2014 highs asbulging U.S. supplies weighed.

A trade dispute between the United States and China alsokept markets on edge.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 were at $72.33 per barrel at0648 GMT, up 27 cents, or 0.4 percent from their last close.

U.S. WTI crude futures CLc1 were at $67.20 a barrel, up 38cents, or 0.4 percent from their last settlement.

In China, Shanghai crude futures ISCc1 rose by 10.5 yuanto 428.7 yuan($68.28) per barrel, up 2.5 percent, with recordvolumes traded.*:nL3N1RP1IZ

Both Brent and WTI on Wednesday hit their highest since late2014 of $73.09 and $67.45 per barrel, respectively, after SaudiArabia said it intercepted missiles over Riyadh and U.S.President Donald Trump warned Russia of imminent military actionin Syria.*:nL3N1RO18E

“Geopolitical risks outweighed an unexpected rise ininventories in the U.S.,” ANZ bank said.

Ongoing concerns of a prolonged trade dispute between theUnited States and China are also keeping markets on edge.

China lashed out at the United States on Thursday sayingthat the trade disputes, in which both sides have threatened toimpose tariffs on imports of several products, were”single-handedly provoked by the U.S.” and that Beijing wasprepared to escalate the spat if Washington did not back offfrom its threatened import tariffs.

The Chinese Commerce Ministry also said there had been nobilateral negotiations with the United States on the tradefrictions.*:nB9N1HR00F


Although markets were tense, supplies remain ampleespecially due to the United States, and analysts said thiswould likely weigh on prices at some point.

“Geopolitical events could keep prices elevated above $70Brent in April and May, but our balances suggest a highlikelihood of a downward correction in 2H18,” Barclays banksaid.

Barclays said it expected Brent to average $63 per barrel in2018 and $60 in 2019. For WTI, the bank forecast prices of $58and $55 a barrel for this year and next.*:nL3N1RP2SQ

U.S. crude oil inventories C-STK-T-EIA rose by 3.3 millionbarrels to 428.64 million barrels.*:nL1N1RO0XI

Meanwhile, U.S. crude production C-OUT-T-EIA last week hita fresh record of 10.53 million barrels per day (bpd), up by aquarter since mid-2016.

The United States now produces more crude than top exporterSaudi Arabia. Only Russia, at currently just under 11 millionbpd, pumps out more.

“Barring any geopolitical shocks, we see limited upsidepotential for oil prices from current levels due to ongoingoversupply, mainly from the U.S. and Russia, and also a slowingdemand growth outlook,” said Georgi Slavov, head of research atcommodities brokerage Marex Spectron.($1 = 6.2785 Chinese yuan renminbi)

GRAPHIC: U.S. oil production and storage levels
GRAPHIC: Russia vs Saudi vs U.S. oil production ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^>

(Reporting by Henning Gloystein; Additional reporting by RoslanKhasawnehEditing by Gopakumar Warrier and Biju Dwarakanath) ((; +65 6870 3263; Twitter:@hgloystein))

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