Oil markets muted as U.S.-China trade war remains unresolved

August 24, 2018 - 9:52 AM
Oil exploration deal
File photo of oil rigging equipment in the sea. (Reuters/Nerijus Adomaitis)

SINGAPORE- Oil markets were steady on Friday as the unresolved trade dispute between Washington and Beijing muted activity.

Brent crude oil futures were at $74.50 per barrel at 0105 GMT, up 7 cents from their last close.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $67.93 per barrel, up 10 cents.

Both oil benchmarks saw low liquidity during early trading on Friday.

U.S. and Chinese officials ended two days of talks on Thursday with no major breakthrough as the trade war between the world’s two biggest economies escalated with activation of another round of dueling tariffs on $16 billion worth of each country’s goods.

“Investors are likely to feel nervous as the two countries vow to step up the pressure,” ANZ bank said on Friday.

While the trade conflict between Washington and Beijing darkens the economic outlook, the supply versus demand outlook for oil markets remains relatively tight especially because of the looming U.S. sanctions against Iran, which will target oil exports.

Iran is the third-biggest producer within the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the nation exports around 2 million barrels per day of crude, equivalent to around 2 percent of global consumption. -Reporting by Henning Gloystein Editing by Joseph Radford