Oil prices slide as U.S.-China trade row escalates

Oil prices slid Wednesday morning, following global equities lower amid an escalating trade row between the U.S. and China.

Brent crude
LCOM8, -1.26%
, the global benchmark, was down 85 cents, or 1.3%, at $67.27 a barrel on Londons Intercontinental Exchange. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate futures
CLK8, -1.50%
were trading down 89 cents, or 1.4%, at $62.62 a barrel.

China early Wednesday announced 25% tariffs on critical American exports, including soybeans, airplanes and automobiles. The retaliatory measures came a day after the Trump administration threatened stiff new tariffs on some $50 billion Chinese imports across 1,300 categories of products. The U.S. earlier this year imposed tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum imports.

Read: Heres how a trade skirmish could become a global trade war

U.S. stocks looked set for a steep drop at the open Wednesday, as investors fled global equities for assets seen as less risky. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures
YMM8, -1.95%
fell by more than 2%, while S&P 500 futures
ESM8, -1.37%
shed 1.4% and Nasdaq-100 futures
NQM8, -1.68%
gave up 1.7%

Its all about the macro picture right now, said Harry Tchilinguirian, global head of commodity markets strategy at BNP Paribas. Theres a sea of red on the equity screens, and oil, as a risk asset, is falling as well, he said.

Check out: 5 charts that show how Chinas response to U.S. tariffs is rattling markets

The oil price drop came even as the American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, said late Tuesday that U.S. crude inventories fell by 3.3 million barrels last week.

However, though this may seem supportive, the bullish slant was tainted by a whopping 4.1 million barrel build at the Cushing delivery hub, in Oklahoma, noted Stephen Brennock, an analyst at brokerage PVM Oil Associates Ltd.

Official weekly inventory data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration is expected later Wednesday. Analysts surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expect on average that crude stocks increased by 1 million barrels in the week ended March 30.

But BNPs Tchilinguirian said the oil market may likely look past any inventory data until the implications of the U.S.-China trade spat are clearer.

Among refined products, Nymex reformulated gasoline blendstock
RBK8, -0.80%
the benchmark gasoline contract was down 0.8% at $1.96 a gallon.

Related Topics Futures Commodities Markets Commodity Futures Trading Commission Oil

Quote References LCOM8 -0.86 -1.26% CLK8 -0.95 -1.50% YMM8 -467.00 -1.95% ESM8 -35.75 -1.37% NQM8

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