Oil has small gains awaiting US-China trade row outcome

ANKARA (AA): Oil prices opened Monday with some gains as markets await the outcome of trade negotiations between the world’s two largest economies.

International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $70.97 per barrel at 0630 GMT with a 0.5% gain after closing Friday at $70.62 a barrel. American benchmark West Texas Intermediate was at $61.72 a barrel, posting a 0.6% increase, after ending the previous session at $61.33 per barrel. Trade negotiations between the U.S. and China have put investors on their heels in recent weeks, especially since Friday when the U.S. increased the tariff rate from 10% to 25% on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports.

If the U.S.-Sino trade talks fail, it would first negatively impact Asian countries, and could subsequently slow global economic growth.

The failure to reach a trade deal threatens both global oil demand and the respective oil consumption of China and the U.S. The U.S. and China together represented approximately 34% of global oil consumption in the first quarter of 2019, according to the International Energy Agency.

On the supply side, the U.S.’ sanctions on Iran and Venezuela, together with production cuts from OPEC and Russia, keep oversupply low on the global market.

If OPEC and its allies this month signal a production extension into the second half of 2019, oil prices could be prevented from falling further.