Oil steady with attack on Saudi oil-pumping station

Monitoring Desk

ANKARA: Crude oil prices opened steady on Wednesday, as the attack on two Saudi oil-pumping stations threatens supply from the region, but the souring trade relations between the U.S. and China is keeping global demand low.

International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $71 per barrel at 0653 GMT for a 0.04% gain after it closed Tuesday at $70.97 a barrel.

American benchmark West Texas International was at $61.34 a barrel at the same time, posting a 0.06% increase, after ending the previous session at $61.30 per barrel.

A drone attacked two oil-pumping stations in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, provoking concerns over secure crude supply from the region. Attacks on the Kingdom’s two oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates on Sunday also added to the uncertainty over supply.

The two oil stations are strategic for the transfer of oil through the 1,200 kilometer-long East-West pipeline, which pumps crude from east to west, and is one of the two alternative major pipelines used to export crude from the Red Sea instead of the Strait of Hormuz.

On the demand side, global economic growth is still under threat with escalating trade tensions between the world’s two largest economies — the U.S. and China.

After the conclusion of 11th round of talks, both countries ended up raising tariffs on each other, while U.S. President Donald Trump continued his remarks via social media against China on Tuesday. “China will be pumping money into their system and probably reducing interest rates, as always, in order to make up for the business they are, and will be, losing,” he wrote on Twitter.

“If the Federal Reserve ever did a ‘match,’ it would be game over, we win! In any event, China wants a deal!” he claimed.

Trump has long criticized the U.S. central bank for high interest rates, as he prefers a weaker dollar against other currencies in order to increase the U.S.’ exports and decrease his country’s budget deficit. (AA)