Oil prices seesaw as U.S. trade dispute with China rattles market

An Oil Price Rally Is Likely

US crude inventories fell by 4.6 million barrels last week, compared with analysts' expectations for an increase of 246,000 barrels, EIA data showed on Wednesday.

Both the WTI and the Brent benchmarks were trading up on Tuesday by nearly 3 percent, with Brent reaching the psychologically important $70 threshold shortly after 9:00am EST.

Those rosier forecasts from the USA government and the improved news-flow on the global trade front saw Brent futures for next month delivery rise 3.54% to $71.08 a barrel on the ICE, alongside a 3.54% move higher for WTI to $65.66 a barrel.

Trump said on Monday that China's 25 percent tariff on imported autos was significantly higher than the 2.5 percent tariff that the United States charges for foreign cars.

The gains followed a more than 2 percent rally on Monday during European and American trade hours, but that was a rebound from a 2 percent decline on Friday.

Analysts said Xi's comments greatly relieved market anxiety for a potential trade war between the world's two largest economies.

Beyond the trade dispute, oil markets are also concerned about the potential of renewed US sanctions against some significant oil producers.

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The states' transportation department said the entire eastbound of the highway remained closed late Thursday morning. Columbia County Sheriff's Office charged Hoppenbrouwer with driving under the influence and failure to maintain lane.

Adding to rising storage levels, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Tuesday that it expects domestic crude oil production in 2019 to rise by more than previously expected, driven largely by growing U.S. shale output.

USA crude inventories rose by 1.8 million barrels in the week to April 6 to 429.1 million, according to a report by the American Petroleum Institute (API) on Tuesday, compared with analysts' expectations for a decrease of 189,000 barrels.

However, soaring US crude production, which has jumped by a quarter since mid-2016 to 10.46 million barrels per day (bpd), is threatening to undermine OPEC's efforts to tighten the market and prop up prices.

Oil markets have generally been supported by healthy demand as well as supply restraint led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

The United States late a year ago overtook top exporter Saudi Arabia as the world's second biggest crude producer.

"Oil prices remain rangebound with WTI oil right in the middle of the $60-$65 per barrel range that has largely held since January of this year", said William O'Loughlin, investment analyst at Australia's Rivkin Securities.

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