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Oil falls to 2-week low as China retaliates in US trade war

China’s announcement to impose reciprocal tariffs on the US wiped out earlier support for prices from reduced output among OPEC members, which dropped to the lowest in a year in March.

business Updated: Apr 04, 2018 15:16 IST
Heesu Lee and Grant Smith, London
Oil,crude,crude oil
Oil pumping facilities are seen at Venezuela's western Maracaibo lake in Venezuela, November 5, 2007. REUTERS/Isaac Urrutia/Files(Reuters File Photo)

Oil fell after China said it would levy tariffs on $50 billion of US imports in retaliation against measures by US President Donald Trump, fanning concerns that economic growth and fuel demand could be hurt.

Futures in New York slipped as much as 1.4% to the lowest intraday price since March 20. China’s Ministry of Commerce in Beijing said it would levy 25% tariffs on imports of 106 US products including automobiles and aircraft. That wiped out earlier support for prices from reduced output among the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which dropped to the lowest in a year in March.

West Texas Intermediate for May delivery was at $62.70 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, down 81 cents, at 9:54 a.m. in London. The contract rose 50 cents to $63.51 on Tuesday. Total volume traded was about 13% below the 100-day average.

Brent for June settlement lost 86 cents to $67.26 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The contract added 48 cents to $68.12 on Tuesday. The global benchmark crude traded at a $4.58 premium to June WTI.

China’s charges on US imports match the scale of proposed US tariffs announced earlier. The step ratchets up tension in a brewing trade war between the world’s two largest trading nations.

--With assistance from Tsuyoshi Inajima

First Published: Apr 04, 2018 15:14 IST