Oil falls 1% as weak China exports highlight trade war impact; Beijing hopes for agreement with US

  • West Texas Intermediate oil futures were also down 64 cents, or 1.08% to $58.56 a barrel, having risen about 7% last week

  • The oil price drop also put an end to a strong run in previous sessions fuelled by hopes for the OPEC+ production curb deal

  • On Friday, OPEC+ agreed to deepen their output cuts from 1.2 bpd to 1.7 million bpd, representing about 1.7% of global production

London: Oil prices fell on Monday after data showed Chinese exports declined for a fourth straight month, sending jitters through a market already concerned about damage to global demand by the trade war between Washington and Beijing.

Brent futures were down 64 cents, or 0.99 percent, at $63.75 per barrel, after gaining about 3 percent last week on news that Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies would deepen output cuts.

West Texas Intermediate oil futures were also down 64 cents, or 1.08 percent to $58.56 a barrel, having risen about 7 percent last week on the prospects for lower production from “OPEC+”, which is made up of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and associated producers including Russia.

 Oil falls 1% as weak China exports highlight trade war impact; Beijing hopes for agreement with US

Representational image. Reuters

Monday’s sudden chill came after customs data released on Sunday showed exports from China in November fell 1.1 percent from a year earlier, confounding expectations for a 1 percent rise in a Reuters poll.

“China is clearly not immune to either the US trade tariffs, or the lingering slowdown in the broader global economy,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.

Washington and Beijing have been trying to agree a trade deal that will end tit-for-tat tariffs, but talks have dragged on for months as they wrangle over details.

Beijing hopes an agreement with the United States can be reached as soon as possible, China’s assistant commerce minister Ren Hongbin said on Monday. Monday’s declines also went against signs on Friday that China was easing its stance on resolving the trade dispute with the United States, confirming that it was waiving import tariffs for some soybean and pork shipments.

The oil price drop also put an end to a strong run in previous sessions fuelled by hopes for the OPEC+ production curb deal.

On Friday, OPEC+ agreed to deepen their output cuts from 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) to 1.7 million bpd, representing about 1.7 percent of global production.

“This decision crystallises an important shift in strategy to managing short-term physical imbalances rather than trying to correct perceived long-term imbalances through open-ended commitments,” Goldman Sachs said in a note.

The bank revised its Brent spot price forecast to $63 per barrel for 2020, up from a previous estimate of $60.

BofA Merrill Lynch said in a note that strong compliance with the OPEC+ along with positive economic developments like a U.S.-China trade deal could push Brent to $70 a barrel before the second quarter of 2020.

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Updated Date: Dec 09, 2019 19:14:52 IST