Oil prices rise as supply factors offset US-China trade tensions

Oil prices

Oil prices edged up on Friday as tightened global supplies overshadowed trade tensions stoked by a U.S. move to hike tariffs on Chinese goods.

Prices were set to fall over the week, but gained in the session as investors believed a U.S.-China trade deal could still be reached and supply cuts worldwide continued to buoy prices, analysts said.

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Brent crude oil was up 47 cents at $70.86 a barrel around 12:30 p.m. ET (1630 GMT), having touched a peak of $71.23.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were up 30 cents at $62, having earlier hit $62.49.

Both contracts were on track to end the week roughly flat.

The United States escalated its tariff war with China on Friday by increasing levies to 25% for $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, but negotiations were set to continue on Friday.

President Donald Trump ordered the tariff increase, saying China “broke the deal” by reneging on previous commitments. He said he would start paperwork for 25% duties on a further $325 billion of Chinese imports, saying he was in no rush for a deal.

Growing trade between the world’s two largest oil consumers could affect oil demand. The United States and China together accounted for 34% of global oil consumption in the first quarter of 2019, data from the International Energy Agency shows.

But investors shifted their focus away from trade issues to the impact of Iran sanctions, as well as conflicts in Libya that threatened oil supplies, said Gene McGillian, vice president of market research at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.

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