RIYADH/ ABU DHABI
Oil prices were flat on the week despite some volatility. Brent and WTI crude eased to $70.62 and $61.66 per barrel, respectively. The downward deterioration in crude prices came, counter-intuitively, despite the escalation in the US-China trade war.
Further tightening in the market added to already heightened supply concerns and offset the impact of trade tensions. Still, the broad narrative of continuing trade uncertainty should support prices.
The feud between the world’s two economic superpowers should be seen in the context of rising global demand with China’s (the largest oil importer) crude oil imports reaching a record
10.68 million barrels per days (bpd) in April. Some saw the spike as a result of Beijing importing more as a hedge against US sanctions exemptions expiring, but that argument doesn’t really stand up to scrutiny because the April crude oil imports were loaded a month ahead in March. Indeed, at this point Beijing was hopeful of an extension of US waivers. — VoM