Oil in New York fell below $60 a barrel for the first time since March after a surprise jump in American crude inventories alleviated concerns over a supply crunch, while fears of a full-blown trade war between the US and China weighed on the outlook for demand.
Futures fell as much as 2,4 percent in New York, and in London Brent crude fell below $70 a barrel. American stockpiles rose by 4,7 million barrels last week to the highest level since mid-2017, despite expectations for a decline, while fuel inventories also climbed. Global equities weakened after the White House was considering cutting off the flow of vital US technology to five Chinese surveillance companies.
Oil is on course for its first monthly loss this year after a dramatic escalation in the trade dispute between the world’s two biggest economies jeopardized the outlook for global growth. While there’s no shortage of supply risks – including the possibility that the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries will extend its output curbs or that rising tension in the Middle East will disrupt energy flows – swelling US stockpiles are mitigating those concerns.
“Neither renewed Middle East tensions nor the possibility of extending OPEC+ output cuts has managed to bump crude oil from its tight range,” said Ole Sloth Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank A/S in Copenhagen.
West Texas Intermediate crude for July delivery fell $1,39 to $60,03 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 1:29 p.m. London time.