NEW YORK: Oil prices slipped nearly 2 per cent on Tuesday, on track to fall to their lowest levels in over a month as renewed doubts over US-China trade talks stoked concerns over global growth and demand even though US sanctions on Iran and Venezuela tightened supply and helped stem losses.
Brent futures were down $1.36, or 1.9pc, at $69.88 a barrel by 1439 GMT, while US West Texas Intermediate crude was down $1.14, or 1.8pc, at $61.11 per barrel.
If the futures close at their current levels, it would be the lowest settle for Brent since April 4 and WTI since March 29.
US President Donald Trump on Sunday said he would raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods from 10-25pc by Friday. The comments dragged on both Asian and US stock markets.
“An escalation in the US-China trade war has brought oil prices under renewed pressure,” said Abhishek Kumar, head of analytics at Interfax Energy in London.
“The spat has reinvigorated demand-side concerns, given that the conflict has been adversely impacting prospects for global economic growth.” On the supply side, oil markets remain tense with the United States tightening sanctions on Iranian oil exports and plans to bulk up its forces in the world’s top oil-exporting region.
US officials announced on Sunday that the movement of an aircraft carrier strike group and a bomber task force towards the Middle East was meant to counter “credible threats,” but Tehran dismissed the move as “psychological warfare.”