Oil Rises on Possible Trade Agreement

Crude Oil Price Forecast: Demand Now in Focus

Crude prices at the end of last week closed down roughly 2%, capping their worst week in two months, as the USA threatened new tariffs on Chinese imports and Beijing responded in kind.

"Yesterday crude oil rallied sharply as it was tariff war off and Syria war back on which switched attention back to geopolitical problems in the Middle East".

In physical oil markets, OPEC's number two producer Iraq said on Monday that it is keeping prices for its crude supplies in May steady.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 fell to $70.80 per barrel at 0702 GMT, down 23 cents, or 0.3 percent, from their last close.

Analysts said Xi's comments greatly relieved market anxiety for a potential trade war between the world's two largest economies.

"If China was to impose counter tariffs on USA crude, it would become quickly very heavy for the US supply and demand picture, resulting in US crude oil price pressure that would have a negative impact on global oil prices", according to Petromatrix.

Traders said weekly United States fuel supply data would give further market guidance.

"China is the main importer (after Canada) of US crude oil, to the tune of about 400,000 barrels per day", Petromatrix said, Reuters reported.

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"The market is now concerned for the escalating China-U.S. trade war tensions". U.S. President Donald Trump promised a "major response" within 24 to 48 hours to an alleged chemical attack in Syria, which he said could be the work of the Syrian government, Iran, Russia or all three.

Official data from the Energy Information Administration will be released today, amid forecasts for an oil-stock gain of around 0.2 million barrels.

The report comes a week after Crown Prince Mohammed first told Time magazine that he expected Aramco's public launch to coincide with higher oil prices.

Oil markets have been supported by healthy demand and supply cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

JPMorgan said it expects Brent and WTI prices to average $69.50 and $65.20 per barrel in 2018, respectively, while it forecasts $64 per barrel for Brent and $58.50 per barrel for WTI in 2019.

However, soaring U.S. crude production, which has jumped by a quarter since mid-2016, threatens to undermine Opec's efforts.

That will likely make the United States the world's biggest oil producer by 2019, surpassing Russian Federation which now pumps out nearly 11 million bpd.

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