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28 March 2018, 01:11 | Vickie Mathis
Brent crude futures were at $70.24 per barrel down 21 cents or 0.3 percent. Image source Reuters
Oil traded above $66 a barrel Tuesday morning as global trade tensions showed signs of easing, countering concerns that US crude stockpiles may have resumed their expansion last week. However, some analysts expressed doubts over the petro-yuan's success, citing the fact that China is still not recognized as a market economy and the country's authorities may interfere with trading at the first signs of a potential bubble. China is the world's second-largest oil consumer after the United States.
The September delivery contracts for Brent and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) varieties were traded at 68.38 Dollars per barrel and 64.06 USD per barrel respectively.
Having announced additional tariffs on aluminum and steel imports, US President Donald Trump imposed $60 billion in extra tariffs on Beijing over allegations of intellectual theft.
The market also found support from rising Middle East tensions.
Reuters reported that Saudi air defences shot down seven ballistic missiles fired by Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi militia on Sunday, some of which targeted Saudi capital Riyadh.
Wood Mackenzie's research director Sushant Gupta, commented "China surpassed the United States to become the world's largest importer of crude in 2017".
USA oil output has already jumped by a quarter since mid-2016 to 10.4 million barrels per day (bpd).
Brent crude futures were at $70.24 per barrel, down 21 cents, or 0.3%. Nevertheless, the existing price benchmarks - Brent and WTI crude - are both in dollars, and importers across the world must buy dollars in order to conduct oil deals.
First trading sessions showed the good oil price but this process should pick up momentum, the expert says.
Opec, together with a group of non-Opec producers led by Russian Federation, started withholding production in 2017 in order to prop up prices.
The cartel had at their November 30, 2017 meeting agreed to extend oil output cuts until the end of 2018 as part of the global efforts to eliminate excess oil supply that had dogged oil prices in the markets since 2014. The largest supplier to China is Russian Federation who supplies 1.32 million barrels per day or 5,052 thousand tons.
"China has used this contract in an innovative way, to fill the void of a voice representing buyers in Asia", Shanghai-based ICIS-China analyst Li Li said. "Uncertainties still linger and that will pressure prices from going up further". "[The new futures market would help enhance our] risk management ability against global oil price volatility", said Dai Houliang, vice chairman and president of Sinopec in Hong Kong Monday.
Shell International Eastern Trading the trading arm of Royal Dutch Shell, was heard to be the seller, said multiple sources that participate in the market, although a Shell spokeswoman declined to comment.
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