Oil futures were mixed on Monday, with US crude edging lower, as investors and traders fretted over global economic growth prospects amid a standoff in Sino-US trade talks.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures were at USD 61.58 per barrel, down 9 cents, or 0.2 per cent at 0223 GMT, from their previous settlement. WTI closed the last session steady on the day.
Meanwhile Brent crude futures were at USD 70.73 a barrel, up 11 cents, or 0.2 per cent, from their last close. Brent ended the previous session little changed.
The trade conflict between the worldâs top two economies escalated on Friday, with the United States hiking tariffs on USD 200 billion worth of Chinese goods after President Donald Trump said Beijing âbroke the dealâ by reneging on earlier commitments made during months of negotiations.
The parties appeared at a deadlock over negotiations on Sunday as Washington demanded promises of concrete changes to Chinese law and Beijing said it would not swallow any âbitter fruitâ that harmed its interests.
The United States and China together accounted for 34 per cent of global oil consumption in the first quarter of 2019, data from the International Energy Agency showed.
âThe US-China trade war is set to intensify, which will limit gains in prices,â said Abhishek Kumar, head of analytics at Interfax Energy in London.
âMarket participants will closely watch Chinaâs retaliatory steps in response to the imposition of additional US tariffs on Chinese goods,â Kumar said, adding the dispute âcould be particularly detrimental to the growth in global oil demandâ.
Separately, in an early indicator of future output, US energy companies last week reduced the number of oil rigs operating for the third time in four weeks.
Drillers cut two oil rigs in the week to May 10, bringing the total count down to 805, General Electric Coâs Baker Hughes energy services firm said in its closely followed report on Friday.
The rig count has declined over the past five months as independent exploration and production companies cut spending on new drilling.