Economy

Gold firms as Sino-U.S. trade concerns dampen risk appetite

Gold firms as Sino-U.S. trade concerns dampen risk appetite

Brent crude oil futures were up 18 cents at $70.06 U.S. per barrel mid-morning Wednesday U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 37 cents to $61.77 U.S. per barrel.

Tanker brokerage Eastport said in a note that "worsening trade friction between Washington and Beijing poses a downside risk to our forecasts" for petroleum products.

Last month, Washington said it will end Iran sanction waivers that have been granted to China, India, Greece, Italy, Taiwan, Japan, Turkey and South Korea to ensure low oil prices and avoid disruption to the global oil market.

The United States will not grant any more waivers to any countries that would allow them to buy Iranian oil without facing USA sanctions, a senior US diplomat said on Wednesday.

U.S. crude oil production decreased slightly during the week ending May 3, U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said Wednesday.

Exports of Iranian crude oil have been put in jeopardy since the White House re-imposed sanctions on Iran in November a year ago, demanding all countries stop importing oil from the country.

If the trade talks fail, investors fear that it could pave the way for a global economic slowdown, lowering oil demand around the world, while putting a downward pressure on oil prices. Crude stockpiles had risen by a net of almost 30 million barrels in five earlier weeks, and oil bears had expected the trend to continue.

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Gold prices edged higher on Tuesday as investors moved away from riskier assets after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to raise tariffs on Chinese imports, heightening trade tensions and lifting demand for the safe-haven metal.

The jump in inventories was due to a sharp decline in imports.

However, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said on Wednesday the United States had received an indication from China that it wanted to make a trade deal.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will visit the United States on Thursdays for trade talks and additional tariffs are set to take effect on Friday if a trade agreement is not reached by then.

"So people have been bearish because of that".

Iran says its oil exports will not drop to zero, although its officials are bracing for a drop in shipments.

The EIA also cut its 2019 world oil demand growth forecast by 20,000 bpd to 1.38 million bpd.


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