Trade doubts rise, Oil prices fall for the third day

US industry data showing a higher-than-expected increase in the reserves of the world’s top oil producers also depressed prices. Crude futures fell 24 cents, or 0.4%, to $ 58.00 a barrel at 0442 GMT, while the U.S. West Texas Medium was at $ 52.39, down 24 cents, or 0.5%.

Oil prices fell for a third consecutive session on Wednesday as tensions escalated between the United States and China ahead of this week’s trade talks, raising uncertainty about global economic growth and oil demand.

Negotiators from the world’s two best economies will meet in Washington on Thursday and Friday in the latest attempt to reach a deal aimed at ending a long-running trade dispute that has slowed global economic growth.

But tensions between the pair increased this week as the United States imposed visa restrictions on Chinese officials for banning or abusing Muslim minorities as a row escalated over comments by a top US Basketball Association official. in support of the protests in Hong Kong.

Concerns have overshadowed the threat of OPEC Ecuador’s member losing a third of its oil supply due to anti-government protests that have seriously affected oil production.

Ecuadorian state-owned firm Petroamazonas estimates it could lose about 188,000 barrels a day, or more than a third of its crude production, due to unrest at its facilities.

An insurgency in Iraq has also entered a second week, threatening production at the country’s second-largest producer of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

“The political turmoil among OPEC members will only offer a temporary remedy for oil prices; the risk of an eventual US-China trade is much greater,” Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst for Asia Pacific, wrote in a note. at OANDA brokerage.

In the United States, meanwhile, crude stocks rose by 4.1 million barrels in the week ending Oct. 4 to 422 million, data from industry group American Petroleum Institute showed on Tuesday. Analysts had expected a 1.4 million barrel increase, a Reuters poll showed.

The US Energy Information Administration weekly report will be held at 10:30 a.m. EDT on Wednesday.

The EIA said on Tuesday that US crude production is expected to grow by 1.27 million barrels per day in 2019 to a record 12.26 million bpd, slightly above its earlier forecast of a 1.25 million bpd increase./

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