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Oil Markets Uncertain As Trade War Counters Supply Shortages

Oil prices were flat in early trading on Friday, sandwiched between supply outages and the escalating U.S.-China trade war.

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Friday, May 10th, 2019

Trump doubles tariffs on China, markets wait. The U.S. hiked tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods from 10 to 25 percent on Friday, while leaving open the possibility that trade talks could continue. Trump also began the process of new tariffs on another $325 billion in Chinese imports. China vowed to implement retaliatory measures. “The opportunity window for avoiding a trade war is closing fast,” Citigroup wrote in a note to clients. Global financial markets were largely stable on Friday, suggesting that major investors still think that a resolution can be reached. “Our base case remains that the U.S. and China will eventually reach some kind of accord,” said Mark Haefele, global chief investment officer for the Swiss bank UBS, in a note.

U.S. shale running into trouble. As the sweet spots in the U.S. shale patch become crowded, it may be more costly and difficult to keep production elevated, according to a new report. While drilling techniques have succeeded in growing output, the industry may simply be front-loading production.

Oil prices firm up on bullish…

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on May 10 2019 said:
    President Trump is making a habit of using blackmail to get his way. He did it when he claimed that the United States protects the oil-producing countries of the Arab Gulf in a brazen and crude attempt of blackmailing these countries and getting US hand on their money and oil. Some of the Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia have fallen into his trap and spent billions on arms purchases to appease him.

    By imposing new tariffs on China, President Trump is again resorting to blackmail. However, China will not only retaliate with punitive tariffs of its own but could also walk away from the trade talks knowing full well that a continuation of the trade war will hurt the US economy far more that China’s and that President Trump badly needs a deal to bolster his chances in the coming US presidential elections in 2020.

    Still, a continuation of the trade war is casting a dark cloud over the global economy creating uncertainty and slowing down global demand for oil.

    China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRII) with which more than 130 countries have already signed contracts of cooperation, has made the Chinese economy far more integrated into the global trade system than the United States’ thus enabling it to withstand the adverse impact of the trade war far better than the United States’.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London

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