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Trump’s Latest Trade War Comment Puts Oil Prices Under Pressure

Oil prices were down early on Monday, as global markets brace for protracted talks in the U.S.-China trade war after optimism about an imminent rollback of tariffs faded.

At 11:14 a.m. EDT on Monday, WTI Crude was down 0.49 percent at US$56.96, and Brent Crude was down 0.18 percent at US$62.40.

Over the weekend, U.S. President Donald Trump appeared to dismiss reports of the imminent lifting of tariffs and breakthrough in talks. This sent the oil market down on Monday, as participants fret about the implications for global trade, economic growth, and, as a result, global oil demand growth.

The trade talks with China are moving along “very nicely,” President Trump told reporters on Saturday.

“We have to make the right deal for the farmers, manufacturers, for everybody. And if we don’t make that right deal, we’re not going to make a deal,” President Trump said, referring to “incorrect reporting” while asked if he wants to roll back some of the tariffs.

“I’d like to make a deal, but it’s got to be the right deal. China very much wants to make a deal. They’re having the worst year they’ve had in 57 years. Their supply chain is all broken, like an egg,” President Trump noted.

Related: Canadian Oil Prices Crash After Keystone Spill

Analysts at Commerzbank expect the trade war headlines and potential breakthroughs or stalemates in talks to dictate the direction of oil prices over the next few days and weeks.

Chinese data during the weekend showed continued weakness in Chinese economic growth. China’s producer price index (PPI) slumped the most in October since July 2016, while car sales fell for the 16th month in a row. Both sets of data suggest that China’s economic growth continues to slow down, which, combined with an overall global economic growth slowdown, doesn’t bode well for oil demand growth, and consequently, oil prices.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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