Trade war fears are escalating after President Donald Trump hit back against the Chinese by asking his administration to identify $200 billion worth of Chinese goods for additional tariffs at a rate of 10%. This came after markets started to shake off concerns about the United States imposing a 25% tariff on up to $50 billion of Chinese products.
Crude oil prices got hit hard as the trade war for oil traders got personal. In a tit for tat, the Chinese government announced tariffs on U.S. oil imports as well as other energy products, in a sector that U.S. President Donald Trump promised to make great again. This along with the fact that most people believe that OPEC and Russia will decide to increase oil output even after reports that Bloomberg says that Iran, Iraq and Venezuela will veto the increase.
As Russia smoked Saudi Arabia in the World Cup, crude oil ministers from those two countries signaled that indeed OPEC and Non-OPEC countries will be raising oil output. Saudi Arabia’s oil minister said it is “inevitable” that OPEC and Russian production will rise by what he says is a "reasonable and moderate" amount. T
President Donald Trump is fed up with crude oil prices and tweeted that “oil prices are too high, OPEC is at it again. Not good!” The Fed raised interest rates and Fed Chair Jerome Powell weighed in on oil and its impact on inflation and what they may mean for the economy going forward. This comes as surging U.S. refinery demand for oil shadowed over a 100,000-barrel a day increase in U.S. oil production.
A funny thing happened on the road to Singapore. The Group of 7 joint communique was agreed to by all nations until the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau made a statement after President Trump was on the plane going to try to rid the world of the North Korean regime’s nuclear weapons and said that “U.S. tariffs were kind of insulting” and he “will not be pushed around’ set off President Trump and his advisors.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) backed from a strong commitment to raise oil production but only promised to work together and stressed the need for continued cooperation between oil producers, as opposed to signaling an actual number on an expected production increase.
Crude oil is mixed as strong market fundamentals are competing with trade and geopolitical uncertainty. If it isn’t enough to have to handicap how much OPEC and Non-OPEC producers will agree to raise output, you must balance that against political uncertainty in Europe and the fallout from steel and aluminum tariffs imposed by the Trump administration.
Crude oil prices roared back after the Russia central bank sent signals that they were not very happy about the rapid drop in crude prices, and European markets bounced back as Italian political factions have decided to talk. This comes as there is more evidence that OPEC and Non-OPEC have achieved their goal of getting rid of the global petroleum glut.
In January 2015, WTI crude oil futures broke below its long-term trendline that dated back to the 1998 low of $10.65 per barrel after an eight-month sell-off that took crude from above $100 to below $50. On the last trading day of January 2015, crude oil rallied close to $3 in the last hour of trading to settle above that long-term trendline. We made a note of it at the time, which seemed to confirm the importance of this level.