MARKET WATCH: Oil prices stay volatile on US-China trade tensions

Crude oil benchmark prices settled lower Aug. 26 erasing gains made in earlier trading upon some indicators of possibly improving US-China trade relations. But different news reports contributed to uncertainty among oil investors by closing.

Crude oil benchmark prices settled lower Aug. 26 erasing gains made in earlier trading upon some indicators of possibly improving US-China trade relations. But different news reports contributed to uncertainty among oil investors by closing.

Oil prices climbed in early trading after US President Donald Trump said China called US officials and asked to resume trade talks. CBS News reported China’s government officials did confirm any phone calls between China’s trade officials and US officials.

Reuters reported that China’s Vice Premier Liu He on Aug. 26 said China hopes to resolve the trade war through “calm” negotiations.

Last week, China announced a plan to impose tariffs on $75 billion worth of US goods, including a 5% tariff on crude oil, starting Sept. 1. Previously, President Trump’s administration announced a series of additional tariffs on $300 billion worth of Chinese imports.

Traders notes volatility is likely as traders take off and travel for the US Labor Day weekend, which could contribute to lower trading volumes and consequently price swings later in the week.

Energy prices

Light, sweet crude oil on the New York Mercantile Exchange for September delivery declined 53¢ to $53.64/bbl on Aug. 26 while the October contract decreased 52¢ to $53.50/bbl.

The NYMEX natural gas price for September gained nearly 8¢ to a rounded $2.23/MMbtu.

Ultralow-sulfur diesel for September declined nearly 2¢ to $1.79/gal. The NYMEX reformulated gasoline blendstock for September decreased nearly 3¢ to a rounded $1.62/gal.

Brent crude for October decreased 64¢ to $58.70/bbl. The November contract dropped 68¢ to settle at $58.12/bbl.

Gas oil for September increased $2 to $558/tonne on Aug. 26.

The average for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ basket of crudes for Aug. 26 was $59.18/bbl, down 49¢.

Contact Paula Dittrick at pdittrick@endeavorb2b.com.

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