Oil seesaws in nervous trading as US implements tariffs on Chinese goods

Oil seesaws in nervous trading as US implements tariffs on Chinese goods

"The responsibility of paying unnecessary prices for oil by all consumers of the whole world, especially in United States gas stations, is exclusively upon your (Trump's) shoulders and the price of over $100 per barrel is yet to come", Kazempour said.

That double whammy is prompting Asian refiners to move swiftly, with South Korea leading the way.

Zanganeh added that neither Iranian oil production nor its exports had changed as a result of United States pressure.

Concerns that oil prices will be weighed down by a trade conflict between the U.S. and China have faded to some extent, analysts said.

The inventories at Cushing, which is the delivery point of USA crude futures, plummeted to their lowest in three and a half years, according to the data that was shown on Thursday. The stoppage at the 360,000 barrels per day (bpd) Syncrude facility in Canada has contributed to a sharp reduction in the discount for U.S. crude versus Brent crude over the past month.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures CLc1 were down 15 cents, or 0.2 percent, at $72.79.

As part of a wave of retaliation for Friday's U.S. tariffs, China has threatened a 25 percent duty on imports of USA crude.

In an alarming sign for Washington, and a welcome development for Iran, some locals have decided not to see which way the dice may fall.

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An executive from China's Dongming Petrochemical Group told Reuters his refinery had already cancelled USA crude orders: "We will switch to either Middle East or West African supplies". US President Donald Trump said that another $16 billion worth of import duties are set to take effect after a couple of weeks. "We will switch to either Middle East or West African supplies", he said.

The report said Hojjat al-Islam Mojtaba Zolnour, a hardline member of Iran's parliament, had made the allegation in an interview with a local newspaper. "They (Chinese importers) are not going to be intimidated, or swayed by US sanctions".

"These days. the price is dependent on the behaviour of Mr. Trump", Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said on state television.

"Iran's exports are some 2.7 million bpd, including condensate", it noted.

USA crude futures fell on Thursday as official data showed the country's oil inventories rose unexpectedly last week.

China responded promptly and slapped duties on the same amount of value unto U.S. products.

However, oil prices late last month rose to their highest levels since 2014, with political volatility in Venezuela and the collapse of the Iran nuclear day both sending prices up.

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