Oil prices fell on Friday amid new fears of a trade war between the world’s two largest economies, the United States and China, shortly after US President Donald Trump threatened to impose tariffs on China. Trump declared on Thursday that he had ordered US trade officials to consider imposing an additional $100 billion in customs duties on imports from China, which led to an escalation of tension with Beijing.
The price for Brent crude for June delivery dropped by 45 cents, or 0.66 percent, to trade at $67.88 a barrel. US WTI crude for May delivery fell by 41 cents, or 0.65 percent, and traded at $63.13 a barrel.
While oil markets are wary of a trade war between the United States and China, analysts do not expect crude to see major declines, with signs of shrinking supply. The US Energy Information Administration said that oil inventories dropped by 4.6 million barrels last week compared with analysts’ expectations of an increase of 246 thousand barrels.
Separately, the price of gold settled on Friday ahead of US jobs data, which is closely monitored for its impact on interest rate policy. The precious metal rose in Asian trading markets after the US president renewed concerns about a trade war with China, but it was unable to maintain those gains as investors began to be cautious before the US jobs report.
Spot gold was trading at $1,325 an ounce, a 0.1% decrease, to close below $1,333 an ounce. Gold futures in June were little changed, at $1,329 an ounce. According to analysts, job data in US non-farm sectors and the US-China trade dispute have the potential to drive the precious metal markets, but gold and the dollar are currently trading in a range.