Oil prices steadied on Thursday as an easing of trade tensions between the United States and China and a surprise draw in U.S. crude inventories last week supported the market. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery CLc1 was down 4 cents at $63.33 a barrel. “Oil prices are profiting from the general brightening of sentiment on the markets as signs emerge that the trade dispute is easing between the U.S. and China,” analysts at Commerzbank said in a note. Global equities rose after the United States expressed willingness to negotiate a resolution on trade after proposed U.S. tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese goods prompted a quick response from Beijing that it would retaliate by targeting key American imports. Oil prices have recently closely tracked equities.
“I suspect that we are going to have period of wait and see in markets as both parties enter into a period of negotiations before those tariffs actually go into effect,” BNP Paribas head of commodities strategy Harry Tchilinguirian told the Reuters Global Oil Forum. WTI and Brent had hit two-week lows on Wednesday after China proposed a broad range of tariffs on U.S. exports, feeding fears of a trade war.