Oil markets remained tense on Thursday on concerns over a military escalation in Syria, although prices were some way off Wednesday’s late-2014 highs as bulging U.S. supplies weighed. A trade dispute between the United States and China also kept markets on edge. Brent crude futures were at $72.33 per barrel at 0648 GMT, up 27 cents, or 0.4 percent from their last close. U.S. WTI crude futures were at $67.20 a barrel, up 38 cents, or 0.4 percent from their last settlement. In China, Shanghai crude futures rose by 10.5 yuan to 428.7 yuan ($68.28) per barrel, up 2.5 percent, with record volumes traded. Both Brent and WTI on Wednesday hit their highest since late 2014 of $73.09 and $67.45 per barrel, respectively, after Saudi Arabia said it intercepted missiles over Riyadh and U.S. President Donald Trump warned Russia of imminent military action in Syria.
“Geopolitical risks outweighed an unexpected rise in inventories in the U.S.,” ANZ bank said. Ongoing concerns of a prolonged trade dispute between the United States and China are also keeping markets on edge. China lashed out at the United States on Thursday saying that the trade disputes, in which both sides have threatened to impose tariffs on imports of several products, were “single-handedly provoked by the U.S.” and that Beijing was prepared to escalate the spat if Washington did not back off from its threatened import tariffs. The Chinese C