Brent oil price hits highest level since 2014

Brent oil price hits highest level since 2014

Oil markets stabilised on Monday after slumping about 2% last Friday on the concern over an intensifying trade dispute between the United States and China, as well as increased USA drilling activity.

In addition, possible military action by the USA and Saudi Arabia in Syria creates a high risk for safe production and exports of crude oil from the region and the kingdom, which could keep upward pressure on crude prices, experts warned.

Brent oil futures settled Tuesday at their highest in more than three years as tensions linked to Syria raised the potential for disruptions to Middle East crude output.

In physical oil markets, Opec's number two producer Iraq said on Monday that it was keeping prices for its crude supplies in May steady.

USA benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures were up 1.62 per cent at $64.45 a barrel.

Brent crude futures were at $68.97 per barrel at 0417 GMT, up 32 cents, or 0.5 percent, from their last close.

Concerns of a prolonged trade dispute between the world's two biggest economies and uncertainty over the supply and demand balance of global oil markets have made for volatile trading in the last few weeks.

Beyond the trade dispute, oil markets are also concerned about the potential of renewed US sanctions against some significant oil producers.

Hernandez earns West Ham valuable point at Chelsea
Marko Arnautovic chased the ball deep into the Chelsea box who found Chicharito in open space for the blast past Thibaut Courtois. His introduction to the game was certainly key for West Ham to get their goal, with Arnautovic struggling as a lone striker.

Oil prices have scored gains of almost five per cent in the last two sessions, recovering much of what they lost last week when the U.S.'s decision to slap China with tariffs on $50 billion worth of gold sent crude on a dive to a two-week low.

USA crude inventories rose by 1.8 million barrels in the week to April 6 to 429.1 million, according to a report by the American Petroleum Institute (API) on Tuesday, compared with analysts' expectations for a decrease of 189,000 barrels.

Both equity and oil markets rallied after the speech, while supposed safe havens such as U.S. Treasurys and gold slipped, supporting Wall Street's thesis that a trade war between the economic superpowers is increasingly unlikely.

The American Petroleum Institute will publish its storage data later on Tuesday.

The U.S. late a year ago overtook Saudi Arabia as the world's second-biggest crude producer.

Oil markets have generally been supported by healthy demand as well as supply restraint led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Only Russia pumps more crude, at nearly 11 million bpd.

JPMorgan said it expects Brent and WTI prices to average $69.50 and $65.20 per barrel in 2018, respectively, while it forecasts $64 per barrel for Brent and $58.50 per barrel for WTI in 2019.

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