May 31, 2019
SYDNEY (Reuters) – Oil prices dropped 1.5% percent on Friday to their lowest in nearly three months after U.S. President Donald Trump said he would impose tariffs on imports from Mexico, stoking fears about global economic growth.
Front-month Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil prices, were at $65.86 at 0019 GMT, their lowest since March 11. That was down just over a dollar, or 1.5%, from last session’s close.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $55.78 per barrel, down 81 cents, or 1.5%, from their last settlement. WTI earlier marked its lowest since March 8 at $55.66 a barrel.
Trump ramped up trade tensions globally by vowing to slap tariffs on all goods from Mexico, firing up fears over economic growth and appetite for oil.
Crude prices have also been under pressure from a smaller-than expected decline in U.S. stockpiles.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said U.S. crude stocks fell nearly 300,000 barrels last week, less than the 900,000-barrel decline analysts forecast in a Reuters poll and well below the 5.3 million-barrel drawdown the American Petroleum Institute (API) reported late Wednesday.
Meanwhile, top oil exporter Saudi Arabia has raised production in May, a Reuters survey found, but not by enough to compensate for lower Iranian exports which collapsed after the United States tightened the screws on Tehran.
Washington will sanction any country which buys oil from Iran after the expiration of waivers on May 2, U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook said on Thursday.
(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Joseph Radford)