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Russia cites trade wars as a negative factor for oil prices

The price of Brent crude oil is about 10 percent below its high point for the year.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Russia cites trade wars as a negative factor for oil prices
Russian ministry report says global trade tensions are behind the recent declines in the price of oil. Brent crude oil prices are down about 1 percent from last week. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 2 (UPI) -- A report from the Russian Ministry of Energy attributed a recent slump in the price of crude oil to growing concerns about the impact of global trade disputes.

On Wednesday, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said President Donald Trump had called for an increase in tariffs targeting $200 billion in Chinese goods from 10 percent to 25 percent.

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"The Trump administration continues to urge China to stop its unfair practices, open its market, and engage in true market competition," he said in a statement.

The Chinese government responded by saying it would not be influenced by "blackmail" and reserved the right to respond in kind in order to protect its national interests.

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An all-out trade war between the world's two leading economies could undermine global economic growth. A report from the Russian Ministry of Energy said that concern is behind a recent drop in the price of oil.

"Concerns of market participants in respect of global growth prospects in the environment of unveiled trade wars become one more factor for dropping prices of oil and other commodities," portions of the report published in Russian media outlet Tass read.

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The price for Brent crude oil, the global benchmark for the price of oil, is down 1.16 percent from July 25. In early morning trading in the United States, Brent is down about a half percent to $72 per barrel.

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Igor Sechin, the chief executive officer at Russian oil company Rosneft, said in late July that his company's budget is based on $63 per barrel. From his perspective, crude oil prices would max out for the year at around $80 per barrel.

The price for Brent crude oil, the global benchmark, hit its high mark for the year so far on May 22 when it closed at $80.42 per barrel on concerns that U.S. sanctions would erase Iranian oil from the market.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Friday the market has probably taken into account the potential loss of Iranian oil by November already, however.

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