OIL PRICE: NOT ABOVE $68 AGAIN
REUTERS - Oil markets stabilized on Monday after slumping around 2 percent last Friday on concerns over an intensifying trade dispute between the United States and China, as well as increased U.S. drilling activity.
Markets on Monday were also eyeing the situation in Syria after reports - denied by the Pentagon - that U.S. forces had struck a major air base there.
U.S. WTI crude futures CLc1 were at $62.31 a barrel at 0643 GMT, up 25 cents, or 0.4 percent, from their previous settlement.
Brent crude futures LCOc1 were at $67.42 per barrel, up 31 cents, or 0.5 percent.
Oil prices fell about 2 percent on Friday after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened new tariffs on China, reigniting fears of a trade war between the world's two largest economies that could hurt global growth.
"I hope that both sides understand the risks," said Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at futures brokerage AxiTrader.
With Chinese markets closed last Thursday and Friday, Shanghai crude futures ISCc1 played catch-up on Monday, dropping 0.2 percent to around 401.4 yuan ($63.73) per barrel.
"Oil prices have been susceptible to the brewing trade tensions between China and the U.S. ... However, fundamental support levels have been demonstrated with OPEC's suggestion on a production limit extension into 2019," said Singapore-based Phillip Futures.
Oil prices have generally been supported by healthy demand as well as by supply restraint led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which started in 2017 in order to rein in oversupply and prop up prices.
In physical oil markets, OPEC's number two producer Iraq said on Monday that it is keeping prices for its crude supplies in May steady.
In the United States, drillers added 11 rigs looking for new production in the week to April 6, bringing the total count to 808, the highest level since March 2015, General Electric's (GE.N) Baker Hughes energy services firm said on Friday.
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AN - China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) is willing to invest $3 billion in its existing oil and gas operation in Nigeria, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said on Sunday following a meeting with the Chinese in Abuja.
REUTERS - Production at Libya’s giant Sharara oil field was expected to fall by at least 160,000 barrels per day (bpd) on Saturday after two staff were abducted in an attack by an unknown group, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) said.
IMF - Output grew by 3.8 percent in 2017, underpinned by a resilient non-hydrocarbon sector, with robust implementation of GCC-funded projects as well as strong activity in the financial, hospitality, and education sectors. The banking system remains stable with large capital buffers. Growth is projected to decelerate over the medium term.
IMF - Higher oil prices and short-term portfolio inflows have provided relief from external and fiscal pressures but the recovery remains challenging. Inflation declined to its lowest level in more than two years. Real GDP expanded by 2 percent in the first quarter of 2018 compared to the first quarter of last year. However, activity in the non-oil non-agricultural sector remains weak as lower purchasing power weighs on consumer demand and as credit risk continues to limit bank lending.