Oil prices held onto gains made during the Asian trading session on Monday afternoon in London, bolstered by a decline in U.S. production that was reported at the end of last week. On Thursday Baker Hughes announced that the number of U.S. active drilling rigs fell by seven last week, to 797. Oil prices were also boosted by concerns that tensions between the United States and Iran would lead President Trump to impose sanctions on Iran that would hamper the country’s oil exports. Trump has threatened to withdraw from a 2015 international nuclear deal with Tehran that has increased Iranian oil exports. A May 12 deadline was given by Trump to his European partners to fix the problems he sees with the current deal.
U.S. WTI futures were up 29 cents per barrel as of 12:31 p.m. GMT, to $65.24 per barrel. Brent crude futures advanced 48 cents per barrel to $69.82 per barrel.
Stock Market Reversal
Despite a mostly positive day in Asia, most Asian stock indexes ended up closing lower, pressured by fears of a trade war between the U.S. and China. Wall Street is poised to open lower as well, piggybacking on the losses suffered at the end of last week. After rallying early in the day, Japan’s Nikkei 225 ended up closing lower, as reports showed the business sentiment weakened for the first time in two years in Q1 2018. The Shanghai Composite and South Korea’s Kospi also closed lower. Only the Hang Seng Index managed to eke out the day in the green.