Oil prices down while Sino-U.S. trade war in focus

On Monday oil prices traded lower in Asia, while Sino-U.S. trade war developments were in focus. U.S. Crude Oil WTI Futures fell 1.1% to $55.04 by 12:35 AM ET (04:35 GMT.). International Brent Oil Futures were down 1.2% to $61.16.

On Thursday Trump announced that the U.S. would impose new levies on $300 billion worth of Chinese goods, raising fresh fears about oil demand growth, sending oil prices tumbling 8%, the most significant one-day drop in more than four years. The trade war has been hitting economic growth, which tends to reduce demand for commodities such as oil. Somewhat after President Donald Trump reportedly said that proposed tariffs on China could be delayed or halted if Beijing “takes positive action”. During an interview with CNBC, Trump said that his administration could delay or halt the imposition of tariffs if China "takes positive action".

The American Petroleum Institute will issue its weekly report on oil stockpiles on Wednesday in Asia, while the Energy Information Administration will release its weekly report the following day.

Gold prices rose on Monday in Asia amid an escalating Sino-U.S. trade dispute, while political concerns in Hong Kong also spurred safe-haven demand.

In other news, Iranian Revolutionary Guards seized an Iraqi oil tanker in the Gulf, which they said was smuggling fuel, state media of Iran reported on Sunday.

Gold futures for December delivery, traded on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange were up 0.5% at $1,464.20 by 1:20 AM ET (05:20 GMT).